I suspect my library’s relationship with Snapchat will mirror your library’s experience. About two years ago, we claimed our account on this burgeoning platform and started experimenting with content and engagement. It was fun and different. We had high hopes that Snapchat would help us to reach new (younger) audiences. We hoped Snapchat was the gateway for breaking through to that elusive millennial target audience. We hoped it would show teens that we are relevant in their lives.

It didn’t work.

Readers of this blog know that I like to take a scientific approach to marketing. Set your hypothesis, decide on your goals, experiment, gather data, and then adjust: that’s my MO. In line with that thinking, we decided that Snapchat wasn’t worth our time and we dropped marketing on the platform. We decided to wait to see if Snapchat’s owners would address concerns of major (and frankly more well-funded) companies that were looking to do a better job at marketing on the platform. We wanted to see if they would pivot the platform to be less about chatting with friends and more about interacting with community.

Those changes have finally come to fruition and now our Library is jumping back into the water of Snapchat. I think you should join us. Here’s why:

You can now add links to posts. This was a huge sticking point for most marketers. Why spend time creating a story when there was no way to embed a call to action for interested customers? That’s no longer an issue. It’s easy to add a link–simply click on the paperclip icon that appears on the right side of the Snap when you’ve finished recording it. Copy and paste your link into the provided space and you’re done. You should use Google Tracking Links so you can see how many people are specifically using your Snapchat-embedded link to get to a piece of content. For an easy guide on how to use Google’s URL builder, click here. You will have to create the URL on your desktop, then email it to yourself, copy it, and paste it into Snapchat. It sounds like a lot of work but it will be worth it for the tracking data.

You can now create geofilters inside the app. Until recently, you had to create your geofilter using a graphics program, then submit it and hope that it met specifications for approval. My library tried this on three occasions. We were very careful to follow all the provided guidelines–and we were never approved. However, my guess is that now our geofilters will be more likely to be approved and I’m eager to test this out. This article does a great job of walking you through the process of using the app to create a geofilter. Having a custom geofilter for your library gives your cardholders a fun way to engage with your brand and gives you the chance to market your library to new, non-cardholding customers through the Snaps of your loyal fans.

It’s easy to repurpose content on Snapchat. Snapchat has made the process of saving and storing Snaps for re-purposing easier with its Memories function. Basically, when you have a Snap that you want to save, you click on the “download” arrow icon on the bottom left-hand side of your Snap screen. The Snap is saved in the app’s Memories. For a step-by-step guide, click here.

One note: I don’t think its good marketing practice to save an entire Snap story and then reuse it in its original form on another platform. We know that users of different social media platforms have different interests and tastes, and you should have separate strategies for the social media platforms. But it’s plausible that sections of your Snap story can be reworked for another platform, and that’s where saving Snaps to memories can come in handy.

In addition, there are some expert marketers who are experimenting with exporting Instagram Stories onto Snapchat. I have not tried this, so I can’t comment on whether it works, but Carlos Gil is an expert on Snapchat and I trust his opinion. He’s created this great video to show you how to save your Instagram Stories and add them to Snapchat. This is a great experiment to try with your library and could be really useful for those libraries with limited staff and resources for managing social media.

Finally, if you are still unconvinced about the value of Snapchat for library marketing, I want to leave you with a post  full of ideas gleaned from the work of big companies which you could use at your Library.

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