As a marketer, you know that one of the keys to effective marketing is to reach your target market where they are. That means reaching them on social media, using mobile-friendly advertising, and developing an understanding of digital platforms. Since its introduction five years ago, Snapchat has grown in popularity and now has approximately 160 million daily active users and Snapchat’s parent company, Snap, recently went public with the largest U.S. IPO since 2014. Fashion and retail brands are recognizing the importance of Snapchat for marketing, and many have launched successful Snapchat campaigns. In this article, we examine some of the important lessons marketers can learn from these brands.
How Snapchat is Being Used in Fashion and Retail
Early Adopter Advantage
For each of the first three quarters of 2016, Snapchat added 50 million new users, and the pace of new users is not expected to slow. Because Snapchat is a relative newcomer to the social media mix, brands have the ability to build an organic following and encounter less competition from other brands, and because marketing on Snapchat is still something of a novelty, mega-brands can also benefit from media coverage.
For brands wanting to leverage the opportunities available on a newer platform like Snapchat, we recommend some specific tactics:
- Influencer partnerships. By partnering with an influencer, brands can increase their reach to digital audiences. Digital stars know how to entertain their audience while seamlessly integrating product promotion. In 2016, designer Tommy Hilfiger partnered with fashion model Gigi Hadid. Hadid announced to her Twitter followers that she would be taking over Tommy Hilfiger’s Snapchat account for a day, increasing brand exposure and visibility.
- Contests & sweepstakes. Hosting contests and sweepstakes can be a good way to increase engagement. Online food ordering service GrubHub hosted a #SnapHunt contest with daily challenges that helped grow its audience by 20% and generated 1.5 million impressions.
- Event marketing. Snapchat is an ideal platform for covering events such as sports, festivals, and red carpet events. Snapchat makes the process quick and easy, and it enables you to align your brand with the event. Plan some of your snaps in advance and consider exactly what you want to capture. Use stickers, geotags, and captions to generate interest.
- Tutorials & demos. Post tutorials for your Snapchat audience that enable them to familiarize themselves with your product.
- Account promotion. Mention your Snapchat campaign on other platforms and promote it across your other channels to improve opportunities for success. Include your Snapchat handle in profiles on other social media and insert Snapchat links into Instagram photos.
- Branding opportunity. Snapchat marketing is a good way to provide consumers with insights into your brand. Use it to show off your company’s personality and increase engagement.
Brands Doing It Best
Some of the most successful brands using Snapchat have developed innovative and creative ways to use Snapchat’s unique features.
- Sephora was an early adopter of Snapchat. One of the ways it has built its audience is through influencer marketing. The company worked with model Hannah Bronfman, who did a “day in the life” Snapchat Story that focused on her use of Sephora products. Sephora posts regularly, spotlighting products that appeal to younger millennials and teens. They enable users to tag snaps at its stores using geofilters.
- Tommy Hilfiger made a splash at Fashion Week in New York last year when he designated an area within the audience where Snapchatters were encouraged to post pictures and Live Stories. Gigi Hadid used her takeover of the Tommy Hilfiger Snapchat account to provide fans with an inside look at what went on backstage.
- Luxury fashion house Burberry initially joined Snapchat to build buzz for a 2015 Los Angeles fashion show. Since that time, they’ve used the platform to promote events and product launches, such as its recent release of a new men’s fragrance. Burberry’s Snapchat content is consistent with its well-known polished image. The brand provided fans with a sneak peek at their collection for London Fashion Week and recently staged a “break-in” at its flagship store, with two models staging the burglary and playing dress-up before getting caught.
- British retailer Asos uses Snapchat to provide fans with outfit ideas, discount codes, and behind-the-scenes views at fashion shows and photo shoots. During London Fashion Week in 2016, their content had more than 20 million views. Asos posts daily, providing styling tips, as well as access to the red carpet and the catwalk.
- Sportswear manufacturer Adidas launched their Snapchat account with a takeover by Pharrell, a popular musician and music producer who is best known for his Grammy-winning work as a pop/R&B musician and producer, as well as for the huge No. 1 hit “Happy.” They describe their strategy on the platform as “an extension of our ongoing brand dialogue” that provides their audience with a way to engage through unique, first-person stories.
- Victoria’s Secret reveals new product lines on Snapchat and lets its fans know about upcoming sales. Fans can also follow all of the Victoria’s Secret Angels on their individual Snapchat accounts.
- Louis Vuitton, the French leather goods and apparel maker, uses Snapchat to provide exclusive content for events such as their Cruise 2016 show in Palm Springs. Using the Snapchat Live Stories feature, they were able to include fans and make them feel like they were part of the action.
- Connect & communicate. Snapchat can be a great way to communicate, connect and personalize your brand with consumers. Partnering with an influencer has been a successful Snapchat strategy among fashion and retail brands, providing visibility and exposure. Snapchat takeovers by influencers is a way to maximize results for this strategy. Contests allow brands to get creative with ways to leverage the “disappearing nature” of Snapchat posts, and brands can increase their audience with daily challenges. Live Stories coverage of events can help align your brand with the event. Use geofilters to engage your audience and build interest.
- Set goals. Set goals and determine how your brand will track your efforts. There is no direct method for ROI tracking on Snapchat, making it all the more important to consider your goals and whether Snapchat is effective for reaching them. Do the demographics of the Snapchat user base compare favorably to the target demographic for your brand? To track the effectiveness of your Snapchat strategy, track the number of views your brand is getting and focus on retention. Are viewers coming back for more?
- Know your audience. Know your brand’s target audience before you invest time and money in the ‘newest big thing.’ The brands with the most success on Snapchat are those that have audiences on Snapchat. Of the 150 million people logging on each day, 60% of them are between the ages of 13 and 24.
- Things to keep in mind. There are some things to avoid when using Snapchat for marketing your brand. One of them is the “build it and they will come” assumption. You need to let your audience know about your Snapchat account by promoting it across other channels. Remember that a snap lasts only a few seconds before it’s gone, so timing is crucial. Don’t underestimate the importance of localized content on Snapchat. It’s far more important than on other social media. Also, remember that one of the things Snapchatters are looking for is something spontaneous and immediate. Your well-produced videos that get lots of engagement on Facebook or Twitter may not go over as well on Snapchat. In addition, Snapchat is not the place to repurpose content, since your fans are probably following you on other platforms. Finally, remember that Snapchat is about relationships and interaction. The quickest way for a brand to be forgotten is by posting sporadically. Regular posting is critical to keeping your followers’ interest.
Depending on the demographics of the target market, Snapchat can be an effective marketing strategy for brands. By understanding the key differences in marketing on Snapchat as compared to other social media platforms, brands can reach new audiences in innovative and creative ways. Because Snapchat is a relative newcomer in the world of social media, brands face less competition and have greater opportunities to grow their audience organically.