timthumb (17)Over the past year and a half, Snapchat has quickly become one of the most popular social media platforms, growing at such a rate that businesses have been forced to take notice. Indeed, Snapchat for business effectively doubled its daily usage between June and October of 2013, and that growth has continued throughout 2014. It’s quickly become one of the most popular apps on the Apple app store, and mobile users everywhere are using it. It may not be on the level of Facebook or Twitter just yet, but Snapchat has certainly proven itself as a player on the social media landscape at this point.

Still, many businesses write Snapchat off as something that teens use to text frivolous photos or messages to one another. Certainly, the app has been used for such applications: its ability to send images that delete themselves after a certain pre-set time limit helps downplay the digital footprint that many other social media outlets have, and has therefore allowed Snapchat to carve out a place for itself in a busy marketplace.

So yes, Snapchat may have a bit of a reputation in some circles, and its primary user base may be mostly teenagers and young adults, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t have a use in your business’s social media marketing campaign. On the contrary, Snapchat can be used to connect with both businesses and consumers in interesting new ways.

Snapchat in B2C Marketing

As a marketing channel, Snapchat is first and foremost a means of B2C marketing. Since the majority of Snapchat’s most passionate users are young people, those users also fall into one of the most major consumer demographics out there. If your product or service is geared toward youths or young adults, then you absolutely need to incorporate Snapchat into your marketing strategy.

So how can Snapchat be used for B2C marketing? Sending coupons to your business’s followers is the most obvious way. Discount or “buy one, get one” promotions are great ways to encourage customers to come out and support your business, but when you send those coupons or vouchers to email inboxes, they tend to be forgotten. Your customers look at the email and say “I’ll use this later,” and before you know it, your coupon has been buried in other emails and forgotten. Out of sight, out of mind.

With Snapchat for business, you can send coupons that will disappear within a matter of hours or minutes, telling your followers that if they want to take advantage of a promotion, they have to do so soon. This marketing tactic pushes fear of loss on your customers, and can actually be a lot more effective at getting them through your door than other similar strategies. A frozen yogurt place in New York City used this method last year, to great effect.

Frozen-Yogurt-Snapchat

Snapchat in B2B Marketing

There’s a relatively new feature on Snapchat called “Stories” that the New Orleans Saints have been using to give fans behind the scenes sneak peaks at team practices, merchandise, and more. While this marketing scheme may ring as distinctly B2C, it still highlights a new function that B2B marketers might appreciate. Sneak product previews could be used between businesses to build attention and anticipation for new technologies and developments, and might be a great way for businesses to forge connections in a more fun and less calculated way. Not many businesses are using Snapchat for B2B yet, mostly because of the young demographic, but that will likely start to change in the coming years.

How else do you see Snapchat being used in marketing? Share your ideas in the replies.