Snapchat has taken the social media world by storm over the past year or so, claiming 150 million photo uploads each day. It’s simple-you take a picture on your smart phone, send it to a buddy for anywhere from 1-10 seconds, and POOF! It self-destructs. Never to be seen again… right? Well, not exactly. If you’ve heard anything about Snapchat, it has probably been something in regards to the fact that people have discovered ways to salvage the photos that have supposedly self-destructed. Needless to say, parents are distraught. This wouldn’t be a problem if inappropriate pictures weren’t being sent back and forth between the 13-25 year-old demographic. The option to take a screen shot of a snapchat or using certain tools to retrieve a deleted picture is out there, and everyone knows it. Why teens continue to do take risqué pictures, I do not know. The purpose of this is not to analyze why teens behave the way they do, or to criticize the shortcomings of Snapchat. Rather, I intend to show how Snapchat can be used for business endeavors to market products and promotions. Two companies in particular have done an exemplary job in utilizing the app for the benefit of their products.

Taco Bell: Many people can make the argument that Snapchat is not as conducive to marketing and advertising campaigns as other social media outlets due to its impermanence. With that being said, Taco Bell has found a way around this and created a unique campaign to target its intended audience. T-Bell turned to Snapchat via Twitter to connect with loyal fans in a new and more personal way. Recently, they tweeted the following message: “We’re on @Snapchat. Username: tacobell. Add us. We’re sending all of our friends a secret announcement tomorrow! #Shhh”. The secret announcement was that they were bringing back the Beefy Crunch Burrito. They then reached out to followers on Snapchat and added them as friends. This, in turn, resulted in an influx of tweets thanking the company for adding them on Snapchat. Personally, I think this was an incredibly innovative social campaign. They found a way to treat their fans as if they were personal friends, and not just followers among a sea millions. They were met with much success, and continue to be pioneers in the ever-changing social media realm.

16 Handles: Another interesting marketing effort was done by 16 Handles, a frozen yogurt company based out of New York City. They created the username ‘Love16Handles’ on Snapchat and asked their fans to send them pictures trying out fro-yo flavors at any 16 Handles location. In return, they would get a snapchat from 16 Handles with a coupon ranging from 16-100% off of their purchase. The kicker was that they only had the allotted 10 seconds to have the cashier scan the coupon. This Snapchat campaign was unique in the sense that no other companies had utilized Snapchat in this manner. It could potentially pave the way for a new form of coupon based promotions. Bravo, 16 Handles!

As you can see, Snapchat is not only for teeny boppers sending pictures back and forth to their friends. Rather, businesses are starting to find unique ways to market and promote their products via Snapchat to target this younger audience in a fun, engaging way. It will be interesting to see if any other influential companies will utilize Snapchat as part of their marketing initiatives. What are your thoughts on Snapchats as it pertains to the professional world?

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