If you are not familiar with Snapchat, you are missing out on one of the hottest apps in mobile technology. Snapchat is a mobile application that allows you to instantly share photos and videos with your peers – either individually or to the masses via your “story.”

Even better, your pictures can’t be saved. If someone takes a screenshot of your photo, you are instantly notified. It is like a miniature reality TV show of your personal life.

You can apply filters to alter your appearance and use geotags to tell people where you are. Overall, Snapchat is a fun and interactive way for people to interact with one another.

So how does Snapchat relate to small businesses and startups?

Snapchat makes interacting with your business’ audience easier. Plus, pictures and videos are powerful communication mediums. Users can follow a business to see exactly what goes into developing its products or delivering its services, see any specials it may be offering, or simply view some fun and entertaining pictures related to the business.

Like any marketing tool, it has pros and cons, including time commitment, safety, and confidentiality. In this post, we examine the pros and cons of using Snapchat for your business.

SNAPCHAT AT A STARTUP/SMB PROS

YOU CAN CONVEY YOUR BUSINESS’ PERSONALITY

This channel is incredibly personal. You can showcase the personality of your business. This can be harder to accomplish on other, predominantly text-based social media channels because people may react differently to your content. Humans are naturally visual creatures. Sharing pictures and videos shows who you and your brand are.

YOU CAN INSTANTLY SHARE PICTURES & VIDEOS WITH YOUR AUDIENCE

It has never been easier to share content with your audience. And, with Snapchat, whenever something exciting or noteworthy happens, you can pull out your phone and share it instantly with your followers. You don’t get a second chance to share something, which is why Snapchat is so extraordinary. It gives people an almost-live look inside your business.

YOU CAN GIVE FOLLOWERS VIP & BEHIND-THE-SCENES ACCESS

Snapchat allows you to share exclusive information with your most loyal followers. More than likely, someone following you on Snapchat is already a fan, follower, or customer. They have some type of existing relationship with your business and brand and they are interested in learning more.

With Snapchat, you can give them a front row seat experience, seeing the inner workings of your business. You can make your followers feel as though they are getting a unique look at your business, including behind the scenes footage of what goes into your product and your future business plans. People love to feel like are getting a privileged view of what is happening.

Snapchat also provides a great opportunity to demo your products, reward loyal followers with priority access to events, offer promotions, and run contests for your followers. Encourage users to follow you for a chance to win a prize or receive a special discount code. This can greatly increase your following and drive revenue growth.

YOU CAN BROADCAST LIVE EVENTS

Like many businesses, you will occasionally hold events to promote your products or to support a specific marketing campaign. For the most part, attendance will be limited to people who live in the same city and, if it is a ticketed event, only those who are prepared to pay to attend.

Snapchat is a great way to broadcast your event, allowing your followers to enjoy the experience without being physically present. You don’t necessarily have to broadcast the entire event – even brief excerpts allow your followers to feel like they participated from a distance.

ACCOUNT TAKEOVERS

Account takeovers are often overlooked in the Snapchat world, but do not underestimate their power. A Snapchat takeover involves a company or brand giving a celebrity or public figure control over their Snapchat account for a designated period.

For example, the Miss USA pageant gave each contestant a day to Snapchat their preparation through the Miss USA account. It gave fans and followers an exclusive look at what it takes to prepare for a prestigious pageant and increased the Miss USA snapchat following in the process.

Takeovers encourage fans of the celebrities/public figures to follow you on Snapchat. This can be a powerful tool when it comes to building a following, gaining new fans, and developing partnerships.

USING SNAPCHAT AS AN SMB/STARTUP – THE CONS

TIME CONSTRAINTS

In case you are not familiar with Snapchat, it’s critical to know that any pictures or videos you share have a ten second time limit. This can seriously restrict the content you’d like to share.

Also, Snapchat imposes a 24-hour limit on how long your content is available to your followers. If you post a video at 8 am on Tuesday, it will be gone forever after 8 am on Wednesday. Whereas content posted to other social media outlets – such as Twitter or Facebook – is available forever, this is not the case with Snapchat (although users can replay the content as many times as they like during its 24-hour life).

CONTENT

Coming up with content to share here is a little different from the content brainstorming you’re used to for your other social media outlets. Snapchat content can get boring in a hurry and users will leave if your Snapchat story lacks quality or loses their interest.

Try to think of content that will keep followers engaged, wanting to watch your story until the very end. What do you want your followers to get out of your story? Produce content that will keep them clicking for more.

NO RE-SHARE OPTION

One of the most compelling features on Facebook and Twitter is the “sharing” and “retweeting” functionality that allows users to forward your content to their friends and followers. This viral behavior can give your business much more visibility. However, Snapchat does not offer this option. Followers can’t take your video and upload it to their story or share it with their followers. They could take a screenshot of your picture to share with their followers but otherwise your content is restricted to only those people who directly follow you on Snapchat.

NO TWO-WAY ENGAGEMENT

With a personal Snapchat account, friends will add each other, allowing them to share pictures and videos back and forth with one another. This generally isn’t the case for a business Snapchat account. Businesses normally don’t follow their followers (unless they have some direct role at the business) so they cannot receive their followers’ content.

This results in closed, one-way communication. You don’t know what your followers are saying about your content. There is no way to tell if they liked it or not because you can’t receive their feedback.

NO OPPORTUNITY TO DRIVE USERS TO A URL OR CTA

On Facebook and Twitter, you can insert a clickable website link or a Call to Action (CTA) whenever you deem it appropriate. With Snapchat you can post a link in your story but users cannot click on the link and be taken directly to the desired page. The extra work required for the user to type in the URL makes them much less likely to go to your targeted page. As a result, you have to be super creative with your CTAs.

Overall, Snapchat is a great way to give your followers an inside look at your business, even though it limits the ways in which you can interact with them. We hope we have given you some ideas to think about when deciding whether this is something worth trying for your business!

Questions? We’re here to help! Email us at hello@marketing-interface.com!