By Jennifer Lobb –

smartphoneSnapchat may not be the social media site with the most users, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a powerful tool for companies with a specific audience – namely, millennials. With over 180 million daily users, many of whom are under the age of 34, Snapchat, when leveraged properly, can help boost sales and grow brand awareness.

Not intimately familiar with Snapchat? Unlike Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, Snapchat’s longevity is, in part, based on its fleeting nature. The social platform allows users to send images and short videos to each other, but unlike other social platforms, the Snapchats expire after they’re opened.

Though some may find an expiration date to be burdensome, businesses can cash in on its time-sensitive nature, which can promote engagement backed by urgency and exclusivity.

Is Snapchat right for your business?

Before you dive into a Snapchat strategy frenzy, it’s best to take a good hard look at your audience. Unlike Facebook, which has an eclectic user base, Snapchat, as mentioned above, appeals to a younger demographic. 

If your brand stands to gain a lot from that 34-and-under (or even more specifically the 18 to 24) demographic, then your failure to “snap” to it can lead to a significant missed opportunity. On the other hand, if your target audience is older than 34, then you may want to consider alternative social platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

4 Ways to Boost Sales with Snapchat

Assuming your audience does use Snapchat, there are several ways you can create some buzz around your brand, growing a loyal following and increasing your sales.

1. Exclusive Offers

As you begin to grow your Snapchat audience, you’ll need to give them a reason to tune in every day, and exclusive promotions, offers and coupons can be a great way to do that.

There are multiple ways you can extend special offers on Snapchat. Some companies choose to create Snapchat Stories that feature the promotion at the end (ensuring users watch the whole clip), or you can be more straightforward and simply share the offer straight away.

Another way, and perhaps the method that engages audiences the most, is to offer coupons and discounts to users who share pictures or stories of themselves using your product, shopping at your store, or fulfilling some other fun requirement.

One thing to keep in mind is that promotions should be something followers look forward to but don’t expect daily (there’s no anticipation if it’s expected). If you run promotional offers too often, the tactic will lose urgency and followers won’t feel the need to engage or shop, assuming there will be a new offer tomorrow.

2. Leverage Influencers

Influencers are social media users that have amassed a large group of followers, and, as the name suggests, influence target audiences. If you’re a small business, you may not be able to secure the attention of a high-level influencer right away (it could be costly), but that doesn’t mean this “word-of-mouth” marketing tactic is out of your reach.

Identify micro-influencers in your niche or neighborhood, and see if you can entice them to use your product or service and post about it. You can drum up significant interest by simply offering a free product or service in exchange for a few snaps supporting your company.

You may have to get a bit creative to find a Snapchat influencer, but you can start by analyzing your current followers and searching for niche blogs, YouTubers, or even Facebook pages to see who the perfect candidate might be.

3. Offer VIP Access

When designing social media campaigns, it’s easy to share the same or similar content across multiple platforms, but Snapchat is designed with the urgency that supports VIP access and exclusive sneak peeks.

Whether it’s a new brand launch, a special event you’re hosting or participating in, or even a new product or service you’re planning to offer, a Snapchat-only campaign can do wonders to create buzz and keep users engaged.

For example, if you’re about to launch a new service, you can start promoting it exclusively on Snapchat, and then, after you raise some awareness, invite some lucky users to check it out. From there, you can encourage them to share their unique experiences, allowing other users an inside look they can’t access anywhere else.

The possibilities are endless, but the end goal should be to create intrigue and anticipation. From there, your followers may very well do the rest.

4. Use Geofilters

If you have an upcoming event, special in-store promotion, store opening, etc., you might want to consider using a Snapchat geofilter, which allows businesses to engage with followers in a specific location for a specific time frame.

Small businesses can typically choose from community filters, which are free for use but can take just under a week to get approved (and branding is not allowed), or on-demand geofilters.

On-demand geofilters can be designed for a specific event, location or business, but they are not free. The good news is that they can be very affordable, and though you can’t use logos, hashtags, or trademark material, they are user-designed. Therefore, you can create something that is highly relevant to your business and your target audience.

As for fees, on-demand geofilters cost $5 per hour for 20,000 square feet, and while that certainly adds to the cost of promotions that last several days or encompass a large geographic area, many small businesses can leverage on-demand geofilters for a relatively low price.

If you’re looking to amp up your marketing efforts and capture the attention of millennials, then Snapchat can be just what you need to boost sales and create a loyal group of followers. The key to success is to understand your audience, engage with them, and create a strategy that incorporates creativity and a healthy mix of the methods above.

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About the Author: Jennifer is a alum of the University of Denver. While in the graduate program there, she enjoyed spending time identifying ways in which non-profits and small businesses could develop into strong and profitable organizations while promoting strong community growth. She also enjoys finding unique ways for freelancers and start-up businesses to reach and expand their goals.

This article originally appeared on Nav.com.