It Might Be Time For Your Bank To Get On Snapchat

Snapchat for Banks

We learned how not to play ourselves, how to secure our bag, how to bless up and how to use Snapchat all from a man called DJ Khaled. DJ Khaled is sort of a favored son of Florida as he started on the Orlando streets with nothing, moved to Miami to hustle his way into the DJ circuit and then leveraged his standing in the Miami rap music scene to start producing music worldwide. He was nominated for a Grammy and President Obama has referenced him in the past. His career was going along fine until he became an early adopter of Snapchat, the then two-year old social media sensation. One night he filmed himself jet skiing (that is how we get around in Florida) over to music producer Rick Ross’ house when on the way back, he got lost and put his life in jeopardy. It was “must see” social media and the next morning it went viral. Since then, DJ Khaled is everywhere and Snapchat hs been a “major key” (another Khaled favorite meme) to that success.  A shameless self-promoter and annoyingly repetitive, it is hard to look away. What he lacks in substance, he more than makes up for style and no person on this earth produces more internet memes per month than DJ Khaled. He has become a huge part of the Millennial zeitgeist all because of Snapchat. 


With the announcement that Instagram will now roll out a similar product, the question arises, should your bank catch some of the magic of a social medium that DJ Khaled helped develop? 


Snapchat In 15 Seconds


Snapchat is a photo and video messaging app that allows you to capture your surroundings (called Snaps), annotate them with “filters,” writing or highlights and then post them to the public in the form of a “Story” or post them privately to friends. Unlike Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media forms, Snaps last for a limited time from 1 second to 24 hours depending on what you set. This fact alone provides a certain allure to many users that wish to chronical a story but don’t wish to post their images forever.


The equal attraction to post is that it is simple – point (or upload past images in the form of “Memories”), record and OK. Images can automatically be seen by whoever you designate. Filters allow you improve your look or image, allow you to add a geo-tag of your location or allow you to add various bits of data such as time, temperature or speed. In the state of the art of imaging, filters can also allow you to analyze your facial features and then custom fit augmented reality automation to turn you into a Harry Potter character, alien, honey bee, dog or any number of other characters that change daily. 

Snapchat for Banks


In addition to the social aspect of the channel, part of the attraction is that you can efficiently experience someone else’s slice of life. Whether its Denver Bronco’s linebacker Von Miller’s ironic eyewear (and private jet usage), the latest with the Kardashians, where the President is today or watch firsthand the gut-wrenching saga of a climber having to turn back from the summit of Mt. Everest, voyeurs and Walter Mitty’s can feel like they are right there in real-time. 


Snapchat for Banks


In terms of reach, as of April, there were an estimated 400mm Snaps uploaded on average per day with 54% of the subscribers using it daily. Snapchat has more than 200mm daily users which means a coverage of about 11% of the U.S. digital population. Each daily user is on the app an average of 30 minutes per day. Snapchat is now the most popular social network for teens, ranked third for millennials (behind Facebook and Instagram) and users 35 to 44 years of age are one of the fastest growing segments. Brands like ESPN, Target, Disney, Netflix and others have been having success. However, less than 1% of the financial institutions are using Snapchat, so your competition is limited. 


Snapcaht For Banks


5 Ways Banks Can Leverage Snapchat


Admittedly, the demographic may skew younger than most banks want, but getting your bank in a position to grow with a younger demographic has advantages. Further, since Snapchat is a new and developing medium, creative uses of the platform are being invented every day which will further fuel growth. This is another reason to track progress as it will train management and staff how to think along this new frontier of social media.


Snapchat is inexpensive for banks to use, would likely follow the same social media compliance rules that are already in place and has a huge advantage in the fact that the ephemeral nature of Snaps drives a sense of urgency. This is different than almost any other social platform.


Here are some of the more common ways banks can use Snapchat to market its business:


Behind The Scenes: We don’t think of it, but banks are semi-mysterious to the public. Vaults, money, loans, lobbying efforts and community involvement all hold a certain attraction to the general public. Have a bank-owned phone or tablet and have loan officers take it to highlight (and promote) selected clients. The operations of a bank or day-in-the-life vignettes of some key positions would be interesting content to many.


Access To Events: Bank sponsored concerts, speaker series, small business forums and the hundreds of other activities that banks sponsor and participate in are all ripe fodder to promote and generate interest.  DJ Khaled mastered the art of promoting his future locations to drive “Fan Luv” events where he tells you where he is going to be ahead of time and then builds a huge fan base by working the crowd and taking Snaps along the way. He often starts with 100 people at the event and ends up with thousands by the end.


Contests & Promotions: Having customers take Snaps of their favorite currency bill to enter a contest, conducting a Snap-driven scavenger hunt, or just offering promo codes/giveaways/discounts are all ideas to drive interest, subscribers and engagement.


Education: Given the attention span of Snapchat users, educating in 30 second sound bites is perfect. Give interpretations of the latest economic data, community changes or background on why now is the time to refinance your debt and you may be rewarded by an increase in business.


Partners: Brands have had great success at giving their account over to an influencer and letting them run it for a day. A bank could talk a community business leader, educator, political figure or local celebrity into “hijacking” the bank’s Snapchat and record their day. The influencer gets to talk to the bank’s network and the bank gets to leverage the influencer’s network and brand to support the bank’s value.


Putting It Into Action


We can’t recommend for your bank to get on Snapchat, as the demographic might be too young at present and your bank may not be able to produce engaging enough content. However, we can tell you that the app is here to stay and Instagram’s duplication of the platform is validation. Snapchat offers a value proposition for banks of being able to intimately engage customers and potential customers at scale. This is particularly true for the coveted Millennial demographic. Banks should at least start to get familiar with the channel to better understand the future potential and brainstorm ideas to see if it is right for your bank. At a minimum, it will help flex your innovation process and stimulate engagement from bank staff. 


Download the Snapchat app, get an intern to show you how to use it (or go HERE), invite a friend (you can use the highlighted user name or just take a Snap of the picture below and the app will invite automatically) and test it out by sending us a Snap. If you do that, you might recognize the beauty of the channel and be on your way to answering the question that DJ Khaled loves to answer - Ask him “How is business?” and he will always reply in meme-fashion: “Booming.” He largely has Snapchat to thank for that. 


Snapchat for banks