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Pirates, Doughnuts, and Snapchat? Krispy Kreme’s Marketing Strategy

krispy kreme, donuts, doughnuts, pirate, marketingInternational Talk Like a Pirate Day is often celebrated with a fake pirate accent, perhaps a pirate costume, and a trip to your local Krispy Kreme for a doughnut. Krispy Kreme has been giving out free doughnuts to pirate-speaking customers and free dozen doughnuts to pirate-dressed customers since 2012. This day has since brought many pirate-loving folks joy and delicious sugary pastries for the past four years. And this year, it opened the door for other pirate fans to get their doughnuts: pirate-loving social media fans.

This year, Krispy Kreme allowed customers to use Snapchat to dress themselves digitally using a pirate filter. No physical costume required, but the pirate-speak probably wouldn’t hurt for the pirate sampler doughnut. The use of social media in promotion deals isn’t new. Many companies try to involve social media in promotions such as liking or following a Facebook or Twitter page to get a discount. But Snapchat is different.

Snapchat is one of the newer social media and one of the fastest growing apps. Millions upon billions of photos, or “snaps,” are sent every day by its millions of users. Because it’s a much more personal platform, it can be difficult for businesses to reach their customers through the app. Some have created filters, while others create snaps to share with customers. Advertising itself is difficult on the app because the only ways to advertise are creating filters and snaps or snap stories (snap collections). There’s no way to include promoted posts or ads in a customer’s feed.

Filters themselves are what makes Snapchat unique. Most other apps don’t have ways to add goofy pictures or funny animations to photos or videos. Snapchat allows its users to be creative with their photos using the filters to mix things up and be silly. Companies using filters to promote deals, such as using a specific filter or creating one, allows customers unique opportunities to interact with the company.

But is incorporating Snapchat a smart marketing move? In my mind, yes. Snapchat has a huge user-base, so if businesses can find unique ways of using Snapchat to reach customers, it’s worth the effort to explore using Snapchat. Social media, just like any other marketing technique, requires some experimentation. Snapchat needs more than usual because it’s a more personal social media app than others. But if they put the effort in, businesses can reach their customers in a more personable way. This will lead to better relationships between businesses and their customers.

Social media can be scary for businesses, especially when it comes to apps like Snapchat. However, Krispy Kreme’s use of Snapchat shows that social media doesn’t have to be scary. All it needs is a little effort and experimenting to get it to work. Because you don’t need just advertisements or promoted posts to reach your customers in a meaningful way.