Snapchat Explained for Old People
Just got your head around Twitter and all its #hashtags and ‘liking’ malarkey? Well don’t rest yet, there is a social platform that you may have to learn if you want to stay with the trend and that is Snapchat.
Snapchat is currently extremely popular with nearly 71% of their 100 million daily active users less than 34 years old. So what has made Snapchat so popular?
What Is Snapchat
Snapchat is a messaging application where people can share text, video, photos and drawings. Sounds like any other messenger, right? Wrong. There is one stand out feature that Snapchat has that is unlike any other messenger – the messages disappear after a few seconds. A blog post from the CEO Even Spiegel – ‘Snapchat isn’t about capturing the traditional Kodak moment. It’s about communicating with the full range of human emotion — not just what appears to be pretty or perfect’.
It is this instantaneousness that is incredibly popular with its users (reflected in that your home screen is your camera). Snapchat creates in-the-moment messages that users needn’t worry about the content as it will be destroyed. In reality, each moment of our lives is constantly disappearing, which is what Snapchat emulates within in a digital space and goes against the convention that everything on the internet needs to be saved.
How Snapchat Works
To start, open the app and you’ll be greeted with your camera. Take a picture of whatever you like. Then there are options to customise your snap – such as adding filters and location tags by swiping, doodles and text.
You can also add lenses by tapping and holding on your face. These are fun additions as it allows you to add masks and alter your face (see below of me as a mouse, a pirate and Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous).
It will give you an option whether you would like to have that snap added to a story. There are two default stories – ‘My Story’ which is the collection of your snaps that last for 24 hours and viewable by your friends. Then there is the ability to use a location for a story (great for if you’re on holiday). These only last for 24 hours too.
However, like all other social media platforms, be aware that what content that you put out is public. Even private snaps can be saved through a screenshot if taken quickly. So try and exercise caution, common sense and common decency.
How Do I Add Friends/Gain Followers?
On the home screen (your camera), you click on the ghost icon at the middle. It will provide you with your unique Snapcode (yellow ghost logo with the dots that works similar to a QR code) along with options to add friends. You can add people by searching your address book or by username.
One of the popular methods that users have found is to share their Snapcode code on other social platforms.
How Do Brands Use Snapchat?
Much like a lot of social media, brands use a variety of different platforms for a variety of different reasons. The primary reason is updating news, engaging with their following and giving them a ‘behind the scenes’ view of your brand.
Snapchat is extremely useful for that last point. Since the disposable-ness of snaps (lasting a max of 24 hours, it is good for events and news happening right now. Large fashion companies, such as Vogue, uses Snapchat to showcase their fashion events.
Other companies, such as GrubHub use it to encourage engagement from their followers. In 2014, they started a cross-platform campaign to give prizes. The followers were encouraged to provide a ‘food doodle’ and send it to them to win $50 in vouchers. On Snapchat they also used the hashtag #Snaphunt to encourage talk on other platforms, primarily Twitter.
More recently, the new Absolutely Fabulous movie started using a filter to turn yourself into Patsy to spread awareness of the film’s imminent release (as you saw from my previous picture).
Should I Use Snapchat
This depends on your resources and what you hope to get in return. If you are hoping for an immediate return on investment, probably not. While you can encourage your followers to go and buy your product through your snaps, the app isn’t designed for users to follow links, take payments etc., meaning that users will have to be proactive in their purchasing.
If you want to engage and grow your followers and build your brand, then it is a platform to consider – especially if your target audience is people under 30.
Overall, Snapchat is an extremely useful social platform that can expose your brand to a younger audience and showcase the ‘behind the scenes’ of your brand. However, it shouldn’t be used if you are wanting direct sales and shouldn’t be the only social platform in your social portfolio. For a fully effective and engaging brand, you should use Snapchat alongside other platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.