16910572286_e2a358543c_b (1)Millennials—often touted as the most entitled, self-absorbed generation to have ever graced the face of the Earth—have quickly taken to social media.

Seriously, they’ve got the selfies to prove it. Their complete and total admiration of the digital networking phenomena has literally changed the way that brands market themselves to their target audiences.

Says Marcus McReynolds, VP of Digital Marketing at Fusion 360:

“Millennials are now our main focus, at least from a social standpoint. Traditional marketing is a thing of the past. Millennials don’t want to be interrupted by advertisers; they want something that entertains, educates or connects them to the world. Social media accomplishes that very goal.”

While Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest have certainly had a profound impact on “getting the word out,” other new, up-and-coming social outlets are proving to be quite the game changers themselves. Snapchat, a photo and video messaging smartphone app with over 30 million active monthly users, is doing just that.

The only problem? Using Snapchat to join an industry-specific conversation with complete and total strangers is a bit of a daunting task. Now throw in the fact that both photos and videos disappear after only a handful of seconds and the advertorial gig becomes all the more difficult.

However, with such a massive amount of young, devout followers, it’s a challenge that the world’s most successful marketing firms have gladly accepted. That being said, some brands are just better at it than others.

1) GrubHub – GrubHub

To be a pioneer of any movement is an honorable accomplishment. GrubHub—at least, as far as Snapchat and social media are concerned—has been nothing short of a trailblazer.

The mobile and online food-ordering company first joined Snapchat in August of 2013 and took little time to reach Snapchat’s core audience: a younger, more innovative demographic that’s grown tired of traditional social channels and craves one-to-one interaction.

Seeing as how GrubHub considers their brand voice to be “irreverent,” the match was practically crafted in a celestial realm. In two years’time, GrubHub has managed to amass the highest Snapchat score of any brand on earth with upwards of 62,000 total points and an average story view rate of 87 percent, implying that stories are viewed in their entirety, from the first snap to the very last.

Consistent, personalized snaps to loyal friends—using multimedia content, of course—have led to meaningful social engagement for the innovative business. So “meaningful”are GrubHub’s snapchat conversations, that the company once actually recruited and hired a social intern by soliciting a “Snapterpiece” from its pool of followers.

Through a dedicated link within a Snapchat story, works of doodle magic were submitted and GrubHub brought onboard an intern to work his Snapchat genius as an official team member.

In addition to GrubHub’s intern-nabbing ingenuity, the food delivery professionals have also taken to providing followers with captivating contests to get their creative juices flowing. In 2014, GrubHub held a week-long scavenger hunt.

For an entire week, each day was met with a new challenge which pushed people to snapping at GrubHub. Winners were awarded with $50 of takeout gift cards.

Though a seemingly simple idea, the contest—and afterwards, a host of others like it—grew GrubHub’s following by 20 percent in only seven days.

It appears that GrubHub really knows how to harness the power of the other friendly ghost—Snapchat marketing.

2) The Voice – Audi

If you don’t remember Audi’s Snapchat Super Bowl campaign from 2014, then you’re probably not a female, Millennial or first-time luxury car buyer, because that’s exactly who Audi successfully targeted, alongside ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars.” Simply put, Audi did its market research before launching the advertorial strategy and it showed.

Not only was “Pretty Little Liars” the number one show for women between the ages of 18 and 34, but social media exploded—specifically Twitter—whenever a new episode aired.

Through Snapchat, Audi was able to give fans of “Pretty Little Liars”an exclusive inside scoop into the show with episode clues, expert commentaries, disappearing puzzles and star interviews.

The social madness didn’t stop there, however. For Audi, Snapchat was also used as a means of driving fans to specific Twitter accounts.

In fact, back in in 2014, Twitter announced that Audi’s “Pretty Little Liars”campaign was one of the most successful marketing campaign that it had ever seen, performing better than 98 percent of other advertorial attempts on the network.

During the course of Audi’s involvement with “Pretty Little Liars,”Audi gained more than 115,000 Snapchat followers and reached an audience of nearly 125,000 people. While follower numbers might prove impressive, it’s snap engagement that truly matters.

On that front, Audi scored big with each snap of theirs earning an average of about 75,000 views. Furthermore, over 187,000 screenshots were generated through Audi’s snaps which—and here’s the real crossover beauty of Snapchat—were subsequently shared on other social sites like Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.

After having experienced a great deal of success with its 2014 Snapchat Super Bowl commercial, Audi has continued to make Snapchat a mainstay of its social presence and is still the only luxury automotive brand to have profitably done so.

3) Sour Patch Kids – SourPatchSnaps

Sour Patch Kids, more than just about any other brand, stands as a shining example of what it means to produce entertaining, custom-made content for a specific sliver of society.

In this case, that group was primarily composed of teenagers with an insatiable sweet tooth. As opposed to going the routine, rudimentary social route through the likes—pun intended—of Facebook and Twitter, Sour Patch Kids opted for a less crowded Snapchat as a way of promoting their sour-then-sweet candy. What better way to connect with a younger crowd than through their preferred method of communication?

Similar to Audi, 2014 proved to be an awesome year for Sour Patch Kid’s social presence, due in large part to the release of the candy’s new “Blue Kid.”During the summer of 2014, with the help of social sensation, Logan Paul, Sour Patch Kids flawlessly connected with young people all over the globe.

During a five-day campaign, both Paul and a couple of Sour Patch Kids mascots—one of which just so happened to be blue—engaged in endless back and forth pranking and fun-loving hijinks. At the time of the campaign’s launch, Snapchat had just released its video chat feature which made Paul’s hilarious antics all the more shareable.

In short, Sour Patch Kids accomplished exactly what they set out to do. In only five days with Paul, Sour Patch Kids brought in over 120,000 new Snapchat followers, 2.3 million snap impressions and 1,900 mentions of the Snapchat campaign on Twitter.

Even more astounding were the PR byproducts of Sour Patch Kids social effort. Adweek, The Verge, Business Insider and Mobile Marketer all published digital pieces on Sour Patch Kids’social brilliance, which caused the brand’s influence to extend far beyond the smartphone screen.

In 2015, Sour Patch Kids has kept up with their Snapchat charade and are still producing amazing material.

With each passing month, it seems that Snapchat gains more ground as a credible platform for businesses of all sizes and types to push their respective products, services and—most importantly—reputations. Needless to say, with a bit of persistence and creativity, anything is possible with Snapchat.

This article was contributed by Lucas Miller, a young, up-and-coming Wizard of Public Relations. When not writing or running, he’s working tirelessly to perfect what he claims is the “World’s Greatest Pompadour.”

Image Credit:
–    Flickr

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