by Steffan Pedersen (@steffanpedersen)
As a marketer, Snapchat can be a living hell. We know this (looking at you, Social Media Managers). However, the channel is not to be ignored and, with the right strategies, can quickly become your new best friend as you snap your way to sales and an increased salary.
To uncover the magic of Snapchat, I sat down with Oh Snap! You Can Use Snapchat for Business author, Kate Talbot, to learn about her favorite tactics, campaigns, and businesses snapping their way to success. (For you non-Millennials there’s even a Snapchat glossary 😉).
If you’re new to Snapchat, or don’t know Kate – you’re in for a treat. It’s our honor to introduce Kate Talbot ahead of our upcoming Monday panel event (psst…tickets still available!) where Kate will be presenting to the VIP crowd.
Simply put, Kate is a rock star. She has worked for Fortune 500 companies and non-profits alike, syndicating her millennial and social media monetization-focused articles across Social Media Examiner, Engadget, KISSmetrics, and more. Kate’s impressive career includes time at Kiva.org, Virgin America as the sole social marketing manager, Soldsie’s social shopping service, and most recently Growth for Vidder (a security service offering trusted connectivity). Kate has a history driving growth for early stage startups from Seed Round to Series B.
Fun facts from Kate’s career! She’s interviewed Richard Branson, was profiled in a CNBC documentary about Twitter, opened the NASDAQ, and volunteers as a mentor at Stanford.
Ok, let’s get to the interview -- here’s how you can maximize your efforts on Snapchat, from Kate’s brain to your Snapchat Stories.
S: What are some of your favorite Snapchat accounts to follow?
K: My favorite Snapchat accounts to follow are Everlane and PopSugar/ShopStyle. I am inspired and completely amazed by the art and content that is created by the Everlane team. They are able to promote their products and brand messaging in such an effective and engaging way. They truly encapsulate their brand via Snapchat stories.
PopSugar/ShopStyle is another incredible brand storytelling channel. They are able to transform their online content into the quick, ephemeral mobile experience. I am excited to see where Emoticode (the e-commerce aspect of ShopStyle app) will go with influencers on Snapchat and brands alike. It’s a great integration of the companies to showcase their content and product.
S: Favorite Story feature? I loved seeing Gatorade’s 8-bit Serena Williams game during the US Open this year!
K: I love watching New York Fashion Week. The notion that an exclusive event has been disrupted to have an inclusive nature via Snapchat is what I believe social media is all about -- giving access to those who’d never have the chance. Being able to see the behind-the-scenes aspects including models getting ready and a front row view to the collections makes it tangible to the average person. I am inspired by it (all while wearing yoga pants and lounging on the couch).
I worked with the venture firm, Accel Partners, to create their geofilter and Snapchat strategy for their summer intern party. Not only were they able to have their community engage with the geofilters, they asked their attendees to save them and post on social media. It takes the experience a step further!
S: What has been your favorite or most effective B2B usage of Snapchat?
K: B2B is always hard within the digital space and especially with millennial audiences. HubSpot has been able be effective in the space. They’ve used Snapchat as a recruiting tool, and they educate their audiences by creating interviews with employees and thought leaders on inbound marketing and other use cases they want to highlight.
In terms of geofilters for business: Gartner has been using Snapchat at their analyst events and tradeshows with geofilters. I am a fan of companies creating their own geofilters at tradeshows to drive traffic to their booths.
S: From your book, which case study do you think is the most thought provoking, and why?
K: I would say the most creative and most risky is NPR. It’s risky to take a high brow audience and engage using a low brow medium. However, they were able to do so with their storytelling. They were creative with how they could tap into their audience and find stories through their own users. My favorite anecdote was how the social media intern had to teach via brown bag lunches and 1:1 interviews with top reporters on how to use the platform! Imagine being 22 and having that pressure!
S: Do you recommend a company use Snapchat if they won’t be able to achieve high production value?
The best part about Snapchat is that you don’t need to have high production value. You can be as authentic as possible, and you can use the native tools to spice it up! Emojis, filters, and stickers -- the sky is the limit. I love that one photo could look so many different ways with Snapchat -- that’s the true art of it all.
If you’re worried about engagement numbers, use influencers to expand your brand’s reach and tell your story! Finally, just be authentic! The glamour shots are meant for Instagram.
S: As an influencer and “takeover-artist” yourself, what’s your one tip for up-and-coming Snappers?
K: Remember to tell a story. When I took over the Women in Tech Channel, I thought about the best ways to showcase my Silicon Valley life with interviews from top VCs and CEO’s, infographics made in Canva that I uploaded using the memories feature, and brought in one of the digital marketers for the Sundance Festival, a case study from my book. Remember you want to surprise and delight your audience through a variety of shots.
S: In your move from Virgin America to early stage startups, what difference does Snapchat play in your marketing strategies?
K: With early stage startups, you need to use low cost tools to build a brand and drive user acquisition. With Snapchat, you are able to do that! You can build out your new brand and find your target audience by Snapchat stories. When you are at a large brand like Virgin America, your strategy has to be centered on promoting the product (airplane and moodlighting) and the brand messaging, so there might be a more complex strategy. Either way, the platform should be a way to engage your audience and tell authentic stories.
S: Travel related… We discussed your love for travel and flexibility in your life, taking you as far as India! What’s been a standout strategy you’ve noticed while on the road?
K: I love integrating the native tools into my travels -- whether that is the miles per hour on the train, weather degrees (spoiler alert it’s hot) or altitude from 35,000 feet in the plane; it adds another element of your trip. I write about this in my piece for Engadget, how Snapchat helped me showcase my time at an ashram in India that was authentic to myself through digital storytelling.
S: You were one of the first people publishing Snapchat for business articles. How has the practice changed since you first began?
K: I started writing in June 2015, and now there are a lot more Snapchat influencers in the space! I wrote about how to partner with influencers on Snapchat, and I really enjoy seeing how artistic andcreative Snapchat influencers are. They create masterpieces only using the drawing tool! As with any social platform, the more brands and influencers are on it, it will become more polished, but hoping Snapchat still has that off-the-cuff feel.
S: As Snapchat continues to grow and acquire, what have been the most noteworthy development in the last year in your opinion?
K: The most noteworthy development in the last year hasn’t been a Snapchat acquisition, but the copycat game going on by Facebook and Instagram. With the launch and blatant copying (the CEO even acknowledged it) of Instagram Stories, it just goes to show how much users crave non-curated content that is real-time storytelling, which Snapchat has been able to own in the marketplace thus far.