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Updated Apr 02, 2024

Snapchat for Business: Everything You Need to Know

Use this dynamic social platform to reinforce your brand strategy and connect with your target audience.

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Saige Driver, Business Strategy Insider and Senior Writer
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This guide was reviewed by a Business News Daily editor to ensure it provides comprehensive and accurate information to aid your buying decision.

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Snapchat is often considered a user-to-user social media platform and many businesses neglect to consider it as part of their social media marketing strategy. Despite this conventional wisdom, Snapchat offers brands a unique opportunity to connect directly with their audience in several fun and personable ways. If your target audience uses Snapchat, you can develop a strategy around the platform that promotes your brand. This guide will give you all the tools and information you need to do so successfully.

What is Snapchat?

Launched in 2011, Snapchat is a social media app that allows users to send short, temporary photos, videos and chats that disappear quickly — typically within seconds. Snapchat also offers interactive features like Snap Maps, which allow you to view your friends’ locations; Stories, which live on your profile for 24 hours; Bitmoji avatars; and a Discovery tab for finding new content.

Did You Know?Did you know
Snapchat boasts more than 406 million daily active users, about 62 percent of whom are between 18 and 34. This makes Snapchat an ideal business social media platform for brands that primarily target Gen Z and millennials.

How to set up Snapchat for business

Setting up Snapchat for business is straightforward. You’ll need to create a Snapchat account and then add business functionality. Here’s how it works:

  1. Download Snapchat and create an account: Download the Snapchat app for iOS or Android. (You can also use a web version of Snapchat on a desktop, though most users prefer mobile devices.) You’ll be prompted to add your birthday, choose a username, enter your email address and start adding friends from your phone’s contacts list. 
  2. Set up a Snapchat business account: Go to the Snapchat Ads Manager and log into your Snapchat account with your username and password. You’ll then complete the following:
    • Enter your business name, email address and your name. Select Next
    • Select your country and preferred currency and then enter your business phone number and website. Select Next
    • Add a profile photo for your brand and confirm or change your username. Select Create Public Profile.
  1. Create an ad campaign: You’ll be prompted to design and create an advertising campaign and set up an ad account. You’ll set details like audience location and demographics along with an ad budget. 
  2. Launch your ad campaign: Enter a payment method and finalize your ad campaign. When you’re ready, select Publish

Snapchat ad manager

Snapchat will guide you through your ad account setup and campaign creation. Source: Snapchat

How to use Snapchat for business

Businesses can use Snapchat to engage their audiences on a personal level, giving them a close-up view of the brand and injecting some new personality into their content strategy. Here’s an overview of how everything works.

How to send a Snap

Now that you’ve signed up for an account, it’s time to navigate the app. Here are the basics: 

  • Launch the app: When you first open the app, the screen defaults to a standard back-facing camera setting. On this screen, you can turn the camera into “night mode,” turn the flash on and off, flip the camera around, search nearby Snaps and go to your profile.
  • Take a Snap photo or video: To take a photo, press the bottom circular button. Press and hold the button to take a video. 
  • Set your Snap’s duration: Once you take a photo, you can adjust how long the picture will last (from one to 10 seconds or infinitely if you select “∞”) when sent to a friend. 
  • Edit your Snap: Before sending your Snap, you can add emoji stickers, filters, links or text. You can also save your photo to your memories before sending it. 
  • Send your Snap: When you’re ready to send the photo or video, select Send To and choose your recipients. You can also add it to your Snap Story (more on Snap Stories later).

Your Snapchat profile

Snapchat is an unconventional social network in that it doesn’t allow users to customize an extensive profile. However, it does offer space for users to provide some information about themselves, such as a bitmoji and username.

On the default screen, select the ghost or bitmoji in the left-hand corner to go to your profile. Here, you can view your Snapchat score, which is the total number of Snaps you’ve sent and received. On your profile is a yellow square, which is generated into a quick response (QR) code. Instead of searching for a user manually, a user can focus their Snapchat camera on another user’s code to add them without typing their name.

Interacting with other Snapchat users

There are several ways to interact with other Snapchat users. Unlike most social networks, these interactions are all private except for the Stories feature:

  • Adding users: To add users to your friends list, search for their usernames, pull them from your phone’s contacts list or add them using their specific QR code.
  • Viewing Stories: You can view and reply to other users’ Snap Stories. They will be notified of both actions.
  • Sending Snaps: Snapchat allows you to send and receive photo and video content with other users. These interactions are what built and established the entire platform. If you screenshot a Snap, the sender of the Snap will be notified.
  • Instant messaging: The instant messaging feature allows you to chat privately with users. When you reply to a user’s Snap or a portion of their Snap Story, your reply will be sent as an instant message. If you screenshot an instant message, the sender will be notified.

