Digital MarketingNightlifeSocial MediaTechnology

Snapchat basics for Nightclubs and Bars

Snapchat has been around for a while, and it has been growing like crazy.  People still look at the platform as being full of 13 year olds, and sure, there’s a lot of that demographic, however this year it really, really went mainstream.  You know, when the White House is broadcasting news via Snapchat, you know it has gone mainstream.  Are you on Snapchat yet, as a bar, as a nightclub, as a festival?  If you’re not, why aren’t you?

If you’re not on Snapchat, I would guess that it’s just because it’s yet another social media platform that you have to take care of.  On top of that, it’s another one you’ll have to figure out how to use and market through.  Using Snapchat isn’t the same as making posts on Facebook or tweets on Twitter.  It’s very different.

Let’s start with the basics because you may never have heard of Snapchat before, and even if you have, you might not know many details about this platform.  One of the things that make Snapchat stand out is that it is a very intimate social media platform.  What you post doesn’t go out to the whole world, it’s only shown to the people who are following you.

Let’s say that you have a private Instagram account.  If that’s the case, only the people that are following you are going to see those images.  Snapchat is very similar to that, in that only the people who are following you will see the snaps that you send out.  In spite of this type of privacy, Snapchat has been used by online marketers for some time now, and there are actually two established ways that you can use this platform to promote your business.

The old way of using Snapchat was to send snaps out to your followers, and these images or video only last for a few seconds before disappearing.  That was the original way Snapchat started.   People liked the fact that the posts disappeared very quickly, and the platform grew in popularity.

You can still go about it the old way, but there’s a new way to use the platform that’s even better.  This new functionality is called Snapchat Stories.  What this feature does is allow the snap you have made to stay around for 24 hours. At any time during a day, when a follower of yours checks their Snapchat, they can go check out your story.  When they click on it, all of the snaps that you’ve sent in the last 24 hours will show in unison, one after the other, creating a story.  After 24 hours, these snaps disappear.  So, you can post one now, and 10 minutes later, and 10 minutes after that.  The first one will disappear, and then the next, and then the next, and so on.

The biggest reason why Snapchat works so well is because of the attention span of users.  People are following tons of different accounts, including the big ones like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  Take Facebook, for example.  Let’s imagine that someone is scrolling through their Newsfeed.  They may scroll right past one of your posts, as it essentially competes with all of the other posts.  On the other hand, if they are paying attention to you as a Snapchat follower, they need to click and hold onto their screen to see your snap.  That will bring 100% of their attention to your story.  It’s imperative that you are able to grab people’s attention in this kind of way, but it’s getting harder and harder as market segmentation increases and attention spans get shorter and shorter. Snapchat solves this issue.

Sure, you can pay Facebook to advertise your posts, but even if someone notices it, who is to say they are going to click on it?  If you have Snapchat followers who do look at your snaps, they are paying attention to you, and that’s huge!  There are a lot of ways you can use Snapchat Stories in your marketing.  One of the best ways to do so is to provide behind-the-scenes images, as that kind of thing gets a lot of attention.

Don’t just snap stuff that you’re going to post on Instagram.  Be a little bit more creative than that.  For example, if you are going to post about an event coming to your club, why not let your Snapchat followers know that they are going to get their announcement five minutes earlier than those on Facebook, Instagram, etc?   This helps to ensure that they keep following you, and you also know that they will be paying attention to that announcement.  So what if they end up taking a screenshot of the announcement and promote it for you?  Who cares?  That’s free promotion.

What about during the event itself?  You can take pictures and video during a nightclub event, or during the concert, etc., but that would just be the same old “blah, blah, blah”, right?  People like to see behind the scenes stuff, so you might make a couple of snaps of the big DJ ready to come on.  Try to do something different, like maybe take a couple of snaps of you picking him up at the airport, or him unloading his stuff, or things like that.

Here’s an exciting one.  How about a few snaps of you unloading a truck full of kegs for the night?  All of that behind the scenes is exactly what they want to see on Snapchat. Make it a real life story instead of trying to make everything look professional.  That’s what people really like to see on social media, and this is especially true for Snapchat.

Remember, you have to log in from your own phone, there is no way to ‘admin’ someone else to use your account so if you want to let the band take snaps for you to share their day, or if you are going to let a social media manager handle your account, you’re going to have to share your login information.  Of course, most of the time this won’t lead to any problems but you never know.  What if a band member doesn’t think he got paid enough and logs into your account to bash your business?  All sorts of stuff can happen this way, so you absolutely have to be careful about sharing your information.

If you are going to share your account information with a social media manager make sure that they understand what to post.  Many professional social media managers understand that they have to represent your brand well, but do they really understand it and do they have a good grasp on what you are trying to tell people about your business through your messaging.  Another thing that you need to be careful about with Snapchat is that these types of “professionals” might post things that you don’t want posted, knowing that the snaps will disappear in 24 hours.

Just because someone is handling your social media for you doesn’t mean you should stop trying to keep an eye on what’s being done.  Any real professional is going to want to have a long discussion with you and learn as much about your brand as they can to make sure they don’t misrepresent your business, but at the same time, certain concepts can be easily mistaken.  If this happens, not only does the wrong messaging end up being sent out, but you have wasted time and money on your exposure.

The only real way to prevent something like this from occurring is to make sure that you go over everything with this professional beforehand and spend some real time on it.  Give them an outline of your branding and what your messages should sound like.  Let them know what kinds of things you would like to see go through Snapchat Stories throughout the day, and things like that.  Ask them questions to make sure that they are following you completely.

A mistake a lot of people have made on Snapchat is that just because these snaps disappear after a certain amount of time, they think they can post whatever they want, no matter how silly or unprofessional.  That type of thinking is wrong and you also have to take into account the fact that people can screen capture a snap before it disappears and keep it. You are just opening the door to a problem if you aren’t giving any thought to what you’re putting out there.  Don’t put things up that you wouldn’t want to last forever, even though there is the allure that it’s going to disappear anyway.

Snapchat really is a fun and simple way to bring new customers into your bar or nightclub.  If you would like to get more followers on Snapchat, the best way to do so is to use all of your other channels to drive people there.  There’s no way to advertise to non Snapchat followers in the app itself.  That means that you’re going to have to make sure that people are exposed to your QR code and username elsewhere to get more people to follow you on Snapchat.

I recommend that you post your username on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as any other social media platforms you are on.  I’ve done very well using Instagram to promote on Snapchat.  You can pull the right demographic and exact target audience into an ad campaign on Instagram and get coverage for your Snapchat username.  It’s also a good idea to link to your business on Snapchat through your website, email address, and so on.  As you build new followers, make sure that you put out great content, because people will talk and share.  You want to give the new customers a reason to want to ‘watch’.

Boom, you can’t read and drive, but you CAN listen. Podcast version:

Figure out Snapchat, quickly. Need me to give you a quick rundown? Click.