Mastering Snapchat Marketing on a Budget

By April 7, 2016No Comments

By Sam Hollingsworth

Snapchat is a mobile app that allows users to send and receive “self-destructing” photos and videos, or digital media that is only temporarily available for viewing. The photos and videos taken and shared on the app are called Snaps, and users are able to personalize them in unique ways. But how does this tool fit into a big brand’s marketing approach? Like most social platforms, it has evolved since its inception, and it’s certainly been tweaked to better suit marketers (and generate profit).

Brands are constantly challenged with discovering new ways to use social media channels, which are created with the individual user’s experience in mind as opposed to a brand’s ability to market or sell products (at least in the beginning).

First, marketers examine audiences: where the people are and who they are. Once they’ve identified the right channel for their marketing efforts, the real challenge is how a brand sends an effective marketing message to the right users in a way that is not invasive, but useful and in the best case, sought-after.

Dating back to the beginning of the social-marketing revolution of the 2000s, many old-school marketers dismissed Facebook and Twitter as unnecessary. Now those marketers are on both of those social networks, as well as LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat, among a plethora of other available options depending on your audience and niche.

Let’s examine one relatively new channel that has been having monumental success, Snapchat. We’ll analyze how it works and what marketers are doing to make sure they are successfully utilizing it even if they don’t have a big budget to work with.

Brands Discover Snapchat

Snapchat added its “Discover” feature in January 2015, an ad-supported feature made up of videos and photos published by outside organizations as well as by Snapchat-hired journalists and videographers. Discover allows major publishers — “creatives” as Snapchat calls them in its release of the feature , <> — like CNN, Comedy Central, ESPN, MTV and Vice to share stories with all of Snapchat’s users. These stories can also be re-shared by users to their followers.

Brands that aren’t one of the 20 publishers on the Discover feature have had to get creative to find what works best in their marketing approach on the always-expiring social platform, though.

Taco Bell

Taco Bell (username tacobell on Snapchat) recently offered its users some menu hacks on Snapchat. A clever and simple way to not only grow its company base directly, but also create engagement with users.


It properly ended its menu-hacking mini-series with a call-to-action (CTA) to increase engagement:


Once a user messages the brand account, the brand can reply with a pre-constructed Snap containing a discount code or other CTA. This is the modern-day coupon of Snapchat.


Wrestling entertainment giant WWE, which has been committed to a wide variety of different social media platforms over the years, has also done its part to stay relevant on Snapchat. The company often posts Snaps from events, both televised and non-televised, similar to the images and videos it shares on its other social channels, but with unique Snapchat features like geofilters and emojis over its images.


WWE, like many other brands, also uses the platform to reinforce hashtags. This increases the exposure of its content and increases engagement with users.

IHOP & Cheerios

Restaurants exercise similar tactics in their cross-channel marketing efforts. IHOP recently piggybacked on National Pancake Day with a hashtag and event coverage that included a cameo from the company president, a reminder to grab free pancakes from the nearest IHOP, and more.


Brands also have the ability to get unique sponsored filters added to the app for a specific amount of time and for the right price, of course. Some of the most popular brands have utilized these, including Cheerios for National Cereal Day and IHOP for National Pancake Day.


Effective Snapchat Marketing Tactics

Other effective Snapchat tactics include contests, behind-the-scenes content, celebrity takeovers, product previews and details surrounding customer service issues. Some tactics work better than others depending on the industry and products, but there is certainly no lack of creativity for the best marketing on Snapchat.

Like many social channels, Snapchat gives users the feel of a personable line of communication with a famous person, figurehead or brand itself. This is why celebrity takeovers are fairly common and rather successful, not just on Snapchat but on social networks like Twitter and Instagram, too.

Remember, the same element that makes Snapchat a tricky tool to masterfully market is the same element that makes the one-of-a-kind tool so uniquely useful: it the truest form of real-time marketing, and it has an expiring shelf life.

Originally published at Momentology




SamHeadshotSam Hollingsworth is an SEO Manager at Acronym with an emphasis on Content Marketing and Social Media. Originally from Upstate New York, he now resides in Manhattan and enjoys watching his New York Rangers and New York Knicks just a few of blocks away from work at the Empire State Building. You may also find Sam watching horse racing at Belmont Park or Aqueduct Racetrack throughout the year, or at Saratoga Race course near his hometown in Saratoga Springs during summer. Sam can be reached via Twitter at @SearchMasterGen