Using Organic Snapchat for your Brand (When you’re not Taco Bell)

The new generation of young people brings with it a new set of social networks. Prime among these new mediums is Snapchat. I can envision the business people of the world pulling their hair out saying, “We just got used to Instagram, how are we supposed to tackle a brand new network?” Calm down, put your hair back as best as possible and listen to a man who regularly uses the flower crown filter to send snapchats to his friends. Here are a few thoughts and musings on what role organic Snapchat should play in your social strategy (when you’re not Taco Bell or any other massive corporate brands).

Is your audience right for Snapchat?

The first question that you as a marketer need to ask yourself is, “What is my demographic?” Now naturally you should be asking yourself that anyway, but depending on your answer, you could save yourself a ton of time. Around 70% of Snapchat’s users are women, and 60% of users are under the age of 25. This means, if your audience doesn’t tend to fall into those demographics, Snapchat can (for now) fall on the back-burner because your audience isn’t there. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ignore it though! Fifty percent of Snapchat’s new users are above the age of 25. Keep a close eye on Snapchat as it grows and start an account, reserve a username. Social moves so quickly that you could be using Snapchat to reach baby boomers before you know it.

If you’ve decided that “By golly, a younger demographic is right for my business,” then you’ll want to pay attention from here on out.

What makes Snapchat different than other networks?

In case you haven’t already noticed, Snapchat is completely different than other social networks. It’s intensely visual and raw, which makes it unique from Facebook and Instagram. Snapchat cannot be used to schedule photos from the past, which makes things tricky because there’s not a lot of room for internal approval processes. Photos and videos need to be posted in the moment.

“Photos and videos need to be posted in the moment.”

You can post old photos but it creates a white border around your photo to signify that it was a photo taken previously. These functions mean that you need someone in the thick of your business either using your product or participating in your service regularly.

Snapchat also makes it trickier to create a loyal fanbase because account discovery is difficult. In order for even your most loyal fans to find you, they need to know your exact username or a Snapchat code. This differs from other networks that have a direct search feature. If I hear of “Bill’s BBQ,” I can go search Facebook and Instagram, find Bill’s page and look through his posts. On Snapchat (as of writing this; it could change) if I search for Bill’s BBQ I can’t find his Snapchat account.

“Austin,” I hear you saying, “If it’s tough to gain a following and Snapchat needs to be in the moment, how am I ever going to use it properly?” I’d say that it is important that there is someone who can be trusted to take good photos and videos on the site of what you want to record. Next, eliminate approval barriers and trust that person who is creating and posting brand posts.

What content should you post on Snapchat?

If you’ve decided that Snapchat is a good fit for your brand, and you’ve set up your internal infrastructure to use it properly, it is time to focus on content. Understand that you’re not going to have a traditional content calendar like with other networks. Interesting things for your Snapchat account will pop up here and there and they aren’t always going to be consistent. Events are a great place for organic Snapchat content. Whether you’re attending an event or hosting an event, they give you a great opportunity to showcase the experience of being on the ground floor. Share the experience — something that most of your fans will not be able to do.

“Share the experience — something that most of your fans will not be able to do.”

Snapchat is also a great way to show sneak peeks. Show clips of how your product is made, what it’s like brainstorming for the next big idea, or something you see daily on the job. Give the person who has taken the time to follow you on Snapchat a look behind the curtain at how your magic is made.

Some of the best use cases for businesses organically on Snapchat have been contests. Tie in a giveaway to all your other social channels directing the audience to your Snapchat. Then leak details on your Snapchat as to where and how they can receive the special prize. This helps by generating new interest for your Snapchat account, then also commits them to interacting with you in real life. If you don’t have time to do an in-person scavenger hunt, that’s okay. Offer up a coupon or other deal that people can come redeem that’s not available anywhere other than your Snapchat. It’s a great way to creatively drive business and have your audience engage with you socially.

Snapchat is a new platform that’s all about raw authentic content. Try stuff out, play around and be in touch with your audience, and you’re sure to rise in the ranks of businesses slaying the game organically on Snapchat.


  • What’s your brand’s target audience? Snapchat’s audience is mostly women and below the age of 34.
  • Snapchat requires visual, raw and in-the-moment content that can’t be easily scheduled or controlled by approval processes.
  • Create content that is dynamic, gives fans a behind-the-scenes perspective on your business.
  • Try running contests to drive engagement and business.