How To Make Money From Snapchat
It's gas, and a great way to be nosy. But, as Rosemary Mac Cabe discovers, for many savvy business-owners, Snapchat's also a way of increasing brand awareness and driving revenue, without the hard sell.
There was a time when Snapchat was the social media equivalent of the dark net, and that was no big surprise – when you can send pictures, text and video that (gasp!) disappear immediately, it doesn’t take a tech genius to figure out what a whole load of hormone-addled teens are going to use that technology for.
But the past 12 months have witnessed a huge surge in the popularity of the app, and not just for unsolicited dick pics. (Although, let’s be clear: that still happens. Delete and block, delete and block.)
According to a poll by Ipsos MRBI, 25 percent of the Irish population now have a Snapchat account, with 65 percent of users checking in daily. In fact, we’re the most active Snapchat users in the world – and with our love of talking shite, well, it’s no huge surprise.
For someone looking to promote their business, therefore, Snapchat’s a goldmine – a social network where users are more active and more engaged than they are on any other, and without the limitations that Facebook, for example and, imminently, Instagram, sets on those using them as free marketing tools. Right now, Snapchat is free advertising – and it would be foolish to let that opportunity pass by.
Chloe Harris, owner and head chef at Foodie in Dublin’s IFSC is a newbie. “I only joined three months ago,” she says. Now, she has around 1,100 people who see her snap story @foodiecafe every single day. To put that in context: for the average Twitter user with 1,100 followers, approximately 10 of those will see each tweet – more if it gets retweeted by other users.
“I was in New York, visiting my boyfriend, and I had a bit of extra free time – so it gave me something to focus on while I was on holiday, that was essentially still growing my business,” she confides.
Kelly Ging, owner of Kelly Lou Cakes, a bakery and cafe in Portlaoise, is another foodie fan who set up her Snapchat account with business in mind. “I saw other companies doing it and thought it would be a good way to show what it’s like to work in a bakery, and to give a glimpse behind the scenes,” she recalls.
Kelly’s Snapchat account (@kellyloucakes) has around 2,000 followers – Snapchat doesn’t show you an exact list of followers; instead, it shows you the precise number of people who watch your story, making it an incredibly reliable social network when it comes to gauging engagement – “but every day we get a few more followers. It’s been growing a lot over the past few weeks.”
Eyes on snaps are all well and good, but how can you be sure the effort you put into your Snapchat account is giving results? Without outgoing links to a website, for example, it can be tough to measure its direct impact. Unless, of course… “I get a lot of people travelling down to the cafe now, because they follow us on Snapchat,” says Kelly. “They send me a snap, saying they’re on their way or, if I’m not in the cafe, they’ll snap me to tell me they’re there. It’s strange, still… but they feel like they know you. Snapchat is like a mini reality series, where you’re looking into everyone’s lives.”
For Foodie Cafe’s Chloe, Snapchat was “a great way to get my name out there – because I’m in such a funny location [Foodie is located by the National College of Ireland, at the Mayor Square Luas stop], people weren’t always just passing by. I get customers coming in who didn’t even know we were here – but they started following me on Snapchat and now they’re regulars.” Like Kelly, Chloe says that Snapchatters will reach out and say hi when they come into the cafe. “People mention all the time, that they’ve travelled up from the country to come and see us – in the past few months, since I joined Snapchat, our turnover has increased.”
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But what about when you’re selling, not a product, but a service of sorts? Siobhán O’Hagan is a personal trainer and online coach, whose snaps reach 9,600 people at a time.
“I’ve always thought, if people knew me better, it’d work as an advertisement for my personal training business,” Siobhán confirms. “And Snapchat is a great tool for selling, if you want to. You can do a hard sell, where you say, ‘hey guys, this is what I’m doing…’ but at the same time, you can introduce yourself, your business, drop in the sell the odd time. You can keep things really natural.”
Siobhán says that she’s gained clients – both for her one-on-one personal training and her online coaching programme – who’ve been referred directly from Snapchat. “I’ll do something like, share an email from one of my online clients – a testimonial – and I’ll say, ‘if you’re interested, check out my website.’ I can see the views going up straight away. I’ll also get people enquiring about personal training, and I’ve had businesses getting in contact through Snapchat.”]
Grace Reed is another sole trader who used Snapchat to promote her business @TRNDBeauty pre-launch. “TRND Beauty is an online beauty and makeup shop where you’ll find the latest and greatest on-trend products from around the world,” she says. “Things you’ve heard of, but that aren’t available in Ireland currently, and we’ll also have an online beauty hub, with videos and content for our users.”
Without a product to sell, though, well, what’s the point?
“Snapchat has allowed me to get to know my followers much better, for one,” Grace states. “I always keep my snaps open [so that followers can send pics, videos and chats] – and I answer any questions sent my way. You realise how much you have in common with people, and your followers really appreciate that you’re willing to chat to them. It’s also allowed me to showcase my products in a new and exciting way, directly to potential customers. It allowed me to drum up excitement around the launch, in a much more interactive way.”
The beauty of Snapchat, of course, is that you’re pretty much assured that the audience watching your snaps is your target demographic – in Grace’s case, for example, they wouldn’t be watching if they didn’t like beauty; Siobhán’s followers aren’t going to stay tuned in if they hate fitness; Kelly and Chloe are guaranteed a food-loving fandom.
“You need to have a presence – once you have a persona online, it’s much easier to sell to someone because they trust you so much more,” says Siobhan. After all, she says, it boils down to one simple fact: people buy from people.
Follow STELLAR on Snapchat @stellarmagazine – and do say hi! Our snaps are always open for business.
This article originally appeared in STELLAR’s June issue. The August issue is on shelves now!
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