Has your travel business used Snapchat for marketing? How effective has it been in your social media marketing strategy?
Admittedly, I’m still getting to know this visual media messaging app. Like Instagram before it, I simply thought it was the exclusive dominion of all Generation Z (tweens, teens and college students) and most Millennials to share pictures and videos for a brief time and socially engage, sometimes for good and not-so-good.
Only one of my two kids uses Snapchat regularly, and I get the eye-rolling OMG response when I ask her why she likes to use it. Once that typical 13-year-old’s reaction is done, she simply says it’s fun. Fair enough – she is mostly doing the photo doctoring, where you can draw something with your finger on a picture or distort it, and some texting with friends.
But while the funhouse photo features aren’t something you’re likely to see a lot with travel and tourism campaigns, marketers may have a great opportunity if they include this social platform. More travel brands are getting on board with Snapchat, likely because of its inherent visual content emphasis and desire to share that content, which fits very well with the travel industry. It’s become the fastest growing social media platform among American Millennials. Also, to paraphrase my younger daughter, it can be fun for you and your travel audiences to engage with.
Here’s just a quick rundown of why Snapchat might work for your travel business, courtesy of Tnooz:
- “Snaps,” the photo and video clips that users post, are the visual heart of Snapchat. They can either be shared with friends privately that disappear once it’s viewed, or in a feature called Snap Story, which is available to a wider audience for a longer time period, about 24 hours.
- Privacy is also a hallmark of the social app. You can’t comment, like or share on the Snaps. But you can have higher engagement levels with an audience because users need to keep a finger on the clip so it won’t be lost forever. Viewers can “snap back” if they want to engage further with your brand.
- The immediacy and fleeting aspect of the Snaps are essential to its appeal, because they are often very recent or even live and won’t be around forever.
- Users can include filters specific to their particular geographic location to enhance their Snaps and Stories, which can present a great opportunity for travel marketers in those areas.
Of course, there are some limitations to Snapchat. Relatively few companies have a presence on it, so potential audience growth is limited. Users tend to be younger and not in the target demographic for travel brands (but it does set the stage for later, when these groups will have more income for vacations). Companies need to cross-promote their Snapchat handle heavily to gain social media traction. Lastly, targeted advertising might also be challenging, since the only demographic information taken is age, email address and phone contacts. Carefully consider how this could fit into your overall social marketing strategy, and remember it involves more engagement levels than other social channels.
A surprising number of well-known travel brands have used Snapchat with great success. Disneyland encouraged its visitors to send in Snaps for Halloween-themed Story, which generated a large response. Marriott has led the way with a social marketing, having users determine where a group of travel bloggers go around the world and then write about it. Here are a few more suggestions from Catherine Heeg at Customized Management Solutions on what you can do with this creative yet powerful social app.
Give Snapchat a try, and see if it can bring higher levels of engagement and audience growth for your travel business. You just never know – you might find it as fun as my 13-year-old does.