Snap & Tap: 16 Handles’ App Strategy

16 Handles
Fans can become “Fro-Yo Famous” at 16 Handles

I am the community manager for 16 Handles, an East Coast frozen yogurt chain. One of my favorite parts of my job is testing out new apps and figuring out a way my company can use them; it’s almost like a puzzle. Outside of the day-to-day management of our Twitter, Facebook, and other channels, I oversee most of our digital marketing efforts, including mobile app utilization. We don’t (yet) have a branded 16 Handles mobile app, but we do have a presence on several other apps. Here’s how we utilize these apps.


People love to take pictures of their frozen yogurt. My main goal with Instagram is to give our customers a megaphone to display their frozen yogurt. We showcase fan photos on our brand’s Instagram page and we even have TV screens in all of our stores to show off fan photos. (We always ask for permission, of course, to make our fans “Fro-Yo Famous” and even give them some compensation in the form of free frozen yogurt.) People love getting shout-outs from their favorite brands, and the chance to feature their content is a great way of giving them an incentive to share more about your company.


At this point, Foursquare is pretty much a no-brainer for brands with storefronts. We utilize the app to announce our featured flavors of the month, offer promotions for checking in, and more. We’re starting to host events at some of our stores, such as our Flaunt Your Flavor: Unplugged concert series, and we set up special “event” listings on Foursquare so that our guests can check into the concert, if they wish.


Snapchat, the self-destructing photo-sharing app, was a really exciting platform for us to join because we were the first brand to do so. Our campaign, “Snappy New Year,” was used as a method of driving store traffic while giving our fans a fun, new way to get a discount on their purchase. Though the campaign was initially developed to run on Twitter, we ended up using Snapchat for two reasons:

  • Our customers were using it: We have a young, primarily female, socially-active group of customers that were flocking to Snapchat.
  • The functionality fit the concept: When you share a coupon on Twitter, it can easily go viral. Since this promotion would use coupons ranging from 16% off to 100% off, we didn’t necessarily want these discounts to be shared with the masses. Since photos on Snapchat disappear 3-10 seconds after they are first viewed, this was perfect. (We had a policy in place to identify when a customer was using a coupon that was actually a screenshot, as well.) These coupons were designed for instant use, which matched Snapchat’s model better.

Some things to think about when creating your mobile app strategy:

If you’re considering using a newer app for your brand that other marketers haven’t yet jumped on, make sure the campaign fits the app and that you’ve thought out the customer experience from all angles. Snapchat has a bit of a complicated reputation, which was something we had to consider when implementing this campaign.

Also, don’t assume that you have to be on any and every app out there. Sometimes, less is more. Selecting a handful of apps allows you to focus and have a strong presence on the apps that make the most sense for your brand, rather than having a watered-down presence on every single app in the market.

What are some clever ways you’ve seen brands use mobile apps?

Adam Britten is the community manager for 16 Handles frozen yogurt and has a master’s degree in digital marketing from Hult International Business School. Chat with him on Twitter @AdamBritten or check out his new blog, The Digital Careerist.

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