5 Experts Share Tips to Using Snapchat & Instagram for Business

This post is an excerpt from our Digital Growth Summit event in Los Angeles.
Here are the digital marketing experts who contributed to this blog:

Jesse Leimgruber Snapchat & Instagram for Business Key Takeaways

Jesse Leimgruber

Sean Williams Snapchat & Instagram for Business Key Takeaways

Sean Williams
Marketing Strategy

Kristi Kellogg Snapchat & Instagram for Business Key Takeaways

Kristi Kellogg
Social Media Editor
Bruce Clay, Inc.

Breanna Collier Snapchat & Instagram for Business Key Takeaways

Breanna Collier
Director of Social Media

Sae Cho Manager Snapchat & Instagram for Business Key Takeaways

Sae Cho
Social Influence
Horizon Media

Experts Share Tips to Using Snapchat & Instagram for Business

Instagram and Snapchat—Snapchat especially—are relatively uncharted terrain compared to other social-media platforms when it comes to branding your business and engaging your customers

Here are some key takeaways from the branding on Instagram & Snapchat panel:

  • Choose your platform wisely
  • Instagram is the place to put your beautifully curated content, because on Instagram your content will live forever. Snapchat, however, can create sense of immediacy—which is great for building in a call to action.

  • Be authentic
  • Show behind-the-scenes stories, real people from your company, etc. Viewers are turned off by pushy, salesy tactics.

  • Build influencer relationships
  • If you find influencers whose lifestyle aligns with your brand and build relationships with them, they’re your best bet for reaching your target audience in an organic way.

  • Tell a story
  • Snapchat posts come and go quickly, but you don’t have to present your message all at once. Instead create a beginning, middle and end, and spread it out in a sequence.

    What are some tips and trends for brands who want to use Snapchat for marketing?

    Only 6% of brands are actually utilizing Snapchat right now, so there is a huge opportunity. -Kristi Kellogg

    There are a few different ways that you can brand yourself on Snapchat today. One is obviously having an organic channel, using paid media, sponsored stories, and the Discovery Channel, which accepts advertising. GhostCodes is a new app that just launched this week that allows you to search through users and brands by categories. I think that is going to be a really useful resource for everyone out there. —Sean Williams

    Only 6% of brands are actually utilizing Snapchat for this business right now, so there is a huge opportunity, but it only makes sense if your audience is there. Snapchat is mostly millennials, really really young people, teens and high schoolers. —Kristi Kellogg

    With any social media channel, as it continues to emerge it will grow into different demographics. So while Snapchat does skew young, we are seeing that the highest growth is in the 30+ category. If you get in early, there might be opportunities down the line as it continues to expand. I think among brands that I see doing the best content in Snapchat, the key is that they are creating stories. It is very momentary and femoral so the impulse might be just to be in the moment, but brands that are doing it well have a full story with a beginning, middle, and end as well as a daily theme. That sets them apart. —Sae Cho

    I think a great way to develop content and utilize it effectively on Snapchat is of course to post things organically. For example, backstage at New York Fashion Week is something we always do so we can post behind-the-scenes interviews, photos, and things like that. But if you are a brand with multiple locations, it would be worth it for you to look at an overarching Snapchat strategy that would allow different people from your different locations to participate. That way you would have more well rounded content. —Breanna Collier

    How should brands be thinking about Snapchat vs. Instagram? What are the best practices on using Instagram for business?

    You want to have well edited, concise photos and a caption with a strategy. —Breanna Collier

    I think you have an overarching story, and a platform like Instagram is a great way to be able to use sub-stories of your longer-form content to get the word out there and point over to the longer-form content. Instagram also has a generally higher engagement level as opposed to some of the other video platforms. I would recommend video always as a part of your strategy for Instagram. —Sean Williams

    The most important thing for Instagram is to act like an organic user. The most successful posts are those that are shot with a unique point of view, tell a story, use filters and that are a square as opposed to the other dimensions that people use, because that is what people expect to see. Don’t be sales-y, because then you are no longer part of the native Instagram experience, and you will be ignored. We know that 60% of people have learned about a product or service through Instagram and 75% of people actually go take a next step and search for your business, go to your website, or make a purchase. —Kristi Kellogg

    Instagram is definitely the place to put your beautifully curated content because on Instagram your content will live forever whereas on Snapchat your content will live for 24 hours. You want to have well edited, concise photos and a caption with a strategy. What we have noticed as advertising becomes more prevalent on Instagram, businesses are jumping in without first creating ads that are less sales-pitch oriented and more contest-oriented or other more organic methods. 60-second videos are also great for sharing tutorials, behind-the-scenes footage, and look books. –Breanna Collier

    First and foremost, Instagram is about creating an entire lifestyle. If your product is a pristine, clean cocktail beverage, you need to think about where you are having that cocktail—is it on a patio? At the beach? With a book next to it? Your product needs to be a part of a lifestyle on Instagram. Engagement rate actually tends to be higher when the product is smaller in the photo because it feels more authentic to Instagram users, so keep in mind the importance of lifestyle component. Take the time as well to engage by commenting back to any comments that you receive and really listen to what users are saying to you about your brand. —Sae Cho

    We work with a lot of influencers and the brands always wonder, “How come the influencer’s own content got 10,000 clicks but then when they posted my branded content it got 1,000 clicks?” That’s because it was clearly the brand’s content. —Jesse Leimgruber

    Are there other tips that work really well for brands posting their own content or working with influencers on either Instagram or Snapchat?

