If you’re not using Snapchat for marketing, you’re not ‘getting it’. If you’re running a automotive aftermarket business in 2016, you need to be thinking about Snapchat as a channel to grow your customer base. Period.

The simple reason is this:
Before you tell a story, you have to have somebody’s attention. By making content ephemeral, Snapchat has created a platform that demands your attention. 
It’s NOT how many followers you have, it’s how many care. It’s not width, it’s depth. It’s NOT how many impressions you get, it’s how much attention you get. Social media strategies focused on amassing large numbers of page views and follower counts are missing the point. Our digital world is noisy, an ocean of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and yes, LinkedIn updates. You have to ask yourself – are you catching the attention and are you making a connection with your customer base?

Everybody wants to talk about reach: the number of visitors, the number of hits, the number of views. But reach has nothing to do with actually selling shit. Someone seeing a pre-roll ad doesn’t mean they watched it; they probably skipped it to get to the thing that they really wanted to see. That’s why not only the time being spent on Snapchat is so significant but also the way it is being spent.

The logical objection to Snapchat is that Snapchat is for teens and only brands marketing to teens would see the point. Six months ago, Snapchat was still too young; comprised of mostly 13 – 17 year olds. So that statement would have been correct. However, in the last few months, those demos have shifted drastically to now include a healthy group of 25 – 40 year olds. Now it is time to take your Snapchat strategy, or lack thereof, very serious.

WHY SNAPCHAT MATTERS TO THE AUTOMOTIVE AFTERMARKET

Here is why we care so much about Snapchat. We haven’t seen this much consumer attention on a single social platform since Twitter in early 2007 and 2008. That same allocation of attention is alive and well on Snapchat.

If you have 1,000 followers on Snapchat, 900 of them will watch your story. Take a second to think about how insane that is. Especially in a time when email open rates are 25% at best. Snapchat is about to win the attention graph.

 

HOW TO APPROACH A SNAPCHAT MARKETING STRATEGY

Automotive aftermarket brands need to value the importance of this app, and soon, before marketers ruin it (as we always do). Take a step back in 2016 and really think about how you are going to use your website, your email, your packaging, and whatever else you are focusing on, to drive a following on Snapchat. Then, in addition to that, you need have a creative strategy within Snapchat itself. The creative needs to be native to Snapchat, and native to their Stories feature. Because the platform has so many unique nuances, making sure your content looks native is crucial.

But this is where we run into a problem. The problem is that there is not a single company that is ready to allocate hundreds of thousands of dollars in creative just against a Snapchat Story, 365 days a year. If one brand went completely all in on production fees to become the best brand on Snapchat by putting out a compelling Story, that would be massive. You could classify a full Snapchat story as making at least 7 videos and 7 pictures every 24 hours of the day.

 

GROWING A SNAPCHAT FOLLOWER BASE

While every brand is going to have a different follower growth strategy for the ‘ghost’, a lot of aftermarket brands will go for the low hanging fruit, things like contests or “follow us and you may win!”. If you never use the “follow us and you may win!” construct in your marketing, I will buy your product. Deal? Deal. Moving on.

This is not the best way to grow your Snapchat account. The proper way to grow your account is this: make an incredible Story, download one part of it, and then upload it natively to other channels (ie Instagram, Twitter & Facebook) so people are seeing what they’re missing. If the content is good enough, it will compel them to go follow your Snaps to see the rest.

Content is always king. We say it all the time in marketing, it’s so cliche, but the problem is most people STILL aren’t following it. Most content just isn’t compelling. Instead of going for the cheap move, basically paying or incentivizing users to follow the account with a sweepstakes, go for the great quality content and use your other social presences to share that content and make people come and watch.

Yes, it’s true that we preach about always tailoring content to a specific platform. So uploading a Snapchat video to Twitter might feel kind of weird or even forced. But when you’re trying to build something up, there can be space to play. Since Snapchat doesn’t have a ‘discovery’ feature (yet) build a follower base by cross platform promoting.

 

SNAPCHATS ARE REAL MOMENTS

The big deal here is this: Snapchats are real personal moments and completely raw. When someone sends you a Snap and you can reply in real time, within minutes of it, it’s extremely personal. These interactions remind me tremendously of how I built the Studio Rhoad brand on Twitter in 2007 and 2008. The attention on Twitter was so great during that time, when Studio Rhoad was in its infancy, I was able to acquire over $40K in new business from Twitter alone; not to mention several thousand followers. It’s snowballed ever since.

Do yourself a favor and Google search “How to use Snapchat”. Allocate time to learn the platform. Get close to it. Learn the functions, the capabilities. Many of the behaviors and gestures you need on it, things like swiping up to get out of a page, will become more and more common as the platform becomes mainstream. Become a practitioner and put in real work and energy to understand what it’s about and how to use it properly to build your brand or business.

See you on the Snaps @StudioRhoad

 

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