What if I told you that you could have direct access to your audience’s pocket no matter where they are in the world?
You’d probably call me a snake oil salesman, tell all your friends I’m a heathen and send me on my way.
But, the truth is, there is a way you can do it. And it’s through an app that you might have heard of, it’s called Snapchat.
Okay I know you’ve heard of it. But do you know just how powerful it can be?
As you sit here reading this, 150 million people are sending, receiving and creating Snapchat Stories. That’s 9,000 snaps a second!
They’re sharing lives with their friends, reporting the news and connecting with their favourite brands and marketers. They’re intertwining their lives with others right through the camera lens on their mobile phone or tablet.
And, if you play your cards right – as I’ll show you how to do in this article – you can leverage this platform to generate some incredible returns in: money, traffic and branding.
So, if you’re ready to bring your Affiliate Marketing strategy into the here and now, read on.
What You Will Learn
In this article I’m going to show you why you (yes, you) as an Affiliate Marketer need to get onto this platform while you still can.
- What Is Snapchat (And Should You Use It)?
- How To Set Up And Use Snapchat Right Now
- How To Use Snapchat To Boost Your Affiliate Sales
- How to create your own Snapchat marketing strategy to drive traffic & sales
What Is Snapchat (And Should You Use It)?
Snapchat is currently the world’s fastest growing Social Media platform. It’s already overtaken Twitter and, as of last September it gets four billion views a day. That’s exactly the same as Facebook.
It focuses on mobile-only, disposable content. That sounds a bit jargon-y so let me delve a little bit deeper…
You can take images and send them to your friends (or fans) from the app on your mobile device (phone or tablet) and they’re gone in 24 hours.
You can also turn these images into ‘Stories’ where, for one day you can add to the story, and people can check in on it whenever they want.
To give you a brief insight into the projected power of this tool, Mark Zuckerberg tried to purchase Snapchat for $3 billion dollars back in 2013. And, it’s currently valued at over $20 billion dollars:
Okay, that’s the hard sell. Snapchat is clearly doing something right. But, now for the important question – should you be using it? Well, let’s take a look…
Does Your Audience Use Snapchat?
According to the latest statistics, here’s how the Snapchat Demographic looks now in comparison to all the other platforms:
That suggests that if you focus on a younger audience, then Snapchat is definitely somewhere where they’re spending their time. That’s not to say that you won’t get penetration here, especially if you’re an early adopter for your generation.
But if your focus is on the 50+ age range you’d be better suited to Facebook or Pinterest.
The information about gender is fewer and further between. But, in 2013, Snapchat CEO Even Spiegal stated that 70% of it’s users are Female.
And, while the split of 18-34 year olds specifically had always been pretty even – around the 30% mark for each – women in this generation seem to be flocking to the app:
So you need to take a look at your audience and ask if it’s worthwhile spending time and effort to try and sell here knowing all of this data. But, if you’re focused on a younger generation of 18-34 year olds with a relatively gender neutral product, you’ll be fine.
Can You Use Snapchat?
If you’re confident in picking up a camera, documenting your daily life and can make people listen to what you have to say, you have an amazing platform right here.
Now don’t get me wrong, you don’t need to be a YouTube Sensation to use Snapchat. But, you need to be confident enough to talk into a camera and make people listen to you. If you feel that talking isn’t one of your strengths it may not be for you.
A big part of selling on Snapchat, as you’ll see later, is being imperfect too. Showing a true behind the scenes of your life, unpolished and in all it’s glory. If you’re okay with that, then you’ve found your home.
If you have a personal account – or want to set one up – maybe try making Snapchats for the next few days and seeing if you gel well with it before you invest time and effort into it.
Can You Make Your Topic or Product Interesting?
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that all products and topics are a good fit for Snapchat. If your audience is here, and you can handle yourself on camera, your chances or getting at least some success here are high.
But the final obstacle is making your topics and products interesting, day in and day out.
