Thinking about including Snapchat in your marketing efforts? Before you start snapping selfies with the popular app, you need to find out if Snapchat fits in your company’s social media strategy.

Snapchat has gained a huge following within a few short years. When it launched in September 2011, the simple messaging app allowed users to send each other disappearing photos. There weren’t many – or any – companies on Snapchat, either. But it wasn’t long before Snapchat started adding new features that made it the popular social media channel it is today. Now you can send photos with geofilters, facial filters and text messages. You can post images and videos that stay visible for 24 hours, get your daily dose of news and current events, and much more.

So it’s no wonder that many companies want to create a Snapchat account to add to their social media repertoire, especially since video content is becoming increasingly important in marketing. But now that Instagram and Facebook offer similar features, you may be wondering if it’s worth the time and effort to join and grow a new audience if your company is already active on the aforementioned platforms. Depending what social channels your target customers use, establishing a Snapchat presence could be a good investment. And now that the company has more resources since going public earlier this year, it will be interesting to see if the app rolls out new functionalities to differentiate itself from the competition.

Regardless, Snapchat has changed the way we consume content and interact on social media, which makes it worth exploring and considering. I started using the app in its less-sophisticated days (i.e. before they added Stories and the infamous facial filters) and helped develop a Snapchat presence for Robert Half (TCG’s parent company). It can be an effective tool for showcasing your company’s fun side, but here are a few things to consider when you create a Snapchat account for your organization.

Do some homework

The first thing I’d recommend? Create a Snapchat account for yourself to get the hang of it (it’s free!). While the app may not be intuitive at first, take some time to explore the many different features and you’ll figure it out fairly quickly. (You may also want to use an online guide to teach you the ins and outs.)

Search for other companies on Snapchat and see what they’re posting. What catches your eye — and what do you pass right over? There’s a lot of highly creative content on Snapchat, so keep tabs on accounts that you like and take inspiration from the way they present their brand.


Consider your approach

What will your message be on Snapchat? Consider how your voice will differ from your other social media channels and other companies on Snapchat. Remember that Snapchat is currently popular with younger generations. Of its 100 million daily active users, 71 percent are under 34 years old, and 45 percent are between the ages of 18 and 24. And they are creating a huge amount of content. Each day, one million snaps are created and 10 billion snaps are viewed. Is your target audience using the app? If so, how will your snaps stand out among the competition?

Regardless of your industry or business, one primary goal of using Snapchat is building a relationship with your followers. Are you trying to show the world how fun it is to work at your company? Or are you offering a behind-the-scenes look at a really cool event? Maybe you’re attempting to give a sneak peek of a new product or establish your voice as a thought leader on a particular topic. Whatever direction you take, if you post fun and engaging content, you’ll have viewers coming back for more.

Make a plan to capitalize on your creativity

While content from users and companies on Snapchat may seem casual and unstructured, it takes more planning and time than you might think to get the right shot, even if the content is meant to be candid. Snapchat isn’t like Twitter or Facebook where you can draft content and post it using a scheduling tool. You have to do everything in real-time and can’t edit posts once published.

Therefore, make sure you map out the content and message of each story (a collection of photos and videos that is visible for 24 hours), leaving room for spontaneity. Think brief and entertaining. Many Snapchat enthusiasts have short attention spans, and very few will watch a story that includes 20 photos and videos, especially if they don’t connect with it. Don’t be afraid to use emojis, stickers and fun facial filters. Save your more professional and refined posts for other social media channels; Snapchat is where you can show off your company’s approachable and silly side.

Think about awareness and analytics

Most companies on Snapchat use the app primarily as an awareness tool because there are few analytics you can measure. Among the things you can’t currently track within the app: the amount of followers you have, leads back to your website (since you can’t include links in posts), and impressions. It’s also difficult to know how your followers respond to content because they can’t publicly comment or like posts.

That said, you can glean some helpful data from the app to help inform your Snapchat and overall marketing strategy. Snapchat tells you how many people view each post on your story and if they send you a private comment, photo or video in response. So, if 500 people watched your story from start to finish, that’s 500 people who actively clicked through and engaged with your content. To calculate a story’s retention rate, divide the number of views at the end of the story by the number of views at the beginning. To automate this process, you can invest in tools like Snaplytics and Delmondo, which also help you estimate how many followers you have, how many views your posts receive, open rates and more.

Now that you know a little more about the social media app, hopefully you’ll have some added insight when deciding whether to create a Snapchat strategy for your company. And if you choose to engage with your audience by sharing candid videos and silly selfies, remember to stay on top of new features to incorporate into your Snapchat efforts.

Ana Pecoraro is a public relations and communications professional at Robert Half, where she researches and writes about employment trends.