Ever feel like you just can’t keep up with all of the new social media networks? It can be a bit overwhelming as new social networks are being released regularly. Often times they lose buzz in a short amount of time. As social media marketers, even we can be a bit overwhelmed by all the social networks that seemingly pop up out of nowhere. So if you haven't taken the time to learn about Snapchat, now's your chance!

History of Snapchat

Snapchat has been around since 2011, though it seems its popularity has increased significantly in the past two years. Many brands are learning to utilize the network to keep fans in the know. So what exactly is Snapchat and should your brand be quick to create an account?

Snapchat is a social network that allows you to send pictures, messages, and videos. Once these items have been seen, they’re erased. You can send pics and videos directly to your contacts, or you can add them to your story for everyone that follows you to view them as many times as they’d like within 24 hours.

Though it was originally coined the social network to send inappropriate pictures, it has evolved over the years and become a great tool to give your followers an insider view of your day-to-day activities.


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How Brands Can Capitalize on Snap

Before creating a business account on Snapchat, you should ask yourself how much time do you - or your social media department - have to monitor the social network. That’s because all Snapchat content must be in real-time, whereas you can utilize a content calendar to schedule posts on other networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Unless there is someone on your team willing to handle the account on a regular basis, it may be best to stay away and focus on the networks your audience are currently using. Remember, you don’t have to be on every social network. Instead, you should focus on two to three networks on which your audience is active and on which you’re seeing the best return.

Brands who have cool behind the scenes content - think photoshoots, dogs at the office, cool perks, new product launches - or a brick and mortar can benefit from Snapchat.  It’s also a great way to promote a sale. For instance, if you have a new product release and you’re offering a coupon code, you can include a snap showing the new product(s) and something as simple as “Save 15% with code Snap15”. Another away to capitalize as a brand is to ask your followers to screenshot your snap and then tweet or Instagram it with a special hashtag for a chance to win a special prize.

Promoting Your Brand with GeoFilters

Snapchat recently opened GeoFilters to everyone for as little as $5. By opening these GeoFilters to the public, Snapchat will be able to monetize their platform - a reoccurring theme among social networks. These Geofilters can be a useful tool for those who have brick & mortars or those who will be part of a large event. A Geofilter allows any Snapper to add one of seven filters to their photo as long as their location service is on. Why’s this a big deal? Because anyone that chooses to use your filter will share your filter with their contacts. Hello, brand exposure!

If you’re going to take the leap and join Snapchat, be sure to share your username across your other networks. This can be done in a few ways. You can mention your snap username in a tweet and ask your Twitter followers to follow along on snapchat, or you can take a picture of your snapcode and make that your profile photo across all networks. This allows someone to take a picture of your snapcode and then upload it to Snapchat to follow you without having to enter your username.

So what are your thoughts on the hottest social network around? Will your business take the plunge and join Snapchat?