Photo by AdamPrzezdziek, Flicker.

Snapchat recently rolled out a number of new features allowing users to store photos and videos they've taken, edit their posted stories, and send pictures from the camera roll. While those using Snapchat may find the first two of these features useful, it is the ability to post from the camera roll that makes this update a game changer.

Previous to this update users would have to utilize 3rd party tools or resort to workarounds in order to re-post photos or videos from their camera roll. Sharing pictures visitors take can be a large part of a DMOs marketing strategy and with this feature previously lacking in Snapchat, it's refreshing to see it make the move to be competitive with other social media platforms' capabilities.

How DMOs Can Use Snapchat

Snapchat is a unique social media platform due to the fact everything disappears, either immediately after a user views a Snapchat (also known as a "Snap") sent directly to them or after 24 hours for content posted to a user's story. This creates an interesting dynamic due to the fact that whatever content is posted to a story one day, won't be viewable the next. So you might be asking - why would I want to use that if my content goes away? The simple answer is engagement.

In a world of banner blindness and decreasing organic reach on social media, it has become increasingly difficult to reach target markets effectively. Snapchat allows users to get an up close and personal view of what is going on in a part of the world that may be thousands of miles away from them in that very moment. This is much different than the "post-game" or after the fact mentality of sharing content through social media. This pairing of intimacy and immediacy has made Snapchat a valuable tool for any marketer trying to engage with an audience.

Now while that all sounds great, when trying to start using Snapchat the common (and normally first) question that arises is, "what should I be posting?" The good news is that with this update you can let visitors and locals do the work for you. Destinations can now receive Snapchats about an event or a subject just by asking - all you have to do is send out a call to action through other marketing channels for photos/videos. By doing so, users will have to add your Snapchat handle in order to allow them to send you photos, which in turn will start building your audience and providing you content to re-post.

Using Snapchat's New Features

I should preface that there's no simple way to do this, nor should you try and automate this (always be wary of what users are sending you). Once you receive a Snapchat, take a screenshot (by pressing the home and lock button at the same time on an iPhone) of the photo which will save it to your phone's camera roll. After you've received a few pictures send out a Snapchat telling viewers what they're about to see, whether it's pictures of a certain event or subject, to provide context for those who may not be in your destination currently.

Post a photo to your story, follow these steps:

    1. Ensure your Snapchat app is up-to-date.
    2. Open Snapchat.
    3. Swipe up in the camera view to access the "Memories" section.
    4. Select the "Camera Roll" option on the top right.
    5. Select the photo you want to post.
    6. Swipe up on the screen to prep the photo to post.
    7. Press the blue button in the bottom right corner of the photo or press the pencil button edit button to apply filters or edit a photo.
    8. Select "My Story" at the top.
    9. Press the white arrow on the bottom right corner of the screen to post the photo to your story.
    10. Repeat steps 3 -9 to post each photo to your story.

Here's an example from Pure Michigan's Snapchat account. They made a post to their Snapchat story earlier in the evening requesting users' pictures of the sunset that night. Here's what the sequence of Snapchats they posted to their story looked like:

A collection of photos from Pure Michigan's Snapchat

This is only one of many strategies of how to tell your destination's story on Snapchat. To help get eyes on the content you're producing, consider adding your Snapchat handle alongside your other social media marketing information. Additionally don't be afraid to cross-promote your Snapchat information and content across other social media outlets - if they follow you on one medium there's a pretty good chance they'll want to follow you on Snapchat too! Finally, remember Snapchat is still changing and growing, both in terms of its functionality and its user-base. If you don't think your target demographic is on Snapchat right now, there's a good chance they will be in the future, and you definitely want to be well established on Snapchat when they come looking for your content.