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Snapchat. Ever heard of it? It’s an app that has quickly become a staple on almost every teen’s smartphone along with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Vine. Created by four Stanford students, the app allows users to send photos and videos that are viewable for only up to 10 seconds before they self-destruct.

If you have heard of it, you are probably aware of its controversial reputation as a vehicle for sexting, or the media’s revelation that the photos and videos do not actually delete and are easily retrievable. With over 150 million photos being taken on the app a day, however, Snapchat has proved that it is here to stay. So now the question arises: could Snapchat be used to help your small business?

 16 Handles, a New York frozen yogurt chain, was the first to take the bold step of incorporating Snapchat in their marketing strategy. They created a competition where customers could send a picture of their yogurt to their Snapchat handle in return for a coupon that must be opened and scanned by the cashier. The discount would be anything from 15%-100%, and Snapchat allowed the company to create an element of surprise that engaged with their younger core demographic. Taco Bell similarly embraced the new trend by sending out daily promotions as well as pictures of their food as advertisements to their fans. (Author’s note: We hit up Taco Bell on Snapchat a few hours ago and they still haven’t opened it.)

Snapchat tends to confuse social media marketers, as it is no longer about solid messages and lasting impressions, but don’t be discouraged. Although it is difficult to obtain valuable metrics on Snapchat usage, if you’re willing to dedicate the time, you could be providing a fun, interactive experience that could be the difference between you and a competitor. Especially if you’re hoping to target teens, you want to go to where their attention is. Sending discounts and advertisements through Snapchat could create a more personal, immediate and engaging relationship with your customers.

The photos may only stay for up to ten seconds, but this new platform is here to stay. Do you know any other marketers who are using Snapchat? Comment below to tell us how!

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