DJ Khaled, one of Snapchat’s biggest stars, rarely talks about anything exciting, contrary to what you may think rap star life is like. Check out this Snapchat Story of him putting on deodorant, watering the plants and eating food:
(Note: Imagine he was a Dove affiliate? Think of all the exposure he just got).
One of the most boring topics you could possible have on Social Media is a day in the life of a dog yet hundreds of thousands of people watch videos from Marnie and Jiff the Dog.
Look at this video below.
This is just a dog, being a dog, and people love it:
They could easily push people towards a brand or their own website.
No matter what you’re trying to sell, if you find a way to make it interesting, they’ll flock to your channel.
Okay, if you’ve ticked the boxes above, you’re ready to start using Snapchat to sell your products.
In this next section I’m going to look at how to get set up on Snapchat if you’re completely new to the platform.
This Section In Short
Snapchat is the fastest growing social network on earth. And, as it stands, it’s still free for marketers to use.
It’s disposable content of up to 24 hours makes your content more valuable and builds in people watching for a second, third and fourth time if your content is good.
If you have a younger demographic – 18 to 35 or somewhere in between – there is a lot of attention here for you to capitalise on.
Before you get started, you need to answer for yourself:
- Are you good on camera? The camera shy need not apply.
- Are you prepared to be imperfect? This is your life warts and all.
- Is your audience on Snapchat? See above.
- Can you make your topic interesting? Topics aren’t boring, instead it’s your job to make them exciting and engaging.
Know your strengths. There is no shame in knowing that you’re better at Podcasting and Blogging than Snapping. But, if you’re happy with all of the above, get ready for the next step.
Quick Start: How To Set Up Snapchat For Business
If you’ve never used Snapchat before I want to give you a brief run through of how to set up snapchat for business so you can get started right away.
These are the no fluff essentials you need to know, and links to other relevant topics on something that you can learn in the future.
Snapchat is so easy to get started with. To set it up only takes a few minutes, and if you already have friends on other social media platforms, you can be sending out Snaps in no time.
Step #1: Download And Get Set Up
Click the right link below that matches up with the mobile device you’re using, and go ahead and download it.
The app is free and there are no usage costs – unless your mobile service provider has them on your package, but that is independent from the app itself – so you can download and start getting ready in a heart beat.
Once you download the app and open it you’ll be taken to a screen where you’ll be asked to log in or sign up. Choose sign up and you’ll be asked to verify some information and choose your username.
I’d highly recommend creating a username that fits your branding and is consistent with your other social media usernames. For example, I’ve created this snapchat feed under the same name as my Travel Blog and Facebook Page:
If you’re going to be using multiple Snapchat accounts for different affiliate sites, I’d suggest you sign up with an email address, because it’s easier to create a second email account than get a new phone number for each one.
Bingo, you’re on Snapchat…
Understanding What You See
I am running the latest version of Snapchat and I have taken a sample snap to walk you through what you can see on the screen.
Here’s a shot of my favourite coffee cup (yeah, it’s a tin cup, because I’m so hipster it hurts):
This button is the action button and allows to take photographs and record videos. If you hold it down it takes a video, if you tap it you’ll take a photo. Simple.
After that you have this little circle at the bottom right with three smaller circles in it. This is where you can access the Snapchat Stories of people who you are friends with.
As an affiliate this wont be too much to worry about – you’ll probably be focused on creating and not consuming content – but it’s there for you if you do have friends and people you follow on there.
This next button is the chat button. This is where you can see all of the contact people have directly with you.
Be that Snapchat text messages, direct snapchats or videos that they want to share with you.
I’d recommend checking in on this and checking it at least twice a day, because these are also disposable, and it’s good to see them (and reply) before they float off into the ether.
This third button is subtle and at the top of the page. This can be considered your dashboard and allows you to manage your friends and settings.
Here you can click to manage your friends, your profile picture and any of the settings for Snapchat you might want to change. You can survive pretty well without ever touching this, so I wont dwell here.
Finally, back on the camera screen, you have two more buttons outstanding. The one on the left toggles the flash on and off. While the one on the right changes the camera around to face you:
What’s The Difference Between A Snap And A Story?
