Snapchat for Small Business

Recently, I was asked to make my next blog about Snapchat.

I was asked by a successful entrepreneur and business owner because she was still unsure about the platform and how it all works. (I hope that this blog provides a lot of value for her!)

Now there is a fair chance that if you are reading this, you are already using Snapchat or you have at least heard of it before. Many people, (generally not millennials) say they just don’t understand it, let alone how to use it for marketing etc.

With that in mind, let’s break this blog down into three parts.

The first, focusing on unwrapping Snapchat as a platform and its origins.

The second part will focus on how Snapchat can be used to grow your personal brand and/or your small business.

And in the third and final part, I will tell you exactly how Snapchat works by getting ‘under the hood’. I will tell you how it is different but also the same as every other social media platform out there!

Let’s get started!

Part 1: The birth of Snapchat

Snapchat started by allowing users to take photos (called snaps), set a viewing time of up to ten seconds and then send them to a controlled list of users/followers.

The charm of Snapchat is that the quality of the content is not ‘perfect’ and not designed to last forever.

The very first blog that Spiegel wrote for Snapchat stated: “Snapchat isn’t about capturing the traditional Kodac moment. It’s about communicating with the full range of human emotion—not just what appears to be pretty or perfect.”


Evan Spiegel


Snapchat’s timeline:

  • July 2011. Snapchat came to life as an ‘iOS only’ app called “Pictaboo”, created and launched by Evan Spiegel (co-creator) in his parents living room.  
  • The app was re-launched two months later as ‘Snapchat’.
  • May 2012 there were 25 images being shared on the platform per second.
  • May 2012. Video was added to the platform. The length of an individual video maxed at ten seconds per ‘snap’.
  • October 2013. The “My Story” feature was released allowing users to post pictures for other added users to view for 24 hours.
  • November 2013. Facebook offers to purchase Snapchat for $3 billion cash. The offer was rejected.
  • May 2015. Users are sending 2 billion snap videos per day!
  • July 2015. Geofilters are introduced which are ‘quick image tags’ that showed your location.
  • July 2016. “Memories” is introduced allowing users to post old content from their camera roll.
  • 2016. Snapchat first hit 10 billion daily video views!
  • October 2016. Snapchat works on an IPO (Initial Public Offering) for March 2017 that could value the company at $25 billion dollars.

Who would have thought that from its humble beginnings in a living room in 2011, that in just 6 years this app could have a valuation of $25 billion in 2017 and be a major competitor to Facebook itself!  

Part 2: The power of Snapchat for small business

Like every startup or business, the road has been a bumpy one for Snapchat at times.

There have been lawsuits between the creators, ‘dirty laundry’ from the past aired to the public, as well as articles and general commentary around the app being a place for its young user base to take their ‘sexting’ activities.

Nevertheless, the investments and funding kept rolling in. Snapchat was doing enough to prove it was a force to be reckoned with.    

This was proven just recently when studies showed the app was the ‘most popular’ among teens in the US, followed closely by Instagram.

So now that we know Snapchat is an app with an incredible valuation and has insane amounts of daily views, what does that mean for you and I, the business owner?  



Attention is the asset.

Gary Vaynerchuk has build his business on the back of gaining people’s attention through digital platforms. His catch phrase is that he “day trades attention and builds businesses”. The tools he uses to do this include digital marketing, social media and content marketing.

It makes sense that as a business, we need paying customers to provide sales and we need sales in order to make money.

In order to make the sale, we need to have the attention of the potential customer. They need to know about our business and what value we can provide.

This is where marketing comes into play and the fundamental requisite for any marketing to be successful, is that it needs to gain people’s attention.

DJ Khaled is the most viewed person on Snapchat. He has build a community of loyal followers through his work on Snapchat, documenting his life as a DJ. His snaps rake in over 3 million views per snap!

That my friends, is called attention.

Snapchat provides a level of attention from your viewers that is hard to get with other platforms.

When users watch your snaps, they are choosing to engage with your content, not just scrolling past it in their feed.

The beauty of the ten second Snapchat video, is that the viewer is engaged for the ten seconds to you and your content. There are no other distractions and if your content is good enough to hold their attention, you can make a real impact.

This leads us into community…  



The way in which Snapchat has not allowed users to search and add people at random has created a social platform where users can build a loyal following or community.

Social media influencers like Jake Paul leverage the attention of the communities they have built in order to run their businesses.  

I believe that having an engaged community on a platform such a Snapchat, is just as valuable as a modern day email list.

Community is king.

Community is built on attention and trust.

