Businesses can learn a lot from Snapchat without actually adopting the service right away.

Snapchat, the app for sending messages that only last a few seconds, has a growing list of branded users. The latest company to experiment with the platform is McDonald’s,but plenty of others have been using it for a while. The list includes American Apparel, Bloomberg Businessweek, GrubHub and Taco Bell. 

As Brafton has discussed, the web is still in a rough, frontier-style phase. Even though giant brands and major corporations are hopping on board, very few matters have been settled. Even Google doesn’t quite know what apps, programs and platforms will affect search down the road. Snapchat could be a major part of content marketing and communication in the not-too-distant future, or it might be a novelty that disappears sooner rather than later.

Snapchat stands for engagement

That doesn’t mean there aren’t valuable lessons to be learned from the en masse adoption of the Snapchat. It’s a unique program that helps explain where web marketing is headed, and businesses can shape their strategies to match Snapchat’s example.

1. Be visual

One important attribute is how crucial visual content is becoming. As Brafton has mentioned, 62 percent of consumers are more likely to purchase items after seeing social media posts about them. Images are powerful tools, and Snapchat shows just how quickly content is moving in that direction. Users can add words to their messages, but they create chats first and foremost with their cameras.

Images are powerful tools, and Snapchat shows just how quickly content is moving in that direction.

2. Be fast and consistent

Marketers should also take this as an even stronger indication of how timely and up-to-date their content needs to be. Snapchat messages can only be viewed for 10 seconds or less – meaning new content always has to be produced. If brands like McDonald’s have even the smallest of Snapchat campaigns going, they’re going to be producing plenty of regular content for that channel alone – on top of their other branded marketing materials.

3.  Get on your audience’s level

Finally, don’t be afraid to tailor content delivery to your audience. McDonald’s presumably wants to stay engaged with the 18-29-year-old demographic where most Snapchat users are found, according to a survey  from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. The important lesson to be learned is that different audiences communicate and interact with brands in different ways.

If you operate in the B2B sector, this might mean emphasizing LinkedIn, while retail businesses should think about the impact Pinterest can have on their campaigns. Regardless, promotional and news content should include a strong visual element and be frequent and fresh to make a mark in consumers’ minds – no matter what demographic groups they fall into.

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Alex Butzbach is a Marketing Writer at Brafton. He studied Communications at Boston College, and after a brief stint teaching English in Japan, he entered the world of content marketing. When he isn't writing and researching, he can be found on a bike somewhere in Metro Boston.