Nothing screams “fad” like pictures that only last for ten seconds, but the Snapchat app for iPhone and Android is in fact the exact opposite.
Snapchat has become one of the most canonical social media platforms of the twenty-first century, and has hung around much longer than expected. The company boasts 188 million active users per day who open the app approximately twenty-five times in a twelve hour period.
Businesses have only just begun to utilize Snapchat for marketing and promotion. There is an untapped world of potential waiting within the app that can help your restaurant engage with the surrounding community and attract new guests. With these three steps, your restaurant can make the most out of the Snapchat app and cut a competitive figure in the world of online advertising.
1. Sign-up and Make Friends!
Apps like Snapchat are useless unless the user has taken the time to cultivate a diverse and extensive list of contacts. Now, as a restaurant, your personal connections are going to be limited at first; you’ll have to work twice as hard as a Snapchat account run by an individual who makes friends and connections organically. Start by creating an account on your restaurant’s iPad, or on the iPhone or Android of a manager frequently in-house.
Have each one of your employees add the restaurant account to their Friends list, and make sure all of your restaurant’s settings are the opposite of a private profile: entirely public. Where a personal account might want to keep certain information hidden, you want to make sure that anyone and everyone can easily access whatever information they desire.
2. Geo-Filters… Your Restaurant Needs One!
Finally, head to the Snapchat website and, using the geographic location of your restaurant, create and purchase a Geofilter . Geofilters are GPS-linked animated designs and labels that lay on top of and like a frame around an image taken with the Snapchat camera. Each Geofilter is assigned to the coordinates Snapchat gives them, meaning that any patron who takes a Snapchat photo or video inside your restaurant will be able to slide left or right across their phone screen to watermark their image with your name and branding!
Here’s an example with Taco Bell, but these filters can be made by any restaurant.We think Geofilters are easy, but a super-creative way to engage an untapped audience and stand apart from your competition.
3. Create Buzz and land on the Snap Map
Once you have cultivated a decent friend base you can begin to use your Snapchat account for marketing promotions. Posting photos and videos to your Snapchat story allows you to relay information to your friends without having to send out individual messages Beyond simply posting to your story, it is important to allow Snapchat to pin your location in order to get your promotions out to the local community. If you open the app and swipe to the right, you will find yourself in the “Discover” section of your Snapchat app. This area contains public celebrity profiles, Snapchat TV series, news and media outlets, and international stories. However, the search bar section of the “Discover” page then brings up a more local flavor, syncing with your location to create a “Snap Map” of all of your friends, businesses, and big events happening nearby.
Here’s where cultivating a diverse and extensive contact list comes in handy. When your restaurant runs promotions that require patrons to be physically present in your restaurant, Snapchat will notice. Big events with lots of attendees show up on every person’s Snap Map, not just the maps of those involved. Even if one of the app’s 187 million daily active users zoomed in on your location from across the world, they would still be able to see a blue-tinted glow, or warmer if you’re popular, marking your restaurant as a Snap Map hotspot.
Though Snap Maps are a much larger-scale form of advertising, you can always stick to fun in-house games for patrons like snapping pictures of their meal or cocktails with your personalized geofilter to garner 10% off. Any activity that brings together your restaurant and your Snapchat with patrons and their Snapchat will function as free publicity, and that means business.
Toronto Snap Map
4. Maintain a Consistent and Active Account
Now that your Snapchat has plenty of local friends, an established Geofilter, and a feel for promotion, your account must remain as active as possible. The best way to stay active is through Snapchat stories, but “active” could also mean responding to chat messages from guests, updating profile pictures and information, and keeping track of views and screenshots on posted material.
Since Snapchat is an app and your restaurant is a physical space, never rule out printed media as a form of advertising just in case. Cardstock flyers with your Snapchat username on every other table during happy hour is a great way of presenting your account information to your guests without pushing them to add you as a friend. Little touches like this combined with a mention from each server will help your restaurant consistently grow its number of friends.
Furthermore, make sure to keep to a strict schedule for posts to your Story throughout the week and weekend. Whether you decide to post for happy hours, Taco Tuesday, or half-priced wings every Saturday night, make sure you do so each week with a fun and creative post that will encourage your patrons to attend. Pick two or three events to post about routinely like this, and pick at least one picture or video to take and post every single day. The more active you are, the more exposure you procure for yourself and the more your patrons will consider you.
Though the concept of Snapchat at first seems highly abstract, the app in practice can do wonders for your restaurant’s reach in the community and beyond.
It bears keeping in mind that Snapchat does have personally-designed marketing abilities available for purchase if your restaurant wishes to do less of the grunt work of publicizing on your own. However, these for-hire features, like Snapchat ads, tend to be pricey, and with so many users, also tend to be monopolized by larger corporations. Maintaining and promoting your own account on your own terms is entirely possible, and entirely worth the effort. As long as your business works hard at each of these four steps, results will come and so will the new guests.