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Snapchat Is The New Facebook In Small Business Marketing

This social media platform is no longer just for flower crown selfies.

It's not all stylised and scantily clad selfies: SnapChat is now rising up as a legitimate business tool.

Despite the service originally becoming popular for the facility to send raunchy images to an individual or group, SnapChat has now grown up and provides opportunities for business to interact with potential clients, nearly half of whom are aged 18-14.

Here's how it works:

Snapchat users can upload images and videos of no more than 10 seconds to their profile which will only be visible for 24 hours but can be replayed many times. This is what's called your story. You may choose to send images and videos directly to single users or groups of people (which was initially used by, er, pant-droppers, giving it a bad rap) but these can only be viewed for a few seconds, can be replayed once and then expire.

Perth-based sleepwear brand Hunter-Rose has warmly embraced Snapchat as a marketing tool.

Ivy Arellano and Loan Tran say using Snapchat as a marketing tool is growing their sleepwear business.
Ivy Arellano and Loan Tran say using Snapchat as a marketing tool is growing their sleepwear business.

Director Loan Tran, who co-founded the company with Ivy Arellano, said posting up to 10 videos a day gathered them more followers and, importantly, sales.

"Snapchat has just been an extension of our social media strategy," she told The Huffington Post Australia.

"We looked at it as a really smart business decision to adapt and grow with our audience, because our 20-something audience is also Snapchat's audience.

"You wouldn't think that Snapchat and business can really go together because Snapchat is a little more fun but we are really excited about it, and excited that we are getting in there a little bit early."

Tran said Snapchat was similar to a private viewing, and gave users a unique experience. They post video content and images on a wide range of topics -- from packing up their latest orders, to photo shoots, trips to Sydney for fashion events and travelling to their manufacturing base in China to choose material or inspect orders.

"We kind of found that it is kind of like a back stage pass -- it is exclusive because they get to see the behind the scenes of what we do," she said.

Tran said the beauty of Snapchat was the volume of content that could be posted.

"In a day you can't put 10 videos on Instagram because it's too much," she said. "But in a day we can put 10 x 10-second videos up on Snapchat, which is a story, and then people can easily go through it."

Working with fashion influencers such as Sahara Ray, Holly Young, Mia Theodoropoulos and Maya Stepper has been instrumental to bump up the brand's following on both Snapchat and Instagram which Tran said had converted into sales.

"We are seeing more and more digital influencers use Snapchat so they would tag our brand and we would see an increased exposure and following," she said.

🔥🔥 @sophiaeconomo and her legs for days want to play on the lounge tonight & I'm happy to oblige ✨ Maddox nightie available online now

A photo posted by ☁️ Hunter-Rose Sleepwear ☁️ (@hunter__rose) on

Simple tips to get started on Snapchat

Here Tina Shakour Social Media Strategist with Cisco, provides some top tips for using the platform as a small business owner.

1. Flash sales

Push out a pic or vid about your latest sale and offer a special promotion or discount to Snachat followers to make them feel special.

2. Events

Get buzz around your event by creating an On-Demand Geo-Filter so everyone can be involved in the event online as well and share it with their networks.

3. Behind the scenes

You can afford to share more intimate details of your business life on Snapchat as images and vids don't have as long a shelf life as other platforms. Post vids of puppies if you are a dog walker or baking treats if you are a chef. It gives a warm and fuzzy feeling of authenticity.

4. Ask for feedback

Engage your followers by showing them something you are doing and asking them "What am I making/doing/thinking today?" to encourage them to swipe and chat.

5. Product demonstrations

Give your Snapchat followers a private tour of your business and products and explain the reasons why you invented/made/sourced them.

6. Collaborate with other businesses

Featuring nearby operators -- and asking them to feature you too -- is a great way to reach a new, yet local, audience. Just like two YouTube stars who appear in each other's videos.

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