How Snapchat can change the way businesses interact on social media

how businesses use snapchat

As a 22-year-old social media intern fresh off his senior year of college, Snapchat is something that is second nature to me. I was a senior in high school when it first came out in September 2011. Back then, it just seemed like a simple app that couples could use to send sexy photos to each other without any consequences.

Little did the developers of Snapchat know that their 20.5-megabyte app — simply meant to send pictures and worth around half a million dollars in 2012 — would grow into a 75.6-megabyte app worth around $16 billion in 2016, and used by some of the biggest corporations around the world (think McDonald’s, Taco Bell, General Electric, the NBA, Heineken, and Acura).

Looking at Snapchat’s largest user demographic


Snapchat’s platform is widely perceived as geared toward the millennial generation. Forty-five percent of all Snapchat users in the U.S. are between the ages of 18 and 24, and 60 percent of U.S. smartphone users ages 13 to 24 use Snapchat.

To reach this demographic, Snapchat allows companies the chance to connect with their followers and customers on a completely personal level using relevant, visual content that takes place in real time. Snapchat can be educational and promotional, and it can give a company a personality that other social media platforms often can’t.

Because the content published by the organization is only available to its followers for 24 hours, Snapchat pushes the company using it to post new, real-time content everyday. This is largely geared for the short attention spans of us millennials. But the real reason I love when large companies use Snapchat is because it humanizes the organization. The raw, unedited content allows me to connect with the organization on another level, because I can see that the content is created and published by humans. Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are great platforms, but often there is a barrier between the company and the followers that can make some posts seem robotic.  

Three companies that are using Snapchat the right way


Three great examples of brands that are utilizing Snapchat include The Verge, a tech news organization; Gentlemen’s Quarterly (or GQ), a men’s fashion magazine; and Taco Bell, the always delicious fast food restaurant.

Here’s how each of these companies use Snapchat:

  • The Verge uses Snapchat to provide behind-the-scenes tech news that can’t be matched on any other platform. Along with providing the latest tech news, The Verge also uses their Snapchat to promote their news article and blogs located on their website and other social media platforms.
    • By telling their followers to continue reading or to keep following the story on their website, The Verge is generating site traffic.
  • GQ provides men’s fashion advice everyday while breaking new fashion trends and going behind the scenes at the latest fashion shows and after parties.
    • GQ also uses Snapchat to provide offers, such as 15 percent off a magazine subscription through a url they post only on their Snapchat, which increases site traffic and clicks by posting urls and specific Snapchat filters.
  • Taco Bell graces this world with quality cuisine, and everyone knows that. But Taco Bell is also known for its Twitter posts and witty banter with other fast food chains. Taco Bell’s Snapchat is also a tremendous follow.
    • Taco Bell draws customers in by posting pictures of their meals which then entices customers to find the nearest chain. They also promote their deals — some specific to their Snapchat followers — website, and other social media platforms through urls and specific Snapchat filters.

One thing all these companies have in common is that their Snapchat provides a brand experience that can’t be matched on any other platform. The humanized and personal content allows the organization to connect with its followers — something us millennials love, obviously, because we love attention.

By allowing these companies to share everyday organic content, Snapchat acts as one more tool in the inbound marketing toolbox. Sharing personal content through Snapchat helps companies build their own personality, which in turn helps drive traffic. More and more companies are starting to realize this, so be on the lookout for your favorite brands to join Snapchat!

Do you want to know more about Snapchat, social media, and how it relates to inbound marketing? Do you think maybe inbound marketing could help you improve your voice and grow your business? Contact us today to receive a free assessment!