Attention and trust generate sales.


Snapchat Marketing

The fact that a business owner can reach into his or her pocket, open up Snapchat and in ten seconds or less, post content to their community, I believe is invaluable.

For example, if you own a retail bricks and mortar business, you need foot traffic in your store to make sales right? So how can you gain more foot traffic in your store?

Let’s take an independent sporting goods store. You rely on millennials being a high percentage of your customers. Snapchat, along with is 150 million daily users is currently the millennial platform of choice.

If you as the owner of the sporting goods store had an active presence on Snapchat, instead of your potential customers walking right past your shop front, head down watching snaps, you could potentially have gained their attention (which is focused on their mobile device) and bring them in store.

The cost?

10 seconds or less of your time.

What to post?

Behind the scenes of the business, the latest product reviews, Snapchat-only challenges, giveaways, discounts for those watching your ‘stories’ and of course there are geofilters (read on for more about geofilters).

Like Gary Vee says, Snapchat works. As a marketing platform, you need to find ways to make work for you and your business.


In which area of your business could Snapchat work?

Perhaps you think that Snapchat might not work for your business?

You might be right.

But what area of your business are we talking about?

Sure, if you are operating a professional service, like an accountant firm, then perhaps Snapchat might not be the best platform to focus on as far as front end sales go.

But could it be used for another section of the business like recruitment or brand awareness? Could you use the platform to show potential applicants what life is like ‘behind-the-scenes’ in your business?

Be creative, leverage the power and features of the platform to your advantage.  

Part 3: Snapchat features to leverage

Content Creation

The beautiful thing about Snapchat is that the platform give you the ability to create ‘vlog’ (video blog) style content and easy post this on a day to day basis.

In a world where every business is now a media business, Snapchat allows you to capture and document your activity in a raw, engaging style that doesn’t required filming, editing and uploading like a Youtube video.  

As human beings, we have always been captivated by stories and always will be. Storytelling is the tool on which to build your brand and create an engaged and interactive community around your business.

Snapchat is the type of social media platform that you can use to give your community an inside and ‘behind-the-scenes’ look into your life and your business.

The key for many business owners is to document not create. You don’t need to force content or work hard on producing high quality video.

It better to tell your story and let people get to know the real you!

People buy from people, so show them the person behind the business!



Whats a geofilter?

A geofilter is just like a normal filter on snapchat, the permanent ones available when you swipe right to left over your image or video. The difference is that a geofilter is only available when you are in a certain location.

snapchat geofilter
Made by
Made by


















This feature called, an ‘on-demand’ geofilter, is available to anyone that is willing to create a geofilter according to Snapchat’s guidelines and submit it for approval. The person uploading the geofilter gets to choose the location, area size and length of time the filter is to be displayed up to 30 days at a time. The more you increase any of those parameters the more Snapchat will charge you.

On-demand geofilters are still an underpriced marketing tool. Currently they charge $5 per hour per twenty thousand square feet! This can work out to be very cheap marketing on a CPM basis, if there are a lot of people using Snapchat and your filter in that area.

Depending on how your graphic design skills stack up, you can either use programs like Canva to create your own geofilter or outsource to a company like who’s business is built on making some of the best geofilters for the biggest brands on Snapchat today! (As well as the geofilters shown above)

Click here if you would like to read an great article from Social Media Examiner  or click here if for an article from Gary Vaynerchuk on creating geofilters for your own event or business.

Snapchat yes or Snapchat no?

In a world where mobile retail is growing 37% faster than traditional retail, its vital for businesses to have a mobile and social presence.

Platforms like Snapchat make it possible to tell your story, build your brand, form a community, generate sales and grow your business.

Snapchat is the same as every other social media platform out there in its core fundamentals. It is a digital platform, available across the globe, that provides users with another way of communication; all be it via a different UI (user interface) and UX (user experience).

Snapchat is the same as Facebook and other social networks, in that you add ‘friends’, you create and upload content and you communicate via the methods the platform provides. The ‘news feed’ in Snapchat is the list of stories that people you are connected with create. It operates via the same core functionally, but with a different look and feel.

My question to you is, has this blog changed your mind about Snapchat? Have I provided you with enough information to try it in your business?

I would love to know your thoughts!

Leave a comment below on your experiences to date on ‘the Snap’!  


P.S. I’d love to connect with you if your already on Snapchat! Add me >> @anthonygmurphy


snapchat banner



Forbes –

Mashable –

Social Media Examiner –

 TechCrunch –

Posted in

Anthony Murphy

Scroll to Top