With 100 million active users, 400 million pictures taken daily and four billion video views per day, Snapchat quickly became one of the fastest growing social media platforms. Despite these large numbers, however, hardly any brands are using the channel.

At the recent Social Media Week 2016 in NYC, four Snapchat experts from MTV, VaynerMedia, American Airlines and The Wall Street Journal discussed the “Best Brands on Snapchat” and what exactly makes them rise above the rest.

The discussion focused on two distinct categories for brands: the content they are creating and the authenticity behind that content.

How to Be a Successful Brand on Snapchat

Content is King

Snapchat is all about story-telling – the content a brand creates must ladder back to that. Aaron Wolfe, Social Media Specialist at American Airlines, explained that conducting takeovers and giving behind-the-scenes access to pop culture events, such as the Grammy’s and New York Fashion Week, through the Snapchat lens is usually the most successful way to tell a story. To do so, a brand should capture live, on-site content that is in the moment and gives an exclusive look at what the brand is doing at the event. One prime example is how the Wall Street Journal went to a recent Republican debate. They not only provided a view from the audience, but they also provided a more in-depth look into exclusive aspects of the debate, such as the tape lines of where the candidates stand, the moderators’ scripts and the candidates personal notes.

With Snapchat, giving the viewer something they can’t get anywhere else is key. Sarah Epler, Senior Director of Social Media and Fan Engagement at MTV, explained, “if it makes a good story, it’ll make a good Snapchat story.”

Always Be Authentic

The content a brand is creating will mean nothing, though, if it is not authentic. All four experts stressed the importance of a brand finding its voice. A brand must know who they are, own it and go all in.

A good tactic is to think about what your friends would want to see. If you think they would like what you are showing and believe what you are saying, your followers will, too. Wolfe posed the question, “Are they going to want to see the big corporate, this is where we are sort of thing? Or are they going to want to see us in a city, actually enjoying that city?”

Another great strategy is to partner with influencers who specialize in different categories relevant to your brand or the event you are capturing. For instance, if your brand wants to be present at a music festival, but you are not a music-oriented brand, partner with a musician or music blogger who is experienced in the space. That way, a brand’s content will be truly organic and genuine.


Above all, it’s important to remember that Snapchat is different than other social channels, so the content should look and feel different, too. Snapchat is all about being in the moment and capturing content in real-time. Audiences disconnect if they see images edited to perfection. Be sure to always keep your content diverse on each social media platform.

Very few brands have an active presence on the app. The top reason the panelists cited for this: Snapchat’s difficulty curve, whether it be the lack of control on the platform or the expectations of the audience. Brands must overcome these fears and dive into the Snapchat world. Not only does it have the potential to build stronger brand loyalty amongst current customers, but the platform can also reach an entirely new audience.