How to Use Snapchat

Juan Pablo


As in the beginning of many other social networks, Snapchat has arrived linked to the habits of millennials, young people and teenagers. A social network that until now, hadn’t revealed its potential within the online marketing world, a world typically saturated with more traditional platforms.

Things have changed. Today, every Community and Social Media Manager knows that they must include Snapchat in their content strategies for social networks and marketing online. If your objective is to create “branding” and seduce potential consumers establishing a closer relationship, Snapchat is a great option. Discover what Snapchat is and how brands use it to get visibility, followers and conversions.

What is Snapchat?

I’m sure that you’ve heard about Snapchat before, you might have even tried it or taken a selfie using the dog lenses but, do you really know how to take advantage of it? Using Snapchat has become a social phenomenon. A social network and app that is shaking up brands.

An idea that was developed by three Stanford University students around 2010. Their names: Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy and Reggie Brown. Snapchat launched in 2011.

Snapchat is succeeding thanks to its app format for smartphones, so if you are wondering about how to use snapchat on pc, it doesn’t have a web version yet. This social network consists of the possibility of sending any kind of file through its app. So far, nothing out of the ordinary, but what makes it different is that those files “disappear” from the device soon after. Specifically, between one and ten seconds after having been seen by the recipient.

This is what makes Snapchat so original and innovative: For its captivating instant nature.

From the beginning, Snapchat founders had a clear idea of what this app was meant to be: a social network where nothing remains. The opposite of what we were used to with other “traditional social networks”; where the storage of photos, moments and experiences is the essence.



How to use Snapchat app

Snapchat app

After downloading Snapchat from the pertinent App Store, available for both iPhone and Android, the “Ghost” icon will appear on the home screen of your mobile device: either smartphone or tablet (you can also download the app on iPad or iPod Touch). Then, you should add your friends to your new Snapchat account. This app allows you to import all of your contacts from your phone. Once they accept your invitation, half the work is done.

The interesting part comes when you discover that, apart from sending photos from your device’s camera, you can also send videos and texts. Always under the premise that you will be able to choose how long the recipient will have access to the content once he opens it.

Then (between one and ten seconds), whatever you sent will be erased under Snapchat’s ghost. The one opportunity law: your friend will see the content once, just once.

Snapchat Terminologies That Your Should Know

  • Snapchat Pictures: It’s more than a simple photo. In fact, probably if you know this app only by hearsay it’s because of its creative editing tools that you can use on any image or video to create Snapchat effects. These special effects are the icing on the cake. You can also draw on them and customize them, Snapchat filters delight both kids and adults alike.
  • Snapchat Videos: With Snapchat effects, you can slowdown and fast-forward videos. A world of possibilities where the only condition is to have fun with your friends and show them your creativity!
  • How to use Snapchat filters: These filters and effects also have a smarter version. Using lenses, the app can take the shape of your face to change a situation or a moment, always in a fun way. So, opening the mouth you will become a ghost or raising your eyebrows your face will transform into a heart. Besides, you will get temporary filters sponsored by brands. In the following image, you can see a filter from Gatorade to celebrate the Super Bowl victory.
Snapchat Filger Gatorade

Snapchat Filger Gatorade

  • Snapchat Stories: Posts that you add to your own story section, a “timeline” or “wall” would be the counterpart in other social networks. The difference lies in the temporary nature, of course. The story will last only 24 hours. That way, Snapchat makes your friends pay attention to your activities often, otherwise the story will fly. (A great idea that Instagram implemented on its Instagram Stories).

Besides sending files, you’ll also receive content from your contacts. When that happens, you’ll get a notification. Then, you must press on the message to see what is inside and be very quick. It will only be available for whichever time the sender chooses. Once you stop pressing, the content will disappear.

Don’t forget that Snapchat is a social network. Therefore, it has an important social part. If you want, you can make your videos and images public.

Another positive side that many miss in more traditional social networks (except in LinkedIn) is that you can know who visited your profile. Also, Snapchat has integrated chat but is not an innovator with this since most popular social networks and apps have this feature too.

