7 Lessons I learned in a year of using Snapchat

In January 2016 I joined the 150 million other people who are using Snapchat on a daily basis and over the course of this year I’ve grown to be a huge fan of the platform.

I think I’ve become a fan because of a few different reasons:

1. It’s a great networking tool and I’ve created relationships with people in different parts of the world.
2. I get value from it because I follow people who share informative content on everything from Social Media to Marketing, Business & Leadership.
3. It’s REALLY interesting following other people’s lives.

What’s interesting about Snapchat is that it’s still perceived by many as young person’s platform but in actual fact, the usage data shows that it’s becoming increasingly popular with users aged 25 and over for the very reasons I listed above I suspect.

In this blog from Hootsuite they state, “3 years ago hardly anyone over the age of 25 was using the app” but “well-past-college-aged 25- to 34-year olds make up about 26 percent of Snapchatters, and about 12 percent of users are aged 35 to 54.”

This demonstrates an increase in older users although it also states that only 2% of users are over 55. I think it’s important that people in the 40+ bracket aren’t put off by this perception because there really is a tonne of value to be gained by Snapchat.

Of course, if you’ve just started using Snapchat or are thinking of stepping into the network you’ll be looking for some help in how to get the most from it and this is why I wanted to share the 8 lessons I’ve learned from a year of being on the platform.

7 lessons I learned in a year of using Snapchat

1. Observe others

If you are new to Snapchat it’s unlikely you’ll understand how to use the platform. The single most effective way to gain better insight into how it works is to watch a wide range of other users to see how they do it. For example, some users will have very structured content (more on this below), some will deliver content by way of stories and others will simply share content as it comes to them. By following others, you’ll experience the various ways in which Snapchat can be used and be able to take the best bits from each of them and bring those ideas to your content.

2. Be personable / authentic

What’s key on Snapchat is that people can see who you really are because this is a platform where relationships are built on a personal level and people are more likely to want to follow you if you’re authentic, personable and genuine.

So, what does this really mean? It means that you need to give people an insight into your life, your values and what you think; just as you would with people you meet in real life.

Let your content be raw, it doesn’t have to be polished. If you make a mistake during a video, post it anyway, it doesn’t have to be perfect.

The most successful people do this very well. For example, you might mainly follow them to get their insight on their particular area of knowledge but after a while you’ll also get to know them as people, and this is key.

3. Be Interesting

As Gary Veynerchuck would say, this (Snapchat, Facebook Live, Instagram Stories) is the new television. People are watching content on Snapchat, Facebook & Instagram and they’re watching it rather than watching TV. So, if you want people to watch your content you need to be interesting.

This means being creative with content – mixing up videos & images, taking videos from different locations, using different filters, changing your tone/voice on videos, adding text overlays and drawing on your content using the pen tool.

The way to test this is to watch back your stories and ask yourself if you think your content is at least as interesting as the majority of stories from people you’re following and ask, “If someone saw this story and it was the first content they’d seen from me, would they look back again tomorrow?”.

4. Bring value

Sharing information which is not just interesting but also brings value to others is what help you grow your brand or business on Social Media. This is especially important for individuals rather than brands or businesses using the platform.

You can provide value to your followers in a variety of ways but the most common way Snapchatters do this is by sharing experiences, news and reviews.

My favourite people to follow on Snapchat are those who regularly share their experiences and knowledge which in turn help you to benefit from their wisdom.

Best Example: AzrielR

Reason: A real expert on Facebook Ads and regularly shares informative content on this topic. This ranges from insights, to theories and how-to examples.



5. Structure content

When you get familiar with using Snapchat an important consideration for you is how you’re going to structure and deliver your content.

Many users plan ahead, giving thought to the content they want to share and how they’re going to share it. They will create stories which start with a list of content, like an index, before taking you through the content. Other people won’t go to that extent but they’ll deliver content in a way which makes it easy to follow and this is important.

My advice here would primarily focus on avoiding posting a series of sporadic or random content because this doesn’t take the follower on a journey. You might want to trial this, perhaps by documenting a visit to see something such an event or giving your thoughts on a topic. The way to test this once again will be to watch your stories back and see how you come across.

Best Example: StringStory

Reason: Informs her followers on the topics she’s going to discuss and then keeps to that plan.



6. Be consistent

This is important across any Social Media channel. Post consistently if you want to grow your following. Deliver regular content (which is interesting & provides value) and people will follow you. Post irregularly and it’ll be harder for people to make a connection with you and be less likely to value your content above others. Remember, in the world of Social Media we’re all vying for people’s attention and so you need to give them a reason to make sure they watch your content.

Best Example: webmastergirl (Angela Hursh)

Reason: Starts daily Snaps in a typical way and shares a daily book review without fail, a great example of consistent content.



7. Manage your followers

If you’ve followed my advice in Step 1 you may well get to a place where you feel like you’re following too many people. This happens to a lot of Snapchat users, especially those who’re busy!

Remember this: there is nothing wrong with unfollowing people.

Just like in real life, you will follow people with who you do not make a connection and there’s nothing wrong with this. You’ll also find that you follow people for a short while, take the best bits from the way they share content and then decide to unfollow them.

You can be at risk of following so many people you feel overwhelmed by the amount of content so it’s important to keep the numbers at a manageable level¬†or simply manage the number of stories you’re happy to view on a daily basis.

In summary, don’t feel you have to follow everyone all of the time and in a time when everyone is incredibly busy it’s important that you don’t let Snapchat swamp your free time.

Best Eample: Godders9 (aka, me!)

Simon Social Media

Snapchat Conclusion

Snapchat is an incredible platform which offers excellent opportunities to network, develop and build your personal brand.

Giving yourself time to get familiar with how the app works is important because it is different to the other platforms and it can take time to get used to.

Finally, don’t be afraid to start filming yourself – everyone’s doing it and there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. For many, they only ever capture pictures and it’s clear they’re not confident with capturing themselves on video but as a wise man once said, “feel the fear and do it anyway”, and start using Snapchat!

If you enjoyed this blog on Snapchat you may also enjoy my other blogs on this topic:

Please do let me know if you found this article useful and most importantly; if it helped you better understand how to get the most out of Snapchat?

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