Snapchat on a Shoestring


When we hear “advertise on Snapchat,” most of us in the industry think, “out of my marketing budget.” And it’s true. To place ads on Snapchat, you need to spend an outrageous amount of money and be a brand with which most consumers are already intimately familiar. If you’re an avid Snapper, you have seen brands like DegreePepsi, or sure-to-be-blockbuster movies featuring the biggest stars infiltrate your feed, catering to the millennial audience that dominates the platform. 

Unless you’re Coca-Cola, you probably don’t have the resources to place ads on Snapchat. So what’s a challenger brand to do? Change the rules, of course.

Instead of thinking about Snapchat from a brand’s perspective, shift the focus onto your audience. They use Snapchat to connect with friends and share experiences. How can your brand become a part of that exchange? 

Curate Your Content

As with any social platform, it’s important to create purposeful content that will delight your audience, keeping them coming back for more. Take hints from your current platforms. What content performs well? What generates spikes in engagement? Snapchat is a platform that encourages transparency—viewing others’ lives without a filter. Brands can take advantage of this by giving the audience glimpses of life behind the logo. Company culture posts like employee spotlights or office tours are great ways to showcase the people driving your brand and give followers a way to connect on a human level.

Snapchat is also a great platform in which to show off new products, share product demos, and create a virtual experience for customers in real-time. It can also act as a customer service platform. If, for example, a user is experiencing trouble with a product, they can send a short video to your brand explaining what’s wrong and get a response within minutes, guiding them through the troubleshooting process. 

Make it Fun

Another way that Snapchat has held on to millennials so well is through the app’s personalized sharing features, like geotags and stickers. The best part is that anyone can create and submit these geotags to pop up in certain locations. Design a branded geotag to pop up in your store, near your headquarters, or just around the office so your employees can share, generating free word-of-mouth. It’s a great way for customers, employees and locals to engage with the brand in a fun, effortless way. 

Tap into Your Tribe

Lastly, make sure you build a following. Content unseen is content wasted. Leverage your already-loyal customers who create demand for the content you’re sharing on other platforms. If you want help on building advocates, read thisSelect the social platform with the most active following and use cross-promotion to gain a similar following on Snapchat. Create contests on platforms that ask customers to follow your brand on Snapchat, where the first 50 followers receive an incentive such as a 10% discount or a free sample. This creates incentive to migrate platforms, and often the active users on one platform will be active on another. 

Snapchat for brands may be an exclusive club with a steep entrance fee, but any challenger brand knows they have to outthink, not outspend the big guys. Leveraging the platform using zero spend isn’t as impossible as it sounds. Make purposeful content choices informed by your current strategy and as always, ensure you're speaking to the right audience. Make Snapchat part of your Challenger Toolbox and you'll build a tribe in no time. 

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