    The best thing about Snapchat is that there is a built-in sense of urgency. -Sae Cho

    Authenticity is key. The more authentic stories and authentic photos work best. —Sean Williams

    Two things: As a business, we get the most engagement when we show pictures of people who work at our company. So you have to think creatively about how to make authentic and organic content. From a personal standpoint, I started doing way more hashtag research and using hashtags strategically as a person, and I have gotten so much more engagement. —Kristi Kellogg

    Calls to Action. The best thing about Snapchat is that it is only around for 24 hours, so there is already a built-in sense of urgency with your content. If you can build in those calls to action, you will see better results because people are already incentivized to act quickly on Snapchat. —Sae Cho

    You are about 70% more likely to believe something coming from word of mouth than coming directly from a company. For us, we have brick and mortar locations so we can post and simply tag the photo with a location to get the message across. —Breanna Collier

    How can B2B companies focus on using Instagram for business, and does it make sense for B2B companies to do so?

    B2B companies can work with influencers to target specific consumers on Instagram and Snapchat. -Jesse Leimgruber

    On every channel we look at marketing towards potential franchise owners, academy leads for people who have not yet graduated high school and might want to come to our academy, marketing towards salons/stylists/expert hair stylists, and marketing towards a Nordstrom-type customer who might be interested in our salon. —Breanna Collier

    Horizon Media actually uses Snapchat as a hiring recruiter where we have an entire Snapchat channel, HorizonMediaCareers, geared towards showing company culture and attracting new talent. —Sae Cho

    Another application that I have seen for B2B companies is working with influencers to target specific consumers, such as using a fashion influencer to reach an expert hair stylist. —Jesse Leimgruber

    Big brands such as GE have used Instagram for business as a way to share scientific details and innovations as well as humanizing the brand. —Sean Williams

    What works well for getting consumers to follow you and then also take further action with your brand? How should brands reach out to influencers? Are there any best practices around targeting influencers?

    If you’re too heavy-handed with an influencer, their audience is going to shy away from your brand. -Sean Williams

    With Snapchat, an influencer endorsement is usually more influential and more cost effective when compared to ads, which can cost as much as $750K to start with for a single day of marketing. But targeting with influencers can be tough. I think the best thing is to look for an influencer whose lifestyle aligns with your brand, look at their creative aesthetic, their captions, and the language that they use to respond to their fans. A “takeover” is a great way to bring the influencer’s followers over to your channel. The influencer typically starts by posting a small story on their account first to say, “Hey I’m going to be taking over the Jack and the Box’s Snapchat handle today to give you a behind-the-scenes look,” and then they will publish that and migrate their audience over to the brand’s Snapchat handle. —Sae Cho

    Make sure that you let the influencer do what they do best and do not assert too much control over them. What we have found is if you are too heavy-handed with an influencer, their audience is going to shy away from your brand rather than be attracted to it. —Sean Williams

    How can brands make content on Instagram and Snapchat that isn’t like an ad, but that actually attracts people to it?

    Put out great content that is positive and uplifting and attract people on social that way. -Sean Williams

    I have a good friend who is an influencer, and his overall philosophy is that he wants to be a lighthouse not a tugboat. He wants to shine and put out great content that is positive and uplifting and attract people that way, rather than forcing content onto people’s feeds that they do not want to see. —Sean Williams

    If you are a smaller brand or your budget isn’t as large, there is something I like to use called PeopleMaps. You can go through and look at your competitors’ lists and people in your target market. You can start targeting influencers with fewer followers—less than 20,000 for example—and reach out to them by individually offering them a service, product or fun event opportunity. —Breanna Collier

    If you are trying to connect with an influencer, first try to create a meaningful relationship with them. That doesn’t start by asking them to do something for you. Give value to them by sharing and retweeting their content. —Kristi Kellogg

    Building a relationship is important. Interviewing them for an article is a great way. —Jesse Leimgruber

    What are metrics and best practices that brands should follow to run their own brand’s account?

    Successful campaigns I have seen require that the user screenshot or tweet something specific. -Jesse Leimgruber

    Personally, I think it will differ by account and brand, so the best thing that you can do for yourself is really measure and take the time to analyze. Test your engagement. Make sure you are social listening, and you can use memes and reframe them to fit your brand to help with cultural relevance. —Sae Cho

    Do a lot of experimenting. Change out the link that is in your profile often. —Sean Williams

    The good thing about Snapchat is that you can post as much content as you are comfortable with, because the user has to go in and grab it from you. In regards to Instagram for business, I use the Simply Measured free Instagram report. —Breanna Collier

    A lot of successful campaigns I have seen require that the user screenshot or tweet something specific to ramp up engagement. —Jesse Leimgruber

    How are Instagram and Snapchat changing?

    Social is becoming more about a one-on-one relationship with brands. -Breanna Collier

    I think the biggest shift has been from static images to videos, which really helps with the storytelling process and creating a narrative around your brand. The older demographic is growing daily on Snapchat and I think the content is also starting to mature as well. —Sean Williams

    Social is becoming more about a one-on-one relationship with brands, and this needs to change the way that brands market themselves to consumers. Make sure you engage with your users as soon as they respond to you. —Breanna Collier

    In order to be successful on these Instagram and Snapchat, do we have to be the people that take action every time our phone beeps?

    If your brand is responding in 24 hours on social, that is a completely respectable amount of time. -Sae Cho

    I hope not. I turn it off around 7 p.m., and I might scroll through later on, but I do not feel the urgency to respond to every single thing every time that it comes in. —Sean Williams

    A good rule of thumb is 24 hours. If your brand is responding in 24 hours, that is a completely respectable amount of time. —Sae Cho

    What are the top metrics you are looking at to make sure that you are successful?

    The top metrics for Instagram and Snapchat are conversions and traffic to your site. -Kristi Kellogg

    The top metrics for Instagram and Snapchat are conversions and traffic to your site. —Kristi Kellogg

    Those are the most valuable. —Jesse Leimgruber

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