With new social media platforms constantly emerging, businesses are being continually challenged to be more and more innovative. One of the most intriguing apps in recent times has been Snapchat, a messaging app that allows photos and videos to ‘self-destruct’ after being viewed. Growing in popularity amongst users, Snapchat can be a great promotional tool for businesses allowing them to target a huge audience of potential customers in a fun and engaging way.


Since 2011, Snapchat has amassed 100 million daily users worldwide – 86% between the ages of 13-37. In Ireland alone, 25% of the population have a Snapchat account and 65% of users access their account daily. Irish users are primarily under 18 but social media gurus, like Gary Vaynerchuk, are predicting that by the end of 2016, Snapchat will have rapidly increased in popularity within the 30-50 age bracket.


Users set up an account by creating a 15 character username and add their mobile number to find friends. Snapchat also creates user-specific ‘Snapcodes’, which are unique, scannable codes.

Snapchat allows users to take photos or videos to send to friends, and set specific timers, up to a maximum of 10 seconds, before the content self-destructs. There is also a new way to share called ‘Story’, which allows posts stay live for 24 hours and be viewed repeatedly. Although Snapchat cannot prevent users from taking screenshots of images, the sender will receive a notification when one is taken.

Users can add text to videos and images, as well as ‘Stickers’ (emojis), and filters. There is also a geofilter application – a clear filter with a graphic overlay, which is free for community logos while branded logos must be paid for. Users can submit the design for their geofilter, set the location within particular parameters, and choose a period of time for which the filter will be available to access. Filters are best used by companies when they are created for specific events or the locations of their stores and headquarters. Users can then enhance their snaps taken at these particular locations by using the geofilter. Last month, Jameson used the geofilter to great effect for St Patrick’s Day.


Snapchat is best used as an informal, fun, and visually-stimulating communication tool. Its most powerful advantage is that it consists primarily of visuals and that users are actively engaged in an opt-in system. Snapchat should be used to create a story around your brand that’s fast, memorable, and targeted towards a specific audience. As snaps only last in a story for 24 hours, it is necessary to update Snapchat every day and provide continuous feed for followers.

Some brands have chosen to partner with relevant influencers for Snapchat Takeovers, whereby the influencer creates content on the user’s account for a limited period of time. Such Snapchat Takeovers can significantly grow an audience and allow businesses access a new target market. It’s something Disney used to great effect when they recruited popular Snapchatter Shaun McBride (aka Shonduras), to launch their Snapchat.

However, smaller companies should participate in a Takeover strategy with caution, and clearly define guidelines in a contract prior to handing over the details to the account.


Brands can take advantage of the self-destruct function by creating snaps of sneak peeks or behind-the-scenes photos. Snapchat is the ideal platform to really personalise the brand by taking fun pictures of employees, work place fun, company events and outings, guest speakers and VIP visitors. The story feature is particularly useful for documenting events and can serve as live coverage, especially if the event is high-profile and the guests are open to photo ops.

Snapchat can also be used for coupon codes or offers, and as they will only exist on the feed for 24 hours, it’s perfect for flash offers. Alternatively, users can alert their followers to secret sales taking place, guest appearances in-store, limited offers or ticket sales. Always track views and how many screenshots snaps have received so that if a campaign is successful, similar content can be uploaded at a later date.


It’s notoriously difficult to find and access other people’s profiles so it’s essential for businesses to share their Snapchat name and Snapcode via other media, as well as making them easily visible on marketing and promotional material.

The essence to Snapchat success is to be fun and fearless. So if it suits your business style, set up an account and happy snapping!


Post by
Susie founded Springboard in 2011, and has developed the business into a leading, director-led communications agency. She has worked for over 20 years in senior marketing and public relations roles.

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