Snapchat Accounts and Snapshots

Having an account on Snapchat has multiple advantages apart from the fun and comic tone of its filters. One of the positive things is how quick you can send a photo and share it. It is perhaps the fastest in its field.

Another advantage is that you can relax a bit trying to find the perfection that a normal photo would require when it’s meant to last a long time (at least this is what we do). We are talking about those social networks where the photos shared in your “wall” or “timeline” will remain as long as you don’t delete them first.

The brief nature of a Snapchat account makes the obsession for perfection vanish, since in the worst-case scenario the content will last a maximum of ten seconds. This is the reason why it is the favorite amongst other social networks to show fragments of our daily life, leaving behind the appearance and posing that characterizes users in other social networks.

A bit earlier we talked about the advantage that comes with the temporality of Snapchat. As we said, any file sent will disappear between one and ten seconds after the recipient opens it.

However, what happens if the recipient wants to keep the image and makes a screen capture of the “snap” you just sent? Everything is under control with Snapchat. If this scenario occurs, you’ll know it before anyone else through a notification that the app will send to you.

This way, you can avoid a recipient making a “snapshot” of your content. However, laws are made to be broken and nowadays, there are plenty of tutorials on the Internet about how to skip this rule.

These tutorials will help you to screen capture a “snap” that a contact sent to you for a limited period and avoid the sender being notified. By doing this, you’ll be violating the rights that this person has to his own files as well as the essence of Snapchat. And more, you could face various repercussions for this action.

When surfing on the Internet you can also find several apps that “sell” being able to take a “snapshot” without the other party being alerted. It’s without saying that they don’t work and, if you try to use it with your account opened, Snapchat will discover it and close your account for misuse.

Snapchat in Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

You’ve learned how to use Snapchat, its terminologies and functions. The question is now: How do I include this instant social network in my online marketing strategy? Is it worth it?

Snapchat by the numbers: It has over 10 billion videos views, more than 158 million active users, more than 9,000 photos shared every second and over 400 million daily text exchanges.

These figures say it all, these are enough reasons to convince companies that they should have presence on this social network and put down roots through their online marketing strategies in social relationships.

However, should all the companies be present? The response will depend on the type of strategy. If the target is to create “branding” for the young public, the answer is yes.

Examples of Brands that Already use Snapchat to Attract Clients

Domino’s Pizza carried out a wonderful campaign on Snapchat in January 2016 and not only got more followers but also boosted their sales. Nick Dutch, Domino’s head of digital revealed to The Drum: “The film drove a lot more orders than we would’ve expected even though it wasn’t really a massive driver for us”.

As you can watch in the video below, Domino’s campaign consisted of a compilation of videos where a discount code was slowly revealed in each clip. That way, they could measure, without investing in advertising, how many people converted to Domino’s using this discount. The outcome was overwhelming.

Another company that started using Snapchat to attract young public was General Electric. With the objective to spread Science and reach younger people, GE created a campaign saying: “Just add ‘general electric’ on Snapchat, send us an emoji, and we’ll send you some science”. This is an example of what followers got in exchange:

This strategy allowed them to attract a higher number of young people interested in science, or at least interested in these science videos.

 Should I be on Snapchat?

Only you can answer this question, but these factors might help you to decide:

  • Target public between 13 and 30 years: If your public is between these ages, you should at least consider it. Whether it’s a new product that you want to introduce, reinforce the confidence of a product or promote discounts to attract users. Snapchat is your platform.
  • Target: Exclusivity: Brands using Snapchat because of the exclusivity that comes from the possibility of offering someone special content during a short period of time. This encourages a more personal and intimate relationship between brand and potential consumer.
  • Instant: If you are creative, witty and able to share ads and videos live, Snapchat is the only platform that actually offers this possibility. That way, the exclusivity has even more significance and the feeling of being special for the user is huge.

So, know that you know how to use Snapchat, have you tried Snapchat to boost your digital marketing strategy? I am sure you can add some value to this article. We are all ears.


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