Have you heard of Snapchat yet?
If you haven’t, that’s OK. Your resident teen should be able to tell you all about the photo- and video-sharing app with a rather unsavory reputation. Snapchat’s messages self-delete after a maximum of 10 seconds, making it a magnet for youngsters aware of the risks of sharing personal content online.
Its user base makes Snapchat an attractive platform for brands with a young demographic (whose purchasing power is rapidly growing) to reach out and engage customers.
Brands can set up profiles on the network and add users as friends, who opt into the brand’s messages by accepting. Here are three intrepid companies who have already incorporated Snapchat marketing into their social strategies.
1. 16 Handles
The New York frozen yogurt chain became the first reported company to employ Snapchat in its marketing when it noticed that many young consumers were using the app.
They ran a promotion in January 2013 called “Snappy New Year,” asking customers to snap a photo of themselves or their friends tasting their yogurt. In return, they sent out a coupon that disappeared in 10 seconds.
Tip: Use the app to send out exclusive coupons and discounts. The 10-second limit offers a sense of urgency—not to mention fun!
This clothing e-tailer amassed more than 2,000 Snapchat friends after being active on the app for just a few weeks.
The reason: They regularly send out racy and provocative photos and videos of models wearing their clothing. It’s a nod to what the app was originally built for, while promoting products in line with Karmaloop’s brand personality.
Tip: Never underestimate the element of surprise. You only have 10 seconds to make an impression on Snapchat, so don’t be afraid to create a little buzz!
3. Taco Bell
The fast-food chain has a reputation for being on top of its social media marketing, and it made another splash in April when it premiered the return of the Beefy Crunch Burrito via Snapchat
Taco Bell first asked its Twitter fans to friend the brand on Snapchat to receive a “secret announcement” the following day. The tweet got retweeted 416 times and favorited 413 times—a definite sign of fan engagement.
Tip: Promote new products, and let your followers on Snapchat be the first to know about it. Add text to personalize each snap.
A version of this article first appeared on the Vocus blog.