4 ways branded Snapchat content is different

Recently we looked at how Snapchat has evolved for brands, but we wanted to dig a little deeper into how exactly how branded Snapchat content is different, and show you with more examples across different industries. After all it’s one thing to have a vague idea about the disappearing images those kids are sending and what actually goes into the stories teams are building to send to their Snapchat fans.

Still got questions? Leave ‘em in the comments! Let’s get snapping.

1. It’s more informal

While other platforms like Instagram are all about beautiful, well-staged photography- particularly product tableaus for many brands- Snapchat is more about sharing what’s happening in the moment, with quality as a lesser concern. (Possibly a result of the in-app camera being generally darker and the photos compressed to save server space.) The relaxed tone leaves viewers feeling more like an insider than someone looking at repurposed magazine shots, and that can create a sense of intimacy with a brand that can lead to customer loyalty.

2. And less aspirational

The informal feel of Snapchat means viewers aren’t expecting to see their aspirations laid out for them the way they are in places like Instagram and Pinterest. Brands who normally present a more luxurious, well-staged feel- like Sephora- tone things down on Snapchat to bring their followers of-the-moment updates. Snapchat is the sweatpants-in-the-makeup-chair-before-a-photoshoot platform.

3. Making it perfect for behind-the-scenes shares

If you have access to the latest gadgets, the coolest musicians, or the upcoming fashion line, then Snapchat is the perfect place to share behind-the-scenes moments with these people and things in way that feels very intimate (like the sweatpants makeup chair example in the last section). Even though viewers know anyone can watch a story who chooses to follow that brand on Snapchat, it still feels like a celebrity has sent a story just to you, especially if they take over an MTV rep’s phone and shoot in selfie mode.

4. But it still matches overall brand aesthetic

While it’s important not to overly stage and process branded Snapchat content- which is impossible, given the previously mentioned in-app camera quality- you DO still want it to feel cohesive with the rest of your brand. Viewers can take screenshots and those will end up on the wild of the Internet, so unless it’s a strategic brand move, you don’t want to completely depart from the rest of your visual brand.

How do you do that? Let’s look at some examples more in-depth.

Brands on Snapchat: How they do it.

Beauty brand Sephora has an extensive social presence that is very cohesive and navigates the differences between each platform well; you can compare the well-staged and lit product shots and celebrity regrams on their Instagram profile, their well-executed digital magazine on Tumblr, similar product shots and information shared across their Twitter and Facebook profiles, and their extensive Pinterest presence (how-tos, inspiration) with their much more informal Snapchat presence:

 

 

NPR has a more serious expected presence as a news organization, so Snapchat is a great way for them to infuse more personality into their reporting with some behind-the-scenes tours, quick facts from various reporters, on-the-ground reporting for breaking news, and more. They’ve written extensively about their experience with Snapchat on their Social Media Desk Tumblr, with their latest intern sharing her experience with running Snapchat for a major news organization, how to engage an audience on Snapchat, and even the difference in reporting a breaking news event on different platforms (Snapchat vs. Instagram). Even if you’re not a news organization, there are some great takeaways from NPR. Particularly: Experiment, try new things, don’t be afraid to fail. It makes you more human to your audience. 

Mashable has a much lighter brand reputation, known for mixing in fun, Buzzfeed-esque posts alongside reporting from big tech events and covering product and platform updates. Their Snapchat is incredibly well-executed, utilizing all the different ways the platform has to communicate: Drawing on the screen, combining drawing with text, emojis, and more:

 

Finally GE uses Snapchat to show off a much more casual side of their brand. While their Tumblr is full of high quality images and gifs around different science and tech that you can see repurposed on their Instagram profile, while Facebook and Twitter share science and tech news of a slightly different flavor repackaged for each place, they use Snapchat to share quick science facts and encourage viewers to engage with them back on those different platforms:

Bonus: Basic updates

Recently Snapchat has released some updates that make it even easier to use. Where you used to have to hold your finger on the screen to view a snap- and if you let go, the countdown didn’t stop!- now you simply tap a snap or story to view it. Dismissing a story simply requires swiping down from the top of the screen instead of letting go, but is still an option in case you decide viewing an up-close-and-personal running of the bulls isn’t for you.