5 Ways MENA Brands Can Engage Customers on Snapchat

Jennifer Kanaan, Contributor, Aug 25 2015

Snapchat is growing fast worldwide and even faster in the Arab world. In 2014, it was the fastest growing social media app, achieving a growth rate of 56% between the first and the third quarter of the year. The fascination with Snapchat continues as the platform is said to be nearing 200 million active users, with 81% of its users aged between 13 and 24 years old.

Saudi Arabia was ranked second globally and first among Arab countries in terms of Snapchat use, with the majority of users aged between 16 and 20 years old. According to Ispos MENA, 12% of smartphone users in the UAE used Snapchat in December 2014 alone, showing a much faster growth rate than Twitter (still at around 17% penetration). In Qatar, Ipsos MENA also noted that 14% of Qataris use Snapchat regularly.

In Snapchat’s live stories, we have witnessed a rise in the number of Arab cities being featured at key moments and calendar events: Mecca during the Hajj pilgrimage, Bahrain during the Grand Prix and other festivals, Kuwait and the UAE during different exhibitions and festivals, etc.

Snapchat’s Popularity Offers Exciting Opportunities

It is becoming increasingly important for Arab brands to take advantage of Snapchat and its young users. While it may seem counter-intuitive for brands that all content uploaded on Snapchat has a limited lifetime of 24 hours maximum, marketers have quickly grasped the app’s possibilities thanks to its popularity. Snapchat has all it takes to become a vital platform for brands in general and Arab brands in particular.

From a digital marketing perspective, the platform’s most significant downside is that it fails to generate insights that go beyond the number of fans and the number of story views. As marketers, we don’t have access to KPIs such as age, gender, location or any other variables that would help us cater and adapt to our fans. We thus have to measure our success according to the number of story views only.

5 Tips to Succeed in Snapchat Marketing

The current trend in social media marketing is storytelling. Since it launched Snapchat Stories last year, Snapchat has become an ideal platform for this trend, allowing brands to create narratives simply by adding snaps. This presents marketers with a huge opportunity to approach customers in an interactive way.

Here are 5 tips that marketers can use to successfully market their brand and engage customers:

1. Use characters and other storytelling techniques

Burger King Lebanon was one of the first brands in the country to launch a Snapchat account updated regularly with witty stories and engaging content. Eastline Marketing developed a different strategy to engage fans and keep them entertained. We created stories with characters who had a personality and a voice:

The Whopper was the “King”, he demanded respect but showed a lot of generosity in his appearance on Labor Day. He was also a great father figure to “Whopper Junior”, constantly giving him advice about education, family, and life in general.

With such characters, the creativity that could be put into the stories was boundless.

2. Promote stories on other social platforms

On major occasions, and in order to create more hype around current offers, we opted to tease about them on Facebook, redirecting fans to the Snapchat account and paving the way for more revelations in the upcoming story. Promoting our Snapchat presence on other platforms was essential for us to build our follower-base and momentum.

3. Introduce gamification features to engage users

Games are also very successful on Snapchat. We built stories around the games that got the highest engagement from our audience such as spin the bottle, hangman, XO.

We also launched ‘foodles’, a game which turned out to be our most successful. Every Monday, we would take challenges from fans and illustrate their suggestions using fries and onion rings. Fans started looking forward to the Monday foodles and we started receiving an increasing number of interesting challenges. Our fans looked forward to these stories and responded via chat or by sending us snaps themselves.

4. Engage in cross-promotion

Cross-promotion is a recommended practice that works well with Snapchat. The key is to find relevant accounts – such as brands or celebrities – who have a similar target audience as your brand. These accounts can then promote your brand’s content, products, or simply your presence on the platform.

5. Keep a steady supply of fresh content

To upload stories on Snapchat, pictures and videos should be taken live and stories have a 24-hour window before disappearing completely. This poses the challenge of keeping the content fresh and updating it regularly while also allocating enough time and resources to create these stories and execute them.

*Jennifer Kanaan is the senior social media manager at Eastline Marketing where her addiction to social media and her obsessive compulsive disorder are seen as a normal behavior and are encouraged. She believes in the power of social communities and insists on the fact that if you are not online, you don’t exist. In her spare time, Jennifer blogs about nutritional psychology, holistic health & wellness, and nutritional myths.

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