Anyone who runs a small business knows that social media is a great tool for telling your business’s story and engaging with customers.
However, some social media platforms get used a lot more than others. If you have a small business, you probably already have a Twitter account and a Facebook page — but so does everybody else. It’s time to think of adding additional social media tools to your daily engagement routine.
What is Snapchat?
Snapchat is a photo- and video-sharing social media app. Take a picture or a short video, add filters or captions, and send the finished product (called a Snap) to an individual Snapchat contact or to everyone on your Snapchat list. You can also combine individual Snaps into longer Stories, and connect pictures and videos together to form a narrative.
Snapchat photos and videos are designed to disappear after being viewed, which adds a sense of immediacy and urgency to using Snapchat: You have to look carefully at everything you receive, because you won’t get a second chance!
Making Money with Snapchat
To understand how to use Snapchat to make money, we have to turn to one of the experts. Mark Kaye is the host of “Talking Snap,” a talk show that Kaye conducts entirely over Snapchat. Earlier this year, he explained why he thinks Snapchat is the best social network for small business owners:
“Snapchat makes it very easy to create video, audio, photographic and artistic content.
Snapchat makes it easy for you to receive instant feedback from your audience.
Snapchat weeds out “followers” and leaves you with only devoted and hardcore “fans.”
Snapchat demands people’s attention.”
What is the Mark Kaye formula for making money on Snapchat? First, you need to focus on creating great content. If your Snaps are boring or if you don’t tell a cohesive brand story, users quickly lose interest.
Then, you need to build your audience — starting by publicizing your Snapchat feed on Twitter and Facebook! It might take a while to build up Snapchat followers, but Kaye reminds us that Snapchat followers are actively seeking you out, not passively scrolling through a social media feed: “The people who view your stories had to make a conscious effort to do so. They had to find your name, type it in and then hold their thumb down on the screen just to see what you wanted them to see.”
Lastly, you need to offer a compelling product, which you can promote directly through the Snapchat interface. Remember that the people who view the Snaps promoting your product are true fans and more likely to be interested in buying your product. Snapchat is a great way to connect with your most loyal audience and market directly to them.
Other Snapchat Money-Making Tools
Want more ideas to help you build fans and earn extra money with Snapchat? Here are a few ideas:
- Send coupon codes to fans via Snap.
- Create a Story that features Snaps of different product designs and ask your fans to choose which ones they like best.
- Use the “view it or lose it” aspect of Snapchat to your advantage by sending out Snaps of product discounts or deals that are only available for one day.
Snapchat also recently launched SnapCash, a service powered by Square that allows peer-to-peer money transfers within the Snapchat interface. Right now SnapCash is scaled for personal use (such as transferring gas money to a friend), but who knows? There might be opportunities to use SnapCash for small business transactions in the future.
Need a few examples of brands and organizations using the platform well? Check out New York yogurt shop 16 Handles’ Snapchat feed (username: Love16Handles). They’ve sent out coupons to users who send them Snaps from within a 16 Handles location.
Or follow the World Wildlife Fund (username: WWF_DK), and see how an organization uses Snapchat to raise awareness of environmental issues. Taco Bell (username: tacobell) also has a huge presence on Snapchat, so give them a follow and learn how to run a successful Snapchat feed that gets people hungry for your product!
Want to know more about monetizing a small business? We’ve got a lot of resources for you, whether you are looking to start a business with zero cash or build your career as a freelancer. Why not make your first Snap a picture of you reading The Penny Hoarder?
Your Turn: Do you have a Snapchat account? Have you ever thought about using Snapchat to promote your small business?
Nicole Dieker is a freelance copywriter and essayist. She writes regularly for The Billfold on the intersection of freelance writing and personal finance, and her work has also appeared in The Toast, Yearbook Office and Boing Boing.