Mike Farrell is the community manager at Likeable Local’s New York office. He is an avid reader, writer and listener of hip-hop. Connect with him on Twitter, @mikefarrelldude.
Let’s face it. Snapchat has quickly moved from the fringe of social media relevance to a legitimate platform where the likes of BMW and Hasbro now frequently advertise.

Snapchat has deftly figured a way to include paid advertisements within in its app without disrupting the user experience. Now for small business purposes, the paid advertisements are not within the realm of financial feasibility. However, this is not to say that small businesses cannot find a use for the app. 

As of last year, over 400 million snaps were sent daily. With more than 25 million users in the United States alone, there is a good possibility that you may have some potential customers frequently using the app; this is even more likely if your target demographic skews younger.

Especially with the inclusion of the story and chat features, companies are starting to figure out ways to effectively use Snapchat’s organic reach potential.

One of the initial challenges that many jewelry businesses have is how to go about gaining followers on the platform. However, Snapchat made this much easier recently. They have included a feature called a “Snapcode,” of which any user can take a picture. After taking the picture the app then will bring up your brand’s name and ask the user if they want to follow you; no more dealing with pesky usernames.

There are a couple ways to take advantage of this.

-- Put your Snapcode as your profile picture on platforms where you already have a decent following, e.g., Facebook, Twitter. Our friends at Likeable Media have used this strategy effectively (see below.)

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-- Alternatively, you could go old school. Print out a high-quality image of your Snapcode and hand it out with every purchase, with the promise of exclusive offers through the platform.

It is possible to take leads from companies such as Red Bull and Taco Bell, both of whom have neatly folded Snapchat into their social strategy. Taco Bell uses the transient nature of the app to tease new products and promote their own mobile app.

They offer discounts exclusively to users who follow them and consistently provide content that is both educational and entertaining. Red Bull uses the story feature to live stream (albeit in 10-second clips) events that coincide with the lifestyle that the company promotes. Both companies effectively leverage the casual nature of the app and take it into account when creating their Snapchat content.

As you can see below, the content Taco Bell sends out is not overly promotional. They know that their core demographic would likely be turned off by content that comes across as hard selling. Taco Bell has cleverly managed to create content that still features their products but is more fun than forceful.

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Now you might be saying, my jewelry shop could not be more different than Taco Bell. You are completely correct in this thought. However, it is not too much of a stretch to imagine the above sequence instead reading, “What gemstone are you?” With a quick, fun little quiz like this you are not only engaging your customers in a unique way, you are also showcasing your beautiful jewelry.

Additionally, companies as varied as 16 Handles, Boomba Racing and even the World Wildlife Fund provide more creative examples of how to effectively use the platform. 16 Handles uses the time sensitivity of the app to send its followers exclusive offers, a strategy that a small business of any nature can adopt.

The following image is an excellent example of a typical offer by 16 Handles. This type of promotion could easily be tweaked to fit the individual nuances of your company.

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Boomba Racing offers exclusive sneak peeks into their research and development process as well as any general hooliganism that happens at their production facility. Their content humanizes the brand and differentiates it from competing automotive performance companies.

Lastly, the World Wildlife Fund raises awareness of endangered species with pictures of animals along with the caption “Don’t let this be my last selfie.”

While many of these companies might be much larger than the business you are operating, it is still possible to glean valuable strategic insights that can be applied on a smaller level.

They include the following.

-- All the companies mentioned here recognize the casual nature of the app and leverage it. This is something you should also be doing.

-- Source user-generated content through the app by holding contests. Getting users to submit their own content is especially easy for a jeweler because, well, who doesn’t want to show off their new bling?

-- Offer exclusive content that can only be found on the platform. Providing content perceived as valuable will net you more engaged followers. For a small business, this could be as simple as a jeweler sending out pics of a beautiful new collection.

-- Take notes from 16 Handles and Boomba Racing and provide time-sensitive offers that will drive traffic to your location.

 -- Finally, and most importantly, be authentic and show your Snapchat followers who you really are.

Mike Farrell is the community manager at Likeable Local’s New York office. He is an avid reader, writer and listener of hip-hop. Connect with him on Twitter, @mikefarrelldude.

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Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.