5 Indispensable Snapchat Tips From IBM

Snapchat works in mysterious ways—or so it might seem to those who haven't fully embraced it yet. On other social media platforms you may see a lot of success and engagement by simply posting a single photo or video. Not so on Snapchat, much to the frustration of some PR practitioners.

IBM, Global Social Brand Strategy Lead, Katie Keating
Katie Keating, Global Social Brand Strategy Lead, IBM

But fear not: The PR News Snapchat Boot Camp, Dec. 7 in Washington, D.C., has been programmed to unlock the possibilities and features of the platform. One of the presenters, Katie Keating, program manager for social brand strategy at IBM, has provided us with some of her favorite Snapchat tips in advance:

1. Crowdsource your content creation.

Think about opening up your Snapchat account to employees, partners, influencers and more. At IBM, we have a submission form where any employee can apply to take over the account for a day to share a story. This has allowed us to showcase dozens of stories across six continents since launching our account in April. We have simple guidelines that govern the account, and we manage the calendar centrally through our corporate social team. 

2. Always give context.

On Snapchat, it's critical right from the start to establish why people should continue watching your story. Think about having an on-camera host, creating a title snap or doing multiple snaps to set the scene and explain what it is your story is about. It's easy once you start snapping to take for granted that you are immersed in the experience, but the Snapchat audience is not. Make sure to paint a robust picture to keep them interested. 

3. Have a real story arc.

Treat Snapchat stories as you would a real narrative: Have a beginning, middle and end. Try to create excitement or suspense. Again, your audience needs to be compelled to keep coming back to your story and a narrative helps with this. 

Register for the Snapchat Boot Camp at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., featuring sessions on measurement, case studies, features, content strategy and more.

4. Don't be afraid to be informal.

Snapchat is a platform for besties. This isn't the place for your product beauty shots or highly produced videos. It's where people are sharing their unfiltered selfies and silly pics with their friends, emboldened by the fact that the photos will disappear. For your brand, showcase your informal side. Embrace the doodles, emojis, stickers and more. Showcase stories and voices that may not be right for a press release, but will help bring your brand's personality and culture to life. 

5. Do your best with the metrics you have.

Snapchat offers basically two key metrics: views on your snaps and screenshots of your snaps. Oh, and all of those metrics disappear when your story does. Do your best to capture what you can while your story is live; this will help you benchmark your progress. You can also start to get a feel for average views per snap, average views per story and so on. While it's thin, it will help you start to figure out what type of content resonates with your Snapchat audience.

Follow Katie Keating on Twitter: @ThingsSheSaid

Follow Ian: @ianwright0101