As an online marketer, you're probably used to hearing about the "next big thing" in social media. The next network that could rival Facebook, unseat Twitter and so on.

While it's true that many platforms are no doubt overhyped, the top app that's on nearly everyone's radar is Snapchat.

Since its launch in late 2011, it's been steadily gaining momentum. As of January 2016, Snapchat had an estimated 200 million monthly active users who sent 700 million photos/videos each day, viewed 500 million time per day.

Despite its obvious success, Snapchat has left many marketers scratching their heads and thinking, "Is this just some passing fad the kids are into these days?"

I'm here to say that this is so much more than a fad and presents an immense amount of opportunity for those who capitalize on it.

Here are some specific ways to rock at Snapchat marketing.

1. Offer Behind the Scenes Footage

Humanizing a brand should be a key objective for every marketer. This draws in new users and allows you to develop deeper rapport with your existing audience.

In my opinion, Snapchat is by far one of the most effective platforms for accomplishing this simply because of the fact that you can provide your audience with exclusive, behind the scenes footage.

It's like giving them inside access where you can share an extremely personal side of your business or yourself that they've probably never seen before. This helps to keep it real and shows what it's really like deep inside the belly of your brand.

2. Share Content That Can't Be Found Elsewhere

In one of my blog articles, I mentioned how Gary Vaynerchuk engaged with his audience on Snapchat, and that he shared organic and native content that couldn't be found anywhere else.

I think that this approach is vital to getting the most out of this platform and key for building a sizable audience. If they know that a picture or video can only be found on Snapchat, it increases the inherent value of that content.

Combine this with the short lived nature of snaps, and your content has a sense of finality, which increases its appeal.

3. Provide a Sneak Peek of New Products

About to launch a new product? Why not give your audience a quick, sneak peek for some inside access.

People have a natural desire to "be in the know," and you can scratch this itch by giving a bit of a teaser that only a select number of people have access to.

I've found that this is a great way to build buzz before a new product actually hits the shelf.

4. Send Promo Codes

Another technique that I've had success with is offering my audience discounts via promo codes.

In fact, research has found that "58 percent of college students were more likely to buy from a company if they received a coupon through Snapchat."

I simply send out a snap containing a promo code, and those who follow me can redeem it to save.

Voila! A spike in sales and instant brand loyalty.

5. Give a Heads Up About Upcoming Sales/Events

I've also found Snapchat to be perfect for getting the word out on sales or events, and it serves as an incentive to follow me.

The fast-paced nature of Snapchat combined with a hyper-engaged audience is ideal for quickly getting a message out.

6. Get Your Audience Involved

You could make the point that a large reason for social media's success is its ability to create a dialogue between consumers and the brands they love.

Snapchat is great for getting your audience involved. All you have to do is ask them to take a selfie or shoot a quick video that features your product.

This allows them to tap into their creativity and can motivate others to become equally as passionate about your brand.

7. Hold Q & A Sessions

When consumers are crazy about a brand, they often want the inside details. Many are looking to slice through the mystery and have some specific questions answered.

Because of the highly interactive nature of Snapchat, it's an excellent way to answer frequently asked questions.

The short-lived, perishable nature of the content on Snapchat is ideal for maximizing engagement. All the while, you can strengthen the bond between you and your audience.

Conclusion

With only a fraction of businesses using Snapchat, it's pretty much the wild west of marketing. But when you consider that it's closing in on Facebook with 7 billion mobile video views each day (Facebook has 8 million) and that it's incredibly effective for reaching millennials, it's clear that Snapchat is worth your attention.

By focusing your energy and following the right formula, you can kill it on this platform and reach your audience like never before.

Have you experimented with Snapchat yet, and what has your experience been like?

Published on: Jul 21, 2016