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As marketers, you’re always looking for new ways to connect with your customers, and social media has introduced a variety of communication channels that help you do just that. One of the more recent additions is Snapchat, the time-sensitive, image-based social app. Over the weekend, the app released a significant update to its iOS app that added support for a range of new features, including a single replay option.

What Does Replay Mean On Snapchat?

Part of the appeal of Snapchat, particularly to brands, is the fact that viewers only have one chance to view a Snap. The viewer is required to give the Snap his or her full attention and be ready to engage instantly. With replay, viewers are able to re-watch one Snap per day. Some might argue that this takes away from the excitement and urgency that stemmed from the one-chance-to-view restriction, but there are certainly times when replay could be useful for brands using the app.

Although we strongly recommend that marketers don’t rely on audio, a good example of replay coming in handy is when an individual misses part of a message because he or she didn’t realize the video included audio. The new feature allows that person to watch the Snap one more time, absorbing all of the important information included in the message.

As we mentioned in a previous article, immediacy can prompt customer actions. Because Snapchat messages disappear shortly after they’re posted (as opposed to lingering on a feed indefinitely), people may be more impulsive and willing to take action. And since the replay option can only be used once a day, there’s still a sense of urgency for a majority of messages that come through.

Not sure how to use Snapchat as part of your marketing strategy? Let’s take a look at some of the ways brands have used the app, as well as a couple of potential uses.

Offer Exclusive Perks

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One of Snapchat’s early adopters, Taco Bell, encouraged its audience follow it on the app this past April for an exclusive announcement in which it revealed that return of the Beefy Crunch Burrito. Taco Bell effectively used its presence on other social media channels to spread the word of its Snapchat profile.

Although data from this campaign isn’t available, we can assume that loyal fans of the brand and curious consumers took action. Taco Bell was also the first major brand to use Snapchat’s Stories feature, through which it ran a series of eight photos and videos that told the story of a group of friends’ journey to the fast food chain.

Snapchat Stories offer brands a longer conversation format instead of the standard 10-second snap. With this feature, marketers can combine multiple snaps to create a re-playable story that remains visible for 24 hours.

Reward Engaged Consumers

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A New York frozen yogurt chain, 16 Handles, asked customers to snap a picture of themselves tasting one of its flavors and send it to Love16Handles on Snapchat. In return, they’d receive a snap with a coupon for 16, 50, or 100 percent off their purchase. The catch? The customer had only 10 seconds to let the cashier scan the coupon. According to the frozen yogurt chain, the campaign engaged more than 1,400 customers.

Although this type of promotion could have been easily succeeded on Twitter or Foursquare, this is a good example of a business experimenting with tools used by its core demographic. 16 Handles noted that a lot of its younger customers were using their Snapchat handles to interact on social media. It’s very important to know where your customers are online. Facebook might have a larger user base, but if your target audience is spending more time on Snapchat, it’s worth taking the time to experiment.

Go Behind the Scenes

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Even sports teams are using Snapchat. Take the New Orleans Saints, which created a Snapchat account in October only use the app’s Stories feature. The team said it will release behind-the-scenes footage, photos of new merchandise, a sneak peek of which uniforms the team will be wearing each week, and so on.

Something brands will want to keep in mind is that before you can use Stories you need to build a following on the app. People have to want to add you to their feeds. This means that brands will have to commit to engaging regularly on Snapchat before Stories can become an effective marketing tool.

Whether you’re trying to target a new audience or just add some variety to your social strategy, Snapchat is a viable option for creating that two-way conversation — especially with a younger demographic. As with any social network, it requires commitment from your team, but it can be a fun way to engage consumers with behind-the-scenes content, coupons, and contest announcements.

And just to provide you with a bit more context around the popularity of Snapchat, the app currently has about 60 million total installs and 30 million monthly active users, according to Business Insider. Of the 30 million, 55 percent (16.5 million) people are using Snapchat daily.

[Via: TechCrunch, Image credit: Martin Fisch_rockinfree, Anthony Quintano]