There’s a subtle difference between the two.
But, you need to know the difference, to make sure you’re communicating to the right people. Below I’ve outlined what each of them are and when you should use them.
A Snap is a one to 10 second piece of content that can be sent directly to a user, or up to 200 users, at any one time. This can be a single picture or video, as well as a text message. Once it’s been viewed, it’s gone.
You should use this when someone speaks to you and you want to respond to them directly. For example, if you’ve run a competition and want to speak directly to a winner. Or if you want to answer a question that you’ve been asked.
They’ve discontinued this, but it was an excellent way of making a brand more accessible:
A story is a stack of Snaps. They’re not targeted at anyone specific, more at your audience as a whole. You can mix and match both videos and photographs with captions to create a strong piece of content.
Here’s a great example of a story from the clothing brand, Everlane. They show users their tee factory and give a raw, transparent, look into their brand:
Think of a story like a Snapchat Blog Post. You’ll use a story to engage and provide value to your audience, and you will use Snap’s to respond to their comments.
Creating Your First Snap (Or Story)
If you’re following along at home let’s take a second to talk about how to create your first Snapchat.
It’s really, really, simple. Just click the button and away you go.
In fact, I’m not even going to show you how to do it myself. I’m going to hand you over to the New York Times Snapchat Story that gives you (entertaining) pro-tips on how to create a Snapchat story (it’s almost a paradox, right?):
This Section In Short
If you decided that Snapchat is a good fit for your marketing moving forward, here’s how to get yourself set up:
- Download the app: From the App Store, Google Play or Snapchat themselves.
- Create your account: By following the instructions on screen.
- Get to know the app: Scroll back up and see the breakdown of what’s on your screen.
Once you’re in and comfortable, Snapchat is divided into two parts: Snaps and Stories.
Snaps are small, targeted pieces of content sent directly to someone (or up to 200 people). They can’t be viewed by the outside world and are much more specific. Once you’ve viewed them, they’re gone.
Stories are like Snapchat blog posts. They’re longer, can be viewed by your entire audience and are less targeted, yet still completely relevant.
Go ahead and make your first snap then move on to the next section.
How To Create Your Own Snapchat Marketing Strategy
This is why you’re here, right?
You want to know how to sell your products (and affiliate products), generate income and drive traffic back to your site.
Good news. You’ve come to the right article. In this section I’m going to show you:
- How to create content that sells your affiliate products
- What content is most effective at engaging your audience
- The steps you need to take to grow your Snapchat following
- How you can use Snapchat to create daily sales
So what are we waiting for, let’s get stuck in…
First Things First, Links…
A worry that comes to mind when I think of Snapchat and Affiliate Marketing is, “Can I use my affiliate links there?”
The short answer is, yes, you can now send links through Snapchat.
The long answer is a little more complex though.
Snapchat will divide your followers into two groups of people, friends and non-friends. As you can see in the image below links show up differently depending on which group they’re in:
And, direct chat’s are done on a one-to-one basis because you can’t broadcast to people in the same way that you would with your snapchat images. But all is not lost.
Let’s say you’ve run a product review on your Snapchat Story, you could create a snap at the end that says something like, “Chat me to find out how to get your hands on this!”, and then you can reply to all of these people based on their demand.
Or, if you really feel like it, you can write the message one by one to all of these people. Your choice.
Create Daily Relevant, Valuable, Content
Okay, just because Snapchat is about being real, it doesn’t exactly mean you have to document every moment of your life.
Instead make sure it’s all relevant to your audience and why they follow you on different platforms, or what’s going to draw them back to your blog.
Take a look at this guy, George Bryant. He’s a blogger and foodie who runs the website, Civilized Caveman Cooking. He creates his own products, but from a look around his site he’s also an affiliate and an advertiser:
The way he gathered his fame and endorsements is through creating daily, valuable content to people in his niche. One of the most innovative ways he does it is through his Snapchat Cooking Show, wich you can see here:
He’s just going about his daily life doing what he normally would – cooking and creating Paleo recipes – but all he’s done is record it and share it with people. And, it’s a big sales tool for his products as well. How?
