When you think about social media for events, Snapchat might not be the first platform that comes to mind. You might even find the whole craze a little bewildering. But while its logo is a ghost, Snapchat doesn’t have to be scary.

In fact, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about Snapchat for your event marketing. To begin with, the platform has 200 million monthly active users — that’s about double the monthly users of LinkedIn. The network is incredibly popular with young women, often students: 70% of users are women and 71% are under 25.

So what is it that they love about Snapchat? It’s a way to share live experiences virtually. The app enables users to send text, picture, and video messages to each other that disappear after they’re viewed. Users can also post these photos or videos to their “Story,” where anyone who follows them can view the message for the next 24 hours.

The temporary lifespan of the posts are what makes Snapchat unique among social networks, and what makes it the network perfect for event marketing. Just like your events, Snapchat enables a temporary experience that can have an incredible impact.

Why Snapchat is perfect for events

Snapchat is ideally suited to drive the sense of FOMO (“fear of missing out”) that spurs ticket sales and buzz. After all, Snapchats are sent and received instantly, so users see their friends enjoying your event while the event’s still happening.

Snapchat actually built their platform with events in mind, launching one product feature in tandem with the 2014 Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas. They built it “so that Snapchatters who are at the same event location” can connect, Snapchat announced in a blog post. “If you can’t make it to an event… you [can] feel like you’re right there!”

And their focus on events has paid off. Snapchat is the third most popular social network at music festivals, according to new Eventbrite research. Half of active social media users at festivals use Snapchat, and a quarter use that festival’s Snapchat filter. (A Snapchat filter is a small illustration that users can place on top of their pictures.) There’s no current research for its usage at other types of events, but its widespread popularity among millennials suggests that it makes an appearance at more than just festivals.

Getting started on the network doesn’t take long. Here are two easy ways to incorporate Snapchat in your event marketing.

1. Create a Snapchat geofilter for your event

One easy way to use Snapchat to build a strong connection with your audience? Create a geofilter for your event.

Geofilters are illustrations or “filters” for Snapchat photos that can only be used within specific geographies. Most cities have geofilters, and Snapchat also creates seasonal geofilters for cultural events. (To create a geofilter for your brand, you just need to submit an illustration to Snapchat here and your filter will be reviewed within a few business days.) For any photos or videos taken on Snapchat at your event’s location, users can layer your filter over the image.

Here’s how it works:

  • You choose the location and amount of time your geofilter will be active. It’s good to include buffers on the geography and time, so that the filter is active an hour extra on either end and captures the entire block around your event. That way you can engage a larger audience to participate.
  • You submit an illustration on the Snapchat website. (Check out the tips below to design your filter!)
  • Submit your geofilter 3-4 days before you want it to be active.
  • The cost varies based on the size and timespan of your geofilter, but the price starts at about $5 for 20,000 square feet.

Snapchat pictures are either sent to friends or added to your attendee’s Story, so anyone who views their image will be exposed to your brand. Users can also download this image once it’s taken, so it’s not unusual to see images with Snapchat geofilters posted to other social networks like Facebook or Instagram.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when designing a filter for your event:

  • You need to include your business name in the filter, but you cannot use URLs, phone numbers, or emails in the filter. Your branding and logo are fine, as long as you have the rights to use them! Including your event’s hashtag in the geofilter is a great way to extend the momentum to other social networks. (Here are the complete submission guidelines.)
  • Geofilters are 1080×1920 pixels and need to be saved in the PNG format (with a clear background). They also need to be 300kb in size or less.
  • Only use the top or bottom quarter of the screen, so your filter doesn’t cover the user’s original photo.
  • If you don’t have design experience, you can edit one of Snapchat’s geofilter templates, available for download on this Snapchat support page.

Since you’d likely only activate geofilters during your event, this effort would only drive last-minute on-site sales for your current event. But it’s a great way to build awareness and excitement for your next event when users see their friends having a great time. Not to mention, it’s a great way to build your event’s brand.

Ready to go? You can submit your geofilter to Snapchat here. If you want more information about how to build and measure results for your geofilter first, check out this in-depth blog on how to make a Snapchat geofilter

2. Create your event’s story on Snapchat

You can create a user account for your event on Snapchat to engage with attendees directly. Creating an account allows you to post a “Story” and share visuals that all your fans can see.

Here’s an idea of what you can showcase in your event’s Snapchat story:

  • Give fans a behind-the-scenes look at preparations before the event. Show food booths, performers and speakers, sponsors, swag, and the venue to get them excited. Hint at a surprise that guests can expect at the event to really build excitement.
  • During the event, snap pictures and videos of the festivities for anyone who couldn’t make it in person.
  • Don’t have exciting photos to share? That’s okay, you can get creative! With Snapchat you can add text, emojis, and draw on images. Use these to write fun facts about the event or share an exclusive coupon code, show a giant emoji that expresses your excitement, or draw an artistic representation of the event.

Snapchat is supposed to be fun, so don’t take yourself too seriously on the platform. The key to boosting engagement is to make sure people know you’re active. Spread the word by using the unique QR code that Snapchat generates for each user. When someone scans the code using their Snapchat app, it brings up your account. Some brands have used this QR code as their profile photo on other social networks like Instagram to increase engagement. (The code is layered over Snapchat’s yellow ghost logo, to give it a nice design element.) At the very least, post images of the QR code to your other networks to spread the word.

If you’re not quite sure how Snapchat fits into your broader social media event marketing strategy, check out this comprehensive guide to social media for events. You’ll learn even more about how you can use Snapchat and the other top social networks to drive ticket sales or registrations.

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