Snapchat is a hell for marketers. Complicated interface, short-lived content, lack of meaningful ways to track and measure performance—all this makes for an unlikely communication channel for brands.
But just because many marketers feel intimated by Snapchat, doesn’t mean that there aren’t brands that are already using the network to a great effect.
In this post, we’ve collected 11 brands ranging from retail to NASA, to show you how Snapchat can be a great marketing tool for any organization.
From content selection to specific features of Snapchat, we point out how to get the most from your Snapchat account.
Millennials seem spellbound by Snapchat. And it seems that they are particularly attracted by the features that make the network such a challenging channel to use for marketing.
What that means is that professionals—particularly those interested in attracting a younger demographic—cannot pass on Snapchat. Moreover, they have to find new and better ways to speak to their audiences and promote their brands.
The reality is that very few marketers have a good feeling for what goals they can achieve on the network and what makes for a meaningful presence on it. (If you feel like that, you might want to start by checking out our full guide to Snapchat marketing.)
If you want to give it a try, these are the best examples to follow!
MTV is a brand that’s particularly well-positioned to benefit from having a well-developed presence on Snapchat, because of its focus on appealing to a younger demographic.
MTV understands the interests of its audience and uses its presence on Snapchat to give them exclusive access to information they’re interested in. The brand takes its Snapchat audience behind the scenes of some of its biggest shows, such as Teen Wolf.
Key Takeaway: Using Snapchat to give access to exclusive content is a great way to create a meaningful presence on Snapchat and ensure that fans are going to stick around. Your followers are naturally interested in how your product gets created so that might be an easy way to start building a meaningful presence on a new network.
2. AriZona Iced Tea
AriZona Iced Tea appeals to a younger audience by combining highly visual packaging with an endorsement for an equally colorful lifestyle. The brand understands that its audience is not interested in endless streams of branded images and product endorsements, but rather wants to consume interesting content when they open Snapchat.
Rather than showcasing its products, the brand uses Snapchat to demonstrate what the AriZona lifestyle looks like in reality. AriZona knows that many of their snap followers are young people who enjoy extreme sports, like skateboarding, so it lets Brandon Bonner, one of the skaters on their pro team, to take over their account to share from his perspective.
Key Takeaway: Develop a laser-sharp understanding of your audience and what kind of content they want to find on Snapchat. Handing over your Snapchat account to partners, customers, and employees is a great way to vary your content and make it feel more authentic.
Irish fast fashion giant Primark’s Snapchat presence is part of a larger campaign that aims to stimulate their audience to generate content and upload it to a website the brand has set up especially for the campaign.
The brand uses Snapchat and Instagram in similar fashion to upload and showcase styles that their customers have uploaded on primania.com. Followers can also share from their personal accounts by using the #Primania hashtag.
This is a good way to encourage cross-platform engagement and use the strong base a brand has on an established platform—Instagram in this case—to build up its footprint in a new channel.
Key Takeaway: This example shows us how a brand can achieve multiple objectives within a single Snapchat campaign:
Primark stimulates engagement by relying on user-generated content for #Primania.
The focus on real people also makes their activity feel more natural and less salesy.
4. Apple Music
Ever since the first music video came out the music business has been inherently visual, so networks such as Snapchat are a perfect match for Apple Music. Features like self-destructing messages and stories that expire after 24 hours make Snapchat perfect for engaging users with exclusive time-sensitive content.
Apple Music uses those specifics of Snapchat to take followers behind the curtains on the SXSW music festival and give them the same exclusive experience as if they were there. In this example, we see how Apple Music is covering SXSW with irreverent interviews with artists such as feminist punk group Sløtface.
Key Takeaway: The exclusive “behind-the-curtains” coverage of a popular event is likely to earn Apple Music new followers and raise the profile of the brand with its audience. You can follow a similar strategy with your business by offering exclusive content to keep your audience coming back for more.
5. Bank of Ireland
Bank of Ireland proves that “boring” brands can use Snapchat to reach out to a younger demographic just as well as the hip brands that target millennials as their core customers.
The bank uses Snapchat in a way that’s completely unrelated to its core activities to publicize its annual Junk Kouture competition, featuring homemade junk-based recycled fashions. It even encourages engagement from the community by allowing followers to vote by taking a screenshot.
Key Takeaway: This is a particularly bold move for a financial services company, and an effervescent Snapchat presence like this is sure to garner interest among millennials who aren’t excited about the Bank of Ireland brand. If your brand is rather staid, consider using a Snapchat campaign like this as a launching point to explore ways to engage with younger customers.
Wawa, the Mid-Atlantic convenience store chain, has found a novel way to encourage engagement with its Snapchat presence.
Wawa uses its Snapchat storyline to ask followers to vote in a product poll by taking a screenshot and sharing it, and then later announcing the results of the vote. This encourages followers to engage with the brand and makes them feel like their voice is being heard on social.