Well if you want to go back and find the recipe again – remember, Snapchat disappears – you can find it on his site. Where, not only does it show you the complete recipe:
But it also takes you to a section where you can download his $3.00 app and get more of his recipes:
One of the best ways to do this for yourself, especially if you’re stuck for a talking point, is to talk about what’s going on in your niche right now. Take a look for:
- News stories
- Newly released products
- Controversial blog posts or podcast episodes
- What you’re working on right now
And start to talk about them. I’m always thinking about Travel – how to do it cheaply, more effectively and the current affairs in it – so I might create a story like:
- Find a new travel app I’m using
- Record a video about it
- Share the cheapest deals I’ve found
- Ask if people have used this app, or anything similar, for themselves
For example, look at this mornings Snapchat I made while trying to find ways to get to Lake Bled in Slovenia (beautiful place, by the way).
I saw I was using one of my favourite apps, Rome2Rio, and decided to add it to my story:
Now, all of my followers know about a tool that I use personally and am using right now. If I was to add an affiliate link or site in there, I’d have created solid social proof for them go ahead and use that tool.
The important point here is that your Snapchat’s have to add value. Whether you’re on here to:
- Generate discussions
- Tell stupid jokes
You need to be sure that you hit that mark every time you snap.
You wouldn’t put out an irrelevant Facebook update or tweet – at least one that didn’t grow your brand – so don’t put it here, either.
Focus On The Reality Of Your Products
The real selling point of Snapchat is that it’s a behind the scenes look into the lives of people. It’s the day to day lives that are so attractive. Which is where the willingness to be imperfect comes in.
For example, Chris Pratt is one of my favourite actors (and people) of all time and with the power of Snapchat I can see exactly what he gets up to. Every. Single. Day. Without that pesky lawsuit…
But, in a more relevant and less fan boy based approach, here’s Branden Harvey.
He’s a travel photographer from Tennessee. And, instead of just showing the perfectly polished travel images of old, he shows travel photography through a real-world lens, as if you were travelling with him.
Here he is making the first snapchat story from inside The White House:
In the first 20 seconds it’s instantly relatable and real life. If you’ve ever been running late, tried to go through the wrong entrance or been made to wait outside (I’ve got all three), you feel an instant connection to him.
The reality of being a travel photographer is that you go to places and get a different look at them. You travel, take pictures and find new angles. All of these are touched upon in this snapchat.
How does this apply to you?
Take a look at the product you sell and the day-to-day impact of it. Let’s say you run an Affiliate Store in the Coffee Niche. What are the realities of Coffee?
- Why they drink coffee in the first place
- What they drink it from
- Where they go to drink it
- The styles of coffee they like to drink
- How you feel after drinking coffee
- What you talk about while drinking coffee
And for each of these steps there’s a way to promote and sell a product, too. Got a coffee cup you’re trying to sell? Use it in your video. Got a specific style of bean? Use it and show how it makes some guys day better.
Heck, why not even go a step further and show the fact that cleaning your coffee machine is the most annoying thing on the planet.
Make Your Snapchat Users Feel Special
Your users are following you on Snapchat because they want to see more of you. They want something different to what they see on Facebook, Twitter and all the other places you hang out.
So give it to them.
Cassey Ho, the owner of YouTube Fitness Channel, Blogilates, does this perfectly. She often runs Snapchat only product reviews for her fans, like in this story below:
They can’t get access to her insider knowledge on this food anywhere else on the internet. And because it’s only available for 24 hours you know it’s hot off the press and you’ve got the most up to date information from her possible. This is news, breaking, in front of your eyes.
Let me show you this from another angle. Harmonix, the creators of video games like Rock Band used Snapchat to show their audiences behind the scenes footage of the E3 Conference.
To give you some idea of how awesome that is, a ticket for the 2016 conference could run you up to $995 dollars.
