Snapchat first gained notoriety as the “sexting application,” something teenagers used to send each other risqué photos that they hoped would disappear from cyberspace after a quick moment.
Over the past four years, however, the app has experienced mythical growth. With more than 100 million active users, Snapchat now attracts 10 billion video views per day, and it has supplanted other social networks as the primary way young people communicate.
comScore reports that more than 60 percent of Americans between the ages of 13 and 38 are Snapchat users, and according to eMarketer, 45 percent of Snapchat’s users are between 18 and 24, while this demographic represents just 16 percent of Facebook’s user base.
As Snapchat has grown in numbers, it has also carved space for entirely unexpected digital opportunities. Media outlets like National Geographic, Cosmopolitan, BuzzFeed and Vice are using Snapchat’s Discover platform to deliver content, and the National Football League became the first Snapchat Explorer partner, whereby it presents Live Stories and video highlights to fans.
In this year’s presidential race, Bernie Sanders used the platform to campaign in Iowa, and the Republican candidates actively used Snapchat to rally young voters–The White House even joined Snapchat in January.
Gatorade’s sponsored Super Bowl filter, which allowed users to dunk a virtual Gatorade cooler over people’s snaps, drove an astonishing 160 million impressions (that’s more people than watched the game). Entertainment brands like Universal Pictures are using Snapchat to promote new movies with short video trailers in the app. Burberry created its own Discover channel for 24 hours to promote a new men’s fragrance collection, Mr. Burberry.
These advertising campaigns have been a resounding success, but they are just the tip of the iceberg. Forward-thinking brands are using Snapchat to do more than promote their products. Let’s take a look at three innovative ways that businesses are using Snapchat, and why you should too.
Recruit your perfect employee
Last year, Goldman Sachs published a series of 10-second recruitment messages on Snapchat’s Campus Story function to find people, like a ”Campus Environmental Leader,” “Youth Sports Coach” or “Crowdfunding Champion.”
According to Reuters, Wall Street banks are struggling to recruit young new hires and turning to Snapchat as a way to change its image among recent graduates, calling this campaign “the latest leg of Goldman’s bid to appeal to soon-to-be college grads and push back against the prevalent view of investment banking as an all-work-and-no-play career.”
Brands can use Snapchat to promote open positions, as well as to highlight what makes a company unique. By showing behind-the-scenes footage of the office, company events, lunch breaks, the typical day of an employee, perks, etc., businesses can express a personality that helps attract candidates. This can be particularly important when recruiting millennial employees, for whom company culture and work-life balance is a top priority.
Additionally, businesses can use Snapchat to engage candidates more deeply in the recruiting process. HireVue sends candidates “thank you” snaps for coming in for interviews.
Increase customer loyalty
GrubHub has embraced Snapchat as a way to “bring its irreverent brand voice to life,” which helps it stand out in a highly competitive market. However, what makes GrubHub really unique is its approach to interaction. The food delivery company has distinguished itself as one of the only brands that interacts with nearly every snap that comes its way.
GrubHub uses Snapchat to deliver exclusive coupons, contests, giveaways and promotional codes in exchange for user interactions. For example, GrubHub created a week-long “SnapHunt,” where it posted a story each morning with a daily challenge. In exchange for responding to that challenge, such as by sending a “Food Doodle,” users had the opportunity to win $50 in free takeout. These types of campaigns not only enable GrubHub to reach younger demographics, but also to build loyalty and increase the lifetime value of those customers.
Engage with consumers to improve customer service
Poor customer service is the easiest way to break customer loyalty. 89 percent of consumers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer service, according to the RightNow Customer Experience Impact Report. When having trouble with a product, nobody wants to waste their time struggling to get in touch, waiting on hold or reading obscure email instructions–especially not the younger generations.
When introducing a new type of product in an unfamiliar category, it’s especially important to be creative in your customer support strategies. At Mark One, we’re using Snapchat to provide live customer support. Users snap a video of any issues or questions they might have about our product, Pryme Vessyl, and a team member snaps back with the solution. It’s a more engaging experience that ends up saving time.
Another company, iOgrapher, is also using Snapchat to help customers troubleshoot. iOgrapher makes cases, microphones, tripods and other video equipment for iOS devices. Users can send videos and photos that show the problem they are having, and iOgrapher sends a response in return.
Snapchat makes a great customer-service platform because it is fast, convenient and involves face-to-face interaction. Describing problems through words can be tricky, and with Snapchat, users and brands can show rather than tell. Customer service via Snapchat also feels more personal than a phone call or email.
As millennials and Gen-Zers continue to gain in spending power and influence, companies need to keep coming up with innovative ways to reach and engage them where they are–on Snapchat. In addition to exciting new advertising platforms, Snapchat opens up a wide array of opportunities for brands to connect with younger customers in a way that feels fun, useful and, most important, authentic.
Nic Barnes is the vice president of brand and marketing at Mark One, creator of the Pryme Vessyl intelligent cup, which displays users’ personal hydration needs.