We all have that friend who was wild in their younger days. The one who would show up to the party, do some crazy things, then disappear without a trace — and without the memory of the craziness they had wrought. Amazingly, that friend grew up, matured, started realizing their potential and understanding their purpose. They’re still fun, but in a more attractive way, and suddenly they’re more popular than ever.
That friend, of course, is Snapchat.
In successful marketing, story is king. And Snapchat is great at telling stories quickly to an engaged audience. So why are so many B2B marketers scared of using Snapchat? It could have something to do with the fact that 71 percent of the app’s users are 25 or younger. It could also be that just as marketers got comfortable with Instagram filters, they now fear an unknown interface with features such as facial mapping technology that turns selfie-takers into dogs, superhero characters and monsters — nor do they see the relevance.
Or could the reluctance to hop on the Snapchat bandwagon come from a general fatigue over new trends? For the twentysomething segment of the population, Snapchat is something that goes all the way back to their high school days. But it hasn’t been a viable platform for businesses until much more recently, and even the earliest-adopting of marketers are just now able to gauge the success of their snap strategies.
If your B2B brand isn’t on Snapchat yet, there are a few stats that should motivate you:
- 22 percent of ad execs plan to advertise on Snapchat in 2016.
- Snapchat ads are viewed up to a million times per day.
- 60 percent of all smartphone users are now on Snapchat.
- 60 percent of Snapchat users are between the ages of 18 and 34.
However, like any proper execution, it takes planning and strategy. If you’re wondering what one might look like, consider these starting points:
This is a broad category, granted. But it’s where the app really shines. Whether it’s a behind the scenes look at your company, an employee you want to highlight or a trade show you want to document in an interesting way, Snapchat allows you to build a story using 10-second video clips and stills that your followers can consume at once. So instead of taking to Facebook to write several paragraphs about your next product launch, capture the moment quicker and more intimately with a story snap.
Remember, though, that the majority of your audience as a B2B marketer isn’t using the platform, so you should take advantage of Snapchat’s location-specific functionality. This means if you’re in town for an event, you can drive attendees to your Snapchat account via your other social channels, then use geofilters to further contextualize your stories in an interactive way.
Instead of tweeting an offer code for product discounts, snap it instead. Then use your existing channels to promote your Snapchat account by making a screenshot snap the only way to redeem the discount. This is an especially useful idea for limited time offers. After all, snaps disappear forever after 24 hours.
Let’s be honest — the marriage of B2B marketing and Snapchat seems an unlikely one because, quite frankly, Snapchat is associated with fun. But that’s a good thing for B2B companies. After all, you’re still trying to connect with real people. A good Snapchat strategy shouldn’t live alone — it should be just one part of a smart, multi-channel messaging matrix. So let the space it occupies within that matrix be a looser, more experimental and more fun one. Snapchat is impermanent, and so will be your social media misses on the platform.
One B2B company you can look to for inspiration is Cisco. The company allowed individual employees to “take over” the corporate account and post stories from across the country. It was a successful effort to add humanity to the overall messaging strategy.
Snapchat has demonstrated the staying power that makes it worthy of adding to your B2B social outreach efforts. As the workforce grows younger and younger, your audience increasingly lives on non-conventional channels — and they’re probably savvier than you are when it comes to using them. Making headway on Snapchat as a B2B marketer can be a challenge, but like any other platform, the goal is to build relationships with your audience.
If you want to test the waters before committing all-in with a branded channel, consider using one of the literally thousands of social media influencers who use Snapchat to help businesses sell product. Or create micro-campaigns featuring your younger employees representing your brand on their personal accounts.
In a world of come-and-go social fads, Snapchat has grabbed ahold of a captive audience and grown its usefulness for marketers. For B2B companies looking to break the mold, the time is right for a storytelling strategy centered around Snapchat. Don’t worry, we won’t be telling you to abandon it for Pokemon Go just yet.