Snapchat Beginner’s Guide: How to Get Started with Snapchat Marketing

If you’re interested in how to use Snapchat marketing in your business then you’ll love this Snapchat Beginner’s Guide. 

Not sure where to start?  Worry not, as I’m going to lay out some of the unique benefits for having a presence on this platform and give you some clear tips to get started.

In fact I’m going to show you why and how you can gain value from Snapchat even if you don’t create Story content on it.

Snapchat Beginner's Guide - How to Get Started with Snapchat Marketing

BY ROB LEE | 9 JANUARY, 2018

This is a guest post by Rob Lee founder of Relative Links UK.  You can find out more about Rob here and follow him on Snapchat at @robleerl. 

Why Use Snapchat?

It’s undeniable that a lot of Snapchat’s shine has been affected by Instagram’s decision in August 2016 to clone the Story feature. Instagram currently boast 300m active daily users on Stories, compared to Snapchat’s 173m.

However, Snapchat’s loyal users continue to rise in one important demographic. The under 25s. In fact Snapchat’s share of US social network users in the under 25 age range is 40.8%

Snapchat users have no ‘shop window’ of previous content to scroll through – the only content available to your audience is what has been uploaded in the past 24 hours.

The average Snapchatter checks the App 18 times a day and spends 25 to 30 minutes in the App. If your target demographic is in the under 25 age range, there is a clear case to consider adding Snapchat to your social media strategy to reach this audience.

So how do we get started? Here’s how:

Snapchat Beginner’s Guide:  Get Started with Snapchat Marketing

Setting Up

If you’re completely new to Snapchat, the first thing you need to do in this Snapchat Beginner’s Guide is download the App and set up an account.

You can only have one account per email address, so if you’re considering setting up an account to practice on, consider registering initially using your personal email address to gain experience, before setting up your business account when you are comfortable with the story creation features.

Register for a Snapchat Account - Snapchat Beginner's Guide: How to Get Started with Snapchat Marketing

Snapchat gives you the option of creating an avatar, called a Bitmoji. Your avatar serves not only as a profile picture but is also included in customised Stamps that you can insert into your content.

If you want to create your own, click on the button at the top left of the home screen to go to the Bitmoji App and then customise your avatar. Then Edit your Bitmoji:

Edit your Bitmoji - Snapchat Beginner's Guide: How to Get Started with Snapchat Marketing
Edit Your Bitmoji - Snapchat Beginner's Guide: How to Get Started with Snapchat Marketing

You can see that my Bitmoji is shown in my Snapchat rofile image. This image serves another purpose. It is a QR code that you can share to let your audience know you are now on Snapchat.

Access Bitmoji after setting up your Snapchat Account - Snapchat Beginner's Guide: How to Get Started with Snapchat Marketing

They are then able to scan it into the App to start following you. One of the best ways of getting an early boost to followers is by distributing an image of this Snapcode on your other social media platforms and later on, to your company literature, website, email signature, products or even business cards.

Creating Content

From the home screen, press the large button at the bottom to capture a still. We now have multiple edit options available to us:

Capture a still shot with the capture button to post to Snapchat - Snapchat Beginner's Guide: How to Get Started with Snapchat Marketing

As with Instagram, at this stage we can now swipe the screen to add a filter.

In addition to filters such as black and white, time and temperature, there are location based filters – called Geofilters. These are a visual way to ‘check in’ to an area such as Galleywood:

Check into an area with Geofilters

Check which Geofilters are available in your location, as using them can gain your content greater reach. You can even purchase your own Geofilters, which I’ll explain about a little further down.

Edit your content by adding in text to your image:

Add text to your image on Snapchat - Snapchat Beginner's Guide: How to Get Started with Snapchat Marketing

 

Or, use the draw tool to draw directly on to the screen (choose from a range of colors with the Drawing tool):

Draw on your image in Snapchat

You can click and drag each of these elements into your content and pinch out or in to make them larger or smaller. If you’ve used the Instagram Story feature, this part will be very familiar.  For instance you can insert stamps using the buttons to the side of the screen for creative effect:

Insert stamps on Snapchat - Snapchat Beginner's Guide: How to Get Started with Snapchat Marketing

 

Snapchat also has the Link feature available for all users in the shape of a paperclip button, allowing you to attach a URL to your content.

