Neil Patel

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New Kid Alert: How to Drive Sales to Your Business Using Snapchat


200 million.

That’s the number of monthly users on Snapchat. And, they send 400 million snaps every day!

That’s staggering, right?

What’s more amazing is the high engagement on Snapchat. A user spends an average of 25 to 30 minutes (per day) which translates to 8 billion video views daily. This video love is equivalent to Facebook’s activity, with ten times the user base.

Many popular social media networks have passed by as a fad. But, this kid, born in 2011, has had incredible growth and engagement numbers that beat Twitter, Pinterest and even the social giant, Facebook. This offers huge potential for your marketing strategy and growing brand awareness for your small business.  This is complemented by the fact that smart home technology has become more affordable, and many now have smartphones in their pockets.

Snapchat is now a leader in private social media networks and it seeks real-time attention. These two USPs have stopped many media marketing strategies from adopting the popular social platform.


It’s because many social media sites were inherently meant to be shared in public and spontaneously, almost with a sense of urgency. This is especially true with Snapchat.  And, planned social media marketing strategies and campaigns might not work well on this in-the-moment platform.

But, if you’ve been holding off, you need to take Snapchat seriously. This is incredibly vital, especially if your target audience is the younger demographic – more than 60% of U.S.13 to 34 year-old smartphone users are Snapchatters. Look at the Snapchat app penetration, as per ComScore


The platform has native tools and amazing inherent capabilities to expand your brand awareness and reach. Besides, since Snapchat users like a personal touch, you can expect the message behind your marketing strategy to have authentic layering.

Want to delight your target audience and grow your business using Snapchat?

Then, in this article, I want to outline how small businesses like yours are marketing on the platform successfully. Let’s start building your audience on Snapchat. 

1. Announce your Snapcode on other social media platforms and invite your audience to access ‘private’ content

Remember how I predicted that many social media networks would become a largely paid marketing medium in 2016?

That might not be true right now for Snapchat, because the starting budget for advertising on the platform is $100,000 (dropped recently from $700,000).

So, if you don’t want to shell out a hundred thousand dollars initially, you’ll have to rely on growing your target market and brand awareness organically, for the time being.

Once you’ve set up your account and downloaded the popular social network app, you can tap on the ghost icon at the top of the screen to add friends. On clicking “Add Friends,” you’ll get the following options:


Adding friends is a great way to build your following (much like Twitter users follow you back when you follow them).

A Google search will help you in finding the username/snapcode of your favorite brands and celebrities and you can add them as friends.

You can also search other social media networks for the Snapchat usernames of people that you know.

You can search using a sentence like “follow me on snapchat.” Here’s how a graph search on Facebook will reveal people and brands that have shared their Snapchat media presence publically.


A similar search will help you in picking up some more Snapchat peeps from Twitter.


Next, you can announce your Snapchat social media presence to your current fans and followers on other social media networks.

Sure, you can send your username. But, a better way of doing it on Snapchat is by sharing your custom Snapcode that functions like a QR code.

Let me quickly show you how to incorporate your profile picture/business logo in the ghost space on your social media site;

Step 1 – Download a .PNG version of your Snapcode from here.

Step 2 – Change the background color of the Snapcode using Canva (choose a color that suits your brand).

Step 3 – Drag and drop your logo or profile picture within the black dotted boundaries of the white ghost.

Step 4 – Save your new Snapcode as a .PNG or .JPEG.

Now, you can share your username and snapcode with your fans and followers on other social media networks, encouraging them to follow you on Snapchat.


You can also share your Snapcode on your website, alongside other social media accounts or on your About page.


You can also change your profile picture on other popular social media networks to this Snapcode to create a buzz and gather more Snapchat friends.


You might want to sign up for the Snapchat Directory, created by Carlos Gill, to discover and add new friends daily.

