Working with Brands on Snapchat: Dave Krugman

Working with Brands on Snapchat: Dave Krugman

Featuring Dave Krugman.

This interview is from our free, downloadable guide The Photographer’s Guide to Snapchat. For more tips, download your copy today, here.

A summer camp darkroom photography class hooked Dave Krugman on making images and telling stories as a kid. After earning psychology degree and pursuing photography on the side, he moved to New York and got a lucky break doing retouching for Annie Liebovitz. Today he builds and fosters social communities and has worked with brands such as ATT, Ducati, Sony, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Turkish Airlines, Honda, Marriot, Free People, LG, as well as travel and tourism boards.

What do you like about Snapchat?

Once I built up my social media channels, it started to become a tremendous amount of pressure and I’d worry a lot more about what was going to live on there. I think what’s great about Snapchat is that it’s so fleeting. When I know that something isn’t out there on the record permanently I’m a little more free to experiment and tell stories that I don’t think need to be part of my permanent body of work.

What kinds of things do you post on Snapchat?

I pull back the curtain a little and tell my followers on Instagram, hey, if you’re interested in what equipment I’m using or who I’m hanging out with or where my favorite restaurants are or what concerts I’ve seen, head over to my Snapchat channel and you can see the behind the scenes process about how I’m making all this stuff. I can be a little comedic and a little less serious and a little more prolific without feeling like I’m sharing too much.


How have you grown your followership on Snapchat?

In my bio in Instagram, it has my Snapchat handle. So I get a persistent stream of people coming in. I’d say about 5 or 10 people a day. I’ll save my Snapchat story and post it on my Instagram channel and say, for the rest of the story, go check out my Snapchat. I also have a pretty strong presence on Tumblr. I have a deep network on Facebook too. So occasionally I’ll drop a link to Snapchat. 

How have you been working with brands on Snapchat?

With brands, I add the Snapchat activation as a layer. I say why don’t we tell a deeper story here and show that this brand is savvy and wants to pull people into the conversation.

For example, with Ducati, we’re going to do a three-day shoot together, but for a little bit extra I can also share it with an additional 2,000 people on Snapchat and let them watch the shoot and show them the bikes. In the same way I’m distributing the content on Instagram, I can do this mini distribution on Snapchat that’s a little bit more in-depth and a little bit more raw. I think people really like to see that, and I think brands have a tremendous opportunity to do their storytelling that way as well.

How do you help a brand attract new followers?

No matter what social media platform I’m using, it’s a very similar thing that I do. I call it interwoven narratives. If I’m trying to move people from my channel to their channel, I’ll start a story on my channel and pick it up on theirs and make it very clear. I’ll say, “Hey followers, I’m going to this concert. If you want to see my perspective on it, add this account now.” That’s a good way to convert.

How do you show results to clients?

None of the data is forward facing. It’s all private, so I will do reporting for them. I take a screenshot of how many opens I got so I can prove to them that 2,000 people saw the content.

If you hired me to do a Snapchat job, I’d do the story, save the whole story and deliver it to you packaged up so you can watch it. Then I would take screenshots of all the data I could see. I’d report opens and screenshots. If anyone replied, I’d screenshot that to show a little bit of sentiment.


What are your dos and don’ts for representing a brand on Snapchat?

Imagine social media as a big party, and there are all these people in the room and everyone is having a good time, but there are also brands in the room, too. For brands I would say don’t be the guy at the party who is just talking about himself the whole time. My generation doesn’t like to be advertised to like that. Allow the conversation to happen and only inject yourself when it’s natural and appropriate.

As a brand, just by your very nature you have to realize that people are already looking at you a little sideways. Respect the space; don’t invade it. Just try to be as natural a part of the conversation as you can be.

What are some challenges when working with brands on Snapchat?

The bigger the corporation or client, the more approval processes, the more liability there is because of the nature of Snapchat. It’s going out pretty much live. When I’m doing a Snapchat takeover, I’ve had a client on site and before I even post they’re looking at it on my phone. That’s a little disruptive, and it’s also frightening to the brand to give up that process that they’ve been building up over decades about approvals and due diligence. So that’s a problem, but they’re going to have to evolve.

Has the new Instagram Stories changed how you’re using Snapchat?

I haven’t landed on what I’m going to do and neither have a lot of my friends. When I post to my Instagram story, I’m getting tenfold engagement as I was on Snapchat for the same content. I’m seeing a lot of people still using Snapchat but also using Instagram stories. But for people who have huge Snapchat following and not much on Instagram it’s probably the opposite.

Another big blow is that Instagram does have reporting. Anybody above 50,000 followers now has access to the analytics. I can see broken down, male or female, what part of the country they’re coming from, who’s looking at my stuff. I can get a good overview of who I’m reaching. If someone’s like, I’d really like people in New York to see this content, I’m a good guy for that because I have a huge following in New York, and I can show them that.

All photos © Dave Krugman

For more tips to lock down a rep and seal the deal, check out The Photographer’s Guide to Snapchat.


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