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Earlier this year I heard some social media statistics on the radio, while driving to work one morning, that Snapchat is the fastest growing social media network. The growth predominantly coming from the teen market. Considering I’ve made minimal use of the app in the past 2 years since setting up an account, this had me in a panic – am I falling behind with current trends? Will I be the world’s youngest equivalent of the 70-year-old grandmother that hardly knows how to operate a computer? So of course I increased my Snapchat activity in an effort to stay relevant. As I considered this dilemma in my personal capacity, it also got me thinking about how this applies to brands.

While many brands still have difficulty in fully placing their trust in digital advertising and often still like to rely predominantly on traditional media channels, it seems that brands have certainly caught on to the benefits of social media in marketing their business. The question is, should brands be active on every new social media channel that pops up so that they too can ‘stay relevant?’ In this case, should all brands have a Snapchat account? No, not necessarily.

Although it might be tempting to jump on the latest platform being talked about, brands need to still consider things like “what platforms are my target audience on?” and ensure that the platform can deliver results in line with their business strategy. Considering Snapchat is one of the most casual social media platforms out there- it’s really about keeping it fun- the platform may not be a suitable fit for big corporates or companies whose brand persona does not match the nature of the platform.

So what happens when you do decide to incorporate Snapchat into your social media strategy? How does a brand actually use the platform? In general, you need to remember that your followers are looking for easily digestable content that’s fun and colourful – keep it that way. Traditional product push methods that might still work on Facebook aren’t going to work here. With that said, here are a few examples of brands that are getting it right on Snapchat and how you can use the channel to connect with your audience:

Heineken:

At the 2014 Coachella music festival, the beer brand sent cropped snaps to its followers as clues to surprise shows during the festival. Followers that correctly guessed the artist or band received an early confirmation of an act scheduled for the Heineken House, the brand’s sponsored stage.

GrubHub:

The online food delivery and take-out service used the Story feature to post a series of photos that lead followers to promo codes that could be used when placing an order on their website. The brand also enlisted ‘Snapchat artist’ Michael Platco to create fun snaps.

Marie Claire:

Marie Claire uses the channel to reach their audience in real-time through snaps of beauty product demos and gives their followers the inside scoop at special events. It’s about living the magazine life.

Airbnb:

The brand cleverly uses Snapchat to share destination details with their followers, providing tips on what to do in different parts of the world.

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