young adults taking selfie for snapchat

How to Use Snapchat

Snapchat has confused the you-know-what out of me.

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At #ICON16, a conference in Phoenix put on by a company called Infusionsoft, I heard Gary Vaynerchuk challenge every attendee to get out of their comfort zone and give Snapchat a fair shake.

I embraced.

Yes, You Can Learn How to Use Snapchat

Here are the Dave Shrein rules of “How to Use Snapchat”:

  • It’s unintuitive so don’t feel stupid if you don’t “get it” right away. No one does.
  • It’s hard to find people to add. You can’t search. You have to know either their username or have their Snapcode (those yellow dotted ghost images). There are a couple other ways, but these are the easiest ways to add someone.
  • When you see a Snapcode on social, add it. There are no follower/following counts – you’ll begin to see users in your recent feed who have recently uploaded 1 or 100 snaps (more on this in a minute).
  • There are two places to share Snaps. The first is your Story which is public facing. The + at the bottom of the screen posts to your story. The second is in a private message to other users. Click the > arrow in the lower right hand section of the screen and then select the user you want to send to.
  • Content disappears from your view after 24 hours – but never from a server somewhere 🙂
  • There are things that will confuse you, just push through.
  • Watch a ton of Snaps.
  • I’m probably missing a lot, still, but it’s okay. I’m learning.
  • You’ll do things “wrong” but the truth is there is no “right” so you aren’t doing anything wrong.

What Finally Helped Me Understand How to Use Snapchat

Say you’re following someone on Twitter and three or four times a day they have 10-15 Tweets go out RIGHT IN A ROW… what would you do? Unfollow them! They clearly don’t get it!

Snapchat is different because rather than seeing 10-15 different posts in a row on the updates screen, there is one line per user saying – “this user has recent updates.” It could be 10 it could be 100! No matter how many snaps someone has shared, all of them disappear after 24 hours. And if you want to watch all of them, you can… if you don’t, don’t. They all disappear.

I realized that it truly is a story. Moment by moment. I could share WHATEVER I wanted to share and not be worried about making too many posts in a day. I can watch however much I want from someone else and if what they’re doing that day doesn’t interest me I could just check back the next day for different content.

Now is the Time for You to Finally Try Snapchat

I’m going to give you a challenge.

  • Download Snapchat (again) and go through your Twitter or Facebook feed and start adding people.
  • Tell a story with your snaps. Maybe a day in the life but WHY you’re doing what you’re doing. Not just what you’re doing.
  • Share that you’re on Snapchat.
  • Don’t give up.
  • CONSTANTLY be thinking about who your target audience would want to see from your daily life. What would inspire them? Encourage them?
  • Don’t give up.
  • Share that you’re on Snapchat.

Snapchat is not going anywhere. It is growing rapidly and according to many sources, it is the second most powerful social media platform in the world right now. Engagement is sky hight and unless you’re on it, you’re missing out.

Even Thought I Understand Snapchat, I Am Not Actively Using It

After discovering how to use Snapchat and actively using it for nearly five months, there is a lot that I loved and a lot that I learned. Ultimately I decided not to pursue using Snapchat with any regularity right now for the reason that it doesn’t fit in my workflow. You may wonder what I mean by saying it doesn’t fit in my workflow – you can learn more about how this factors in when choosing the social media networks I use by reading 3 Must-Use Criteria for Choosing Social Networks.

Even though I am not actively using it I do not want you to be discouraged from trying Snapchat. You may find it is the perfect social network for you and now that you understand how to use Snapchat you’ll open up the app and finally know exactly what you’re doing… or at least that it’s okay to not know exactly what you’re doing.

It’s Snapchat, just go have fun!