You may have heard of this thing called, “Snapchat.”
You may have also responded with a scoff or said something like, “I have Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, a Yelp page, a Google My Business page, and a Trip Advisor page. I do not need another social media page to manage. Also, I’m running out of storage on my phone.”
We feel you. But, you know how everyone’s always asking, “What’s the next Facebook?” There’s a big camp saying it’s Snapchat. It’s the next generation social media app – it’s here… and it’s relatively untapped.
Recent stats show that SnapChat is now the third most popular social media tool. Following Facebook and Instagram, SnapChat beat out Twitter, with 33% penetration of Millennials mobile phones. In fact, 70% of college kids post on SnapChat at least once daily compared to Facebook where only 11% posted daily.
9000 snaps are shared every second and 73% of Snapchat users are Millennials (the demographic ages 18 – 33). Word on the street is that there is also a growing 40+ demographic as well… which leads Millennials to ask, “Mom, what could you possibly be snapping?” Oh, wait… your FOOD.
While the user base is growing astronomically, only 1% of businesses are using SnapChat to their advantage, which means there’s a huge opportunity for restaurant marketers to reach a ready and listening audience on the daily, without much other noise.
So great! Now that we’ve determined you should probably be on it, what is Snapchat and how can you use it effectively?
Snapchat 101: Creating Your Story
When using SnapChat, you have the option to add picture or video to “Your Story”. Your story is viewable to everyone. It’s an ongoing collection of your media, both images and video, which are live for 24 hours after posting. Once they’ve reached the 24-hour limit, they disappear. There’s text, emojii and drawing capabilities so you can add commentary to your media. Followers can screenshot your pictures (and if they do you’ll be notified) but other than that, once the time is up, the media disappears into the social media ether.
Snapchat for Branding
Bring your restaurant to life – and make those followers of yours salivate – by capturing the ins and outs of your restaurant. Running a special? Document the prep of the special and record the tasting process. Do you have a bartender who’s an amazing flare? Catch them on a busy night working their magic. Have a particularly savory dish? Who doesn’t love a little food porn to get the saliva glands going.
Snapchat is such a personal medium, especially because not all brands are on it. Just like many restaurants aspire to create a homey, cozy, friendly feeling within their establishment, Snapchat is the perfect digital place to extend that feeling. As the folks at RestaurateurHQ.com said, “Restaurants are the perfect fit for Snapchat because they can be fun and show their personality in a way that a lot of businesses are afraid to do (because they don’t have one – ouch!). Restaurants want a friendly, close bond with their customers, and Snapchat allows for that connection to be made and maintained without too much trouble.”
Snapchat for Promotions
Start with a simple flash promotion
Flash promotions are a great incentive for guests to get in the doors, fast. Snapchat has a timer associated with each post, so you can post a promo code or password for your guests to screenshot within a time segment you designate from 1 – 10 seconds. When that guest does come in, they can show the server the promo code and redeem the offer.
Once you’ve built your following and have established a Snapchat presence, you could extend the creativity of your promotions. For example, you could hide promotion codes within a video or have your customers “feed a friend” by having them sending snaps to their friends with a promo code.
Snapchat for Testimonials
Have a particularly satisfied guest? A table with an interesting story? Ask them if they wouldn’t mind being featured or telling the Snapchat community why they had such a great night. Remember, you can upload a series of pictures and video in sequence, so you can build out entire narratives using a combination of pictures and video.
Snapchat as a Town Crier
Have a new menu item? Are you hiring? Are you a food truck setting up shop at a surprise location? Use Snapchat as your version of a town crier. Tell your following where you’re going to be and announce the latest happenings at your venue. Since the content is both fleeting and consensual, meaning Snapchatters must follow you to receive your story, you can glean that they’re highly invested in your brand. Thus, they’ll be more likely to act on your announcements. In marketing speak, they’re highly qualified leads because the nature of Snapchat is so intimate.
What makes Snapchat so intimate? According to the app’s CEO, Evan Spiegel, since brands have the same tools as followers - a smartphone, a single line of text, and MS Paint like doodling pen, not a DSLR or a professional stylist – there’s user equality. He believes that Snapchat enables users to “focus on the feeling that content brings to you, not the way that content looks. This is a conservative idea, the natural response to radical transparency that restores integrity and context to conversation.” All this to say that you can bet your followers on Snapchat will be more engaged than those on other social media forums, where images, words and ads are so easily lost in the noise of a thousand pieces of content, all jumbled together in one endless scroll.
The beauty of Snapchat? It’s easy to add to your daily routine. It doesn’t require massive upkeep. The first step is to acquire a following by using your most successful social media forum to promote your account. And then you can take it from there, with a band of highly qualified followers filling seats at your restaurant. While photos may disappear in 10 seconds, Snapchat won’t be disappearing anytime soon. It’s the perfect way to share your story, extend your brand, and show your fun-side to both new and existing customers.
About the Author
Jackie is a Content Marketing Specialist and Social Media strategist at TouchBistro. She covers the latest food, dining, and technology trends for the restaurant industry. A lover of all things coffee, Jackie’s hobbies include breakfast, lunch and dinner.More Content by Jackie Prange