If you're thinking of adding Snapchat to your or your company's marketing arsenal--and you should, as it was recently ranked the 3rd most popular app among millennials--be prepared to encounter a learning curve. It's one of my favorite social networks, but it works a bit differently than others, so figuring out a strategy may take some time.
Using Snapchat requires creativity and on-the-spot thinking, especially because you can't pre-load content or import content from outside the platform. It also has some features that aren't obvious or are hidden, the discovery of which makes Snapchat a fun platform to use.
1. Learn From the Best
As with any social platform, it's best to learn from those who do it well. There are already plenty of celebrities and brands who do Snapchat well. Look no further than these lists, but take special note of YouTube stars really nail it, such as Ingrid.nilsen, realgracehelbig, and itmeghan.
2. Work on Your Story Game
The heart of Snapchat for brands is the "story" feature. While Snapchat got its start by serving as a way to message someone privately, the story feature has been the real takeaway for marketers. What better way to tell a story than visually, with ten-second clips that expire after 24 hours? Brevity makes your brand necessary and the storytelling allows for visual tangibility.
3. Amp Up Your Filter Knowledge
Did you know you can layer filters? Simply hold your finger on the screen when you swipe to the filer you want, and continue swiping with a separate finger to add others on top. You can add geo-located filters by swiping past the speed/time/temperature stamp, or create your own.
4. Change Text Appearance
If you make your text big with the "T" button, you can then squeeze the text with two fingers to move placement or change size. Use this feature to set your text off kilter, or move it to an unexpected location.
5. Draw With New Colors
The drawing function has many colors available, but black and white are not readily accessible, unless you know the secret way to get there. If, when selecting the color to draw with, you drag your finger all the way to the left, you will be able to unlock the white color. If you drag it all the way down, black will appear. Along the way, watch for special unlocked colors, like brown, pink, and gray.
6. Ghost Adding
Perhaps the most fun feature Snapchat has is pointing your camera at the ghost icon and tapping once. The ghost icon works as a QR code, and once you've tapped, you'll have added that friend to your contact list. It's an under-the-radar way to add friends, and you're guaranteed to feel super-special telling everyone about it.
7. Enable Replay or Front-Facing Flash
Under the "manage" section of the settings part of Snapchat, you can turn on the "replay" function, which will allow whomever you send your snaps to replay them once. You can only replay a snap once per day, however. If you'd like to take a selfie in a dark place, such as a bar bathroom or a car, you simply have to enable the front-facing flash to do so.
8. Add Music To Your Snaps
One of the only popular platforms to allow this, Snapchat now syncs with your phone's music selection. Simply play the song you'd like, and start recording a video within the platform; the song will be added to whatever video you make.
9. Live Video Chat
If, when chatting with your friends in the chat function, you want to talk live, all you have to do is both hold down the yellow button at the same time. It works like a live video chat a la FaceTime.
10. Check Out Who Is Checking Out You
Want to see who checked out your snap story? Tap your story and see every snap laid out before you, alongside which you'll see a number and an eye icon. That's the number of followers who have viewed that particular snap in the last 24 hours. If anyone has taken a screenshot of a snap, another icon will alert you. If you'd like to see your total Snapchat score, check out your number under the ghost icon. That's the total number of snaps sent and received. To up your score, send lots of snaps, and open each one you receive.
Snapchat is likely to add more secret functions like these that travel through word-of-mouth, which makes it an exciting platform to be using. Marketers who make use of the latest added features will be on the cutting edge of the platform, which is already one of the most-used among millennials.