Last month Snapchat released a new feature called Snapmap, allowing users to find friends and hot spots with large gatherings of snappers. Snapmap created quite a stir from supporters and skeptics alike, but that may only be the most notable change they’ve made this year. With several small tweaks, new Snapchat features may change how restaurants should market.

Snapchat and Instagram each have their own benefits

An April 2016 Forbe’s Magazine article points out that Instagram dominated the reach race with the inclusion of daily stories. Businesses, marketers, and influencers around the world saw its potential and took to creating clips that play a live update. This feature alone multiplied the reach of public profiles tenfold, and made finding interesting accounts easier for users.

Snapchat followed suit and not only called Instagram’s My Story hand, but went all-in and raised.

In creating the Our Story and Snapmap features, as well as Geofilters, real time, location-based exposure sits in the palm of each customer’s hand. This has frighteningly significant implications. When used to your advantage location based features generate positive reviews, and an overwhelming presence with local consumers. Our Story creates a live feed of your night out. Simply snap, edit, and share in real time, so you’re never missing a thing. Our story was designed to directly rival Instagram stories and have certainly done so.

As of July 5th, Snapchat users hold the ability to add website links without paying for promotion, and thereby create more organic clicks from followers. For restaurants, this means — my favorite type of marketing to talk about — FREE MARKETING.

If the Price is Right…

Using Snapchat stories to take pictures of daily specials, during special events and parties, or of live bands at your venue creates more interaction with the customer and thereby with the customer’s own social media circle once they share. Post links to your website and create a Geofilter that can only be used around your venue. Encourage guests to Snapchat with your location and post to their story. At the end of the day pick someone who did that and invite them back for a free drink. Post it on your other social accounts and show people you want to see them do it to.

New Snapchat features make it easier than ever to create a brand and bring customers from nearby areas and events. If you’re not already using Snapchat and Instagram’s newest features, falling behind your competition is closer than it may appear.