Snapchat is one of the most important tools for digital marketers and sponsored Snapchat posts are a major part of the platform's appeal.

Sponsored posts are created by popular Snapchat users but focus on products marketed by other people. As such, they are essentially a form of advertising but benefit from being concealed behind the persona of an independent content creator.

With around 150 million daily users, it's no surprise that Snapchat attracts marketers like bees to honey. This is making it a more competitive (and expensive) place to promote products. At the same time, regulators are starting to crack down on sponsored postings, demanding more transparency.

None of this makes Snapchat sponsored posts any less useful, it just makes Snapchat marketing slightly more challenging. With that in mind, here are some key things to remember when crafting a sponsored posting campaign.

Find the Right Influencer for Your Product

Every popular Snapchat user will have different areas of expertise and abilities. You need to find someone who is able to promote your product in a natural way, without coming across as negative. It helps if they have some knowledge about what you do, but general enthusiasm for your niche is much more important.

You can help them along the way by suggesting storylines and titles. Supplying inspiration is a good way to guide their content into channels that you approve of and saves them work that should be spent creating inspirational material.

Use Multiple Influencers for Different Audiences

Most products have a broader appeal than "guys in their 30s with beards." If your products sell to different demographics, enlist Snapchat creators in a wide range of age groups. You'll be surprised by how varied the results are, depending on what kind of person is creating the content. Also, be sure to include both male and female perspectives if you have a generic appeal.

Always Combine Your Influencer With Your Product

A good sponsored post on Snapchat feeds off both the value of the product being sold and the charisma of the person selling it. When you contact influencers to endorse your products, make sure they create snaps that show both themselves and the product in the same shot. Viewers need to transfer their enthusiasm about the messenger (the influencer) to the product they are promoting.

Provide a Compelling Offer

Your influencers need to have something more to work with than just a product. It also helps if they can supply their viewers with a reason to engage with your products. An offer or contest works well. They can act as a hook for your influencers to conclude their videos and encourage viewers to take action, and they feed neatly into ongoing marketing campaigns.

Allow Snapchat Users to Takeover Your Channel

You don't need to supply products to standalone Snapchat channels. In fact, one of the most effective Snapchat marketing tools is allowing popular users to temporarily control your channel.

Snapchat takeovers give your brand access to communicators who have experience with the platform and large follower lists. They usually feature a cluster of snaps based around specific marketing campaigns, with content like behind the scenes footage and product unboxing.

Takeovers are an excellent way to build your own Snapchat following, establish credibility among regular users, spread the word about your brand and nurture beneficial relationships with key influencers, so they are well worth trying.

Be Aware of FTC Guidelines

The Federal Trade Commission has taken a keen interest in sponsored posts in recent times, which is natural as the FTC's mandate includes regulating advertising.

In August 2016, Snapchat announced changes to its own guidelines after advice from the FTC. Now, users need to be explicit about any products or payments they have received from companies. That's why more and more snaps are being accompanied by #paid or #sponsored hashtags.

The FTC has backed this position. As one its attorneys, Michael Ostheimer puts it, "If someone is posting something that's either expressly or implicitly an endorsement and they've been paid to do that, it should be disclosed whether it's on Snapchat, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook or anywhere else."

It's pretty clear that any sponsored posts on Snapchat need to include a disclaimer. That doesn't make them less effective (in fact, it might boost your brand's reputation for transparency). It simply avoids any wrangling with the FTC.

Use Sponsored Filters as a Disclaimer

Thankfully, Snapchat includes features that allow companies to satisfy the FTC and create good-looking, popular sponsored content. Filters are at the heart of the social network's appeal, allowing users to add colorful content to accompany their footage.

Filters can also be used by brands to good effect. You can create custom filters for influencers to use that show off your brand logo and turn a negative (having to disclose your sponsorship) into a plus (personalizing your brand in a way that appeals to Snapchat users).

By using Snapchat creatively and following best practice when running campaigns, companies can still use sponsored posts to boost their marketing efforts. Find the right influencers, create compelling content and you too can capitalize on the web's fastest growing marketing channel.

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