Using Snapchat with WordPress to Reach Younger Audiences

Social media marketing can sometimes feel like you’re being pulled in a million directions at once. Even so, being everywhere has its benefits and Snapchat definitely qualifies as a part of “everywhere.”

According to Snapchat, in May 2014 the app's users were sending 700 million photos and videos per day.
According to Snapchat, in May 2014 the app’s users were sending 700 million photos and videos per day.

The point-and-shoot blink-and-you’ll-miss-it social network has serious appeal for socially savvy people and business owners, alike, particularly those who want to target the 13-34-year-old crowd.

And, as always, when you add its unique benefits to WordPress, you get a solid marketing strategy and your business will be better for it.

But I’m not to going to lie. Snapchat is sort of… weird. It’s not as intuitive (at least it wasn’t to me) as some of the other social networks out there. The interface can be slightly clunky. But once you familiarize yourself with all of its little features, you can create interesting content for your company to be used across multiple social networks and your website.

Before you get into the marketing tips, let’s first get familiar with this fast photo and video sharing app.

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is like a social media version of texting. Users can send photos or videos that are doctored up with text and drawings to select recipients. What makes Snapchat interesting is how ephemeral the content is. Once sent, the recipient can view the “Snap” from 1 to 10 seconds before it’s deleted from Snapchat’s servers for good.

There has been some debate as to whether or not this is actually true (data does tend to hang around for a while), which has left many questioning how susceptible their Snaps would be to a hack. This is especially relevant since the company was hacked in 2013.

It’s also fallen victim to spam attacks, with many users finding their phones flooded with Snaps for porn, weight loss supplements, and more.

That sounds like a lot of negative info, I know, but I only offer these details in the interest of transparency – you should know what you’re signing up for. Even so, Snapchat does offer a unique platform for marketers to get their message out. And it provides another way to reach your customers. Plus, it’s ephemeral nature makes for some truly interesting and innovative marketing campaigns. You definitely have to think outside the box when your messages are so fleeting.

Why Use Snapchat?

Despite all the potential drawbacks I mentioned above, Snapchat can earn a solid spot in your marketing strategy if you give it a chance. But you should know right off the bat, standard tactics don’t work here. You really have to be creative. But please, don’t let that deter you.

For starters, I’ve included some tips for marketing with Snapchat below. And second, know this: just because you have to stretch your brain a bit to use this social network effectively, doesn’t mean you should write it off. Really, you shouldn’t.

There's no stopping Snapchat...
There’s no stopping Snapchat…

Snapchat has 100 million users every single day that are responsible for sending 400 million Snaps each day. The vast majority of users fall within that oh-so coveted demographic of 13-34 years of age.

And by using this network, you provide your business with some serious benefits including:

  • Awareness. By using Snapchat, you show your audience that you’re aware of what social networks are out there and what’s currently popular. You show that you make it a priority to keep up with things. A current company is a relevant company.
  • Accessibility. With a Snapchat account, you make your brand more accessible to the public. It’s one more place your fans can connect with you.
  • Competitive Edge. Are your competitors on Snapchat? If not, your presence there is one more thing you offer that they don’t. Score!
  • It Makes You Relatable. Snapchat is known for how it allows friends to share photos or videos with one another quickly. It’s a form of multimedia communication. Making a presence on this network shows you’re willing to have a conversation with your prospects. It makes you human.

Getting Started with Snapchat

Getting setup on Snapchat is actually really easy. You’ll first need to download the app from the App Store or Google Play.

Hey, give me a break. I just signed up.
Hey, give me a break. I just signed up.

Once it’s installed, open the app and create a new account.

You’ll need to input your phone number to verify your identity, but this information isn’t shared with other Snapchat users.

A verification code will be sent to your phone as a text. Copy this code where prompted and you’ll be good to go.

Next, you have to add some contacts to the app so you’ll have someone to send your Snaps to. You can use your phone’s address book to browse for contacts that already have Snapchat.

This is a quick way to add your friends. Just click the plus sign next to each person’s name and you’ll be ready to starting chatting.

You can also adjust your personal settings by tapping the red square at the bottom of the camera view then tapping the gear icon in the upper righthand corner. This is where you can opt out of allowing your friends to find you via your phone number.

Enabling Filters will give your Snaps a personal touch.
Enabling Filters will give your Snaps a personal touch.

Under the settings screen, you can also manage additional services like filters, power save mode, special text, and forward-facing flash. Enabling “Filters” gives Snapchat access to your location.

And if you want to doodle on your Snaps by adding text and emoji, you’ll need to turn on Special Text.

The Replay feature allows you to select a single Snap to view again that was sent to you within the past 24 hours. But you can only use this feature once per day.

Taking Snaps 

It’s easy to take photos and videos on Snapchat. In fact, it automatically activates your camera, so you don’t have to do very much. Just take a picture like you normally would.

