AH SNAP! How to Use Snapchat as a Brand

top 10 brands using snapchatLet me take a selfie, so I can get some deals! As you already know, new technologies are giving brands a lot of new marketing opportunities.To marketers, Snapchat is a mobile app that is turning traditional media marketing upside down and challenging brands in new ways. Now companies can send photos directly to customers for deals. Snapchat, in the most general sense, is an app that allows you to take a photo/video, write and draw on the photo/video, send it to certain followers for up to 10 seconds, and then they are gone.  The receiver of the photo/video may be able to screenshot and save it. You can also add the photo/video to a story, which would share it to all followers for up to 24 hours. Stories may combine multiple snaps to create a re-playable, linear story. According to Snapchat in May 2014, the app’s users were sending 700 million photos and videos per day, while Snapchat Stories content was being viewed 500 million times per day.

Using Snapchat for Branding

Snapchat is favored by a younger demographic, so the target market is those of a younger generation.  The biggest advantage a brand can take away from using Snapchat is the minimal cost it takes to interact with customers (the app is free). Using Snapchat shows how time-sensitive images can be a strength for brand marketing. Snapchat is used by brands for contest announcements, coupons and behind-the-scene looks. All the brand needs to do is get people to follow them on Snapchat, then these followers can either view stories from the brand or send snaps to receive deals back from the brand. This engagement is key to brand loyalty. The app allows for a two-way conversation through photos/videos. This engagement gains trust, trust leads to brand loyalty. Here are some examples of how brands are taking advantage of Snapchat:

Taco Bell- an early adopter

Taco Bell SnapchatTaco Bell was one of the first companies to use Snapchat as a brand. Since the first day, when companies received the opportunity to use this application as a brand, this food chain used the app to let people know the beefy crunch burrito was returning to stores in May 2013.
The snap announced that one of their more popular burritos was coming back to the stores; it was their first Snap, but apart from that, they have taken full advantage of Snapchat’s opportunities. Their strategy as a brand has been to send some snaps to their users trying to send them the message that Taco Bell is a place to go with their friends, a place where they are always welcome, like at home.
The way they send their messages and upload it is also something very important. Unlike other brands, Taco Bell is uploading snaps occasionally, always with nice and “interesting” content for their company. Taco Bell does not crowd their follower’s timeline to make sure that they are not going to get annoyed by them.

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)

The WWE is also another example about how a brand can use Snapchat successfully. In this case, they work a little bit different from some other brands. The WWE followers can receive snaps about the show and behind-the-scenes pictures so they can also be informed about what it is going on when the show is not on the screen. WWE gives exclusives at pay-per view events and reveals. WWE promised a “big reveal” for their Snapchat debut. The snap was of Randy Orton holding his newly won TLC main event and World titles. WWE fans were able to receive quick updates and results from this exclusive pay per view event.

World Wildlife Fund

Snapchat is also used to inspire people to lend a helping hand. The World Wildlife Fund is an organization trying to raise awareness and donations for endangered species that uses a campaign on Snapchat to encourage people to take action. They don’t want the pictures to be an animal species last live photo or “last selfie”. This account uses the effect of sad pictures of animals with the text “Don’t let this be my #LastSelfie” in order to draw their audience into donating money to the foundation.
Perry Drake Snapchat quotePerry Drake stated, “From a brand’s perspective it has great and natural ability to engage and “gamify” most any situation.” By using an app as simple as Snapchat, people and brands can make a difference together. Brands that are capable of reacting quickly, are not risk averse, and are trying to engage a younger demographic are taking advantage of Snapchat.


This article was written by University of Missouri – St. Louis Social Media Marketing Undergraduate students Renee Richardson, Miquel Subira Ribas, Kyle Dermody, Kathleen Harris, and Martin Gwozdz.