1. Solve a Problem
Snapchat solves a problem for its users. One reason it's outpacing Twitter and Facebook is the same reason that makes it difficult for older users to understand — the fact that its content disappears. The temporary nature of its posts makes for less anxiety and less baggage down the road. This gives the user a feeling of safety from snooping parents and peers, and potentially even employers. All SMBs should identify ways their company can solve customers' problems.
2. Say Yes to the Media
It would be remiss not to mention how this brand first caught fire, which was through the 'sexting' controversy that initially surrounded the app. Rather than shy away from the press, founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy went on Stephen Colbert's "Colbert Report" to address the story head-on. More recently, Colbert announced a "Late Night" Snapchat channel. There's always something to be gained by cooperating with the press, and SMBs can and should look for ways to partner with it when the opportunity arises.
3. Build With Mobile in Mind
Online marketing is no longer about desktop browser interaction. Snapchat built a platform that leveraged the mobile feeling of privacy and intimacy, and that should be central when planning any mobile strategy. Companies should be building their online interactions around people's unique relationships with their mobile devices.
4. Keep it Simple
Snapchat makes its camera screen the landing page, reducing the number of steps its users need to take before performing the action they came for. But it didn't dumb down its offerings, and there are endless ways to be creative with your snaps. For instance, its filters are a simple swipe left, meaning there's no need to guess how the end result will look — cognitively speaking, that's a huge step. Reduce the amount of friction and pain your users experience by developing a mobile app that's easy to use but still offers all the capabilities of your desktop site.
5. Play Nice
Like the best online games, Snapchat plays by the rules of reciprocity, taking advantage of the psychological imperative to reward positive behavior with more positive behavior. When a user receives a snap, that user feels obliged to return a snap. This feature should be built into your product wherever possible, even if it means issuing variable company rewards. For instance: discounted coffee for bringing your own travel mug.
6. Engage Your Users
Snapchat's first promoters were its own "influencers," users whose opinion could be used by third-party companies to promote their brands. Leveraging engaged users gave them a reason to keep driving traffic to the app. Now Snapchat is selling ads that compete cost-wise with television. Finding ways to engage and activate users is another element to consider if you want to build profitable visual content.