Hi! This post originally appeared on my Medium profile. You can see it here.
I don’t need to tell you that most major brands are on Snapchat, or that Snapchat is the new frontier for content marketers or that Snapchat has over 100 million active users.
What I do need to tell you is that your brand’s Snapchat sucks, probably.
Look, it’s probably not your fault. When Snapchat came on the scene it’s likely you brushed it off as an x-rated photo sharing app and never imagined it would turn into a content marketing phenomenon. Because of this, you never took the time to learn how to use Snapchat well. That, however, does not change the fact that your snap stories are literally tragic.
So accept that, identify which of the following you are guilty of, and you will be on your way to becoming a Grade A digital storyteller.
5. You’re not posting anything.
Because snap stories only last for 24 hours, when new followers add your handle they aren’t able to go through your older content like they can on platforms like Twitter and Instagram. If there is nothing on your story, you’ve lost an opportunity to turn followers into fans. You need to be creating content consistently to engage with new followers.
Bonus Tip: If a large number of people add you at once (after posting your snapcode on social media or being featured by a highly followed snapchat account) post a brief snap story that introduces your brand to your new followers.
4. You’re not telling stories
Don’t overthink this. Stories have a beginning, middle, and end. That’s all you need. Too many brands post snaps that are disconnected from each other and hours apart. Most of your followers are going to be watching your story all at once so regardless of what time you post each snap, you need to tell one cohesive story when played beginning to end. If you’re snapchatting from an event or throughout your day, watch your story as you add to it and put yourself in the position of a follower who has no context of who you are, where you are or what you’re doing. If you’re posting all at once, make sure that you close out the story with an ending that includes a Call To Action that directs followers to one of your other social media profiles or let’s them know when they can expect more content from you on Snapchat. This invites them to engage with your brand elsewhere online and serves as an opportunity to tease upcoming content or events.
Bonus tip: If you’re creating a longer story all at once, switch your phone to airplane mode while you shoot and then publish all of your snaps when you’re done. Followers watching your story the next day won’t miss the beginning when they start to disappear.
3. You’re not using video
This bums me out because, in my opinion, the most boring Snapchat stories consist of still images of computer screens (stories created using third party uploaders is a close second but that’s another rant for another time).
Sometimes I think it’s because I get sad thinking about the intern who offered to run your Snapchat but is too nervous to execute their ideas or step in front of the camera or the twenty something #serious writer who hates the platform but it’s a part of their job so they phone it in and repurpose content in the form of filterless stagnant pictures that they leave up for entirely too long. But then I remember it’s just because it sucks and it’s lazy.
We’re living in a video centric world incase you’ve been asleep for the past 3 years or don’t have access to YouTube, Vine or Facebook. Video lets you show instead of tell. It will show off your brand’s character more than any character limit or staged photo. It allows you to do things like include music or conduct a 10 second interview. It allows your followers to connect with you because you’re appealing to another one of their senses. Use video on your Snapchat story often and you will learn to use it well.
Bonus tip: I’m serious about the leaving still images up too long thing. 3 seconds is the sweet spot, longer if you’re looking for screenshots but never longer than 7 seconds unless it’s a selfie of The Pope and Kylie Jenner.
2. You’re not leveraging your audiences
Snapchat isn’t your kinda weird friend that you like to kick it with but don’t want the cool kids to know about. You can promote your Snapchat on your other social media profiles or in email marketing and you won’t lose credibility as a #serious brand. Download your Snapcode as a video and a still image and then spread that thing like wildfire. Tweet it out when you’re headed to an event or when an influencer is taking over your account. Include it on your end title screen on your YouTube channel. Get stickers made and hand them out at trade shows, industry events, parties or wherever there are humans who have cell phones.
As you get traction on Snapchat, direct those followers to your other social media profiles. Announce a giveaway on Snapchat that followers can enter by commenting on an Instagram post. Create a poll that they can participate in by screenshotting their vote and tweeting it to your account with a branded hashtag. Tease YouTube videos by showing shorter clips with a caption that tells them where to go to find it and asks them to subscribe.
Bonus tip: Not really a tip, just a reminder that your goal is to turn followers into fans. You have no fancy metrics telling you who watched each snap to completion or who liked your content. You can’t post links to anything. If you want to use Snapchat to motivate followers to buy your product, read your blog, or come to your event, you have to win over every one of them and move them to a platform where they can find more information about your brand.
- You’re not partnering with influencers
The fastest way to grow your brand’s Snapchat following is to partner with influencers. This means working with someone who has a large following on social media, preferably on Snapchat, and having them create and promote stories for your brand. Identify influencers in your field that your audience will like and be able to relate to. Do your due diligence to find the right influencer, not just the cheapest or the first one that shows interest in your brand. Does their personal brand align with your brand’s values? Do they believe in your mission?
Now forget that you work in marketing and talk to that person like a human and figure out a mutually beneficial arrangement that ends in them telling powerful stories for your brand and your brand being exposed to their fans.
I should clarify that when I say mutually beneficial I mean that you need to compensate them. Don’t ask anyone to create content for you for free, ever, but especially if they are a content creator by trade. I can’t quote you a price on this, it’s still kind of the wild wild west when it comes to brands and influencers working together and the number of zeros will depend on the size of an influencers audience. Depending on your brand, you may be able use things other than cash to negotiate with influencers. Can you promote their content on Twitter? Can you send them to a dope music festival for free? Think outside the box but don’t become a scam artist. You’re not just buying new followers, you’re hiring someone because they have a skill that you do not have.
The Most Important Bonus Tip: Can’t afford a high profile influencer? Create your own. I’m so serious. Find anyone at your company that is familiar with Snapchat, a good storyteller and enthusiastic about the brand and make them the star of the show. This may be the head of marketing, or it may be your new intern.
You can see these tips in action by following me on snapchat: wtfrankie