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Snapchat is without a doubt the hippest kid on the social media block. With a userbase of over 1 million active daily users, it would seem like an obvious choice for brands to participate in the high volume of daily interactions. Yet, according to Mashable, only 1 percent of brands are taking advantage of the huge opportunities at stake for user viewership and participation.

Take the luxury car manufacturer, Audi, who teamed up with The Onion and Huge for its 2014 Super Bowl campaign, “Doberhuahua.” The viral multichannel effort generated 100,000 Snapchat views, 2,400 Twitter mentions, and 9,600 Snapchat followers in 48 hours. Audi’s win cemented its status as the first brand to show Snapchat’s rising force in the social media marketing ecosystem.

Besides Audi’s successful Snapchat case study, recent data also encourages marketers to leverage the social media channel. The 77 million active college students who use Snapchat daily make up a large percentage of the Millennial demographic for marketers. Why wait to target this prized audience in a predominantly untapped channel?

In an Inc. article, Brad Honigman describes the top four Snapchat marketing takeaways from the company’s leaked pitch deck.

  1. Forget traditional marketing wisdom.
    According to traditional marketing doctrine, brands must apply a top-down approach by repeating the same message to customers to “reinforce a narrative of what you want people to associate with your brand.” Snapchat’s novelty as a fleeting and fluid social channel disproves this logic for an audience that doesn’t crave a long-lasting message. It also allows brands to build an evolving story to their audience. Before you promote your brand’s snap, you can either add it to “My Story” – “a collection of snaps that add up to tell a bigger story and are viewable for 24 hours” or as an individual snap which is limited to a maximum of 10 seconds. According to a Verge article, Snapchat’s stories are more powerful than snaps. You can set up multiple stories of varying lengths to gauge which story type generates the most activity among your followers.
  2.  Practice makes perfect. There is no doubt that Snapchat’s ephemeral nature makes it an extremely difficult social media platform to master. The leading adopters on Snapchat have developed their brand identities on the channel through trial and error. Don’t be afraid to experiment and make mistakes.
  3. Authenticity over aesthetics. Under the conventional marketing paradigm, brands’ social media channels should be highly polished with engaging imagery and clever copy. Instead, Snapchat focuses on the emotional connection between brands and customers over perfection of digital marketing collateral.
  4. Integrate Snapchat with other social channels. Since Snapchat treats all users equally with no featured accounts, brands must promote their Snapchat channel in tandem with other social media platforms or multi-platform campaigns.

Snapchat allows companies to give viewers a real-time perspective of their brand identity through evolving storytelling about upcoming products and promotions. In a constantly changing universe of social media, a brand’s survival depends on engaging with consumers on their preferred channels.