Snapchat is an amazing social media platform unlike any other. It is based on the idea that posts live for just 24 hours and Millennials love it because they get to see what their friends are doing right now. As a business there are many ways to leverage snapchat for marketing, customer service, and advertising.
How it started
Snapchat was created by three former Stanford University students and initially released as "Picaboo" on iOS in July 2011. From the start it was oriented on sharing "Stories" that lived for just 24 hours and attracted a student user base.
As a social media platform Snapchat had 158 million users as of February 2017 of which the average number of opens per day per user was 18 for average daily use of 25 minutes.
How people use Snapchat
Snapchat users share moments they are experiencing in their lives by creating images and short videos of what they are doing at that moment. Users have the ability to add graphics, tags, doodles, stickers and various other accouterments to their posts and people can chat back and forth in the context of a post.
People who use Snapchat follow people they know or know of. This means friends, celebrities, and acquaintances. There isn't the concept of a post topic like on other platforms.
One interesting nuance of Snapchat, and to a growing degree Instagram, is that Snapchat can create a sense of envy in its users. When someone sees a post from another that they wish they were experiencing it shows up. This makes Snapchat an interesting marketing tool for Millennial focused events and experiences.
How to build a following
Snapchat is all about people following people and so if you want a non-advertiser account success is in creating a genuinely personal account as the "title" of "business" and showing genuinely personal content.
As an advertising platform Snapchat is growing and expanding and experimenting and this reliance on the personal account to build a following is reducing somewhat over time.
Some examples of people successful at Snapchat are Eric Thomas (motivational speaker).
How to measure ROI
This is tricky with Snapchat... a large personal following where you promote experiences and moments related to the business from time to time creates community awareness and sales
If the audience is right and the product or service is location-independent and Millennial friendly there may be sales to directly track.
As an advertiser there are much more clear ties between advertising spend on Snapchat and sales or leads.