Snapchat: does it have pub potential?

You might not be using it yet, but your future customers probably are

Snapchat: does it have pub potential?

Snapchat is something of a mystery to many in the pub trade but are there ways of making it work for your business?

We take a look beyond the filters to see if Snapchat is worth further examination as a marketing tool for the pub trade.

1. What is Snapchat?

You will probably recognise it by the ghostly icon on the yellow background, but what does it actually do? In the simplest terms, it is a way for users to chat on social media, primarily through smartphones, using photos and videos.

2. Isn’t that what all the social media platforms do?

The difference is the ephemeral nature of Snapchat. Nobody is looking for the perfect shot, like you might on Intagram, or collecting likes as you would on Twitter and Facebook. Photos, chats and stories (we’ll get to that) are sent privately rather than publicly. They are then deleted shortly after being read rather than sticking around like the online equivalent of an old letter in the bottom of a draw.

3. What are these stories you mention?

This is where users get a bit more creative by telling the story of what they are doing in a series of photos of videos. These stick around for 24-hours before the Snapchat servers consign them to history. There is potential for pubs here in telling the story of their day, the build-up to a big sporting event for example, or even something simple like a member of staff pulling their first ever pint.

4. So, who uses Snapchat?

This is the key bit for pubs. While working out how to use Snapchat for business is not as obvious as on other platforms, it is used by an audience that are of growing importance to the trade. According to data from Statista, 61 per cent of UK Snapchat users are aged between 18 and 29. Only seven per cent are over 50.

5. Are there lots of them?

Yep, and it’s growing quickly too. There are something like 178 million active daily Snapchat users. To put it into context, Twitter has around 140 million. It is the most popular form of social media for teenagers and young adults.

6. We get it. It’s big with the millennials but is it any use to pubs?

According to Ed Davies, who provides digital marketing services to the hospitality trade, it can be: “It can be a viable tool, but only if their demographic is young (under 25, maybe under 30 in cities) and they have Facebook sorted first.”

7. Give us an example then…

OK, since you asked nicely. The brilliantly named Sober Lane in Cork put a Snapchat Station in the ladies. This is essentially an iPad mounted to the wall which guests are encouraged to use to take selfies and then add to the pub’s story. It’s a novel way of growing that reach.

8. How else can you grow your audience?

With more difficulty than you might on other platforms. Ed continues: “Think of Snapchat as an alternative to a WhatsApp group instead of an alternative to Facebook or Instagram. Only people that add you will see what you post and it’s difficult to discover accounts on Snapchat. So, it’s not a platform people can accidentally find you on very easily.”

9. OK, but do I need to send photos of me with bunny ears?

You can, if that’s your thing. Snapchat introduced filters in 2015 and they quickly gained popularity. Dog faces, vomiting rainbows and a host of others have proved hugely popular with posts by the likes of Kim Kardashian regularly receiving 40 million views. All you need to do is build an audience like Kim’s and you’ll be breaking both the internet and records at the till. Easy.

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