If you're older than 30, Snapchat might have felt at first like something you could ignore. All the people you knew were on Facebook. All the people you wanted to know were on Twitter. All the people you wanted to work for were on LinkedIn. Snapchat? That's just for teenagers who want to send each other inappropriate photos.
And you'd have been wrong.
While you've been posting, tweeting, and networking, Snapchat has been quietly booming. It now has more than 200 million users who share more than 800 million photos and videos every day. Brands have noticed. You can now find companies as large as airlines and small as solo entrepreneurs building their image and engaging with followers on a platform that can easily engage as many as a quarter of active followers. That's much more than you can expect from Facebook! The content they're sharing through stories and videos is unlike anything you can find on other platforms. It's quick, it's easy, and it should be a part of your social-media marketing toolkit.
Here are five personal brands and five corporate brands that are doing Snapchat right. If you are reading this on a mobile device and have Snapchat installed, clicking the username links will allow you to add these brands easily.
1. Gary Vaynerchuk (garyvee)
When Gary Vaynerchuk recommends a marketing platform, you know to pay attention. He's been pushing the benefits of Snapchat for years (and has disclosed his investment in the app), and even produced an infographic to show how to divide content between Facebook, Twitter, and the temporary content platform. Look out for the way he uses the platform to deliver calls to action; because Snapchat content disappears quickly, those CTAs come with inbuilt urgency.
2. Jerome Jarre (Jeromejarre)
Jerome is a twentysomething social-media star who was the fourth-most followed individual on Vine before moving to Snapchat. His spontaneous meetups promoted on Snapchat have created flash mobs of as many as 5,000 people. He now runs a talent agency matching brands to social-media stars. Follow Jerome to see how at-home Millennials are with social media.
3. Joel Comm (joelcomm)
Keynote speaker and Twitter Power author Joel Comm shows how it's possible to use multiple social-media platforms without repeating content. The videos and photos that he posts to Snapchat add an additional level of spontaneity to the engagement he wins on Facebook and Twitter. Whether educational, inspirational, or outright entertaining (which is more frequent), follow him on Snapchat and compare the content he shares there to the posts and tweets he uploads on other platforms.
4. Jackie Aina (jackieaina)
Jackie Aina made her name as a makeup vlogger on YouTube. Those videos continue to provide her storefront, the place where she tells African-American women how to apply cosmetics. But on Snapchat, she deepens her personal branding by taking followers into her life.
5. Mike Platco (mplatco)
One of the differences between Snapchat and other social-media platforms is that Snapchat lets you doodle on your pictures. No one shows what you can do with those doodles more than Mike Platco whose work with brands enables him to call himself a professional Snapchat artist.
6. Aer Lingus (aerlingus)
Airlines have become famous for their pioneering delivery of customer service on Twitter. Aer Lingus was the first to make the move to Snapchat, using it entirely as a promotional channel. It shares live content from events like inaugural flights, takes followers into cockpits, and create stories with clear narratives.
7. Audi (audi)
Carmaker Audi is widely credited with winning Super Bowl XLVIII after teaming up with The Onion to connect with Millennials on Snapchat. Its sharing of stock images with witty captions as the game progressed was simple but generated 100,000 views and 37 million social impressions.
8. The Ellen Show (ellen)
Television shows have struggled with social media. Facebook allows them to share trailers and clips but YouTube users are likely to upload entire episodes. Ellen Degeneres announced her arrival on Snapchat on Twitter... and brought users behind the scenes of her show with a special guest and the offer of Grammy tickets.
9. Amazon.com (amazon)
Amazon has taken Gary Vaynerchuk's time-limited calls to action to its logical conclusion. The store uses its stream to share gift ideas, recommendations, and exclusive deals. The offers last seconds but a click puts the product straight in the shopping basket.
10. Marriott Hotels (marriotthotels)
When Marriott Hotels joined Snapchat, it skipped the ads and partnered with four influencers to co-create content. The strategy was content, community, and commerce... especially from Millennials. The influencers discussed the best cities to visit with users, then shared stories from those locations. One influencer got to travel to Haiti to show the opening of the company's new hotel and the country's recovery from the 2010 earthquake. Follow Marriott to see how a brand turns content into sales.
In case you want to follow me, I'm JohnRampton on Snapchat and would love to be friends. What other companies have you found doing an amazing job on Snapchat?