Snapchat marketing is finding its place in the digital world but for many B2B business, it remains a mystery. With the rising popularity of video content and messaging apps, 10% of businesses are planning to add Snapchat—which blends videos, photos, and chat—to their content distribution strategies.
Snapchat’s appeal may have decreased from last year, but it’s still relevant to marketing.
Snapchat generates 6 billion daily views on videos, beating Facebook, and 150 million daily active users, surpassing Twitter. This level of market penetration allows B2C companies, especially restaurants and retailers, to produce impressive campaigns on the app. Most B2B companies have avoided it, however, on fears that the app’s frivolous facade could hinder their marketing efforts or, worse, lessen their credibility.
There are some understandable reasons why B2B marketers aren’t keen on adopting Snapchat. First and foremost, Snapchat is the app for millenials— 71% of users are aged 25 and under. Snapchat is also only available mobile and it’s seen as a social media channel that’s used more for personal reasons. Furthermore, as a relatively recent entrant in the digital marketing industry, some would argue that it’s just a passing trend.
That said, it’s a trend that others are riding. Facebook and Instagram recently added features that imitate Snapchat (i.e. Days and Stories, respectively). And while video-messaging is all Snapchat really has to offer, it’s simply one among many features for its competitors.
Snapchat is used overhwelmingly for personal, rather than professional reasons.
There are also technical difficulties that hinder marketers when venturing into Snapchat. First, your audience will have a hard time finding you unless they already know your exact username. Second, they won’t be able see your snaps unless they follow you. Furthermore, there’s no opportunity to link out of the app to a landing page—a big missed opportunity for sales and inbound marketers. Neither is there an easy way to re-share content to organically spread it.
The Case for Snapchat
Defying these misgivings are the successes achieved on Snapchat by B2B brands like Cisco, GE, and IBM. Following in their footsteps, others have begun using this platform to share their stories. 22% of ad executives, both B2C and B2B, are advertising on Snapchat—which should make it worth considering.
Snapchat shines the brightest when it comes to storytelling. A ten second video gives your audience a peek in your event, products, and your company culture. It’s a backstage pass that viewers can easily intake without being overwhelmed. Having this app also gives your audience the notion that you’re a fun brand—after all, Snapchat is the fun app. It’s where your brand personality can shine, entertaining customers and potential customers at low cost. 60% of smartphone users have already embraced Snapchat and the ads running there are viewed up to a million times per day—quite a lot of reach.
HubSpot’s utilizing Snapchat to promote products as well as their fun company culture.
In technical terms, running ads on Snapchat is a great option, especially if you’re promoting articles. With the app’s Instant Article feature, content can be displayed in-app, without resorting to external pages.
Since your posts disappear within seconds, you also have a little more license to be personal and creative—you won’t leave any permanent damage by accident. Facebook and Instagram might be able to copy the app’s functions, but they can’t replicate the playful culture that’s grown amidst its user base.
Making it Work
A Snap’s 24-hour life span creates a sense of urgency, which is great for generating buzz around an offer. Make the most of this by giving discounts or offering freebies; post codes that users have to screenshot before the time is up. Need to recruit? Share your company culture and appeal to Snapchat’s main demographic, millennials—posting live at an event or from behind the scenes is especially enticing.
Snapchat stories also humanize brands. They establish a level of trust, a key ingredient to B2B relationship building. Use your staff to to create micro-campaigns or consider letting an influencer “take over” your account for maximum impact. Be creative, send holiday greetings to customers or let them be the first to see your new products. Remember story is king in successful marketing, and Snapchat is all about stories. Lastly, cross-promote in your other social networks to further increase visibility and don’t forget to have fun!
IBM cross-promoting their Snapchat account in their Twitter page.
Should your B2B Marketing Plan include Snapchat? Maybe yes, and maybe no.
The best rule of thumb in social media marketing is to only use the platforms your audience does. Snapchat is ultimately dominated by millennials, who might not be your target market—but as this generation begins making more business decisions, this could change sooner than most expect.
Also consider what you’re promoting to your audience as a B2B. If you don’t plan to give discount codes and don't have a lot of events worth sneak peeks, this probably isn't the app for you.
For more trends and forecasts in content distribution, social media, and other aspects of digital marketing, download the full State of Inbound 2017 report: