Why Use Snapchat?
Snapchat has had explosive growth and this month has become more important than Instagram in terms of engagement for youths. It is also edging very close to matching – if not exceeding Facebook’s video view count. So this means you have the ability to reach an incredibly large audience that is still growing in size.
So what can you do in snapchat?
Snapchat allows you to message 1 to 1 with users, send short videos to them or photos (snaps) in a 1 to many style or one of the most utilised features now being used by brands and individuals is “Stories”
What are Snapchat Stories
Snapchat stories allow you to create several photos or short videos (15 seconds per video) that can be added to your daily “Story” these snaps will exist in the snapchat platform for 24 hours – after that they disappear and can no longer be viewed. Many people praise this form of communication as it forces people to push incredibly “in the moment” content and is considered more real than some of the content that is being released on other platforms. If you want to see a really good example of someone utilising a snapchat story – add GaryVee (Gary Vaynerchuk) on snapchat and check out the content he posts day by day.
Using Snapchat Snaps, Videos and Stories
Something that seems to confuse people with snapchat when they first use it is the platform really takes advantage of the fact that it is on mobile devices – instead of having a bunch of buttons like most other apps do – when you open snapchat once you have signed in the first screen that you see if the screen that allows you to take a “snap” either as a still photo or you can hold your finger down on the record button to do a short video. Now once the video is complete you can easily add things to your snap by using the buttons that have now shown at the top of your snap – or, my favourite by swiping left or right. Once you’ve set your snap how you would like it you can either use the arrow button on the right to send it directly to certain people OR if you click the small square with a + button in it this will add the snap to your story. There’s a few more buttons that are on this screen but I encourage you to try them out for yourself to get used to snapping!
Using Snapchat for Messaging
As I mentioned above Snapchats interface isn’t totally driven by buttons for example, if you want to view different sections of the app try swiping left, right, down and up on different sections on the app. For example – if you wish to send a message directly to one of your contacts, swipe right on the main screen then you can use the magnifying glass to find the contact you wish to message, tap on them then type your message and hit the send button. Don’t forget as well you can still take photos or videos in this section and also add photos from your gallery.
A quick tip though – snapchat by default does not save any direct messages, if you view it and go out of that section of the app its gone. However a quick tip – if you wish to save a message, simply long press on the message and snapchat will save it for you. Note though – that this only works for text, videos and photos once viewed disappear. You can screenshot a photo or video in snapchat but it will notify the other user that you have done so.
Viewing Snapchat Stories & Other Content
From the mainscreen, instead of swiping right swipe left and this will show you at the top – your story, below that the discover tab, next down is Live and then recent updates is stories from any of your friends. To view anything on this page simply tap on the icon and you can begin viewing. The channels listed under Discover are sponsored content by businesses that snapchat have allowed, under Live you will generally find an event that Snapchat have curated based on snaps in that area and recent updates are as mentioned earlier – the people you have added as friends. If you want to stop viewing a story simply swipe down for the story to stop.
Gaining Snapchat Viewers
One thing that confuses people with Snapchat is there is no real built in “discovery method” for a new user to find other users. The way most people add people to snapchat is by using the Add from Address book function that will scan your phones numbers and check if the numbers match any snapchat users – you can then click on add friend. Once you have done this you can send direct snaps to that person – with snap stories however unless the user has their settings for allowing everyone to view stories you will not be able to see them unless they also add you back as a friend.
So what about beyond your phone contacts? Well this is where snapchat make it interesting – the little yellow ghost that you have on your profile when you sign in or that is on the add page if you use the snapchat web address (mine is here) functions basically the same as a QR code but is referred to as a “Snapcode”
On the Add friends section of Snapchat there is an option called “Add By Snapcode” – all you need to do is tap on this and then scan the code from a website, facebook, a screenshot pretty much anywhere it is available to add that person to your snapchat contacts. So if you want users to add you in snapchat beyond those that are in your phone already – you’ve got to revert to the old school method of telling people you are on snapchat by posting either your username, or even better your snapcode on all of your other social or communication platforms (for example, add it to your email signature! or add it as your snapcode as your facebook profile photo)
What content should I post on snapchat?
This is another thing that seems to perplex a lot of people, the content you post should be relevant to the message you are trying to convey or relevant to what you wish people to be engaging with you for. Above I mentioned Gary Vaynerchuk – he is renowned for growing businesses and social media – so what do you think his snap stories are about? They are about the places he is speaking at, business, social media and he also very successfully uses the platform to sell his books and to announce public meetups.
Create content that really showcases you and the industry that you are in. For example if you a retailer this could be a video of inside your shop, a story showing different products you may have on that day, don’t be afraid to talk directly into the camera to make it personal. Don’t feel like you’ve got to only show things your working on or related to business – remember that you are human to so create content of your day to show that you are in fact a real person e.g. if you go to a coffee shop to meet someone post a snap of the shop you are in or – better yet if you are talking to people in a bar take a snap that includes you talking to them.
Don’t be afraid to use Snapchat to sell your products – it’s an awesome platform for that.
The best part about snapchat is its really hard to fake something, you’ve got 15 seconds to do a video and it can’t be edited in a big way so you’ve really got to be good at engaging to make the platform work for you. Remember that if using stories though you can string a bunch of photos or videos one after the other.
If you are using Snapchat make sure you have GPS enabled and you will be able to utilise GeoFilters. GeoFilters are basically an overlay of a graphic that shows an event or an area where you are in. Next time you take a Snap swipe until you can see a GeoFilter – you’ll be surprised where some exist. Be aware though that they are not available everywhere. Another thing that often gets overlooked is Snapchat also have “On-Demand” GeoFilters that can be created and purchased, this is great if you have an event you are running or a wedding for example where you would like a filter.
The filters that you see in most locations is considered a Community GeoFilter – that is it is submitted by anyone for use by everyone.
So What are You Waiting For?
Go and download snapchat!
Dont forget to add me by snapchat username: beaug-87 or by SnapCode