Type in the URL you want to attach and you will be given a preview screen of the page so you know it’s the correct one. Once attached, this will then be visible to your audience at the bottom of your Snap by swiping up on the ‘More’ text.

Attach a URL to your snap in Snapchat - Snapchat Beginner's Guide: How to Get Started with Snapchat Marketing

One you’ve finished editing your Snap, to add it to your Story, click ‘My Story’.

Add the snap to your Story in Snapchat - Snapchat Beginner's Guide: How to Get Started with Snapchat Marketing

My edited still image is now in ‘My Story’. To add the next piece of content simply replicate this process by touching the capture button, editing another Snap and adding to your Story. Your audience will see your Story appear in their Story timeline and watch each of your Snaps in chronological order.

Add your edited Still image to your Story in Snapchat - Snapchat Beginner's Guide: How to Get Started with Snapchat Marketing

If I want to add some video content instead of still images, all I do is click and hold the capture button. The circle around the capture button will light up as you capture video footage until you release the button.

Your video will now loop in the App, allowing you to edit it as we did the still image. There are a couple of additional features for videos, such as among the filters you swipe through is the opportunity to slow down, speed up and go backwards.

Lastly, if you just touch the screen before capturing any content, you can access Snapchat lenses. Most people are familiar with these as they are widely shared beyond the Snapchat App. In addition to bunny ears and mouth rainbows, however, there are also lenses with augmented reality avatars and sponsored lenses purchased by brands.

Have fun with Snapchat lenses! Snapchat Beginner's Guide: How to Get Started with Snapchat Marketing

Fun with Snapchat lenses 2 - Snapchat Beginner's Guide: How to Get Started with Snapchat Marketing

 

Snapchat are experimenting with augmented reality content that is created by artists such as Jeff Koons (see the video below), so it’s worth seeing which lenses are available in your location.

That’s the basics of how to create Story content. It may seem difficult to navigate at first, but the more Stories you create the more natural the editing tools become for you.

Strategy

No Snapchat Beginner’s Guide is complete without case examples and ideas for strategy.  One of the biggest decisions businesses should ask is ‘what sort of content should we post on our Stories?’ Having a strategy is essential for growing an engaged audience and Donna posted 7 story templates for Instagram Stories that can easily be replicated for Snapchat.

This Snapchat Beginner’s Guide wouldn’t be complete without strategy tips to get you started with Snapchat marketing.  Here are the key considerations I’d advise you to think about when formulating your own Story Strategy:

#1.  Have a theme

Have a common thread running through most of your Stories. Think about what sort of Stories you could consistently tell.

For example, show updates from a new business project or development. Feature your staff on your Stories showing what an amazing work environment you have. Run a short series of advice or education clips on your area of expertise. Once you have your theme, coming up with new Stories becomes an easier and more focussed process.

One of the best themed examples I’ve seen is Nasdaq, which ran a series of ‘Market School’ stories on Snapchat, educating their audience on the stock market. In each Story, their traders would explain one key point about the stock market in simple, easy-to-understand terms:

Nasdaq on Snapchat - Snapchat Beginner's Guide: How to Get Started with Snapchat Marketing

 

#2  Make Your Content Distinct

The temptation for many brands is to duplicate their Instagram Stories onto their Snapchat Stories and vice versa. But why would someone follow you on multiple platforms if it’s the same content?  Try to make each platform distinct and have its own separate value for the audience to follow.

Burberry, for example, run Snapchat specific shows at London Fashion weekend. Past shows have included exclusive behind the scenes content shot for the Snapchat audience, such as interviews with the designers and models, making it an essential follow for Burberry fans.

Burberry on Snapchat - Snapchat Beginner's Guide: How to Get Started with Snapchat Marketing

 

#3  Have Fun

One of the most important elements in creating engaging Snapchat Stories is to inject a sense of fun into your content. The brands that I personally find engaging on Snapchat  are those who seem comfortable with all the Snapchat features and aren’t afraid to show off their fun side.

Cisco are a great example of a business account creating short-form, light hearted Stories about their staff that leave you eager to see more. This example was Cisco Trivia Day, in which they challenged their viewers to answer questions about the Cisco brand and recognised the audience members who correctly answered.

