Five Ways Travel Marketers Can Make the Most of SnapchatIn the span of a single second, an average of roughly 9,000 photos and videos are shared on Snapchat.

Sounds hard to believe, right?

It shouldn’t be, considering nearly 80 percent of college students use the platform every day and more than a quarter of Millennials in the U.S. say they’re on it regularly.

With a total of 150 million active global users—most of them under the age of 35 —Snapchat is more than just a fad, and it can be a powerful marketing platform for marketers in nearly every industry.

When surveyed, consumers said they tend to feel positive about the idea of interacting with brands on the app, especially if that leads to discounts or coupons on products and services.

That said, the platform remains uncharted territory for many marketers, especially those in the travel industry.

But it doesn’t have to be.

Let’s take a look at what makes it unique, and then explore ways in which travel brands can take advantage of the app to engage the next generation of consumers.

The Case for Snapchat Adoption

Despite its prevalence now, the travel industry wasn’t always so keen on social media marketing.

In general, only the financial services industry waited longer to adopt Instagram, said Jeremy Jauncey, founder of creative agency Beautiful Destinations.

Brands are very used to creating production-grade content, said Jauncey. Snapchat is much more raw and in the moment.

On Instagram, travel brands will often invest a significant amount of time and money into capturing and editing breathtaking shots and footage that present destinations in the most captivating way possible.

While on Snapchat, that type of production isn’t possible, creating content for Snapchat is much cheaper.

In fact, it’s free.

And it gives a brand a way to tell more authentic stories, showing consumers not just the final product, but also how a company got there.

Even still, the unfiltered nature of Snapchat tends to scare away some marketers.

But it shouldn’t—if a photo or video doesn’t perform, you can just try again.

Jauncey and his team like to test a shot on Snapchat to gather real-time feedback before uploading it as an Instagram post or inserting it into a piece of client content.

Aside from using it as a testing ground, here are five other ways to start taking advantage of the platform:

Keep it Real

Consumers love authenticity.

And these days, they demand it.

Branded live video streams are as real as it gets, and they give audience members the opportunity to see what their favorite brands see—whether that’s at an exclusive event or on the job.

Launch a Product

It can be easy to fall into the habit of sharing the same type of content with audiences day in, day out.

Change it up by using the app to build buzz around a product launch, and then to keep audiences engaged long after launch day.

Tap into Influencers

Your brand may not have hundreds of thousands of followers yet, but someone does!

Give an influencer the keys to your corporate account for a few days, and let him or her expand your reach.

Leverage Geofilters 

Give your followers a way to put a creative stamp on the content they share.

You can use geofilters to commemorate events, share news, or celebrate milestones.

Complement Other Channels 

Sure, brands still have a lot to figure out when it comes to Snapchat, but they’re not alone.

It’s still a new concept to a lot of consumers as well, especially older ones.

That’s why you should make the platform just one part of a wider-reaching digital marketing strategy.

Promoting your Snapchat presence on other social media accounts is essential and a source of content in and of itself!

Building an audience takes time.

Because Snapchat doesn’t have quite as many users as some other social media channels yet, your following might not be huge at first.

But the platform is only going to grow.

If you start using it now, you can make sure your brand grows with it.

Tony Tie

Tony Tie is a numbers-obsessed marketer, life hacker, and public speaker who has helped various Fortune 500 companies grow their online presence. Located in Toronto, he is currently the senior search marketer at Expedia Canada, the leading travel booking platform for flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and local activities. Connect with Tony on Twitter @tonytie.

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