The Small Business Owner's Guide to Snapchat


SNAPCHAT! What was once deemed as 'useless' and 'only for sexting teenagers', has now become one of the most dominant social media platforms with over 100 million daily active users. It has almost broken into the mainstream, and is also a terrific method of advertising and growth for the business owners that want to stay ahead of the pack. However some people are still grasping this relatively new app, so let's take a look at how you can use this to grow your customers and awareness!

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What is Snapchat?

Okay before I jump in I should probably touch on this for any super newcomers. Snapchat is a free mobile messaging application used to share photos, videos, text, and drawings. It has a very casual and often humorous nature, which has become hugely popular with young people. You can send 'snaps' directly to your friends, or you can add it to you 'Story' where it will stay for 24 hours. Anyone that follows you can press on this story to view anything you've uploaded. Remember to keep it fun, put out content that makes people smile or giggle. Now let's learn what you can do with it!

Preview New Products

Snapchat is a great way to give your customers a sneak peek at new products you're launching in the near future. Perfect for fashion retailers, restaurants creating a new dish, basically anybody bringing out a new product.  Many people worry about their content not being 'good enough' for posting on social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook or Instagram. Snapchat allows you to be much more casual, in fact it's what the users expect.

Showcase Private and Behind the Scenes Content

Business is all about building trust with your audience or customers, and people like to see the fun side of what you do. You can show behind the scenes content like inside your office, the kitchen of a restaurant, meeting the team, something funny in the warehouse, basically anything that the majority of public doesn't see. It doesn't have to be funny, but keep in mind that this is what the majority of people on Snapchat enjoy. 

If you're in the business, this is also the perfect place to give your audience access to private events. Sports games, red carpet fashion events, a VIP grand opening, places with celebrities, basically anywhere or anything that the public doesn't have access to.

Tell Stories

Short and sweet videos always work, and this is particularly true with Snapchat. Your audience is looking for a things they can watch quickly, either while they are bored or just have a few moments available. If you feed them little pieces of entertaining content they will eat it up.  

Snapchat gives you a maximum of 10 seconds per video. Make those 10 seconds count, in fact you can even make it much shorter. People are used to seeing short videos, so if you put out something boring, even if it's just 10 seconds long, you'll struggle to get engaged followers. You can combine multiple video clips and combine them into a story as well, which your followers can go through all at once if they have the time.

Create Custom Geofilters

Snapchat has recently made custom geofilters available, allowing businesses to add a little something extra to their marketing and make the most of this incredibly popular platform. There are endless possibilities with what you can create - but how can you design your own? View our guide here.


Social media prizes and giveaways will always be popular, and Snapchat is just another platform to do it on. In fact an impressive 58% of college students stated they were more likely to buy from a company if they received a coupon via Snapchat. For some practical context, here's some things you can do:

  • Add Snaps to your Story and get people to screenshot particular Snaps to enter a draw, or they can show their screenshot in-store to get a discount coupon.
  • Get users to take Snaps with your Geofilter applied and send them to you (Geofilter guide here).
  • Simply get people to add you on Snapchat to get some sort of incentive.

How to Grow Your Account

Unlike Instagram, there is currently no discovery section of Snapchat for regular accounts yet. However there are always ways to grow anything, and you can do things like:

  • Share your Snapchat name on your social accounts
  • Share your Snapchat name on your website
  • Include your Snapchat name in your email signature.
  • Do prize giveaways to get followers (as mentioned earlier).
  • Collaborate with other Snapchatters 

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So now you know how to use it, it's time to start Snapping! With the raw amount of users and the growth that isn't slowing down, Snapchat should be a part of every businesses marketing strategy. Good luck!

Mitch Hills
Twitter @mitchills