So by creating videos like this:
They created real value to you, the consumer, because they aren’t getting this footage anywhere else on the planet. And that, in turn, helps them sell their own products off the back of it.
Think of the next time you:
- Try a new product in your niche
- Attend an event
- Meet an influencer
- Have an idea for a piece of content
Share all of it on Snapchat and plug your products as you go. Even link to them like I mentioned before. By giving this exclusivity to your followers you’ll be able to drive more attention to your feed, and sell more products as a result.
Run Snapchat Only Competitions
Competitions on Snapchat are a great way to take what you just learned in the last section and generate even more hype about your products.
Someone who does this daily to promote his new book is Gary Vaynerchuck. For example, this Snapchat came through while I was typing this section of the article:
And, I went straight through to his Twitter to see if people were entering and, guess what? Some of them were!
— Miloš Takač (@milostakac) July 12, 2016
What’s really brilliant here is that all of the followers of the person who enters can see the tweet, and on the enlarged image people can see exactly who sent it and add him too, especially if they recognise his face.
Think of how you can run a competition and get people involved. Screenshots, giveaways and shoutouts always generate interest.
Revive The Long Dead Flash Sale
Flash Sales are where, out of nowhere, you decide to offer discounts on all (or some) of your products for a defined length of time. It could be an hour, a day or even just the next ten minutes.
Snapchat has the capability to drive sales like this in a way that nobody else can. My favourite example of this comes from Brazil and the fashion brand, Hering.
In 2015 and they ran a new campaign called #snapblackfriday where they ran different discounts on their products, every Friday, with different promo codes. Just check out this short video to see what I mean:
These events were so popular that they grew the companies yearly sales by 15%.
You can do this with almost any product, physical or digital. You could run a Flash Sale with any market manipulation, too:
- Discounts: Offer a promo code or give a rebate if someone buys from you
- Added extras: Give away a copy of an eBook or coaching sessions with every purchase
- Prizes: Similar to competitions, but they have to make a transaction first
Let’s say you you’re in the Blogging Niche and you make a lot of money from selling hosting packages. You can’t really offer a discount on hosting because you don’t control the price. But, you could create a Snapchat like:
“The next 5 people to send me a snapchat of them signing up to BlueHost get a free 30 minutes coaching call with me!”
You can toy around with whatever you can afford to turn into a package, or where you can give discounts (especially if you have your own products). And because these are such a small, time bound sales, they can only positively impact your bottom line.
Or, you can take a slice (see what I did there?) from GubHub’s Snapchat and create a hidden Snapchat Code that all users can access:
Connect With Influencers To Promote Your Products
Influencer Marketing is becoming more and more important as platforms start to get their own native celebrities. And – no matter how big or small – it always pays to cash in on them.
Think of this like a Guest Blogging strategy for your Snapchat feed. That’s exactly what toy company, Sphero, did when they handed their toy over to Snapchat Influencer Shaun McBride:
According to the Wall Street Journal, thanks to this snapchat influencing, the toy sold out in just a matter of hours.
Now this story may not be completely relatable to you as an affiliate. But, this shows the impact of getting yourself on these influencers channels.
You don’t even need a 2 million viewer channel like Shaun’s. Instead just try this simple strategy:
- Find people in your niche with bigger accounts than yours
- Ask if they want to run your feed for a day
- Offer to run their feed for a day
Not only can you get your knowledge and expertise in front of people you want to be exposed to you, you can promote products in a more targeted way to people more likely to buy, because you’ve just been endorsed.
Of course, there are steps before these ones – getting to know them, building a relationship and so on – but when you’re friends with them, jumping on their feed is a good way to get featured.
Or, if you feel this is a little out of your depth, try this…
- Head to MeetUp.com
- Find relevant events to your niche
- Snapchat about them
- Ask the people to shout you out on their Snapchat to get you followers
Run Q&A Sessions In The Run Up To A Big Launch (Or Just To Promote)
Taking the last section and intertwining it with this one, check out this video from English Nutritionist, Ben Coomber.