Cisco on Snapchat - Snapchat Beginner's Guide: How to Get Started with Snapchat Marketing

The story creator used a different lens on each question and gave the impression that he personally was enjoying the experience. Most importantly, it felt like a personal interaction with the brand rather than a marketing exercise.

If you can get to the stage where you too are enjoying creating your content, your Stories are likelier to have a far greater impact on your audience.

Location Based Features

Now up to this point, you may be thinking “So far, so Instagram Stories”. If you’re already invested in Instagram you may be thinking there is little to differentiate with Snapchat marketing in terms of content creation.

However there are two unique (so far) features that mean that Snapchat can can add value to your brand even if you don’t currently create Stories on there.

Geofilters

The first feature is on demand Geofilters. As shown in the content section, Geofilters are accessed by swiping the screen once you have captured your content.

Some are community Geofilters, like these examples that allow you to visually check in to a certain location (they are not available when you leave the area).

Geofilters allow you to check into a location on Snapchat - London Geofilter - Snapchat Beginner's Guide: How to Get Started with Snapchat Marketing
A little Beefeater Geofilter fun on Snapchat

 

Use Snapchat geofilters to check into an event or conference - Snapchat Beginner's Guide: How to Get Started with Snapchat Marketing
Share using geofilters at your conference or event!

Some geofilters are set up by brands to cover an event, promotion or allow customers to have fun sharing their experience.

Gary Vaynerchuck wrote an in depth guide to creating your own Geofilter in this post. This will give you a good idea how they work in terms of setup.

The Geofilters cost $5 per 20,000 square feet per hour. I have used Geofilters in some training and speaking events that I have run for several hours with a cost of less than £10.

 

How to Maximise the Value of Geofilters

#1  Make them engaging

Don’t just insert your logo and think your audience will be delighted to add it to their content. It’s unlikely people are enamoured purely with your logo to the point of adding it to their personal content.

The best Geofilters enhance the user’s Snap. General Electric placed Geofilters across airports during Thanksgiving in 2016. Who hasn’t seen a friend check into an airport on Facebook saying where they’re flying to?

GE Geofilter on Snapchat - Snapchat Beginner's Guide: How to Get Started with Snapchat Marketing

This Geofilter did the same thing but in a visual style, with an airline ticket sub placed over their content. If you look closely, you can see that the destination is left blank for the Snapchatter to write in where they’re flying to.

#2  Share an Experience

Snapchat is used to share experiences with your friends and followers. If you’re in a position to provide that experience to a Snapchatter, a Geofilter gives them the opportunity to say where they are or what they are doing in a visual manner.

W Hotels provided these ‘postcard’ style Geofilters to guests staying at some of their locations:

WH Hotels on Snapchat - Snapchat Beginner's Guide: How to Get Started with Snapchat Marketing

I’m sure we all have vacationing friends who boast on social media about their current poolside view!   These Geofilters gave guests the option to share that experience as part of the image itself.

#3  Target an audience

Geofilters can be powerful ways of targeting an audience that you know are going to be in a specific location. The NHS targeted several job centres with multiple versions of this Geofilter, asking their audience to ‘picture yourself’ in various roles.

Picture Yourself with the NHS on Snapchat - Snapchat Beginner's Guide: How to Get Started with Snapchat Marketing

If your target audience is gathered at a specific event, it could be a perfect place for you to raise awareness with a Geofilter.

 

Snap Maps and Context Cards

Snapchat introduced Snap Maps in June 2017. To access Snap Maps, you pinch in from the main Snapchat screen. Your Bitmoji will be on a map in the place you are currently located. In case you’re worried about people knowing exactly where you are, the default setting is ‘Opt out’ of sharing your location to your followers.

Example of Snap Maps on Snapchat - Snapchat Beginner's Guide: How to Get Started with Snapchat Marketing

As you zoom out from the screen you can see the area around you and the places some of your friends last Snapped from. The heat spots are the places that people are capturing more Snapchat content. We can click on any of them to see what has been captured in that area within the last 24 hours.

