By Annie Pilon
Snapchat is an increasingly popular app among a wide range of consumers, especially young people. But getting started with Snapchat for your business can be a bit intimidating, especially since many of the features aren’t clearly outlined.
But if your target customers are using Snapchat, then your business should probably be on it too. Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting started with Snapchat for your business.
Download the App
Snapchat is strictly a mobile app, not a web platform. So signing up for an account requires you to have a mobile device with access to the App Store or Google Play. You can download Snapchat for free from either of those sources. Then once you have the app, you can sign up for an account by selecting your username, email and password.
Find People to Follow
After signing up, one of the first things you’ll probably want to do is add some contacts. On Snapchat, you can add connections in a variety of different ways. You can import the contacts from your phone and add anyone who has Snapchat in your address book. You can also add people by searching usernames. Or you can take a screenshot of someone’s snap code, which is that little ghost gif that people can add their own photos to. By uploading a screenshot of someone’s snap code, you can add them automatically.
Make Your Snap Code
After signing up for an account, you also have the opportunity to make your very own snap code. Just press the big Snapchat logo on the main options page within the app and you’ll get the opportunity to take a series of selfies. Those photos together make up your snap code, which you can then share with others so that they can easily add you on Snapchat.
Take a Photo or Video
Once you’ve set up all your basic details, it’s time to start snapping. Snaps consist mainly of photos or videos. To take a photo, you just press the large round button toward the bottom of the screen. And to take a video, you hold that button down to record continuously. Snaps can be up to ten seconds long. And you can specify the amount of time you want your snaps to appear by pressing the number at the bottom left of the screen.
Play with Filters
Snapchat also offers you the ability to turn the camera around so that you can take photos or videos of yourself to share with your audience. You may have also seen that a lot of people on Snapchat use silly filters that go over their faces. There are ones that give users dog ears, silly voices and even promotional filters that go along with things like movie releases or special events. To access those filters, just press the screen on your own face and Snapchat should recognize it and bring up a selection of filters that you can use for that day.
Add Some Embellishments
Even if you’re not trying to use any weird voice changers or add animal ears to your snaps, there are other ways you can add some interest to your snaps after you’ve taken a photo or video. Up in the top right corner, there are buttons that allow you to add text, stickers or even doodles to your snaps. You can also swipe the screen to add different visual filters or special effects like your current speed, temperature or geo filters that show your location.
Send Your Snaps
When you’re happy with how your snap looks, it’s time to send it. There’s a small arrow button on the bottom corner of the screen that you can use to complete your snap. Then you’ll get to a page where you’ll see all of your contacts. You can choose which contacts you’d like to send your snap to. They’ll get a notification from you and then have 24 hours to view it before it disappears.
Add to Your Story
On that same page, you’ll also see an option at the top that will let you send the snap to your story. Your Snapchat story is like a collection of snaps from the day that anyone who follows you can view. This is a popular feature for business Snapchat users who want to communicate with more than just a few people at a time. You can view your own story and see how many people have viewed it on the main story page. You can also add snaps to your memories section, which is a collection of your favorite snaps or content that you want actually saved on Snapchat.
Interact with Your Audience
Now that you know how to set up your account and create your own posts, you need to consider exactly what type of content you should create to get the most out of the platform. There are plenty of different ways businesses can use Snapchat. But overall, the most important thing to remember is that people want to use Snapchat to actually interact with people. So consider doing things like asking questions of your audience, giving them a behind the scenes peek at your business, or even hosting a Q&A session. You can also share some of your favorite Snapchat accounts with others in your contact list using the new suggest feature.
Promote Your Account
You also need to work hard to grow your following on Snapchat, since it doesn’t naturally integrate with any other platforms. You can promote your Snapchat account by connecting with other users or sharing your username and snap code on your website and other social accounts. You might even try offering some sort of incentive or giving your audience a preview of the kind of content they can expect by saving your snaps and sharing them elsewhere on occasion.
Snapchat Photo via Shutterstock
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