Tips on Building Your Snapchat Audience

Snapchat Brands

Some brands have started to experiment with Snapchat, but it seems many still don’t take the app too seriously. While Snapchat may seem silly, and has yet to offer business support, other innovative communication channels like Twitter were also discounted. Seven years later, Twitter IPO’d, so why not promote on an app that has already attracted 26 million users in the U.S. alone.


Snapchat currently attracts a younger audience, as the majority of Snapchat’s users are between 18-29. If your brand targets a younger demographic, you might want to consider following your customers to Snapchat, as many are spending less time and slowly leaving other social networks. Businesses intending to reach tech-savvy early adopters should also consider promoting their product offering using the innovative platform. While these users may be less active on Snapchat, older early adopters are likely to have more disposable income.

Building an Audience

Having a presence on the network isn’t enough; the crucial part is building up your audience through a friend list. The best way to do so is by offering users an incentive to send you a friend request. You don’t necessarily need a large budget, instead think of creative campaigns that incorporate Snapchat’s unique features and capture users’ attention.

Past Examples

Acura started building its Snapchat friend list for promising to send a preview of their latest NSX supercar prototype to the first 100 people to add the brand’s account. Setting the limit at 100 creates a sense of urgency, as interested users will be more eager to quickly send the brand a friend request. The exclusivity may also serve to increase loyalty among the users who received the preview.

Taco Bell also flocked to the platform and offered to share a secret announcement. Instead of setting a limit like Acura, Taco Bell opted to build suspense and pique users’ curiosity for a product that is more simplistic than a prototype.

How to Start

The above brands are likely to have an easier time growing their friend list as they already have a built-in audience. If your business doesn’t have thousands of social media followers already, you may have to up the incentive and spend more time on targeting qualified individuals.

First determine if your audience is even on Snapchat by finding users that are consistent with your brand’s customer profiles. There are many unknown sites that allow visitors to search through usernames, however, they often don’t offer detailed information seeing as Snapchat users are mostly anonymous. Instead, consider searching for the keyword ‘Snapchat’ directly on established social media outlets through Social Mention, or getting more specific by searching ‘Add Snapchat’ on Twitter.

After narrowing down the results to your target users, conduct some additional research to identify influencers and determine if they are any other commonalities.

  • What was the last promotion they shared?
  • What type of brand-centric content do they prefer to read about?
  • How many of their updates are related to your product-offering?

The above discoveries will inspire you to create a personalized incentive that will successfully appeal to the users as well as encourage them to share the message with their other Snapchat friends.

Building your friend list on Snapchat won’t be as easy as adding those openly sharing their username. Some users may pride themselves on a large network, but you risk only becoming an outlet for their promotional content. Even worse, users may not only choose to ignore your friend request, they may also end up blocking your account.

Campaign Ideas

Similar to other marketing strategies, you should aim to customize your Snapchat efforts according to your business and customers. However, keep in mind that unlike other channels, Snapchat is only available on the mobile and content disappears within seconds. Here are some campaign ideas that you may use for inspiration while building your brand’s friends list.

  1. Snapchat friends will receive a shout out.
  2. Snapchat friends will receive clues about your next secret live show.
  3. Snapchat friends will receive an early beta invite code to your new product.
  4. Snapchat friends will receive a discount code for your best seller.
  5. Snapchat friends to add your brand within the next 24 hours will receive a free subscription for a year.
  6. The next 50 Snapchat friends to add your brand will receive $50 credit towards in-app purchases.

Follow me on Twitter at @daniellegeva


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