Besides adding friends, sharing valuable content, and connecting with your target audience a great way to grow your Snapchat audience quickly and be successful with your social media marketing strategy is:

Creating exclusive Snapchat content that you aren’t providing on other social platforms like your Instagram feed

See, Snapchat is a highly personal medium which young people love. The app doesn’t allow you to upload a nicely designed image and video.

That’s why the content on Snapchat is raw and shows the personality of the creator. So, you don’t have to just use Snapchat for sales, but can use it to build a tightly knit community of brand advocates to spread brand awareness.

For example, NARS used Snapchat to release an exclusive sneak peek at their new collection.

They started by spreading the news on their Instagram account.


And Twitter.


The content was only available to Snapchatters who added NARSissist as a friend on Snapchat.

Using a similar strategy, music producer DJ Khaled uses Snapchat’s 24-hour valid stories in an effort so share his “keys to success.”

The messages he shares with his fans include commentary on his life, inspirational messages, and fun one-liners that engage his audience and generate huge numbers of shares. 

This kind of exclusive content makes DJ Khaled’s community feel like they are a part of his everyday life – and even his inner circle – and has helped him build a highly engaged and loyal audience of more than 3 million fans and followers.


Gary Vaynerchuk leveraged his popularity on Twitter and Facebook to build his target audience on Snapchat. But, to engage with this community, he shares organic and native content that his audience won’t find anywhere else.


2. Conduct real-time social media marketing: Provide live access to special events

As I previously forecasted, live video gained tremendous mileage in 2016.

You can leverage the opportunity to provide an authentic view of your small business or event. Let me share 3 examples that will spark inspiration in any social media manager:

1. During the New York Fashion Week, designers took to Snapchat to share behind-the-scenes pictures and videos. The intimate moments were only available for a limited lifespan (due to the ephemeral nature of content on Snapchat) and made those able to witness the event feel as if they were taking part in the action.

So, the Snapchat community was not only excited but also engaged throughout the show.


2. Everlane is a fashion brand that takes social media marketing and transparency seriously as part of their marketing strategy.

They engage with their followers, letting them know in advance about new products and releases. 

By doing so, Everlane is making sure their followers are not only engaged but feeling like they are part of an exclusive club. Finding out about a new product on Monday will make them more likely to be first in line on Wednesday to buy as opposed to finding out Thursday when they see their friend already wearing a pair.


Replying to your fans by using the chat feature or sending a snap will make them feel special and improve your bonding with them.

They also share behind-the-scenes, sneak peek exclusive moments.


One creative Snapchat campaign by Everlane offered limited edition items to customers through a Secret Shop. And, it was only available at specific times on Snapchat.

After engaging the Snapchatters in a series of tasks, they revealed the location of this secret shop in their New York office.


Snapchat yields a great ROI for Everlane. And, it has helped the company and the customers understand each other via simple, 10-second snaps.

3. Since Snapchat is an inherently interactive medium, you can also conduct a Question & Answer session to engage your fans. The short-lived nature of content calls for quick replies from you and will keep your target audience on their toes.

It’s advisable to keep your conversations casual and have fun with the Snapchat audience, even when you’re educating them.

Here is a Q & A that Bleachers’ Jack Antonoff did. Users posed their questions via Twitter and Jack answered them via Snapchat.


I Hope these 3 examples got your creative juices flowing. Additionally, you can also take your target audience behind the scenes of your company culture, showing them your birthday party celebrations or company outings. This is a very natural way of spreading brand awareness, especially for small businesses. 

3. Borrow influence from Snapchat celebrities to catapult your brand’s reach

Without paid advertising available to the masses on Snapchat, influencers are a hugely effective outlet to grow your audience quickly.

I’ve generated $332,640 in 3 months by collaborating with Instagram celebrities.

The Snapchatters in your industry with a good following can promote your brand to a targeted audience in an organic way. As mentioned they can also share content with their Instagram users and across other social media sites.

For instance, during the Real-life Sour Patch Kid Snapchat campaign:

Sour Patch Kids team up with Logan Paul in an effort to spread the word. In this campaign, Paul took over their Snapchat account and invited his more than 500,000 Twitter followers to Snapchat to join in on the fun.


