Snapchat offers a mobile-only application where people can share instant photos and videos, and thereby their experiences and emotions of the moment. The network’s founders call such content “ephemeral”; it disappears after 10 seconds of being viewed. Snapchat has added what it calls “Stories,” a collection of photos or “snaps” and video that can be viewed for 24 hours. The introduction of Stories has turned the network from a solely private one into one of interest to brands.

Snapchat for PR and Marketing

The People

Pew Research Center estimates that Snapchat has 26 million active U.S. users. Of that number, 70 percent of Snapchatters are female. Users are between 13 and 25 years of age. They share, on average, 400 million snaps per day.

The Challenges

As with Vine, the challenge with Snapchat is time. The “Stories” only last for 24 hours, so brands have to think about how to capitalize on urgency and demand.

The Tips

Snapchat - Social Media Updates1.  Promote your Snapchat account on other networks. You can’t share snaps or Stories with users unless you’re friends with them, so you’ll need to let people know you’re on Snapchat to get started. It’s a bit like building an email list but for Snapchat.

2. Create teasers for upcoming content. HBO’s show Girls uses Snapchat to share teasers about the upcoming season as well as the current state of affairs both on and off the set. HBO says SnapChat has increased online engagement and watching of the show.

3. Offer strong calls to action. The urgency of a 10-second photo or video shared with a “friend” means that you have a captive audience. Provide a strong call-to-action to drive visits and increase sales. According to Sumpto, 67 percent of college students like to receive discounts or promotions from brands on Snapchat.

4. Involve your audience. Once you’ve started a Snapchat community, reward it for its involvement. 16 Handles, a frozen yogurt chain in New York, uses Snapchat to target its core audience. People who snap themselves enjoying the yogurt are rewarded with 16 Handles’ snaps of discount coupons.

5. Use hashtags to measure campaigns. Snapchat doesn’t offer analytics, but that doesn’t mean you can’t track your efforts. Chat Sports, a sports ticket provider, enticed new subscribes by offering a chance to win tickets to a game. Entrants had five friends add Chat Sports on Snapchat, and those five friends had to send a snap to Chat Sports with the name of the person who wanted to win the tickets with the hashtag #gimmietickets.

6. Don’t forget to enable “Smart Filters.” Go to Settings > Manage > Smart Filters and turn on the options “Special Text” and “Replay.”

7. Need help getting started? Visit Snapchat’s Support or contact the Media Bootcamp at sonja@mediabootcamp.org