Snapchat, Instagram And Vine For Social Media Marketing?
Consider all the time, energy and money that goes into the average 30-second commercial or magazine ad. Now imagine those ads being cut down to 10 seconds or a couple of square inches. Now imagine them self-destructing after 10 seconds, Inspector Gadget-style, never to be seen again by consumers.
If all of this seems like an insane way to market a small business, welcome to the crazy times of social media. That’s exactly how the massively popular Snapchat app works, and businesses are jumping on board. Using photos or short videos, companies are reaching out to customers with fleeting promotions, contests in real time and quick peeks at leaked product images.
There’s something to be said about being the first to arrive. That was no small part of the appeal for the frozen yogurt company 16 Handles. The company’s community manager, Adam Britten, told Ad Age that 16 Handles is the first entity he’s aware of to use Snapchat as a marketing platform. Know your audience.
“A lot of our social media fans are teenagers, and we noticed onFacebookand Twitter that they were using it,” Britten told Ad Age. “We figured, ‘Why not?’ and we gave this a chance.”
Inspired by seeing his mother scratching Kohl's coupons for a mystery discount at checkout, Britten crafted a 16 Handles campaign that delivered a 10-second coupon to any customer who sent a snap of his or her purchase to the 16 Handles account. Knowing his audience was already on Snapchat allowed Britten to simply translate the promotion to an exciting new medium.
Give a personal touch in real time
Snapchat images and video are available to users only for a short time, which is what makes marketing on the platform both risky and appealing. Amy Birch wrote for Social Media Today about the value of gamification and promotions that appear and disappear in real time.
“It basically refers to the combination of gaming and gratification that brands are adopting to create interest,” she said. “Using Snapchat allows you to build a scavenger hunt that a user must complete to gain access to a discount or prize.”
Taco Bell has gotten in on the action, beginning a Snapchat campaign in May to help launch its Beefy Crunch Burrito. For the fast food giant, the snaps aren’t about playing a game or sharing promotions as much as they are about building brand loyalty. The real-time aspect of the platform creates that personal touch.
“We want to make someone’s day everyday with our social channels,” said Taco Bell’s Tressie Lieberman. “It feels extremely special to get a Snapchat. It’s almost like we pick up the phone and give them a call.”
Amplified sharing with Vine and Instagram
If a 10-second shelf life for ads and marketing campaigns is just too much to swallow, it doesn’t mean you can’t use new, highly visual social media tools. The 6-second Vine videos built into Twitter, and Facebook-owned Instagram videos and photos, offer marketers many of the same benefits without the flightiness of Snapchat.
Ann Handley explained on Entrepreneur.com how behind-the-scenes videos of baristas making foam art and the visual experience of seeing inside a photographer’s studio create a personal experience for followers. In addition, as with Snapchat, creating great Vine and Instagram videos is, in Handley’s words, “stupid-simple.”
Of course, they can also be shared. What Snapchat may gain in real-time fun it loses in the potential for social sharing. Vine videos alone, estimates Handley, receive half a million shares a day.
Between all of those shares and the hundreds of millions of snaps flying around each day, one thing is for sure: Short, sweet, visual social media content is making its way before a great number of eyeballs each day. That gives the content, fleeting as it may be, great value to businesses. By creating personalized images for the right audience with a bent toward either real-time fun or extended sharing, brands are building a more visual experience for their customers.