When I first downloaded Snapchat, I expected a slightly more interesting alternative to conventional texting.
The prospect of sending visual messages that vanished after a preselected duration of time was a tantalizing new feature in the social media scene. It offered less pressure and more privacy than traditional messaging systems.
However, I soon found myself using the app for more than just messaging: I started trading silly faces and funny video clips with my friends.
In no time, Snapchat became a staple in messaging apps, especially among the age 18-24 demographic.
Today the app boasts an impressive 150 million users per month, and shows no signs of slowing down.
It’s not unreasonable to accredit Snapchat’s meteoric rise to its unorthodox take on messaging. Clearly, users enjoy the app’s innovative and simplified approach to talking to friends.
So it may be a little surprising to open the app today and discover a great wealth of features besides photo and video messaging.
Here are a just a few of the extra features: disappearing text messaging, an assortment of trophies, badges for frequently Snapped friends, and public Snaps called “Stories,” which are location- and event-based narratives that anyone in a given area can contribute to.
In addition, the “Discover” page provides updating Stories from select newspapers, magazines, and networks.
The Stories feature is a powerful sharing tool, and not only for users. The most interesting thing about it may be the far-reaching communicative and advertising power it offers to businesses.
Moreover, the Discover page displays just a small sample of the vast number of companies that are now utilizing Stories to tap into Snapchat’s enormous, content-consuming audience.
Here are 5 businesses that have taken to Snapchat to advertise themselves to the social network’s largely Millennial user base.
1. General Electric (@generalelectric)
On the social media scene, General Electric is anything but a newcomer.
The industrial powerhouse has been spreading awareness of its brand on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for quite some time, so it should be no surprise to see them take to Snapchat as well.
Among GE’s first exploits on the social network was a surprise interview with renowned astronaut Buzz Aldrin. GE regularly posts fun facts and clips of their technology being tested in the field.
2. NASA (@nasa)
NASA regularly uses Snapchat to showcase its current projects and phenomena in space.
Earlier this year, NASA posted a Story from the International Space Station to give its many followers a glimpse of what it’s like to be in space.
3. Amazon (@amazon)
Amazon is already beloved for its vast supply of available goods.
However, the e-commerce giant’s creative use of Snapchat may have earned it even more brand loyalty.
Amazon’s Stories display Snapchat doodles, funny product reviews and exclusive discounts and even host special giveaways.
4. Dove (@dove)
If you’ve seen a Dove commercial, you already know the brand is concerned with creating an atmosphere of body positivity for women.
Dove’s use of Snapchat furthers that message, albeit in a more intimate way that invites users to share their messages of self-esteem directly with the personal-care brand.
As part of its “Self-Esteem Weekend,” Dove posted Stories encouraging followers to reach out to them on Snapchat so they could offer advice and comfort.
In addition, special Dove staffers called “self-esteem ambassadors” responded to and held conversations with individual users who sent in messages and stories.
5. Taco Bell (@tacobell)
Taco Bell was one of the earliest adopters of Snapchat.
From announcing new additions to the menu to posting funny taco-themed videos, the fast food chain’s exploits have garnered a record number of views on Snapchat.
Taco Bell’s consistently entertaining interactions with Snapchat have made it one of the most-followed brands on the social platform and a standout business in the advertising space.