Sahail Ashraf posted on 4 January 2017
So, Victoria’s Secret. For a long time, this brand has enjoyed a little bit of mystery, an air of excitement. The lingerie brand that had true sophistication at the core. Then social media really began to take off, and the same thing that hit all retailers (visual heaven on social) applied to the lingerie giant.
The company has used the more visual aspects of social to great effect, with a particular emphasis on mastering Instagram. But its most recent move on Snapchat has perhaps best illustrated how to gain real engagement on the platform. It’s one of the most inspired Snapchat moves in recent times, in fact. And if we were to go into it a little deeper, the success shows how retailers should be using the platform in a huge way.
Snapchat is no longer a small platform that kids use. It has become something much bigger, and brands are picking up the signals on it. What has been most exciting is the work of brands like Victoria’s Secret, which have taken on the challenge of using a platform that, at its core, seems actively anti-brand. Snapchat is effectively short-lived, and it takes a hell of a lot of work to make anything lasting on the channel. But the recent work by Victoria’s Secret shows how a retailer can have fun with it.
Using the Doodle features on Snapchat, followers of Victoria’s Secret were asked to doodle on a blank tote bag. Followers took a screenshot of a blank tote and then used Snapchat to doodle a simple design on it. The winning design was picked entirely at random, which made it a completely fun contest. The prize? The random winner won a tote that used their design.
But it didn’t stop there. Any social media marketing agency worth anything will know that sharing is the key to building up a buzz. Victoria’s Secret encouraged followers to share the news about the competition via a hashtag, and the whole thing kind of blew up.
The hashtag was #BlackFridayContest. The hashtag was used to build awareness about what was going on with the Snapchat campaign. Nothing more. This meant that followers were sharing and building buzz, and everyone who got caught up in that buzz was essentially redirected back to Snapchat. They’ve done this before, to equally stunning effect.
And all this happened around Black Friday, which meant massive retailer exposure anyway. The audience was primed for shopping, and the fact that the awareness (and more followers) came through other channels just led to a huge win.
Getting an audience to actively ‘doodle’ on a tote bag, employing the cool stuff that followers love about Snapchat, was a work of genius. But it’s not the only time the company has utilised social media so effectively, and it’s not the only great example of Snapchat usage in recent times.
Snapchat was a big win for Victoria’s Secret earlier this year when the company decided to run a ‘takeover’ using its models (‘Angels’). Using two of its most famous models, Martha Hunt and Elsa Hosk, the company boosted awareness of a sale by having the two Angels create Snapchat Stories (or carry out a ‘takeover’) wearing garments that were currently reduced in price. The two models then took it upon themselves to have a ‘boxing match’ in a gym, wearing the clothes that were part of a special deal in stores.
The company cross-promoted on Instagram, which again allowed people who were not following on Snapchat to discover them on the channel. You have to know the name of the Snapchat account of the person or company you want to follow on the platform. So using Instagram to raise awareness made perfect sense.
This also meant the campaign, short-lived as it was, built up a huge buzz because it felt rather exclusive. The message was come find this amazing content on Snapchat, and only on Snapchat.
The sale had its own hashtag (#ThisIsEpic) and Victoria’s Secret encouraged users to upload pictures of their purchases to Instagram. But the hashtag simply meant that a snowball of engagement was in place.
The result? Heightened awareness of both Snapchat and the sale.
Chubbies make shorts, and they’re fun too. The company has taken Snapchat on wholesale as well. They’ve made a weekly video series that is essentially a story about travelling back in time to stop an evil company that makes pants (yes, we know).
But it works. According to Chubbies, a ton of the audience is now tweeting the episodes and generally boosting reach online. And this is all because Chubbies has taken on the idea of Snapchat being fun and short lived. The kind of escapist entertainment channel that works with their kind of brand.
What makes the Chubbies story even more important to brands is the way the whole thing has been done. There are no high production values. Everything is done on the cheap (or at least the cost effective). This means that any brand can hop up on Snapchat and work its way through the same experience. It’s no quick win, but it’s not the most expensive thing on the planet either.
According to Fortune Magazine: “But Snapchat’s unpolished and candid format also puts Chubbies, which has raised $14 million in funding, on an even playing field with competitors with bigger marketing budgets. While social media services like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram let brands publish highly produced professional video and photos, there’s no way to do that on Snapchat aside from paying for ads.”
Lessons to learn?
Make it fun. Enjoy the lo-fi feel and the fact that you can really only expect your masterworks on the platform to last hours, not weeks. But perhaps the biggest thing we can learn about brands and Snapchat comes from the work Victoria’s Secret has done. The key differentiator here was the company cross-promoting. By hitting other channels and then sending those audiences back to Snapchat, followers and engagement ensued. Happy Snapping.