If you're looking to deepen your small business's reach amongst millennials, Snapchat is your playground. The hot social media platform is far more popular than Facebook with teenagers, and it's the fastest growing social network out there today, reeling in more than 178 million users daily.
"The number one reason small businesses should be on Snapchat is future business," Nashville, Tennessee-based social media marketing consultant Rocky Vy Khamken said. "The future of business is the younger demographic, 18- to 34-year-olds. To properly target them, it's critical to start your brand conversation with them early. They're the next generation of consumers and Snapchat is an ideal place to begin creating a bond with them."
We recently chatted with Khamken -- currently consulting for Tustin, California-based The Art of Online Marketing, and formerly social community director for Entrepreneur.com -- to glean his top tips for how small business owners can use Snapchat to boost their visibility amongst millennials.
Create and share your Snapcode
"A Snapcode is essentially your Snapchat barcode. It's the little yellow box with the ghost icon in the middle, with the black dots all around it. It identifies who you are. When you share it on Snapchat, it will enable other Snapchat users to add you as a friend on the platform.
Snapcodes are powerful ways to promote your business through a highly visual and photographable symbol. Once you download your Snapcode from Snapchat (step-by-step instructions on how to do just that here), be sure to share it on all of your other social media marketing channels for optimal reach. Also share it on your website and all other marketing materials to make your current and future followers and customers aware that you're on Snapchat as well."
"Encourage your Snapchat followers to converse with you. You can do this by text chatting via Snapchat. And you can do this when you share your Snapcode, by making frequent posts that have a call to action asking people to chat with you. Let them know that if they have a question about your business -- or about customer service, or the types of products and services you provide -- that they can ask you about it via Snapchat and that you are there to chat back with them, to engage.
Engaging in a two-way conversation with your followers on Snapchat seeds the idea that there is a real actual person behind your small business's branded Snapchat account. It warms up your offering and personalizes your Snapchat marketing, giving you a softer, more human touch that current and potential target audience members will be able to relate to and more likely to engage with.
To chat, open up Snapchat. You'll see a chat box on the bottom left that looks like a message icon. Swipe left to the left of the camera to chat. From there, you can search for a person from your Snapchat followers and initiate a chat with them there. Or, if someone initiates a Snapchat chat with you, simply respond to them, and you're good to go. Chat away. Just be sure to turn on Snapchat notifications so that you know when someone messages you."
Always cover the basics
"One of the most common mistakes I see happening -- and one you'll definitely want to avoid -- is Snapchatting at an important industry or other event that your small business has a connection to in some way. This is when people start posting Snapchat stories without providing relevant context, leaving you asking why they are where they are and why they are posting what they're posting. In other words, making a not-so-ideal first impression of your brand, limiting engagement in the moment and possibly dashing future engagement.
That's why it's important to go back to basics. When you're live-Snapchatting an event or other important happening -- whether through Snapchat photo or video -- be sure to tell your Snapchat followers where you are, who you are, why you're there, what the event is and why they should care about it, and how you're involved. This is your time to take advantage of their excitement and curiosity, to hold their attention. Be clear about where you are and what you're doing, but especially about why your customers or future customers should care."
Add value to your follower's lives
"Let's say you own a local business, like perhaps a dentist's office, for example, enhance your relationship with your followers and encourage engagement by adding something extra to their interactions with you. Add value by offering them a daily special through your Snapchat posts. Tell them about your daily teeth-whitening or monthly teeth-cleaning specials.
Or, if you're a retail shop, share pictures and videos over Snapchat about the unique and interesting inventory you have, and share sale codes and product specials with your followers. This gives them a reason to keep coming back to see what you'll offer up next, and to talk up your company amongst their own followers. Offering promotional deals can help you not only build your audience on the platform, but also keep them checking in regularly and, ideally, driving sales, too."