As a field full of creatives and forward thinkers, it’s no wonder tech and consumer public relations agencies have embraced newer social media platforms. Snapchat, the platform best known for sharing disappearing images, has become a social media giant since its founding four years ago. A favorite among millennials, Snapchat boasts 150 million daily users by some accounts, surpassing Twitter’s daily user count, and was recently valued at $18 billion after raising $1.8 billion in cash earlier this year.
It’s no wonder organizations and brands of every kind are investing serious creative capital in Snapchat to broaden their PR reach and supplement traditional media programs. Here are six ways they’re doing it.
Creative Messaging. In a fitting pairing, the World Wildlife Fund used Snapchat to launch its award-winning #LastSelfie campaign. It showed animals on the endangered species list and implored fans to not “let this be my #LastSelfie,” before the image disappeared after a few seconds. Targeted at millennials, the campaign was wildly popular and earned pickup on other social media channels and eventually traditional print media as well — a great example of form following function.
Previews and Behind-the-scenes Peeks. The HBO series Girls, the icon of millennial women, is well known for using Snapchat to offer previews and teasers, as in the Lena Dunham takeover of its channel to release the much-anticipated trailer for its fifth season. Hipster eyeglass maker Warby Parker hosts insider chats with its founders via Snapchat, and NARS, the cosmetics brand, has used Snapchat to offer sneak peeks of new products. As with other platforms, Snapchats previews are heavily cross promoted, as brands let Instagram and Twitter followers know, for example, to head over to Snapchat for the exclusive.
Deals and Discounts. Some brands know millennials tend to love a good deal almost as much as they love Snapchat. 16 Handles, the NYC-based frozen yogurt shop, rewards fans with discount every time they share a snap of themselves eating their yogurt, and is among the many brands to share promo codes and other offers via Snap. For retailers, it’s become clear that Snapchat is yet another way to reach out to young fans with special deals.
Tips and Insights. Even B2B marketers are deep into the weeds with Snapchat. Hubspot launched its Snapchat channel this March, and, for the uninitiated, shared this helpful tutorial on how to get started in Snapchat.
Influencer Partnerships. McDonald’s became one of the first mega-brands to join Snapchat in 2014, and it did so with a super-sized partnership with NBA star Lebron James, who shot a promotional video for the fast food chain. Since then companies have learned that Snapchat, with its video chat feature, is particularly effective for driving engagement with celebrity-loving Generation Y through influencer partnerships.
Politics and Public Awareness. No platform goes untapped during a Presidential election, and this year is no exception. Hillary Clinton’s campaign recently used Snapchat to frame rival Donald Trump’s quotes about the 2008 housing crisis, and numerous polls of how students feel about the election have taken place via Snapchat. But the medium is also being used for issues-based campaigns as well: soap brand Dove, recently hosted a two-hour conversation for women with psychologists and other experts about self esteem and self image, and reported that its Story “Snaps” were viewed 130,000 times.
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