Snapchat for Beginners: 5 Tips to Get Started


As you probably know, Snapchat is a messaging platform for sharing “fleeting” moments. When you share photos or videos with a friend (or group of friends), they can only be seen for 10 seconds and then they disappear. These are called “snaps.”

Snapchat also lets you share “stories” – these are collections of snaps that appear in a continuous stream. Unlike individual snaps, stories can be watched repeatedly by almost anyone for up to 24 hours before they’re gone.

Used by more than 100 million people daily, Snapchat has become an important way to connect with friends as well as large audiences of followers. Once you’ve set up the Snapchat app on your phone and learned the basic functions, it’s time to start building – and engaging – your audience.

Here are five Snapchat tips for beginners:

1. Go Behind the Scenes

Don’t be afraid to get personal on Snapchat. It’s a great opportunity to go behind the scenes with your followers and give them an inside look into your business, office, work day and anything else you think they might find interesting or entertaining. It can be fun to add to your story throughout your day for your followers to follow along.

For example, if you sell a product, give your followers an inside look at how you conceive, design and produce the product. You can also show them how orders are received, handled and shipped. Presenting everything that goes into creating and delivering a product can make receiving the final product much more meaningful!

Because people love transparency and having an inside look at things, using Snapchat to give your customers a behind-the-scenes look at your business, art or daily life can help build your reputation and audience.

2. Complement Your Other Content

Don’t think of Snapchat as a stand-alone way to connect with your audience. Rather, it’s important that you keep the style, voice, types of topics and brand messaging consistent with your other content – even if it’s more fun than other channels. Snapchat is a great way to strengthen your following and increase word of mouth, but if you’re not using it in concert with your other content efforts, you run the risk of muddling your image.

Snapchat is a great channel to support your other content initiatives. For example, any time you publish a new piece of content, like a blog post or video, you can use Snapchat to present a ten-second preview of what it’s about, why it matters and why your followers should check it out where it’s been published.

3. Be a Tease

It’s okay to be a tease on Snapchat! In fact, by offering exclusive access to a preview of an upcoming product, project, event or another announcement that isn’t available on other channels, your Snapchat viewers will feel like insiders, privy to “top secret” revelations. Start getting your followers excited by dropping hints of what’s to come.

Beyond sneak previews, if you are in the position to offer special discounts or other exclusive offers to your Snapchat audience, then, by all means, do so to strengthen the bonds between you and your audience.

4. Keep It Real

Snapchat is meant to be relatively spontaneous, so your snaps don’t need to be as well-prepared as some other kinds of social posts. People expect a degree of authenticity with Snapchat, so avoid using stock photos and the like.

It’s really important to “keep it real” – stay genuine and true to yourself. Your persona should always come through in your stories so that your audience “feels” that it’s the “real you” connecting with them. Always keep the human connection aspect of personal online communications in mind – let people in your audience feel that they are getting closer to you than they’d be able to without Snapchat.

5. Have Fun & Play Around

Snapchat is a platform that lends itself to light-hearted content, humor, goofiness, and fun. So, for example, don’t send boring pictures – think about ways to share fun, funny and entertaining snaps and stories. You definitely don’t want to take yourself too seriously on Snapchat!

Snapchat has a ton of hidden features. Take time to explore what you can do with filters, lenses, doodles, stickers, emojis, captions, colors (and hidden colors!), background music, animations and more. Don’t be afraid to get creative or even silly. Unleash your creativity and less-serious side, and just have fun – your audience will love it!

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