Key Takeaway: This example shows how smart marketers can overcome the inherent limitations of the network for doing traditional marketing. By allowing followers to influence the content and using stickers and emojis boldly, Wawa is promoting its product line in a way that doesn’t reek of pushy, old-school advertising.
At first glance, it looks like NASA is the last organization you should expect to see on Snapchat, but the Agency does great at following and engaging one of its core target demographics—millenials—in their natural habitat.
NASA performs great outreach via Snapchat, providing tours, interviews, and trivia for its audience. The organization is not selling a traditional product, but that fits with Snapchat, which is still geared primarily towards users and not so much towards marketers as we discussed in the introduction.
By providing interesting content on the app and lifting the veil on the inner operations of the organization, NASA builds up its relationship with its audience. In the example here, NASA shows us the faces of the people who work for the agency and educates us on all the different aspects of a particular topic—in this case, flying people into space.
Key Takeaway: This is a great example that shows how a government organization or a non-profit can use Snapchat to “sell” their values and the work they do for the public good. Keeping things fun, personable and informative will be your bread and butter.
8. Regal Cinemas
Regal Cinemas is looking to social media to promote its network of movie theaters that includes over 5000 screens spread across 500+ locations across the US. Because of that reach and that fact that movies attract all types of people, the brand’s audience is likely to be very broad, thus adding another layer of complexity to creating meaningful social media appearance.
Regal Cinemas deals with this masterfully by adopting a very lighthearted tone on Snapchat and by featuring its followers. This allows it to make sure its presence still feels personal.
The brand offers an over-the-top emoji spectacle, featuring audience members who have submitted their snaps to the account. This is a fun way to foster engagement and reward brand loyalty, but it also makes it easy for followers of the brand to share their unmanicured images with the brand—whereas they might think twice if Regal Cinemas was using a more “traditional” tone of its brand voice.
Key Takeaways: Snapchat is a great place for brands to experiment with a more informal voice and tone. Companies that want their audiences to share content have to make this part of their presence, and be friendly and available.
When you get customers involved in curating content, especially if they might be featured, they’ll also be more likely to check back in and watch your story. If you’re having trouble getting traction, adding in some fan-featuring content is a great way to rack up views.
IBM is another “serious” brand that’s not afraid to experiment with a more informal style on Snapchat in order to reach a younger demographic without coming off as boring or too promotional.
The brand boldly combines its trademark innovative thought leadership with a new and youthful spin on Snapchat. During SXSW, IBM featured its sponsored DJ sets alongside interviews and workshops with innovators. When not covering events, IBM uses Snapchat to demonstrate life inside the company and its commitment to issues such as accessibility and helping people with disabilities through the work it does.
Key Takeaways: This is great because it shows that IBM thinks about its audience as people, rather than one-dimensional customer avatars. Everyone has multiple interests and hobbies and IBM looks to appeal to that by offering content that would appeal to both the professional and personal side of their target customers.
The French cosmetics brand is known for its bold and ambitious moves on Snapchat. It was one of the first brands to experiment with a direct sales campaign on the network.
Sephora takes a page from Kylie Jenner’s Snapchat presence by using the platform to demonstrate different swatches of cosmetic products. The brand has found a good way to educate its audience on its product line without coming off as too salesy. With a huge product line, the brand likely has enough “content” to feed its Snapchat activity for months to come. Yet, its focus is on helping them make the best selection, rather than overwhelming them with a huge selection.
Key Takeaway: Brands and influencers on cosmetics and makeup have achieved impressive success on YouTube and Instagram. Snapchat is the next natural outlet for sharing information and beauty tips — and no wonder. Any highly visual or highly personal products are going to do well on the Snapchat platform.
11. Guinness World Records
The Guinness World Records brand has taken a life of its own, even surpassing its parent in popularity. However, this provides a valuable opportunity for the Irish brewer to connect with a more youthful audience and start building up awareness without risking a PR setback.
Guinness World Records has an expansive archive of oddities and stunts that it can draw from, and the brand uses this on Snapchat in a creative way to offer trivia-worthy highlights.
Key Takeaway: Guinness provides us with a great example of how a brand can start developing a Snapchat presence in a low-effort manner by repurposing existing content. Every brand has enough existing material they can use to jumpstart their Snapchat presence. It can take the form of a great memory to be used as part of a #ThrowbackThursday campaign or outtakes from another campaign.
The Key to Succeeding on Snapchat
One of the main objections about Snapchat we hear from marketers is that the network has a very informal feeling about it. But the truth is that professionals should be cherishing the opportunity this creates for them.
In this post, we saw how organizations from all walks of life can use Snapchat to expand their footprint and build rapport with their audiences by embracing a lighthearted and human voice. Those who succeed in this endeavor are on the path to build strong connections with a large segment of customers, which is going to dominate marketing in the coming years — millennials.