When it comes to social media, Shapchat is currently one of the trendiest platforms under tweens and teens. The platform is projected to reach an astounding 400million users by 2024 and it allows users to fully integrate technology into their daily lives as they share moments, when they happen, with their friends and followers.

But what exactly is it and how do you use Snapchat?

Superprof is here to give you the lowdown, explain the features and provide instruction around how you can get you snapping in no time.

Digital Real Life
Snapchat is a digital social platform where you can connect and share your moments, as they happen, with friends and followers - Image by Roland Denes on Unsplash
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What is Snapchat?

If your motto is ‘enjoy the moment’ then Snapchat is the ideal social media platform for you. Snapchat is a ‘messaging’ app that allows users to share multimedia, generally referred to as snaps, with their friends and followers. This means they can capture each exciting, or even boring moments, as it happens and share it with their followers.

What makes this network so exciting is that the photos and videos you share, are meant to disappear after they are viewed and are only available for a limited period. This mechanic around Snapchat creates a lot of anticipation and engagement as users ensure they stay on the platform to engage with the stories that people tell before they disappear.

 How Does Snapchat Work?

Getting onto Snapchat is quick and easy.  Similar to any social media platform you’ll have to provide some basic personal information to get an account registered. Selecting a handle, similar to Twitter, means you have to select a name by which other users on Snapchat will get to know you. Some people use funny and playful names, but you can stick with your own name if that makes you sn-happy.

Once you have registered your account, you’ll have to find a way to connect and grow your account with the help of other Snapchatters. With the app on your mobile phone, you can easily upload your contacts or search on the app to find people that you know.

By using the discover functionality you can also explore new content, news, entertainment and other snapchat users. Some people meet and make new friends this way, but be sure you are safe and ‘streetwise’ about the information you give to strangers. Sometimes people create fake profiles to gather your personal information, or they have other malicious motivations, so be sure you only follow and share content to accounts that are safe and credible.

Keep your Snapchat conversations fun, authentic and considerate.  

Kylie Jenner and DJ Khaled are the most popular Snapchatters across the globe and here in South Africa our celebrities are slowly catching up. Popular South African Snappers include Thando Thabete, Pearl Thusi or Sbahle Mpisane.

Snapchat app
Snapchat can be easily downloaded on any smartphone or laptop - Image by Souvik Banerjee from Pixabay
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Getting Creative with Snapchat Features

Snapchat is supposed to be fun and there’s nothing more thrilling than taking a picture, adding a filter or frame to it and sending it to a friend to make them laugh or feel special. Getting creative around your videos and images is what makes Snapchat ‘the bomb’. Here’s are some of the exciting features you can use:

Snapchat Filters

Filters can be an exciting addition to any image or selfie.  It’s almost the same as adding an element or overlay to your picture or video. With Community filters you can share the pride and passion of your local city, public landmark or university by creating your own community filters. This allows you to share it with the world and your friends or fellow community members can spread the passion by adding it to their snaps. The best way to explore and figure out how to use the filters on Snapchat is to get your hands dirty, so take a picture and get creative.

Lenses

Imagine a selfie where you look like a bunny and a note saying ‘Happy Easter’… With lenses you can bring any boring selfie to life with a touch of creativity. Lenses have the ability to transform your face into almost anything you can imagine – an elf, alien, morphed face. Are you ready to create ‘out of this world’ 3D image of you in space – there’s a lens for that.  Lenses can come at a cost, especially those fancy ones, so if you are a developer or plan to become one, this is a way for you to create your own and make some money in the future.

Snap Map

Do you want to know who’s sharing snaps about a popular soccer game in Barcelona? With Snap Map you can explore snaps specific to a geographical area. You can find people in and around your own city who are happy and snappy, or if you choose to you can share your location with your friends and you will always know when someone is nearby. You can search per location, select a region on the global heat map, see your friends or tap on a circular story to view ones related to your chose area.

Snapchat Story

If you are wondering how to take videos on snapchat, making your first story will quickly eliminate that question. With your Snapchat stories you can share your day as it unfolds with friends and fans. Snapchat story will allow you to record a bunch of snaps and then share it in a specific sequence with your followers or specific people. Simply create a snap and tap on the ‘send to’ area.  You can also ‘mute’ stories that annoy you. Are you ready to share the story of an upcoming exciting day... like your birthday?

Advertise on Snapchat

Getting someone who knows how to navigate social media advertising might be your best bet if you are still new on social media and want to use it to promote your business. Snapchat takes pride in reaching approximately 75% of millennials and Generation Z audiences and with the Snapchat Ad manager you can also create your own ads, launch and monitor your campaigns.  Smart social media advertising provides intriguing content that matches your audience’s interests, so be sure you add value to their lives and don’t come across as too ‘sales-orientated’.

Snapcodes

Every snapchat user has their own QR code linked to their Snapchat profile.  This makes it easy for you to snap each other’s snapcode and add the new friend to your friends list.

Snapchat filters
Snapchat filters can transform any selfie into something fun and creative - Image by April Walker on Unsplash

Social Media Creativity Tips

Keeping your content fresh and creative is not always easy.  Luckily with all those features, and new filters coming out daily you’ll be able to constantly change how you present your content to your followers.

Here are some tips on how you can keep your Snapchat and social media content fresh:

  • Vary the type of snaps you take to keep people interested
  • Break the mound and try something different to see how people respond
  • Try and create ‘exclusive content’ that gives people a peek into secret information
  • Share Tips with your followers
  • Use the features, filters, stickers, emojis and music
  • Try and do quality snaps
  • Create a narrative or a story and take followers on a journey by using this collection of snaps, stories etc.
  • Serious content can also work, as long as it continues to add value to your followers
  • Organize your own snap Q&A using a snap feature that allows followers to speak to you directly
  • Create integration with your other social media platforms, using the strength of a social media platform for fitting media. Most platforms will allow you to post the same content across platforms, but note that it might not always be suited, i.e., a tweet is not as effective on Snapchat as on Twitter.
  • Use the 10 second snap window to bring your point across quickly and tell our story using different filter, angles, stickers, etc. You can also shorten the snaps if people don’t need 10 seconds (i.e., when posting a normal, still photo)
  • Create a teaser where you release the information or details later. As example you can snap where you are in your car and ask your community where they think you are heading, using the story or future snap as the reveal.
Social Media Photos
Social media is a way to show your photos, films and creativity to the world. Image by dietercn from Pixabay

Do Snaps Really Disappear?

Just because there’s a time limit on the post doesn’t mean it cannot land-up on other platforms or become the topic of conversation once it gets circulated on Whatsapp. If you are tech savvy, you’ll know that any person can take a screenshot of the image that appears on a social media platform.

Think before your snap a photo

Snapchat allows you to see who takes screenshots of your snaps via your notifications, but in most instances if it’s an embarrassing post, this is too late and the damage is done. Some people make use of third part apps to record the snaps without the user’s knowledge, so don’t rely too much on the ‘limited’ availability of those snaps.

Getting to know social media platforms can sometimes be challenging. Luckily with the help of a Superprof technology tutor you can get help with any computer issues or guidance around managing your social media platforms. Seek your own private techie today on Superprof.

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Mauritz

Writer and qualified yoga instructor, who is passionate about health and well-being.