If you know Snapchat is a valuable marketing tool, but are unsure where to begin, fear not. Here are 17 examples of branded Stories that really nail it.

You should be on Snapchat. It’s the hottest platform, all the young people are there, 10 billion video views every day, blah blah blah. You’ve heard all this before, including from us.

But what do you do once you sign up? If you need some inspiration, here are 17 examples of brands, including a few personal brands, nailing Snapchat.

1. Marriott

Marriott uses Snapchat to really cement its role as “travel brand,” more than a “hotel brand.”

Rather than promote any D.C. hotels, Marriott gave its followers the inside scoop on a good bakery, noting its proximity to the National Gallery. The Story ended with a funny-captioned tour of the museum.


2. NBA

During YouTube’s Brandcast event, NBA commissioner Adam Silver mentioned how important video is for his brand, given how infrequently most people have the opportunity to attend live basketball games. You can see that strategy play out on Snapchat, where the NBA gives fans tons of stuff, such as behind-the-scenes footage of players practicing before games.


3. Bloomingdale’s

“Outfit of the day” is a popular phenomenon on social media and Snapchat gives it a level of interactivity by allowing people to see the clothes in motion. Bloomingdale’s does that well, while casually tying its Story back to the product by letting viewers know which designer is behind each component of the #ootd.


4. Amazon

Amazon is another brand that ties product back to ecommerce without being too heavy-handed about it. One recent video, depicting a sock puppet fight, was silly and good for a quick laugh. But rather than leave the Story there, Amazon provided a link for anyone who may be inclined to buy taco (Read more...).


5. Sephora

Last summer, before Snapchat was quite the force it is today, a ClickZ Live Toronto speaker educated attendees on the benefits of the platform. Sephora was one of the names she dropped and it’s easy see why. The makeup brand is good. Promoting InstaScent, an interactive quiz that recommends fragrances, Sephora provided a Snap-by-Snap tutorial on the quiz, luring you into the store in the process.


6. GE

Not every brand lends itself to social commerce; you can’t really promote a link to buy a washing machine the same way you would socks. Instead, GE uses Snapchat to market itself as a fun brand. What does an octopus storm have to do with anything? Nothing, but it’s funny and sometimes with video, that’s all you really need.


7. SoulCycle

Part of what helped SoulCycle become such a cult brand is the attachment people feel to their favorite instructors. As a result, SoulCycle’s Snapchat has a lot of employee advocacy going on, with different instructors taking over the account. Surely seeing Sunny in their feed will get D.C.-area SoulCycle fans excited for their next class.


8. Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk is extremely active on Snapchat, often using the platform as a video journal. Watching his Stories gives you a cool glimpse into the life of an entrepreneur and how much work it takes to be one. A lot of Garyvee’s Snapchat videos are filmed in airports because he seems to be in one, like, all the time.


9. Taco Bell

Taco Bell knows a thing about marketing on Snapchat; the fast food brand’s Cinco de Mayo lens may have been the thing of nightmares, but it was also viewed 224 million times. Taco Bell is so great at social because it really nails the personality of each platform. At core, Snapchat is irreverent, similar to Taco Bell’s practice of taking extreme close-ups of food every Friday.


10. National Geographic

Snapchat is a great resource for publishers looking to give people an extra source of content. Well-known for its arresting images, National Geographic is particularly suited for Snapchat. Last week, the magazine was on location in Kazakhstan, a country the average person doesn’t know too much about (other than Borat).


11. Aer Lingus

Studies have shown that people gravitate toward brands that share their values. Last week, Aer Lingus posted a Story from a Dublin school for deaf children where employees volunteered last week. Airlines are notoriously stingy (picking a window seat on my way to Shift London cost $45, for example) so the Irish carrier showing its charitable side is a subtle way of standing out.


12. Birchbox

Birchbox stopped by one of its vendors’ headquarters and decided to snap, promoting Cain+Austin as something you should add to your next box. What made the Story so smart was the person from Cain+Austin answering questions the product, potentially soothing people who may be hesitant to buy a skincare product sight unseen.


13. Hillary Clinton

We stand by our endorsement of Hillary Clinton as the best social media marketer in the presidential race. Clinton jumped on the popular #ThrowbackThursday trend, circumventing the murkiness of Snapchat measurement in a genius way. If you text Clinton, you’ll get a never-before-seen picture of her and Bill. And she’ll get some insight into her Snapchat engagement and your phone number.


14. Starbucks

Being a messaging platform first and foremost, Snapchat just feels more personal than other social networks, like Facebook or Twitter. It’s easy to feel like the Stories are just for you, and Starbucks capitalizes on this simply and brilliantly: reminding you – and all its other followers, but mostly you – about Frappuccino Happy Hour.


15. Men’s Health

Workout tutorials are a staple of Men’s Health, but it can be difficult to really get a sense of the moves from a static image. BJ Gaddour, the ridiculously ripped fitness instructor who is like a walking advertisement for the brand, turns Men’s Health‘s Snapchat into a fitness video, guiding you through each move.


16. NASA

Last week, NASA’s Kepler Mission discovered the largest group of planets ever, information the organization shared with its Snapchat following. Collectively, the platform’s young audience probably doesn’t have a tremendous interest in space, but NASA is a master at creating engagement by making it fun.


17. Chubbies

Doing contests and sweepstakes is a great way to put a tradigital twist on your Snapchat strategy. Chubbies Shorts, which the guys in the brand’s snaps are always wearing, uses that tactic to give people something they wouldn’t get on any other channel. The e-retailer also generates buzz by showing viewers all the things they could win – next week, maybe, since Thomas from Boston collected this haul.


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