7 Steps to Use Snapchat to Connect With Millennial Buyers

Deliver calls to action that create excitement among potential customers, as well as a sense of urgency

By now, it’s safe to say that everyone is up to speed on how to use Facebook and Twitter for customer marketing, especially to a newer generation of car buyers. But the question remains: What about Snapchat? The room usually goes quiet. “Snap what?” is often the response.



The reality is that if you aren’t embracing Snapchat, you’re missing the perfect opportunity to capture the attention of your millennial customers. Let’s start with the basics: Snapchat is the hottest, most popular social media mobile app, capturing the daily attention of millions of 18- to 34-year-olds.

It’s a social app designed to share raw, embellished photos, videos, and messages with others, called “Snaps,” usually designed to be expressive of our lives in the moment. Snapchat has 100 million users each day, averaging 25 to 30 minutes or more, who share more than 400 million Snaps, videos, and messages.

What makes this social media platform different from others is that everything is temporary. A Snapchat picture or video is only available for a preset time limit, ranging from one to 10 seconds from when the user opens it. With the addition of Snapchat Stories, however, stored items are now available for up to 24 hours. The limited lifespan makes Snapchat a great tool to deliver a call to action that creates excitement among potential customers, as well as a sense of urgency.

How can you use Snapchat to help sell cars and attract customers? Here are seven ways you can leverage it to promote your dealership.

1. Reward customers with mobile coupons

Because Snapchat use is pervasive among the millennial target market, it allows you to deliver offers and coupons in a matter of seconds. Coupon Snaps will reward your customers and incentivize them to come back for more.

Consider offering 10% to 20% discounts on oil changes, or promote a gift card for a test drive. With a coupon campaign, you can build a user list, which can assist in sending future promotional material.

2. Gain new followers with a giveaway

While coupons cultivate customer retention, giveaways connect you with new customers and generate leads. Promoting giveaways helps build a follower base that receives future promotions and coupon codes.

Leverage followers from your other social media platforms, including your website, to add your dealership on Snapchat, and encourage their friends to add you as well. You can also track new users with a hashtag to advertise your brand and products.

3. Showcase the new-buyer experience

With Snapchat, you can use the Stories feature to send out of a combination of images and five-second videos to tell a story. Have fun with your customers, and urge them to send out Snaps, both video and photos, of their new vehicle purchase. Encourage your customers to express their excitement at the time they received their keys.

At the end of your story, send followers to your website or YouTube channel to see additional “behind-the-scene” experiences or new vehicles available for sale. This is a great opportunity to promote your new and used/certified inventory on the spot.

4. Preview your inventory

Create sneak peeks using Snapchat to build customer loyalty and buzz around new inventory, year-end closeouts, previews of next year models, or highlight service specials. Your Snaps could include special offers to create a sense of urgency.

5. Inform customers of holiday sales events

Snap a holiday greeting or invitation to a special dealership event, whether it’s a customer loyalty mixer, Labor Day BBQ, or new owner event. Snaps can help to promote your brand and inventory to customers before they decide to shop.

Don’t wait for major holidays. Get creative; every month has unusual holidays like Popcorn Lover’s Day or Uncle Sam Day. Mix it up and embrace the opportunities to engage your customers in a fun and interesting manner. Millennials are responsive to thinking outside the norm.

6. Design geofilters

Snapchat offers on-demand geofilters that make it easy for users to promote and share experiences with their friends. For as little as $5 a day, you can create a custom stamp, image, and other artwork that can be added to Snaps as they are shared. Think of it as a branded overlay.

Creating a geofilter is easy:

  • Submit your image: Create a fun and engaging design, then log into your account, upload the pictures, and make sure the design meets Snapchat’s technical and creative guidelines.
  • Pick your dates: Choose the date or dates you want the geofilter to be available. Your daily price will depend on length of time and location selection.
  • Select your location: Create a geofence around your dealership or area that you want to target, and make your geofilter available.
  • Pay and play: You’ll need to fund your Snapchat account to cover the daily ad rate. Within 24 hours of submitting your artwork, Snapchat will notify you that you’re approved, so your target marketing can begin.
  • Go live: When your geofilter goes live, you’ll receive an email notification when the campaign is up and running, or has expired.

7. Create Snapchat performance metrics

As with any marketing initiative, you’ll want to measure your results that yield conversions. Here are three essential metrics to you get started:

  • Total unique views: This shows how many people opened the first frame of your Snapchat story for at least one second.
  • Total Story completions: A Snapchat Story can be up to 100 Snaps long. Measure the total number of Story completions and determine the number of people who have viewed the Story up to the last Snap.
  • Screenshots: Snapchat does not have like, share, or comment buttons, but users who took screenshots of your Snaps can be measured. Record the number of snapshots your followers take to determine the results.

Measuring Snapchat analytics has reporting limitations. Through performance metrics, however, you can become more familiar with your audience, and adjust to its interests as required.

Snapchat is the social media platform for millennials. The adoption of Snap videos grew more than 300% in 2015, so why wouldn’t you consider it as part of your marketing efforts?

Using Snapchat is not hard, nor is it time-consuming. That’s part of the appeal. Snaps are “in the moment,” they enable individuals to shares their lives, and, perhaps most significantly, they create a buzz.

Jim Cunningham is senior vice president of marketing solutions for National Credit Center (NCC). As a seasoned automotive veteran, Jim has extensive experience overseeing digital and predictive analytic marketing solutions that enable dealerships to market to and acquire new customers through innovative marketing tools.

Jim Cunningham

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