You can switch between rear-facing and front-facing cameras, turn the flash on and off, and focus the image within the app. Just tap the circle at the bottom of the screen to take a picture. Or, tap and hold the circle to take a 10-second long video.

I may have gotten carried away with the doodle feature while writing this post.
I may have gotten carried away with the doodle feature while writing this post.

Before you send your Snap, you can add a caption. To do this, just tap on the photo or video and type in your message. A pencil tool should also be visible in the upper righthand corner. Tap this to draw on the picture.

If you want to add a filter to the Snap, swipe left or right to see how each would look. A few options include colors, the time, the weather, and your location.

Before you send the Snap, you can also pick for how long the image will be viewable. You can adjust the time from anywhere to one second to 10 seconds. If you want to save a copy of your photo before you send it, make sure you tap the downward arrow at the bottom of the screen.

Sending Snaps 

Once you’re done making all the adjustments you want to make, you can send your photo. To do so, simply tap the arrow on the bottom righthand corner of the screen. You can pick from your contact list. You can send it to everyone on the list if you want. Once the recipient opens the Snap, they’ll have the time you allotted to view it before it automatically deletes from their device.

Viewing Snaps

If you receive a Snap from someone, you’ll see a number on the bottom lefthand corner of the screen. Tap this and you’ll be presented with a list of your unopened Snaps. Once you tap to open a Snap, you have to continue to press and hold the screen—otherwise the photo will disappear and you won’t be able to view it again.

Creating Stories

Remember how I mentioned Filters, above? One filter option is called Stories and it allows you to create a compilation of photos and videos from your day. These are posted to your feed and can be viewed by you and your friends for a full 24 hours.

As you might’ve guessed, Stories can come in especially handy for businesses, but we’ll get to more on that in just a bit.

Make your Snaps more widely available with the Story feature.
Make your Snaps more widely available with the Story feature.

Making a Story is just like creating a Snap. First, take a photo or video then tap the rectangle with a plus sign in it at the bottom of the screen. Next, press “Add to Your Story.”

Anything you add to the story will be viewable by your friends for 24 hours.

Other Features

Snapchat has a few other features, too, like Here, which offers the ability to send texts, photos, and videos to individual people on your contact list to start a conversation. You can have a live video chat session and view your Snapchat Score, too.

Snapchat Plugins for WordPress

Now that we’ve got the rudimentary how-to details out of the way, we can move onto the nitty-gritty of this post—how to integrate Snapchat into WordPress.

Just as with Periscope, which we discussed recently here on the blog, there isn’t a whole lot of WordPress integration for Snapchat – just yet. A lot of this has to do with the fleeting nature of the content. It’s hard to import Snaps when they disappear within 10 seconds. Even Snapchat Stories last just 24 hours, so it’s hard to build a browser-based integration around that.

Still, there are a few ways to connect Snapchat with your WordPress site. The first of which involves adding something called your Snapcode.

snapcode

To get started, you need to get your Snapchat Snapcode.

To do this, log into the dedicated site then download a zip file by pressing the yellow button. Included in this zip file are the QR codes site visitors can use to scan with their Snapchat cameras to add you.

Adding it to WordPress is pretty simple. Once you’ve extracted the files from the zip, simply upload the image to your site and insert it into an image widget in your sidebar, footer, or any other widgetized area. You can even insert it directly into a post or a page if you’d prefer.

That’s seriously all there is to it. This gives your site visitors a way to connect with you on Snapchat without having to type anything. Just point, shoot, and connect.

Snapchat Snapcode Widget

If you don’t feel like fiddling with the image widget, you can perform the above integration by using the Snapchat Snapcode Widget plugin. Once installed and activated, this plugin creates a dedicated widget for the Snapcode. Drag it to your sidebar in the Appearance menu then upload your Snapcode file from the zip, give the widget a name, and type out your Snapchat username. Save these settings and your Snapcode will appear live on your site.

The Snapcode Widget plugin.
The Snapcode Widget plugin.

Unfortunately, that’s about it in terms of Snapchat integration for WordPress at the moment. But that doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate it into how you use WordPress and how you market your business.

Target a younger audience with Snapchat.
Target a younger audience with Snapchat.

How to Add Snapchat to Your Marketing Plan 

Due to the ephemeral nature of the images and videos people share on Snapchat, it would seem at first glance that most people would be using it to share inappropriate content. But given that the usage stats are impressive and the demographics are well-distributed – 31% are between 18-24 and 19% are over 25 – there is definitely more to Snapchat than just teens lacking discretion.

Many major brands are hopping on the Snapchat bandwagon. Take GrubHub, for instance. The online food-ordering service has consistently presented itself on social media in fun and clever ways, so it should come as no surprise that they’ve got this whole Snapchat thing on lockdown, too. Back in 2014, the company ran a contest that asked people to create doodles of food for a chance to win an interview for an intern position. GrubHub continues to use the platform to share promo codes and behind-the-scenes info.