In the run up to one of his big talks at a sports performance conference in Scotland he took over the events Snapchat. He spent 30 minutes in a Q&A (Question and Answers) session with users and future attendees about nutrition and health.
Now, in just this small section, he manages to talk about his own talk a few times:
Think of this laterally, instead of as a direct sale. He’s getting people to buy tickets to an event (commission), so that they will see his talk and then buy more products from him.
He’s got them in a sales funnel they don’t even know they’re a part of. But how could this work for you?
One of the big events in Online Marketing is Webinars right now. If you’re running one of those you could:
- Take control of an influencers feed and run a Q&A
- Run your own Q&A on your channel
- Promote what people will learn on your Webinar
- Point them to any other of your products that will help them between now and then
Create Content From Your Old Content
In the last update of Snapchat they added a brand new feature called Memories.
Where you used to only be able to updates based on what was happening around you, you can now create Snapchat Stories from content you already have on your phone.
I’ve used this for audience engagement over the last few days, sharing places I’ve been to, like this awesome shot of The End of the World in Finisterre:
But you can also use it to share previous experiences, or old content you have about your products that you’ve used.
Maybe you have images or videos of:
- Your last webinar
- Events you attended
- People using your products
- That time you met your favourite guru
Or anything from the past that your audience are going to fall in love with.
This is brand new so I’m interested to see how marketers use this, and if you have any cool Snapchat marketing ideas for this, please let me know in the comments…
This Section In Short
Snapchat is an audience engagement tool, but can also be used to generate big sales for your products too. But, you need to be clever and look for ways to get people involved in your products.
Here are some of the most effective, tried and tested ways of getting people to buy from you through Snapchat:
Create Consistent Valuable Content
Like in the Caveman Cooking example, create content that adds value to your end user. It should be relevant to your niche, leave them with a powerful take away or show them something new that they didn’t know about before they opened your Snap.
Get Stuck In With Reality
You can show all the glossy, well polished versions of your products when people are on your blog. On Snapchat, you need to get stuck into the reality of your product.
How does it work when they are using it on the day to day? What’s your real world? Showcase that and you’ll see more interest in your products.
Run Snapchat Competitions
Competitions are the way to engage people every day. And, you only have to give away a little to receive a lot back.
Like Gary Vaynerchuck showed with his daily competition, it can be simple (like guessing a number), but by getting your followers to organically share your competitions, you build a following and generate more interest.
Revive Flash Sales
Flash Sales have been proven to increase sales. By connecting with people right in their pocket and giving them the exclusive opportunity to get their hands on these offers, you can create quick sales opportunities without damaging your long term results.
Make Your Snapchat Followers Feel Special
Snapchat is a world within itself. Tap into it and show them that, for being part of this world, they get something special.
Whether thats a discount, exclusive content or otherwise is up to you. But by offering this you stand yourself in good stead for long term sales success.
Connect With Influencers
You may not have a Star Wars toy to sell. But there is no denying that Influencer Marketing on Snapchat works.
Attend meet up’s and events. Network like crazy with people in your niche on Snapchat. Offer incredible value and make the users feel special and you can start to generate sales not just on yours, but on other peoples platforms, too.
Run Q&A Sessions
Question and Answer sessions are incredible for plugging your product and providing value to the end user. Or, if you’re Ben Coomber, generating income for yourself as well.
Next time you – or an influencer – has a big event coming up, use this example to generate more traction and discover new people who want to buy your products.
Wrapping It Up: Time To Start Snapping
Okay, that’s it! This is the end of your affiliate marketers guide to Snapchat.
In conclusion, the jury is out on what the most effective ways to use Snapchat are – in terms of there is no black and white Snapchat marketing strategy for success.
Yet, all of the Snapchat marketing ideas here have been proven time and time again by those that are successful to:
- Drive traffic
- Grow followings
- Engage users
- Generate income
So, all that’s left for you to do is to get yourself online and creating those snaps. What are you waiting for?
(By the way, don’t forget to add me on Snapchat and watch me put in the work! You can get me on @onedayguides, or scan any of my codes throughout the post on your phone.)