Can Snapchat be used to promote cars ?

Snapchat_logoSnapchat is a relatively new social network.  According to My Social Agency  it is the virtual equivalent of attempting to read a note that’s been thrown into a furnace – it’s there and then viola – it’s not. Snapchat allows users to send photos or videos to friends, somewhat similar to Instagram. The catch is that they disappear within 1-4 seconds, never to be seen again.

Snapchat started as a Stanford University class project in April 2011 and by May 2012, 25 images were being sent per second. As of November 2012, users had shared over one billion photos on the Snapchat iOS app, with currently 20 million photos being shared per day. Impressive figures, that can be found on Wikipedia and Snapchat’s own blog.

Today Snapchat is considered a young person’s social media network, because the user has a notably low average age. Social Media rock star Gary Vaynerchuk is pretty clear about what he thinks the impact of Snapchat will be: “ If you are targeting 13-20 year-olds I just want to clarify it for you right now. The only things they give a crap about for storytelling platforms are Instagram, Snapchat and Vine.  So you’re just learning about Facebook and Twitter and it’s already passing you by.”

The question that remains: Can Snapchat be turned into a marketing tool to promote cars?

Obviously the gut reaction of many automotive marketers would be:  what’s the use? The audience of  Snapchat does not buy cars. Will the tool directly increase configurations on a car brands website?  Probably not! And so on. Unfortunately such limited thinking does not pave the way for the world’s best and most creative campaigns.

Tech journalist Cormac Reynolds says that Snapchat is great for engaging  customers in sales or special offers. Simply send them a coupon with a keyword or discount code that they have to use to save money when ordering or buying from you.  If it goes into that direction, the ideas in the minds of automotive marketers might already start sparking a little bit. Reynolds continues, “whatever way you decide to promote your business with Snapchat, remember it should create excitement and once again get people talking. Competitions are an excellent example.”

Engaging and creating excitement, isn’t that what brand marketing for an automotive brands is all about? To give you more inspiration, here is an overview of competitions that already have run on the Snapchat platform:

– A simple competition is to send a number of images to followers. To be entered in the draw, users have to write down all the images or words.

– Quicksnap – another simple game, where the first to respond with a Snap in return wins a prize.

– Treasure hunts – Snap certain places or items and as people snap back the same item or place, send them the next one. The winner is the person to snap all the items in question.

– Utilize other networks by providing clues and questions to customers like above, but also by promoting them through Facebook and Twitter. Ask for answers and submissions to be performed through Twitter to get a buzz going and so people’s friends will also take an interest in your brand.

– Currently Snapchat doesn’t have the same strict terms of service like Facebook or other sites have. So, a great way to build followers is to get current followers to ask friends to follow you. This can be verified by getting the current follower to tell you who to look out for and the new follower sending you a snap to verify they’re the same person. Use discounts, prizes or special content in the shape of coupons to motivate current followers to do this.

More than enough clues for creating rumour about a new model or an exhilarating promotion for an existing car?

Which car brand is bold enough to use the platform and grab the bonus of the first mover advantage?

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  1. Pingback: Snapchat: to use or not to use? - Marketing in Automotive

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