Social Studio Session: Snapchat for brands & people

Connecting Creatives In Vienna.

Photo Credits: @me_and_mango

One week ago, I kicked off a new format — “Social Studio Sessions” — which are regular sessions to dig deeper into social media and digital trends, get inspired and connect with other creatives.

As part of my Social Studio, a platform & collaborative workspace for
creative inspiration and brainfood,
these sessions are a way to meet up and get informed about new trends, or get hands-on knowledge on specific topics.

This first session was all about Snapchat.

Snapchat is still a relatively new format and people are still not quite comfortable with the app. After more and more friends and clients starting to ask me about the app, Snapchat introductions and discussions, I decided to host a session to bring the app closer to the people, inspire brands and people on how to use it, discuss the advantages and disadvantages and connect Snapchatters and interested creatives, entrepreneurs and curious minds in Vienna. 
I invited four Snapchatters to speak about their usage and experiences with Snapchat.

For the Snapchat newbies over here, Snapchat is a mobile only photo-messaging app that allows users to take photos or record videos, then add text, emoji stickers and/or drawings.

On Snapchat you have two choices:

  • You can either send snaps directly to one or a controlled list of recipients, where you set a time limit for how long recipients can view your snaps. After the viewing, snaps are hidden from the recipient’s device. You can also share videos live or chat and send stickers between friends.
  • Otherwise you can upload a snap to your “Stories”, which are a collection of uploaded snaps that exist only for 24 hours, but can be viewed multiple times by your followers

With its latest update “Memories” it now also allows users to add snaps, they’ve taken before, to their stories or add photos or videos from their camera roll, which is a huge change for marketers and the opportunities in content production and user interaction. I’ve written a more detailed post about Memories here.

Over the last year, the app has been evolving from a photo sharing platform to a content consumption platform with more focus in the marketing and advertising space.

What makes Snapchat unique and differentiates it from other platforms?

So far all social media platforms had the idea of content being visible and living for ever. Snapchat does the opposite.

With allowing users to send snaps that are only visible for a couple of seconds, or uploading snaps to Stories, which are visible for 24h and afterwards disappearing, Snapchat has a way of creating scarcity but is also creating less “pressure” to having to be perfect as it’s giving the users the feeling that it’s not there for ever.

Apart from this factor, what really differentiates Snapchat from other social channels, is that users are consuming content by choice. Users are actively tapping on the stories they want to see, it’s not a curated feed of posts or stories, such as it is on any other social channel right now (even with Instagram Stories, which are also curated with an algorithm).

For brands Snapchat can be especially interesting because they can show their fans a different side. Their individuality, creativity and exclusive content. It’s not about creating the most beautiful high-quality content like it is on Instagram. Content is mainly real-time, doodled, experimented with colours and stickers, copy, edgy and fun — authentic. It can be used for Snapchat only and exclusive one-off stories, that are gonna disappear after 24h.

What brands should know about Snapchat before they can tell their stories?

Here are some insights from the session that I would like to share with you and will help your brand navigate with Snapchat:

1) The Snapchat demographic:

Like with any other social media channel you need a specific strategy. Your content should fit to the people that are using the platform, and those are still young.


What’s really interesting and to keep an eye on, is that Snapchat users are currently still young, but the age groups of the 25 to 34 & 35 to 44 year-olds are those that are growing the fastest
In Germany Snapchat is supposed to have around 2,5 Millionen Users and more daily active users than Twitter, according to Futurebiz.
And another interesting fact is also that there are more female that male users.

2) Snapchat is fun… keep it that way

Think about how users are using the app. It is a fun, quick, real and close-to-the-people product, so use it in that way! Be creative, try new things and it’s don’t forget that it’s very important to understand how to ‘play’ with it.

3) Use creative ways of engagement

Find ways of catching the interest and engaging the Snapchat demographic.
It’s important to think out of the box and different than with other social media channels. The cool thing about Snapchat is that you can expand your Social Strategy to a new channel and experiment with it. Try new formats or new ways of telling your story, let other people do the talking or think about new angles that are complimentary to what you usually do, put things in a new spotlight.

One example of using Snapchat in order to create awareness within a younger audience, is how LACMA is using the app.

Their Social Media Manager photographs works from the collection and frames them in a pop culture context, placing memes, quotes, and song lyrics over the image and sending it off to the world.

GE took its project to a whole new level and extended the campaign to Snapchat, by sending every user who sent them an emoji, a live video from a little science experiment they filmed in a live-studio. This is a fun way of using the platform and creating additional interest over different channels.

4) Collaborate with Influencers

Instead of only creating your own content, you can hand your channel over to influencers and let them take over your account for a day — and let them create your content. 
 Like this you can get a lot more variety into your channel, and have the opportunity to grow awareness for it by using the power of others. 
When you plan a take over, cross-promote it on your other channels and let the influencers announce it on their channels too, so you fully leverage the special occasion and their reach.

