How Does Snapchat Work for Small Businesses? An In-Depth Guide for Entrepreneurs

Snapchat has exploded in popularity over recent years. There are now over 249 million daily active Snapchatters, making it a massive platform that small businesses can‘t afford to ignore.

But how exactly does Snapchat work, and how can small businesses use it to grow their brand? In this in-depth guide, we‘ll cover everything entrepreneurs need to know to succeed on Snapchat.

An Overview of Snapchat for Small Businesses

At its core, Snapchat is an app for sharing fun, ephemeral photos and videos called "Snaps" that disappear after being viewed. Users also have Stories that stick around for 24 hours.

For small businesses, Snapchat provides an opportunity to:

  • Increase brand awareness: Share your Snaps and Stories to introduce potential new customers to your brand.
  • Drive engagement: Use interactive Lenses, Filters, and other fun content to engage your audience.
  • Run promotions: Promote sales, deals, and events on your Snapchat profile.
  • Show company culture: Give followers a behind-the-scenes look at your business with candid Snaps.
  • Chat with customers: Foster more personal connections by responding to Snaps and Chats.

But succeeding on Snapchat requires some strategy. Keep reading for tips on how to grow your followers and analytics to track performance.

How to Grow Your Snapchat Following as a Small Business

Gaining followers on Snapchat takes consistency, creativity, and a bit of luck with the algorithm. Here are some best practices:

  • Link Snapchat on other channels: Drive followers to your Snapchat profile from your website, email newsletters, Instagram bio, etc.
  • Run Snapchat campaigns: Promote your Snapchat handle through contests, giveaways, and exclusive content.
  • Partner with influencers: Pay Snapchat influencers in your niche to showcase your brand to their followers.
  • Leverage Snap Ads: Run geofilters, lenses, stories ads, and other Snap Ads to gain new followers who engage with your content.
  • Use relevant hashtags and locations: Improve discoverability by tagging Snaps with trending hashtags and locations.
  • Engage the Snap Map: Share public stories, lenses, filters, and locations so you appear on the map.

It also helps to post daily content and interact with other Snapchat users. Patience and regular posting is key to building a loyal following.

How to Use Snapchat Ads and Shopping Features to Promote Your Business

Snapchat now has a variety of advertising options for small businesses looking to get in front of new audiences:

Snap Ads

  • Lens Ads: Create branded augmented reality lenses that Snapchatters engage with.
  • Story Ads: Run 10-second video ads between friends‘ stories.
  • Filters: Sponsor custom location or geofilters.
  • Commercials: Buy full-screen video ad space similar to TV.

Lens and filter ads tend to see the highest engagement as they entertain users. But Story ads can also be effective if created strategically for Snapchat‘s vertical, full-screen format.

Shoppable Snaps

Snapchat now allows retailers to tag products in Snaps and Stories. Users can then swipe up to view and purchase featured items. This presents a huge opportunity for small ecommerce businesses to drive impulse purchases.

Snapchat Marketing Partners Program

Qualified businesses can apply to become an official Snapchat Marketing Partner. This gives you access to even more analytic data, ads support, and best practices.

How to Analyze Performance with Snapchat Metrics

Snapchat provides metrics to help small businesses track how their content is performing. Here are the key metrics to focus on:

  • Impressions: Total views of your Snaps, Stories, lenses, filters, etc.
  • Reach: Total number of unique Snapchatters who viewed your content.
  • Engagement rate: Percentage of people who interacted with your content by swiping up, screenshots, etc. Compare reach to engagement to understand what content resonates most.
  • Screenshots: Number of times followers took screenshots of your content to save it.
  • Swipe ups: Count of unique users who swiped up to take an action like visiting your website.
  • Story completions: Percentage of followers who viewed your entire Story from start to finish.

Analyzing these metrics over time can reveal what types of content connects best with your Snapchat fans.

Creative Ways for Small Businesses to Leverage Snapchat Stories and Lenses

Here are some fun tactics to try with Stories and Lenses:


  • Give office tours or show a day-in-the-life of your team.
  • Reveal new products or launches.
  • Share user-generated content from happy customers.
  • Run polls and contests to collect feedback.
  • Host Snapchat takeovers featuring employees or influencers.


  • Create seasonal or holiday themed lenses.
  • Develop lenses featuring your products.
  • Partner with influencers on branded lenses.
  • Promote new lenses through other marketing channels to maximize engagement.

Getting creative with interactive content is the best way to stand out on Snapchat and see high engagement rates. Don‘t be afraid to experiment!

Snapchat Strategy Tips to Keep in Mind

Here are some top Snapchat tips for small businesses to recap:

  • Post consistently, ideally daily.
  • Leverage Snap Ads to promote your account and products.
  • Interact with followers by responding to Snaps.
  • Use creative Lenses and geofilters to engage users.
  • Analyze performance metrics regularly to find out what works.
  • Show behind-the-scenes content to humanize your brand.
  • Partner with relevant influencers to reach new audiences.

Following Snapchat best practices takes some trial and error. But putting in the effort now can help small businesses thrive on one of the fastest growing social platforms.