Snapchat for Restaurants: How to Start Reaching More Customers

By: Bruce Irving

6 Minute Read

Jul 30, 2016

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I know what you’re thinking - do I really need another social network in my life?

Well, there is one that is very different and definitely worth your attention. That social network is Snapchat.

If you still haven't heard it, Snapchat (released in 2011) is a mobile app that lets you send images or videos, or "snaps," from your mobile device. Before we tell you how to get started, let’s look at some data according to the Snapchat ads page.

  • More than 60% of U.S. 13 to 34 year-old smartphone users are Snapchatters
  • There are more than 10 billion video views every day on Snapchat.
  • There are over 150 million active Snapchatters using this app daily.
  • Snapchat just surpassed Twitter in daily usage.

When used by businesses, this fast growing app can lead to great interaction with customers in a new and exciting way. Read on to see how this exciting feature can appeal to many of your restaurant's guests.

Getting Set Up with Snapchat

First, you’ll have to download the app. It’s available on both Android and Apple phones, but is only available on mobile devices.

Once you download the app you’ll set up a new account by picking a username up to 15 characters. Obviously, you'll want to choose your restaurant's name! If it's a common name, perhaps tack on a number or the name of your city at the end. For example: if "AmysPizza" is taken, try "AmysPizzaBoston."

Even if you're not planning on implementing Snapchat into your restaurant marketing strategy immediately, it may be wise to register your username now before it's taken by somebody else.

Next, to create a “snap,” either press the button for a picture or hold it down for a video (up to 10 seconds). After you take a picture or video, it will prompt you to either send to anyone who follows you individually or “add it to your story”.

Try to limit the amount of snaps you send directly to your friends on Snapchat if you want to be less pushy. Instead, add it to “your story” so viewers will be able to see the content on their time if they so choose.

Starting to Send Snaps

Snapchat is unlike any other platform. Users are really engaged with whom they follow and the Snapchat Story is unique. It’s also a fun and fresh way for you to show the behind the scenes of your business all while letting your hair down and being a little casual about it. These stories go away after 24 hours (the life cycle of your content).

Some restaurants are using this feature as a way of offering specials or having fun contests that have a pre-determined expiration date. For example, they may say, "The first 10 people to show up here and play us this video get a 10% discount! Act fast because this deal ends tonight!" Doing a simple promotion like this is a great way for you to get comfortable with producing content on a daily basis.

How Often Should I Snap?

Snapchat is unique, because directly sent video or photo disappear forever immediately after being viewed. If you post a story, it lasts for just 24 hours. This means you have to keep creating new content over and over to stay active and relevant for your customers and followers. To some, this may seem annoying. But for savvy business owners, it’s a great way to test out new content and show your creative side.

Think of it as a behind the scenes of what you do and how you do it. We did an entire show about content ideas for restaurants on Snapchat. Here are a few of our ideas:

  • Show what it’s like before the store even opens. Give your customers a sneak peak of what you do!
  • Secret Snapchat deals that expire in 24 hours.
  • Let one of your staff members do a Snapchat takeover (give them access to the account and let them post for a day).
  • Post a meal or food item on your story when it comes out looking really good.

Snapchat Geofilters

After you take a snap, they’re those logos that appear in specific locations when you swipe to the left or the right. You can purchase these around a specific location and have your branded logo show up inside users' snaps. In the picture below, the woman took a picture and swiped to discover a geofilter designed for McDonald's.

snapchat at mcdonalds

Geofilters are an advertising opportunity to get the word out about your brand in a particular geographic location in which you choose. This is great to do if there is an event happening with a large group of people around your area. Check out Snapchat's FAQ on geofilters and how to get started.

How to Get Snapchat Friends and Followers

Another thing people get stuck on is finding people to follow (or finding people to follow them). Since Snapchat has no real search feature, you’ll need to think outside the box on this one.

  1. Place your Snapchat code all over your restaurant, especially the front counter, on the tables, or any place people wait around looking at the their phone.
  2. Add your Snapcode to all your other social channels. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Yelp - any place you would normally add your logo, add that code (which you can see on the right) instead.
  3. Add it to the email signature in your personal email address as well as the signature in your company emails, or as a P.S. in your emails (P.S. Add me on Snapchat here).
  4. Add your code to your menu where you would usually add Facebook or Instagram. It’s the 2016 version of what the QR code wanted to be.
  5. Team up with other local places and ask them to share your account and you will do the same for them.

This social network makes it a bit more challenging to gain followers and definitely involves some creative thinking. However it will be worth it when you start appealing to the millions of users of this app.

Snapchat: The Future of Social Media?

I’ve been pretty bullish on Snapchat for a while now. As I dive into it more and more, I strongly believe that this is going to be a really great resource for restaurants and pizzerias over the next 18-24 months. In fact, I think it will be a player right up there in ranks with Facebook and Instagram.

Whether you use Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, make sure that you are using social media to promote your restaurant and interact with users. If not, you miss out on an enormous opportunity to further your brand. If you're looking to attract more customers, download the free Restaurant Marketing Guide below!

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