If you want a snappy response from candidates, Snapchat could deliver.

Should you not be familiar with the details of Snapchat, this may come as a something of a surprise. How can an image-based messaging app for smartphones, where messages can be automatically deleted within a few seconds, help you find quality candidates? Sounds a tad unlikely, but for an increasing number of organisations, it works.

Why use Snapchat?

Snapchat brings exposure to millions of candidates. The smartphone app was used by 187 million people each day as at February 13, 2018, according to digital marketing agency Omnicore, and over 25% of UK smartphone users are on Snapchat. Most use it for posting messages to friends, and typically open the app 18 times a day, according to Snap Inc.’s initial public offering prospectus.

According to Bloomberg, ‘snappers’ worldwide watch 10 billion videos a day – 2 billion more than Facebook – meaning you potentially have a highly engaged group of possible candidates you can get in front of.

Snapchat users are overwhelmingly young people – 45% of them are aged 18-24 – so if you are looking to reach the fabled millennial generation looking for their first job, apprenticeships, or graduate posts, Snapchat could be your friend. On the flip side, it is probably not the right channel to be targeting senior leaders through.

How you can use it

Many companies use Snapchat for increasing brand awareness, and thus indirectly to increase customers. Snap Inc, the company that runs Snapchat, cites cases where companies have used its ads to increase business and keep costs down. Adidas, for instance, found that 18% of new visitors to its stores had arrived as a result of its Snapchat ad campaign.
This kind of brand promotion has the potential to attract candidates too as part of your overall employer brand strategy.

Over half of people on Snapchat follow some type of brand or company, so it’s possible you already have a company account with followers you can start to use. Otherwise the first thing to do is to set one up and get started.

What to snap

Your snaps need to tell a brief story about how working for your brand could be exciting and rewarding, while showing off the amazing people that they would be working with and the fabulous projects you get up to.

Pictures of staff enjoying a team day out, at training or awards events, with visiting celebrities, or even with the office pet (if you are lucky enough to have one) all give active or passive candidates the chance to see what it’s like to work for you.  Younger candidates are known to favour brands that offer the opportunity to ‘give something back’, so consider snapping pictures of company charity fund raising or community events.

Telling stories through Snapchat will have more appeal if they are pretty informal. A picture of  employees smiling into the camera while digging holes and holding saplings, accompanied by a short message such as “Company name day planting trees at our local park – yayy!” works better than, “Employees of Company Name recently donated their time to planting trees at the Central Park yesterday.”

Messages may come across better from employees themselves. Consider getting your marketing department to train a few non-marketing staff  to do this.

Snapchat’s informal approach naturally suits some companies better than others but it can be used by brands in any sector. It’s no surprise that fast food outlets such as McDonald’s and Taco Bell use Snapchat for recruiting, but now even brands considered much more serious are targeting Snapchat users – The Economist has recently started publishing stories on the app.

Snapchat allows businesses to sponsor filters and lenses to their images, so they can be customised with your chosen words, artwork and corporate logo.

Snaplications – beyond branding

The app can also be used to prompt those who see your company snaps to apply for job, right away, within the app. For instance, people watching McDonald’s sponsored stories can swipe up to be directed to the McDonald’s job page, where they can make a 10-second application video using a custom, sponsored Snapchat filter. This sponsorship, however, is not free, so be cautious before spending money.

Snapchat also offers Snapcodes, which cost nothing. Snapcodes consist of a ghost icon surrounded by dots, operate like a QR code, and enable job seekers to capture a photo of the code and use it to reach a particular URL, such as your recruitment site.Keep the snaps coming

As with all social media marketing, once started, it must be kept up to be credible, so consider whether it is worthwhile in terms of time and cost. Consider the demographics of candidates you want to apply for jobs, and if you have enough time to devote to keeping them engaged before you dive in!