A great example for an influencer take over was Adidas Original’s Snapchat take-over with Pharrell Williams. 
For the release of Pharrell’s new sneaker collection in cooperation with Adidas, the star took over their channel for the release event.

A snap Pharrell took of the sneaker on his foot was screenshot more than 4.000 times!

The take-over was promoted on Adidas’ as well as Pharrell’s Twitter & Facebook channel, so people were informed in advance and could stream in once the event happened.

Additionally Adidas created a geo-filter for the event consisting of a doodle from Pharrell, so guests could share their experiences with the event specific filter.

5) Offer opportunities to share and let people tell their stories

On Snapchat there are two ways of creating location-specific filters. 
 There are Community Geo-Filters, which are non-branded filters that people or business can upload for free to create context to a specific place. These filters can’t be branded or have a logo or hashtag, so are not directly relate-able to businesses. You can still make use of this feature by tapping into occasions and places related to your brand and/or story.

Additionally Snapchat opened custom On-Demand Geofilters, a paid feature to create a custom filter. Whether it’s for a house party or wedding, a coffee shop or campus-wide event, Geofilters make it easy for Snapchatters who are there to send your message to friends. Brand logos and trademarks are permitted, unlike with the free Community Geofilters, which are meant for public places like parks, landmarks, and cities. 
Currently on-demand filters are still only available in the US, UK and Canada. There’s rumours they are gonna be available in more countries (such as Austria) in the upcoming months.

Another way of getting engaged with the Snapchat audience is to create a Snapchat Lens, that users can put over their faces, users love to create their own content with them. This is a much more costly piece of engagement though and not available for all businesses.
For the launch of Ghost Busters for instance, Sony just launched a new Snapchat filter. Using the front camera, Snapchatters can “bust” ghosts (trying to be a little bit like Pokemon Go :D?). By switching to the back camera, users can “slime” unsuspecting friends or themselves.

6) Snapchat is real so show people and tell stories through people.

The German newspaper “Bild”, HelloBild on Snapchat for instance uses a couple of “fixed Snappers” to tell their stories. They let them do the talking and do this in a fun and creative way.
If you don’t have reporters who are anyway present for your brand and you don’t want your face (for instance as Social Media Manager) appearing on Snapchat, look for a couple of influencers to do take overs or let your fans speak for you — e.g. at events or POS’s.

7) Be exclusive

Give views that not everyone gets!
 You can use influencers, ask them to take your followers on a journey. Another way is to create “Snapchat-only” specials, where people can only get or see something on Snapchat. 
Warby Parker for instance gave away limited sunglasses that were only available for purchase to its Snapchat followers, by sharing a unique URL on its Snapchat channel.

At last week’s Social Studio Session about Snapchat, we had the bloggers and Instagrammers Irina Peicu (aka Irinahp) and Jean-Claude Mpassy telling us about their experiences with Snapchat as influencers.

Jean-Claude became aware of Snapchat via his blogger colleagues. He noticed that bigger international brands were starting to collaborate with bloggers and Instagram Influencers who were also prominent on Snapchat and saw this as an opportunity. In his opinion, Snapchat collaborations bring a high value to brands and giving influencers the power is a great tool to grow awareness and build brand trust and authentic relationships by letting real people talk.

Photo Credits: @me_and_mango

Instagram influencer Irinahp told us about how she uses the app and how she lets her followers find scenes and settings on her Snapchat that they might find in a different constellation again on Instagram a few days later. She uses Snapchat to leverage collaborations with brands on Instagram and cross promotes them to Snapchat by showing insights and the story behind some of her Instagram pictures.

Our third guest Vanessa from “traktorwien” told us about how the agency recruited an intern via Snapchat. They put up posters on art universities in order to challenge students to send them a snap with the most creative drawing on the poster. Vanessa, won the intern and is now leading the agency’s internal snapchat channel, which is about showing their personality as an agency and giving fun insights into their daily lives., one of Austria’s news providers, is using Snapchat to engage with a younger audience and provide the most important news of the day on Snapchat. The short headline format is also used to drive users to the website as well as tease new upcoming stories.

Snapchat all in all is still a relatively new format and being in the early stages, you have the opportunity to experiment with it. This is also the time to leverage the platform as good content makers and interesting personalities will stand out.

The day before the event, Instagram announced Instagram Stories, which basically copies the 24h story format from Snapchat.
Instagram Stories offers a lot of opportunities and is especially interesting for Instagram Influencers and brands who already have an active community on Instagram. So what does this mean for Snapchat?
We will discuss this in a new post, following soon.

I hope you enjoyed the event if you were there, and/or got a better understanding of Snapchat if you just read this post.
If you did, I would appreciate a click on the ❤ down here.

If you’d like to connect, add me on Snapchat: by username “alicekatze” or by focusing your Snapchat camera on my QR Snaptag over here.
More creative inspiration and updates about upcoming Social Studio Sessions can be found here.