Snapchat Stories

A Snapchat Story is a collection of Snaps and videos you can string together for followers you designate. It will remain on your profile for 24 hours. A Story is a great way to show your audience your business’s daily operations. It gives potential customers an idea of what an average day at your workplace is like. In addition, it allows your employees to express their personalities.

You’ll be able to see which and how many users view your Story, allowing you to gather marketing demographics about your audience and determine whether or not your target customers are engaged with your content. You can also A/B test different types of content to see what elicits a response from your target customers.

How to advertise with Snapchat

Major brands like Vans, Coca-Cola and JPMorgan Chase & Co. have used Snapchat for marketing campaigns. There are several ways to advertise on Snapchat.

Snap Ads

Snap Ads are full-screen vertical videos up to three minutes long. Some offer an interactive element, such as a call to action to visit a specific link. A Snap Ad should provide information about your company and its products and services. For example, Gatorade once featured an 8-bit tennis game celebrating Serena Williams’ 23rd Grand Slam victory. 

For more creative guidance and development, check out Snapchat’s Snap Ads guidance and specs. The possibilities are endless.

Sponsored lenses

Sponsored lenses are interactive tools you can use to promote your business in a fun and engaging way. Snapchat says lenses are its most popular advertising tool, improving engagement and boosting sales.

Lenses have special facial recognition technology, allowing users to become dogs, pretend to be Santa Claus, turn into demons, wear flower crowns and vomit rainbows through the app. Lenses work in three steps. They: 

  • Detect a user’s face.
  • React to the user’s expression, such as sticking a tongue out or queuing music.
  • Create the final product.

For example, Taco Bell created a sponsored lens that turned users’ heads into tacos to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. There are endless use cases for lenses. For instance, if your company sells sunglasses, your sponsored lens could allow users to try on various styles. 

Snapchat Discover

Snapchat Discover acts as a feed that allows users to view content created by popular creators, celebrities and prominent media organizations like Vice, Cosmopolitan and ESPN. Like the Stories feature, Discover Stories compile audiovisual and photo content that links to articles and graphics through a Pinterest-like dashboard.

In 2018, Snapchat launched its own merchandise store located in Snapchat Discover. Since then, Snapchat has created a Store feature that serves as an in-app commerce platform where businesses can add a Shop to their profile for users to visit. 

FYIDid you know
Snapchat no longer offers sponsored geofilters for businesses.

Snapchat tips and tricks

Now that you understand the basics of Snapchat, here are a few tips and tricks to use the app to your brand’s advantage:

  • Document your company’s day-to-day operations. Use the app’s Story feature to walk followers through business operations at your workplace. Give them an exclusive sneak peek they can’t see anywhere else on social media. You can also use your Story to host Q&As or showcase new products.
  • Upload content regularly. Don’t let your followers forget that you exist. Use the app regularly to upload frequent content. Snap Stories are a good opportunity for this, especially for capturing what it’s like to work for your business.
  • Interact with other users. Many users use the app’s messaging feature, so be sure to answer any messages that come your way. The same goes for returning photo Snaps.
  • Sponsor a Snap Ad. Ten-second audiovisual clips are more traditional but allow you the creative freedom to drive an advertisement using video content as you would on Twitter, Instagram or a similar site.
  • Sponsor a lens. Inspire users to engage with your brand by bringing it to life. Find a way an average customer would engage with your business’s products or services and apply it to a lens. If you sell coffee, it could be as simple as the filter allowing the user to drink coffee. As mentioned earlier, sponsored lenses are the most effective on the entire platform.
Key TakeawayKey takeaway
Snapchat presents numerous advertising, marketing and public relations opportunities for businesses of all sizes that want to engage with younger audiences.

Snapchat could be a hidden gem in your marketing strategy

While Snapchat is seldom the first platform on a social media marketer’s mind, it could offer your brand fertile ground for reaching your target audience. If you’re trying to connect with Gen Z and millennials and your TikTok for business strategy is already well underway, Snapchat could be a slightly less competitive place to gain the attention of your intended customers. With a little bit of planning, your Snapchat content could soon turn heads and drive leads.

Shayna Waltower and Tejas Vemparala contributed to this article. 

author image
Saige Driver, Business Strategy Insider and Senior Writer
Saige Driver is an experienced digital marketing strategist who advises business owners on both basic and advanced marketing principles, strategies and tools. She also shares expertise on social media management, relying on her hands-on experience with various platforms to guide clients toward the best services. Driver regularly collaborates with business stakeholders to implement best practices and strengthen brands, using data analytics to inform marketing and sales decisions. She has a degree in telecommunications and journalism and holds credentials in account-based marketing and social media.
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