An Introduction to SnapChat Marketing for Restaurants


introduction to snapchat

Snapchat is still flying a bit under the radar for marketers. The app, which allows people to exchange messages that self-destruct seconds after they’re viewed, has attracted an estimated 82 million users, most of whom are between ages 13 and 25, according to Business Insider. Although the messages are temporary, users are still able to take screenshots that allow them to preserve the images for later. This creates opportunities for restaurant marketers to derive unique campaigns.

Through Snapchat Stories, users are able to string together their Snapchat photos and videos and keep them available to others for up to 24 hours. Taco Bell optimized this feature by running a series of eight photos and videos that tell the story of a group of friends’ journey to Taco Bell. Social media manager Nick Train noted Taco Bell thinks the “feature is a great way to connect on a personal level and share stories as they happen in real time with our friends.”

With Snapchat Stories, brand marketers have an opportunity to ask customers to share their stories, or interact with them while in their store, hotel or destination, to increase engagement and, hopefully, business, with in-store promotions.

Taco Bell also leveraged Snapchat for product announcements. They sent snaps of the Beefy Crunch Burrito so they could let their customers know about its impending return. They made an announcement on Twitter that they’d be making a secret announcement on Snapchat, thereby integrating other social media and nurturing fans’ curiosity and excitement.


Yogurt company 16 Handles is one of the first brands that conducted a promotion using Snapchat in early 2013, and a few others have experimented since. The “Snappy New Year” campaign urged the company’s Facebook fans to send a Snapchat photo, or “snap,” of their frozen-yogurt purchase to the company’s Snapchat account. Participants then received a coupon via Snapchat that can be redeemed at the register.

snapchat marketing
McDonald’s also joined Snapchat earlier this year and has maintained a productive presence by engaging followers on existing social networks; providing exclusive access and content for Snapchat friends; introducing new products and launch dates; and encouraging friends to follow them on Twitter. This infographic from Sumpto highlights these wins:


Kelsey Jones, author of The Complete Guide to Snapchat Marketing, suggests the following ways to use Snapchat for business:

  • Coupons: Send your customers a discount code, coupon, or keyword they can then use in order to save money while making purchases. Making your coupons secretive has an air of exclusivity, which feeds into the overall Snapchat feel.
  • Competitions: Hold contests for the best snaps or have a QuickSnap contest, where the first person(s) to respond with a snap back wins the prize.
  • Engagement and Community Building: Snapchat is perceived as one of the most popular social media networks for younger demographics. This in itself is a huge advantage for marketers, as specific brands and businesses can use this platform to intrigue this already curious age group and create potential benefits for their businesses. Sending responsive snaps back to users who send ones to you can help them feel like they are being heard; a huge benefit in the fight to get consumers’ attention.

What are some of your favorite brands on SnapChat and what makes them stand out?

Image courtesy of

About the Author:

Debbie Miller

This monthly Social Media and the Hospitality Industry column is contributed by Debbie Miller. Debbie is the Founder of Social Hospitality, a blog which outlines the ways businesses in the hospitality industry are using social media. She works for HyperDisk Marketing managing social media accounts, writing website copy and executing SEO strategies for clients. Prior, she was with a destination marketing organization where she maintained the website along with launching and managing their social media presence. She is very active in the social networking community in southern California, has enjoyed watching social media emerge over the past several years and is fascinated by its continuing evolution. +Debbie Miller

Maximize Social Business