Using social media as a PR tool: Snapchat

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Snapchat is a messaging application which enables users to send photos, videos and text messages to a private list of recipients. Privacy is Snapchat’s key differentiator, enabling you to send messages to close friends without the possibility of them being intercepted by colleagues, family members or anyone else.

As “snaps” can only be viewed for a maximum of 10 seconds before they disappear into oblivion, this gives users a peace of mind that their private conversations will remain just that – private! This is extremely appealing to a younger demographic, with 45% of the application’s users being in the 18 to 24 year old age range. The privacy and young demographic makes Snapchat a very potent tool for marketing and PR purposes for those targeting that group.


Special deals and discounts

Unlike Facebook adverts – which might be sent to a user in a targeted way, but do not obligate people to pay immediate attention to them – the time limit on Snapchat content creates a sense of urgency. Thus, Snapchat provides you with a captive audience with whom to communicate your message. An exclusive deal containing a coupon which is only visible for 10 seconds presents an extremely powerful call to action. Additionally, since many of Snapchat’s users are within the student age range, it’s likely that they will be looking to make their money go further, making them the ideal demographic for exclusive discounts.


24 hour stories

Storytelling has always been an integral part of PR. Although Snapchat was originally created to facilitate private one-to-one interactions, there was an additional upgrade which enables brands to host longer narratives, known as stories, for a 24 hour window before they disappear. Since stories are only up for 24 hours, this forces you to choose your words wisely in order to generate as much traction as possible. Since Snapchat stories are ephemeral, brands need to be churning out high quality content on a consistent basis if they want to create engagement and boost their profile in the long-term. Thus the content marketing philosophy which applies to blogging also applies to Snapchat stories.


Exclusive content

It’s no secret that building a sense of exclusivity around a product is one of the best ways to drive up demand for it. Due to Snapchat’s exclusive nature, brands are able to make their followers feel like insiders. By sending their followers special deals, behind-the-scenes footage, and other cool stuff which other people wouldn’t have access to, brands can create a sense of community among their followers. This is particularly powerful when promoting a new product, since Snaps need to be short and succinct, this encourages brands to be as impactful as possible with their advertising.


How brands have benefitted from Snapchat:

The New Orleans Saints are an American football team with a huge following, particularly in Louisiana. Snapchat has been very effective in providing the Saints’ extremely receptive audience with a greater sense of intimacy with the team. Through Snapchat, the Saints have been able to show their fans what goes on away from the glamour and glitz of the home stadium. Intimate footage of the team during training, sent via Snapchat, has proved to be immensely popular with followers.

Ouija is a supernatural horror film released in 2014. Although the film received primarily negative reviews, the way that Snapchat was utilised in promoting the film was ingenious. With tiny 10 second snaps providing an atmospheric glimpse into the paranormal world of the film, a great deal of anticipation was built up before its release. While people went crazy for the Snapchat ads, unfortunately they didn’t have the same reaction to the film!

Acura is a manufacturer of luxury automobiles. Having a very targeted audience already, Acura used Snapchat to promote its latest vehicle by sending short snaps of the NSX prototype in action to only 100 followers. While conventional wisdom would suggest that it’s better for more people to see such an advert, the exclusivity factor was enough to create significant word-of-mouth marketing and anticipation for the new vehicle.

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