If you don’t spend much time in the world of online marketing and social media, you might be thinking “Snapchat? Isn’t that just for teenagers to send photos to their friends, and other people to send…ahem…’other things’?”
Not any more. Over the last year, Snapchat has been increasingly adopted by the entrepreneurial community as a business networking and marketing tool. Whilst it’s known for it’s popularity with teenagers, the average age of a Snapchat user is going up, and business owners are beginning to see its potential for building a global, highly engaged audience.
After seeing some of my business idols get active on the platform – people like Chris Ducker, Pat Flynn and Lewis Howes – I decided to jump on the bandwagon. And I can safely say that I have made more useful, interesting and enjoyable business connections on Snapchat in the last 4 weeks than I’ve made at in-person networking events in the last 6 months.
I’ve gone from a complete Snapchat newbie to a daily user, and it’s now the platform where I spent 90% of my social media time.
I’m not going to go through the basics of how to use Snapchat in this post, because there are plenty of articles on that topic out there already. But I will share with you how I’ve been using Snapchat over the past few weeks and what I’ve learned.
So if you’re brand new to Snapchat and want to get started, here are my top tips for building your network:
Start by following people in your existing network
The easiest way to find out if people in your network are using Snapchat is to hop on Twitter, and scroll through your “Following” list to see if anyone is using their Snapcode as their profile picture. Or simply ask someone you know, who is active on the platform already, for some recommendations.
Start telling your Story
Start snapping videos and pictures on a daily basis and add to your Story (your personal timeline). This should be a mixture of “what I’m up to” snaps, documenting your business journey, sharing your thoughts and opinions, silly/fun stuff, and insights into your personal/family life. Don’t be afraid to be yourself, and share things outwith your business life; people are there to get to know you as a person. I would advise against any blatant ‘selling’, although a bit of cross-platform promotion, to guide people to your other content, is fine (e.g. blog posts, Periscope, Youtube channel, podcast etc).
Be sure to include the occasional call-to-action in your Snapchat Story to encourage interaction and conversation. This could be as simple as asking a question, seeking feedback or encouraging your followers to take a screenshot.
Engage with other people’s Stories
Start watching your friends’ stories and engaging with them. If you are mutually following each other, there is a ‘Chat’ function at the bottom of the screen, which you can use to give a comment or reaction to someone’s snap. Don’t be a passive observer – be ready to start conversations and build relationships.
Follow people back
If someone adds you as a friend, I would suggest following them back. The way I see it, making friends is the whole point of Snapchat. And if you don’t follow back, then you make it more difficult for people to interact with you.
Send new friends a personal message to say “Hi”
Be proactive when you gain a new friend and send them a personal message to say “hello”. A video message is preferable, as it helps make an instant connection and puts a face to a name. But if you can’t do a video for some reason then a text chat message will do the job.
Follow and engage with influencers
By influencers, I mean online personalities with an established audience. Observe how they are using the platform and consider how you can apply this to your own activities. Be proactive and interact with them – many high profile business people are extremely accessible on Snapchat, so it’s a fantastic opportunity to build relationships and become visible.
Give and take shout-outs
Snapchat users will often give ‘shout-outs’ to people in their network, whether it’s because they’re friends in real life, or because they gave a call-to-action with the shout-out as a reward. This is a great way to build your network – take people up on any opportunities to promote you, and help others by promoting them in return!
Add people who come recommended
On the same point, if someone recommends a fellow Snapper and shares their Snapcode, then add them! Building your network on recommendation is a great way to ensure that the quality of people you are following stays high.
Put your Scapcode or username on your other social media platforms
Snapchat doesn’t have a search function that allows you to discover people, or easily find them based on their name alone. So if you want your existing network to find you, you need to publish your Snapcode or username. Use your Snapcode as your profile pic on Twitter, or simply include your username in your bio on Instagram or Facebook.
Be ready to build relationships, not followers
There is no easy way to track your total followers on Snapchat. And I think this is a good thing. Snapchat takes us back to a time when social media was about building relationships. It’s about authenticity, likeability and trust – so be ready to be yourself, grow your network and see where it takes you.
Add me on Snapchat using my username – yvayorston – or my Snapcode below.
I snap about the daily behind-the-scenes of running my business, plus whatever else I’m up to 🙂