All eyes are on Snap — the artist formerly known as Snapchat — and its initially successful IPO. Marketers and investors alike are feeling optimistic about the future, thanks to the innovation from this camera and app company.

Now that Snap has gone public, how can social media marketers and customer journey leaders prepare for the future? We caught up with Kate Talbot, Snapchat for business strategy expert and author of Oh Snap! You Can Use Snapchat for Business. Check out her answers to a few questions about Snapchat strategy for brands, and download our new e-book 50 Social Media Best Practices for even more social media education.

Heike: Snapchat's success is tied to the playful and innovative filters and nurturing a tight-knit community. How will Snapchat continue to provide fun that puts the community first — while opening up that community to advertisers?

Kate: The best part of the Snapchat advertising platform and their creative partners is that the ads are so similar to the snaps created by your friends. The ads between stories feel  like a snap you would see in your organic news feed — for example, they integrate emojis and doodle text, so they don’t feel like an ad.

And, of course, the main differentiator of Snapchat advertising is the fact that consumers want to be part of the ad processes. Just look at the Taco Bell ad on Cinco De Mayo. The Snapchat Lens, which broke records with 224 million views in one day, was a taco-shaped selfie head and their “bong” song that played in the background. This advertising activation was fun and interactive, which led to its viral nature.

There’s no other platform out there which makes advertising seamless and part of the social experience.

Snapchat is dominating the camera phone. Is there an interest in integrating Snapchat into mobile devices natively? Or is the focus on peripherals like snap glasses (maybe even their own phone one day)?

As Snap Inc. has positioned itself as a camera company, the focus on capturing live, authentic moments will manifest in a variety of ways. Thus far, we’ve seen snaps captured on mobile and in hardware with Spectacles. In fact, it’s been reported that Snap is working on a drone to take overhead content that will feed into the platform, as well as partnerships for a 360 camera.

Only time can tell what their product roadmap will be, but camera and integrated technology will be front and center.

With copycat features from the FB family (and elsewhere), I'm curious to see how Snapchat will continue to innovate and stay ahead of competitors. What new features should we expect to see?

Social media has become the second screen for TV viewers. Snapchat is capitalizing on this with a multitude of partnerships for original content. These include unscripted and educational content from A&E Networks, BBC, and others. Similar to Snapchat, these TV series are designed for short attention spans and will include lots of graphics, headlines, and music.

Snapchat gained popularity with their augmented reality lenses. Recently, Snapchat launched an augmented reality game within the “Princess and Queens” lens — where you have to find five hidden gems that will unlock a newer lens.

With Facebook Messenger, Instagram Stories, and now Medium Stories copying Snapchat’s features, they’ll have to focus on innovative product updates and acquisitions to stay ahead of the curve.

What are your thoughts on how Snapchat can better support brands? For example, I'm thinking differentiated brand pages (other networks offer business profiles or even verified accounts) and analytic capabilities, so brands can actually measure success?

The key capability that can better support brands and power users are more robust analytics. In the social media ecosystem, data is key to prove ROI to stakeholders. Currently, brands and influencers have to screenshot the amount of views they receive and the views cap off after a certain amount.

With better analytics and functionality for video views, drop off rate, time spent on each story, and demographic data, that'd be a great way to support brands.

Another aspect that has been a pain point is discoverability on the platform. The best way to drive user growth for your brand is to utilize advertising on other social platforms like Facebook or Twitter to have your current users take a photo of the QR code or click on the link to become Snapchat followers. Snapchat recently implemented a directory within the platform, but will need to generate more buzz for brands to feel confident that they’re gaining users within the app.

Lastly, as Instagram is debuting shoppable posts, Snapchat has an ability to go down the e-commerce route as well. PopSugar’s ShopStyle launched Emoticode last year as a way for consumers to purchase products from brands and influencers.

What are your favorite 3-4 brand accounts to follow, so marketers can see who's already doing Snapchat well?

Besides the typical big-name brands like Taco Bell and Everlane, who are major players on Snapchat, I enjoy PopSugar. Taking editorial content to Snapchat stories is no easy task. PopSugar is able to feature their content across all their focus areas such as health, wellness, fashion, beauty, and so on in a digestible way in less than 10 seconds a snap to educate the audience and have them coming back for more.

For the B2B audience, I thoroughly enjoy Gartner. They provide insights about larger industry trends in quick typed-out snaps, show behind-the-scenes content at their global conferences, and understand the millennial audience on Snapchat by showcasing intern events and hiring practices. 

Have there been new numbers released on Snapchat's audience demographics? How would you describe the Snapchat audience? Of course it's not only millennials, as some would have us believe.

The millennial audience — between 18-34 years old — still comprises the majority of Snapchat’s users. However, eMarketer recently reported that 6.4% of Snapchat users are between 45 and 54 years old, a 4.2% year-over-year increase. With competition from Instagram, the projections for 24-year-olds and younger has declined.

It's important to note that the Snapchat audience is loyal. Those who use the platform are spending on average 25 to 30 minutes on the platform and 60% of those are creating content for their communities. The Snapchat audience loves to consume snippets of authentic content that tells the real story behind brands, influencers, and news. To leverage this audience, treat your community like your friend in the way you communicate and produce content.

Any specific capabilities of Snapchat that you think go underutilized by marketers?

First, consider trade show geofilters. It’s so hard to connect and drive all attendees to your booth at a Trade Show, but with Snapchat, you’re able to create a branded geofilter that drives attendees to your booth. The geofilter is a small investment and a huge ROI.  

Next, don't forget group chats. Content can't get any more targeted than this! Use group chat to communicate directly to the customers or followers that fit in a certain demographic and produce content that is targeted directly to them.

Marketers could also use memories on Thursdays for a Throwback Thursday #tbt story ,showing a prior event or how their product has evolved in recent years.

For more Snapchat insights from Kate, download her episode of the Marketing Cloudcast, the marketing podcast from Salesforce.