How to use Snapchat to grow your small business

Snapchat is by far my favourite platform to grow my self-care and skin care business, Trefiel, and this post is going to dive into that. There’s plenty of people out there that have talked about what Snapchat is and how to use it, but I’m only interested in talking about how you can take what I’ve learnt from a year of growing my own Snapchat and apply it to your own business.

Let’s do this.

NOTE: I’m not going to spend a lot of time editing this because, let’s be real, setting aside 30 minutes to write this is more time than I already have.

Why we decided to use Snapchat

We decided to use Snapchat based on the way I knew I consumed it — I watched people that were interesting and doing interesting things and I connected deeply with these people because there was less pretence and staging than there is on other platforms, like Instagram.

Trefiel had this big, vague mission of spreading The Self-Care Movement, but we hadn’t really dived deep on why we were doing it (which, it turns out, comes down completely to who Michael and I are as people).

You’ll see plenty of businesses out there that useSnapchat sporadically. This is great for the business but really terrible for the audience. Snapchat is just like any other platform, it needs to be consistent. You don’t have to spend your whole day on there, but if you choose to do it, you have to be prepared for that commitment even if it’s just for 10 minutes per day.

Should you use Snapchat?

Here’s the thing — photos on Instagram are not the best way to tell your brand’s story. You can post as many relevant quote and third-party images as you like, but what really makes consumers connect with something is people.

People are the secret sauce.

I can only speak from my own experience and how injecting more of Michael and myself into our business has drastically changed it, but I know this for sure — your customers won’t connect with your business as strongly as they’ll connect with you.

Now comes the hard part — running a Snapchat requires a lot of self-awareness and realness. Are you comfortable with showing your true self to others and, even more importantly, to yourself? The amount of times I’ve seen snaps that have been true to my character but that I felt unsure about posting just because of how insanely flawed I am has been numerous. Too many to count even. Do you have the guts to share that with the world? It’s okay if you aren’t.

It’s important to understand that Snapchat is a platform that is fleeting and transient and anything less than your truest truth will not fly.

How long does it take to see traction on Snapchat?

Honestly, a long time. We’ve been using the platform for Trefiel for over a year now and we’ve only just hit the 300 views per snap. But the community on Snapchat is out of this world and something we haven’t experienced on any other platform. Snapchat is a long-play if you’re looking to monetise it and unless you provide real value (whether that’s entertainment, information or just beauty), it will be really difficult to grow it.

How often should you post on Snapchat?

It’s personal preference and you can make it up as you go. For me (and Michael), the Snapchat is for the business, so we’ll snap anything that has to do with that. Things like events, meetings, and projects that we’re working on as well as any giveaways, sales or new products that we’re releasing. We share a lot of the inner workings of the business that people wouldn’t otherwise get to see — setting up photoshoots, explaining the way things work inside the business and even giving our employees the opportunity to share the parts of the business that they own.

Some of the things we decided that we didn’t want to share were our relationship (Michael and I are business partners and romantic partners), our family, our friends and anything that we do that has absolutely nothing to do with Trefiel. Sometimes we don’t snap about Trefiel stuff either… it’s all a personal decision and one that you’ll need to define based on your own needs.

I think the most important thing when deciding this is figuring out what’s relevant to your audience and what isn’t. We’ve tested a lot of different types of content — tours around Melbourne for example — that were kind of interesting for our audience but not really relevant to why they were watching us and what they cared about. You can figure this out by the responses to your snaps (check your views and keep an eye on content that incites direct messages).

How can you use it to interact closely with your customers?

Sharing video is a beautiful thing because you’re able to transport someone from their own location to yours. This is so exciting and offers a tonne of opportunities so the real question is how you can design an experience for your customers.

We’ve masked with our customers on Snapchat, we ask them questions all the time and for their opinion on what we should do with the business. We share things that are happening inside the business but we also understand that the business isn’t everything. A lot of our Snapchat following has been built because of who Michael and I are and the way we interact with each other.

It requires patience, creativity and acute self-awareness. If you use the platform yourself, notice when you lose interest and skip snaps. Notice who you always check in with and who you care less about but will watch when you’re bored. Why? What’s so interesting about some people and isn’t about others?

Understand yourself and you will understand your customer.

On a side note, there should be no debate about leaving your DM’s open to the public. You absolutely must do this in order to encourage conversations between whoever is watching and you.

How can you keep your Snapchat interesting?

Be an interesting person. Care enough to take your Snapchat audience on an adventure. Dream up ideas and share your thoughts with them. Be a real human being and always speak your truth. It’s that easy.

How do you grow a Snapchat?

By working hard on your other platforms to provide amazing content and using that content to drop references to your Snapchat. Sneak peaks of what’s happening on that platform — for example, downloading a snap and re-uploading it to Facebook/Instagram — can work really well. I’ve found the best way to be using IG Stories to provide teaser videos and/or images that we’ve shot purposely to drive traffic to snapchat.

You can see us execute this on our Pamper Club brand content on IG Stories for Trefiel. We’ll shoot cute or funny boomerangs involving the product for the specific brand, then we’ll use text to provide an interesting call-to-action that makes the viewer feel curious or interested enough to go to Snapchat. This takes a lot of practice and we’re still not great at it, but we learn every day what does and doesn’t work.

Everything is an experiment, you just have to be willing to play (and fail).

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I hope you got some value out of this post and if you have any other questions about using Snapchat to grow your business or any questions in general, please don’t hesitate to email me at team@trefiel.com.