Snap Map in London with Snapchat - Snapchat Beginner's Guide: How to Get Started with Snapchat Marketing

 

Snapchat added ‘Context Cards’ to Snap Maps in October 2017, which gives people ‘contextual information to the area in which the content they are viewing was taken from’.

To explain how this works, let’s look at an example in Canada – Banff National Park. On Snap Maps, we can see Banff highlighted with a circle:

Banff National Park on Snap Maps on Snapchat - Snapchat Beginner's Guide: How to Get Started with Snapchat Marketing

Once we click on it, we are taken to a series of Snaps that have been captured by the visitors in this National Park:

Snapchat Beginner's Guide: How to Get Started with Snapchat Marketing - Banff National Park on Snapchat

 

While viewing content captured at Banff, we can see the ‘More’ button at the base of the Snaps. Clicking on this gives us contextual information about Banff:

Use Context Cards for more information in Snapchat - Snapchat Beginner's Guide: How to Get Started with Snapchat Marketing

We can see the Foursquare rating, a map showing how far away it is, the website, opening times, contact number, Michelin and Foursquare reviews. Other companies currently involved in Context Cards (depending on location) include Trip Advisor, OpenTable, Uber and Lyft.

From watching visitor content, we are now able to see reviews of the National Park, see the contact details and even plan how to get there. This means you can gain enquiries, traffic and drive marketing information even if you don’t have a Snapchat account!

You can gain enquiries, traffic and drive marketing information even if you don’t have a Snapchat account – Rob Lee

 

Many commentators are expecting this will prove to be hugely beneficial for advertisers as Snapchat will now be able to offer data on user’s whereabouts and location based marketing.

However there is a big priority for any brand with a fixed location or premises:

Encourage your customers and guests to share their experience at your location on Snapchat.

Your reviews and online information suddenly have a unique way to get out to their friends and audience.

There are two main ways I’d advise brands to increase user generated Snapchat content at your location.

#1  Share Your Snapcode

Let your visitors know that they can communicate with you on this platform by sharing your Snapcode. It’s also a great prompt to Snap from the area.

#2  Use Geofilters.

As I stated above, Geofilters are incredibly cost effective awareness and engagement tools.

I spotted a great example of how this encourages Snapchat use in Waterloo Station when the film Ghostbusters was being promoted in 2016. There were masses of people capturing selfies at the Ghostbusters statue…

 

Combine geofilters with in-person experiences with Snapchat - Ghostbusters at Waterloo Station - Snapchat Beginner's Guide: How to Get Started with Snapchat Marketing

… but the marketing team had also utilised a Ghostbusters Geofilter:

Ghostbusters Geofilter at Waterlook Station - Snapchat Beginner's Guide: How to Get Started with Snapchat Marketing

Importantly they also highlighted awareness of it with an advertising board. It led visitors effectively towards not only capturing the experience, but capturing it on Snapchat.

Use the case examples and strategies in this Snapchat Beginner’s Guide to come back to or inspiration once you set up your account – they are sure to help you with your Snapchat Marketing.

 

Quick-Start Guide to Snapchat Marketing

We’ve covered the basics of getting started with Snapchat Marketing in this Snapchat Beginner’s Guide, as well as some strategy examples and ideas.  Now, let’s run through a Quick Start Guide that you can reference later:

If you’re looking to get started on Snapchat for your business, this is a Quick Plan to get your account up and running:

  1. Download the App onto your phone
  2. Register a business name
  3. Develop a strategy – what Stories about your business will you post?
  4. Start creating content. Just begin the process to telling your brand’s Stories
  5. Have fun. If you can reach the stage of enjoying using Snapchat, your content is far more likely to be relatable.

Over to you.

Is there anything I’ve missed off this ‘Snapchat Beginners Guide’ that you’d love to know about? Is your business using (or benefiting from) Snapchat Marketing?

Snapchat Beginner's Guide - How to Get Started with Snapchat Marketing

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Rob Lee

Smart Phone Storyteller & Consultant at Relative Links
Rob Lee is the founder of Relative Links, a UK consultancy providing training and strategy in Snapchat and Instagram Stories for the Recruitment, Financial, Property, Hospitality and Charity sectors. He helps brands learn how to create content on these platforms that is informative, fun and engaging for the target audience. Rob is a regular speaker at London events on the subject of Smartphone Storytelling.
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