Share via Twitter
Share via LinkedIn
Share via Facebook
Share via Google+

In the past, I’ve rather frequently drilled home the importance of brevity. People today don’t have time for lengthy marketing pitches or deep, thorough explanations of a brand. They want to know right out the door whether or not something’s worth their time – and if you can’t keep things brief, then they’ll eventually tune out.

Case in point, the average human attention span is currently 8.25 seconds, down from 12 seconds in 2000. On some level, this isn’t surprising. Today, we’re bombarded with information from all sides, and we’ve less time to devote to each individual message that comes our way.

That’s doubly true when we’re at an event. We’re there to explore, to wander about the show floor and go to keynotes and meet industry influencers and business partners and celebrities. That’s why platforms like Twitter are so incredible from an event management perspective, and why messages sent through mediums like Facebook need to be pared down so they’re easily digested.

It’s also why Snapchat works so well. A mobile app designed for the sharing of photos and video, Snapchat is unique in that any content shared through it ‘self-destructs’ after one to ten seconds. This feature has made Snapchat one of the most popular apps on the market amongst millennials, who between them send around 400 million snaps per day.

It’s also made Snapchat the perfect engagement platform for event organizers – albeit an untapped one. Its accessibility makes it easy to connect with attendees, while the length limitation on snaps means that even the most distracted user can understand their core message. There’s a reason so many social networks have attempted to purchase Snapchat, and why the CEO of the company has turned each and every one of them down.

They all understand its value as a marketing tool.

Let’s talk about how you can turn Snapchat to your advantage. How can you use the application to keep your attendees talking about your event well after it’s done?

Remember That Snapchat Might Not Be For Everyone

The first thing to remember is that, due to its core demographic, Snapchat works best when a large portion of your attendees are millennials – it’s a great tool for concerts and conventions, but might not work so well at an overseas trade show. According to comScore, 71% of Snapchat’s users fall in the 18-34 range, while 45% are 18 to 24 years of age. If your event is primarily geared towards an older audience, you may be better-served using Twitter for engagement, since it’s likely that not many of your users will have it installed.

Know your audience before you commit. Will they be interested in seeing event updates on Snapchat, or are they likely to ignore the application altogether?

“Snapchat can be an effective tool for businesses targeting a younger clientele, “explains UsTrendy founder and CEO Sam Sisakhti. “For marketers catering to an older demographic, Snapchat isn’t going to provide them with the return on investment to make it worthwhile.”

Understand What You’re Getting Into Beforehand

Although Snapchat’s quite easy to use once you get the hang of it, I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t at least a bit of a learning curve. I’d strongly advise that you spend a bit of time with the platform and learn its ins and outs before attempting to plan a campaign on it. You’re also going to need to adjust how you design your content.

“Snapchat is a time-sensitive form of communication, and not something people can come back to,” says Sisakhti. “Marketing on it needs to state the value proposition very quickly, and the call to action needs to be simple, easy, and memorable.”

It’s always been said that a picture’s worth a thousand words – and on Snapchat, that means you need to draw value from every last one.

Get Your Brand On Snapchat Beforehand– And Combine It With Other Platforms

No marketing tool exists in a vacuum, and Snapchat is no exception. It’s important that you get things rolling ahead of time. Make your users aware that you’ll be using Snapchat during an upcoming event, and use it to offer teasers of what people can look forward to.

“With enough planning, you can create [an incredible] story that will give a great behind-the-scenes look at your event,” reads an EventKloud Slideshare. “Stories can serve as time lapses for your venue setup, stages for your space filling up, or anything else that communicate the brand message of your event.”

“Use your Snapchat to build followers on your other event marketing channels,” it continues (and remember that this works both ways – a simple “we’re on snapchat!” message sent over Twitter can draw a rather hefty crowd).

Keep It Candid

Snapchat isn’t really about the photos and videos you can share through the app. It’s about the emotion behind that content; the glimpse they offer into your brand’s personal story. Consumers on Snapchat use it to share snippets of their life with friends and family; each snap is part of a larger, unfiltered story. Take a lesson from those users.

Did something entertaining happen during setup? Did someone goof with amusing results?  Share that – show your attendees that you’re human. They’ll feel more connected with you as a result, and far likelier to share the details of your event with others.

“Stories have always been personal,” notes Mashable’s Kurt Wagner. “They capture the collective snaps of one person, and share them with that person’s friends.”

For that reason, obvious marketing messages are likely going to fall flat. You need to couch your snaps in personality – show users that there’s more to your brand than the business side.

“While setting up for the big event take SnapChats along the way,” advises The Pictatic Blog. “Show the event space before and after set up.  Take a picture of the guest speaker beforehand doing something out of character.  Remember, the picture disappears so you have nothing to lose.  Have a great time!

Get People Hyped Up

Got an unannounced celebrity guest attending your event? An awesome promotion? A keynote that you know for a fact everyone’s looking forward to?

Snap it. In the days leading up to your event (and during the event yourself), use Snapchat as a hype platform. Show people stuff you know they’ll get excited about; stuff that’ll inspire them to participate in the community you’re creating around your event. What form that content takes is up to you and the sort of event you’re running, but if you know your attendees, I’m certain you’ll be able to come up with something.

Offer Snapchat Friends Something Exclusive

In the past, I’ve said that there’s nothing people like more than free stuff. That statement wasn’t entirely accurate. There is one thing – free stuff that no one else has access to. It could be anything from a raffle to a giveaway to an exclusive scavenger hunt.

The important thing is that it’s only available for people who use Snapchat.

“Tell your valued customers about special sales or events, maybe even going so far as to hold insider events just for these people,” advises Business News Daily’s Sara Angeles. “For instance; a Snapchat invitation-only tasting or tour of a brewery, a sale at a boutique, an opening, etc.”

Use The “Our Story” Feature

Last, but certainly not least, make sure you’re utilizing Snapchat’s “Our Story” feature – a unique spin on Snapchat’s Stories designed exclusively for event organizers. Basically, it allows event attendees to share their own content in your event/brand’s story – giving them an active voice in event promotion.

“Snapchat users submit many hours of content during live events, which is then narrowed down and examined for inappropriate images by a small team at Snapchat, according to a source close to the startup;” writes Seth Fiegerman of Mashable. “The curated stories are kept short to provide a “quick glimpse” of events, the source says, but it’s possible Snapchat will increase the length of the videos in the future.”

Closing Thoughts

Snapchat is an incredibly powerful tool for anyone who knows how to use it. Thanks to the way people now use social media, it offers a unique appeal with its simple interface, quick-and-easy content, and focus on mobile. Any event organizer who leverages it for their events will, provided they’ve the right demographic, see a marked increase in both engagement and enjoyment.