GrubHub consistently runs fun campaigns on Snapchat.
GrubHub consistently runs fun campaigns on Snapchat.

Despite your initial reluctance to get on board with yet another social network, it’s actually not all that hard to add Snapchat to your current marketing strategy. In fact, it should fall right in line with what you’re doing on sites like Instagram and Tumblr. When you find something you want to share on these sites, just remember to take an extra pic for Snapchat. Add a doodle and/or special message and you’ve just connected with a different audience using the same or similar content. Granted, this isn’t the best way to engage on social media—unique content is always best—but it’s definitely a good way to get started.

As you delve deeper into Snapchat, here are a few ways to most effectively engage there:

Get on board with fleeting content

If you want to use Snapchat you have to just accept that the content you post there is temporary. When sent to individual friends, the Snaps will be gone after 10 seconds. If you share them to a Story, they’ll be gone after 24-hours. But acknowledging this can actually help you to develop content that’s perfect for Snapchat.

Recognize the here and now

This falls right in line with the above. Understanding your Snaps are temporary gives you a unique opportunity to embrace the here and now. Time-sensitivity is crucial. So, if you offer content that makes people want to be your friend so they don’t miss something cool, you’ve got a good thing going.

Provide exclusive offers

Along with that time-sensitivity comes exclusivity. So yes, you can create really cool content that a small group of people get to see, but you can also offer discounts and coupons that your audience can enjoy. Time-sensitive offers can be a big hit since those who catch them will feel like they’re a part of a secret club. I can’t even over-emphasize how important exclusivity is when marketing a business.

Give a behind-the-scenes look

Snapchat also gives you a chance to give your friends and fans a behind-the-scenes look at your company. While you can do this on sites like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, too, companies can feel free to have a little bit more fun with the kinds of content they post to Snapchat, since it’s such an informal medium. Add on the doodle capability and you open yourself up to some silly and brand-defining opportunities.

Offer sneak peeks at new products

What if you want to give your friends and followers a look at what you’re working on but don’t want to make a formal announcement yet? Why, post a quick Snap, of course. This gives people a glimpse of a new product or event and you don’t have to provide much context. A simple Snap will do, and often drives speculation, which goes a long way toward fueling brand interest.

Make announcements

When the time comes to officially announce a product or event, you can create some serious hype by using Snapchat. Sharing a few Snaps in the days leading up to your announcement can go a long way toward building significant interest in what you have to say. Make sure to add the snaps you share to your Story so more people can see them, too.

The Snapchat + WordPress Power Combo

While there isn’t a whole lot of Snapchat integration for WordPress just yet, there are ways you can use both platforms together successfully.

Let’s take a look at a few here that go beyond the simple Snapcode.

Save your Snaps to your device to share later

While the temporary nature of Snaps can be a good thing, you’ll probably want to save the photos you take using the app to your device. This gives you the option to share them later and to repurpose them for a different part of your marketing campaign. Make sure you have this ability enabled in the Snapchat settings menu.

Do a weekly roundup of Snaps

If you’re saving your Snaps to your device like you should be, you can always share them again later in a different form. One way to do this is to create a weekly blog post that compiles all of your Snaps for the week (or if you’re a frequent sharer, a best-of compilation). This gives your Snaps new life on your blog and opens up opportunities for you to share them across other social networks as well.

Add your site URL to your Snaps

Cross-promotion is key. While you shouldn’t be overly sales-y, it’s perfectly acceptable to include your site URL in your Snaps on occasion.

Share your Snaps to other social networks

Again, cross-promotion is key. If a Snap of yours would have life beyond the 10-second or 24-hour windows, share it to Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Content repurposing saves time and ensures the greatest number of people see the content you’ve worked so hard to create.

Snapchat MI is a WordPress-based site featuring a Snapchat portfolio.
Snapchat MI is a WordPress-based site featuring a Snapchat portfolio.

Create a portfolio of Snaps

While this tip won’t be for everybody, some of you who are artistically inclined might be interested in taking up Snapchat art as a part of your marketing strategy. Take Snapchat Mi, for instance. Her site is built on WordPress and includes a gallery-style portfolio of some of her best personal and company Snaps. Her doodles have be used in campaigns for Bloomingdale’s, UNICEF, and NBC’s The Voice. If that’s not taking Snapchat to the next level, I don’t know what is.

Getting Creative With Snapchat

Snapchat isn’t the newest social network on the block but it certainly has a reputation as one of the youngest. But businesses should embrace that fact, rather than run scared. In fact, building a brand reputation on Snapchat can help your company reach a new audience and potentially drive new sales. So adding that potential to your WordPress site just makes good sense.

Now I’m interested in hearing from you. How have you used Snapchat to market your business? Have you found creative ways to use it alongside WordPress? I’d love to hear your best tips and tricks below. 

Image source: Marketing Land