Can Small Businesses use Snapchat?

Snapchat for Small Business

Over the last couple of weeks I have added multiple stories on Snapchat to this blog, which typically encompasses SEO and web content and doing business on the web.

A couple of people reached out and asked me if they should be marketing their business on Snapchat.

The short answer is no, you are 100,000x better off with content for your website, but, I want to provide a thorough and accurate description of what I have discovered on Snapchat and other social media.

So here it is.

Advertising which works on social media

There are ways for some brands to advertise on social media. Here are a few examples:

  • A company which engages with their fans.
  • An Instagram user has 500,000 followers. This user is into fashion. The vast majority of their followers are 20-30yr olds. This user may put up images of themselves promoting a new piece of clothing.
  • A Vine or Snapchat user has 1 million+ followers. These users make serious money by putting up pictures of themselves wearing a promoter’s clothing line, etc. On Snapchat, many of the Snapchat famous users advertise things like Jurassic Park.
    snap

Advertising which does not work on social media

  • Services people don’t want. If you are a lawyer or dentist or a transmission repair shop- very very few people want to “follow” you on social media. People hate most advertising on social. And, most people don’t want your services. Of course, when they need them, they want the best, but very few people want them or want to think about them.
  • Practically everything else. I don’t care who says otherwise, advertising on social media sucks. When you rank in search people find you when they have the intent on finding you. I’ll go as far to say that companies still inducing you to spend your money with them are intentionally deceiving you.

The current Snapchat user

The vast majority of Snapchat users are teenagers.

Of course, there are a million types of people but for the purposes of this article there are 2 types of Snapchat users.

  • Type #1 uses Snapchat strictly to communicate with their friends. This, my friends, is how social media is supposed to be, and is why Snapchat is so popular. Occasionally these users will navigate into the “discover” or “live” sections of Snapchat.
  • Type #2 uses Snapchat for content. They are on the hunt for Snap pals, people to trade nude images with, or just plain interesting people to follow. They will follow brands they like or people such as Ryan Seacrest or other Snapchat celebrities or people called “Snapchat famous”.

Here’s what the Snapchat main screen looks like, including the Discover and Live areas:

snapchat home screen

Current advertising on Snapchat

The current methods of advertising on Snapchat are expected to change as the app is in its infancy and thus rapidly evolving.

  • Video Advertisements in Stories. Short video ads are displayed when users watch Snapchat Stories in the “Live” section. Snapchat stories are snaps taken by many different users and curated by Snapchat into “stories”. Here is an example of a Snapchat story: The Pope is Here Snapchat Story. In between maybe 20 or 30 video clips viewers will see a quick commercial for Jim Beam. Users understand that Snapchat must make money somehow and generally do not mind the quick ad. These ads are way out of the price range any small business can afford.
  • Snapchat Discover. You can read all about Snapchat’s Discover rates here. Basically, ESPN, CNN, Vice, etc have content here and it is expensive, as in around $100,000/day.
  • Advertising to your followers. A few people are “Snapchat famous“. These individuals have over a million followers.  Many make $100,000/day.

Can a small businesses use Snapchat?

Yes and no.

My friend Jesse and I have spent hours discussing how people could build a local following. It is important for anyone who wishes to embark on this adventure to remember that most people using Snapchat are teenagers. Here are a few things we have discovered:

  • Getting people out of the app to take an action on the web is very difficult and nearly impossible. No, we’re not doing it wrong. People just want to be entertained for 3 seconds and move on.
  • Again, referencing the above, most people do not want to be “sold” anything. If they are a fan of Audi, for example, they can follow Audi on Snapchat, who does Spanchat very well.

There are plenty of businesses and professions that Snapchat is probably not very well suited for. Dentists, attorneys, auto repair shops… In fact, it is probably not cut out for most businesses.

Could Snapchat work for… a real estate agent? Maybe. To accomplish this the agent would need to keep in mind the age of the average Snapper. Also, they would need to build a local following.

Maybe restaurants could use Snacpchat? By snapping their daily specials? I’m just thinking out loud here…

I have yet to see anyone building out a local following. If you want to build a local following, and have a budget to accomplish this, I have some ideas, feel free to email me.

I could see some small businesses doing great on Snapchat! Not all small businesses are local. Sell witty Tshirts? Skateboard equipment? Clothes teens wear? Video games? Shoes? Food? I could imagine these businesses doing great.

Building a Snapchat following

The first two articles that I am aware of on how to build a following on Snapchat are right here:

Additional creativity would be involved in building a local Snapchat following. Shoutouts from other local snappers and snapcodes on blogs and on business cards or storefronts would be a start.

What’s next remains yet to be seen

Will Snapchat get some sort of geo-location ability? A new way to discover users? Time will tell. They are doing very well just the way they are set up though.

Have you seen anyone using Snapchat locally?

Do you know a small business using Snapchat?

If so, comment below.

1 Comment
  1. Great post – I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out how small businesses can use SnapChat. We know the main demographic is teenage girls but everyone will adopt it at some point. Love the realtor idea – imagine posting snaps about the latest property on your snapchat along with when the full details will be on the website – it would certainly drive interest and traffic. You could ask prospecting house buyers to sign up to SnapChat to almost get exclusive access to new houses on the market before they are even listed.
    I also thought it would be quite cool for builders to snap things they come across like damp, wood rot etc and some quick opinions on how to solve that problem. Pretty unlikely because most builders round my way can’t even get their websites right let alone a social presence. *Sigh* such a wasted opp!

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