For many company's the world of Snapchat is unchartered territory. But for company's who are serious about connecting with Millennials and even Gen Z (the generation directly following Millennials), Snapchat is a must.
According to comScore, 45 percent of Snapchat users are 18-24, the largest percentage of that demographic on any social platform. And comScore's study ignores anyone under that age, which you can bet is a significant number of Snapchat users.
The social platform has a reported 100 million monthly users, with roughly two-thirds logging on daily about this time last year, and Snapchat is only positioned to continue growing.
How to Get Started With Snapchat
Snapchat is solely a smart phone application, so you must use your phone to create your account. Snapchat will ask you to confirm your account by using your phone number.
Just like with any social platform, you get to choose your user name based on what is available.
How Does Snapchat Work?
The way Snapchat works is by sending images, videos, or chat messages to friends on the platform. These "snap" shots of your life can be sent directly to another user, or you can choose to add it to your Story, which is public for all your friends on the platform to see.
So how is Snapchat different, than say, Instagram? Your image, video, or chat message will disappear after 24 hours. And if someone takes a screenshot of your image? You will be notified of this breach in Snapchat etiquette through an alert.
There are a couple of things you can do to enhance your images:
1. You can add text over a video or an image.
2. You can draw directly on a video or an image.
3. You can add filters by swiping your image to the left or right.
Tips For Gaining an Engaged Audience
Snapchat is a unique platform that requires your audience to add you in order to see your content. Even if they do add you, they can choose to ignore your snaps, and even Snapvertisments (Snapchat advertisements) are optional to view due to the uninvasive ideal the platform is trying to maintain.
To start gaining a following on your Snapchat, you can use your contacts in your phone to find accounts, or you can search Snapchat users by phone number or user name.
But how do you inspire the users of Snapchat to view and engage with what you share on this platform? Here are a few ideas:
1. Behind the Scenes
Use Snapchat as a way to show behind the scenes, exclusive information they are not going to see anywhere else. This could include the unveiling of a brand new product, celebrity appearances, and more. Can't afford a celebrity? Consider a Vine or YouTube star.
2. Be Fun
The young crowd of Snapchat just wants something to entertain them and make them laugh. Using humor and personality makes the platform more fun, and keeps your audience coming back to look at your snaps.
3. Feature Users Snaps
Ask your Snapchat audience to weigh in on creative ideas. One brand I follow is a book publisher, and asked that users to send them snaps about who would play the main character of a book if it were to be made into a movie.
The responses varied from Keira Knightley to the actual Snapchat user's themselves!
4. Use Other Social Platforms
When first starting out, never be afraid to leverage your more established social media platforms to gain an audience. Tweeting about your presence on Snapchat can gain the interest of those already following you on Twitter or Facebook.
Obviously, Snapchat is not for every business. In fact, I'd say it's not for the majority of businesses. But it is a platform you should consider if your ideal customer skews towards a younger demographic and if you are prepared to be creative in your portrayal of your brand.