As per Digital Training Academy, Sour Patch Kids received 6.8 million Snapchat impressions and 120,000 new Snapchat followers through the campaign. This is a great example of successful affiliate marketing. 

Another popular Snapchat influencer is Shaun McBride. He has executed campaigns for Taco Bell and Disney’s Frozen.


Even Disney decided to get in on the action with Shaun and the signature drawings he uses on all of his snaps.

They ended up hiring Shaun for a one-day takeover of their Snapchat account. He created snaps that incorporated Disney’s famous characters and was able to help successfully launch Disney’s venture in the world of Snapchat. 


Red Bull is never shy when it comes to experimenting with new ways to get the word out about their brand.

So why wouldn’t that include joining forces with extreme athletes with big followings for some Snapchat shenanigans?

Enter professional Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris.

Mark took the adventure on the road, bringing not only his following – but Red Bull’s as well – on a fun-filled day of action that included both surfing and snowboarding. Doing so, he was able to reach multiple demographics and boost Red Bull’s exposure across the Snapchat universe. 


Can it get more authentic than this?

A limitation when you hire influencers is that the subscribers and viewer numbers aren’t posted publically, nor does Snapchat have an Application Programming Interface (API) to pull data for individual creators.

So, you’ll have to rely on screenshots from the influencer’s personal Snapchat page to see how many people are viewing the video.

A solution is using Delmondo – an influencer marketing platform with over 1500 Snapchat influencers. It even offers Analytics to make more informed decisions.

4. Conduct a giveaway or host a contest

In a survey of 1600 college students, 58% stated they were more likely to buy from a company if they received a coupon via Snapchat.

This means that the good old social media giveaways will be effective on Snapchat. But, the one-on-one interaction platform is even more primed for conducting contests and offering special perks.


Because you can leverage Snapchat’s inherent urgency (ephemeral content) and personal touch, to keep your target audience engaged.

There are various ways to promote your brand’s social media marketing strategy through such giveaways. You can ask your followers to send snaps holding your product in return for winning promo codes.

A great example is 16 Handles, a frozen yogurt chain and one of the first brands to adopt Snapchat. They offered a special discount to their existing customers if they sent snaps eating the brand’s fro-yo.


The most successful element of the campaign, for 16 Handles, was receiving coverage from worldwide publications such as AdAge and Mashable. 

You can ask your followers to view your Snapchat story and answer questions about your brand to win discounts. Here’s how Taco Bell teases a short story about how they bring people together.


It’s important to generate interest before starting such a giveaway. A good way of building brand awareness and excitement is by sharing the giveaway details on your other social media networks.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was promoting the premiere of Terminator: Genisys by using a Snapchat filter. And, he cross-promoted the filter on Facebook, leading to more than 54,000 likes and 2,400 shares. 


You can also use a series of snaps on the social media app to create suspense and build tension before giving away discounts.


The next example that I want to share is GrubHub. They were the first to conduct a Snapchat scavenger hunt – Snaphunt.

It was a week-long challenge, asking their followers to post a snap (food doodle, food selfie and the like) to GrubHub. And, they announced 10 random winners everyday, who received $50 in free takeout. User generated content is always well received on social media channels. 


30% of GrubHub’s followers participated in the contest. And, their Snapchat followers grew by 20% because of the contest. This highlights the success of using Snapchat to propel your marketing strategy and keep your target audience engaged. 

Finally, you can also share a 10-second snap with a special Snapchat referral code and track how many users get their hands on it.



Snapchat has 100 million active daily users. While that number is less than what Facebook has, Snapchatters are highly engaged.

Only 2% of large and small businesses on social media use the Snapchat app as part of their marketing strategy. So, you need to get on this fast growing social media network and leverage its unique features to connect with your brand advocates.

The mantra for success with marketing on Snapchat is being yourself, showing some personality and having fun.

Have you used Snapchat for marketing your small business and growing brand awareness? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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