Is Snapchat Right For Your Business?

Our digital media consultant Dillan Gandhi explains what makes Snapchat so popular and how your business might benefit from using it:

Truth be told, Snapchat isn’t for everyone. Small and medium businesses should only actively be on social channels that make sense to their business. With its younger-skewing audience of millennial young adults and teenagers, building a Snapchat following is near useless for any business that isn’t a lifestyle or retail brand with a customer base of some sort under the age of 35. That’s why the platform doesn’t attract many businesses to it, where less than 1% of all UK businesses have a Snapchat account.

So why are you even writing about Snapchat if it’s so unpopular with businesses?

Because if you are a lifestyle or retail brand (especially a boutique one that has a direct relationship with customers under the age of 35), then Snapchat is where you should be posting your daily videos, photos and offers. The engagement rate of Snapchat is over 3 times the engagement rate of Facebook, and you are 2.8 times more likely to get foot traffic into your business from a Snapchat post than Facebook.

Okay. Well, first things first, what is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a social media app that allows users to upload and send short posts, videos and photos to their friends and followers. Whilst not a big as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, it is very popular because it is easy to add new content to your Snapchat “story” from your smartphone. All messages, videos and photos are quick to digest and auto-expire after 24 hours. That means there’s always something new to watch and see whenever you open the app, and it only takes a few minutes to consume it all.

I know businesses don’t use Snapchat, but regular people do, right?

Right! In the UK, Snapchat has over 10 million regular users, with nearly 3 million of them in London. It is very popular. Best of all, the majority of users are socially-engaged teenagers and lifestyle-rich and retail-ready young adults under 30, who are happy to follow and engage with companies and brands they like alongside their friends. Snapchat requires its users to manually click on their followers’ feeds (unlike other social media platforms that have you slipping into the middle of a newsfeed), so if you post something noteworthy, the user will notice. After all, they clicked on it.

So my business should be on Snapchat then?

Not necessarily. Whilst a Snapchat follower is very loyal when you get one, they are almost all under the age of 35, and only interested in following businesses that post interesting videos, photos and offers regularly. If your business can’t do the daily grind of posting on Snapchat, then there’s little point starting, because a Snapchat user will unfollow you once they get bored. Many Snapchat users are as equally cutthroat to their own friends and family – I know I am.

Boutique clothing stores will often unveil and tease their newest products to Snapchat fans first, giving their customers a reason to follow.

I am committed to doing Snapchat. How do I get started?

Decide on who in your business will be managing the account and uploading content. Some businesses have a communal mobile phone that the office passes around, but in any case, you will need to install the Snapchat app on an Android or Apple phone and then create a business account for your company.

Brand the account up with your logo, and then start telling your customers to follow it. You can’t pay for followers – you have to earn them through telling customers to follow you manually. Fortunately the app itself makes it easy to gain followers via QR codes and recommending your users add you if they already have your email address or phone number in their contacts. Once you’ve amassed a small following, the app will unlock various business features like in-app lead generation and click-to-call functionality.

I’m set-up now. What do I post?

To get started, there are two main things your business can do with a Snapchat post (called a “snap”):

  1. Tell a story
  2. Promote an offer

Telling a story

Snapchat automatically threads all your posts into something called a “story”, which means you can record your day to day activities and special events in real time, and the app will weave all these “snaps” into a short story.

The easiest way to get started on Snapchat is simply to think of each story as a documentary about your business, the interesting people that work in it, and the cool products and services you do.

My top tip is to always relate it to your business. If you’re in a design field, upload images of work in progress or great designs you come across, as this makes your business look like it’s actively working on cool projects or researching the latest trends. If you’re a restaurant, use Snapchat to upload clips of the staff restocking the pantry with the latest produce and the chef hard at work preparing delicious meals, showing off the expertise and effort that goes into each and every bite.

Examples of small businesses promoting special offers.

Promoting an offer

Whilst telling a story is great for branding and building reputation, if you want to see more immediate R.O.I., then promoting special offers on the platform is the way to go.

One common practice for active restaurants on Snapchat is they upload a post in the mornings of quiet days telling customers they can get 10% off their bill if they come to eat that day. To prove they’re Snapchat followers, they need to show the post on their phone to you. This creates a sense of urgency and buzz around your Snapchat stories, giving customers a financial reason to follow you, which all converts into tangible sales. Then after 24 hours, the offer simply expires with the post until you upload another one.

This is just a fraction of what you can do on Snapchat.

Above I’ve focused on the core areas of Snapchat to get you started. There are a slew of other things small and medium businesses can do with Snapchat, from paid advertising to creative custom filters around the geographic area of your business, which you can learn more about here or by speaking to any digital media marketer (like me!).

Dillan Gandhi is an award-winning digital media consultant and owner of the Dillan Gandhi Media agency. Learn more at