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Snapchat for Beginners

Snapchat for Beginners featured image

Editors Note:Scott Frappell is a Social Media Enthusiast, Ambassador for Reach Out Volunteers and Supervisor at Coles Supermarket. He can be found on LinkedIn.

Since its release in 2011, the media sharing app Snapchat has captured the millennial market and grown to 150 million users. Snapchat is quickly becoming popular among other demographics too.

Each day more than 410 000 000 Snaps are sent on Snapchat.

But what exactly is Snapchat and how does it work?

The Basics

Snapchat is a mobile messaging application with an “ephemeral” twist. This means users can define the length of time their content is viewable for. Once the time has lapsed, the content disappears.Users can connect via a snapcode which is similar to a QR code. Users are given the ability to see who added them and have an option to follow back these people.

This means that users can also follow celebrities, businesses and sports teams who share their snapcode online.

Alternatively Snapchat can also connect to other people via username or phone number.

Once connected, users interact by sending photos, video or text on a public or private basis. The three primary interactions are:

  1. Sending Snaps Individually (Private)
  2. Snapchat Chat (Private)
  3. Snapchat Stories (Public)

Example of Snapcode

Example of a Snapcode

1. Sending Snaps

Sharing privately is the most common method of communication on the app as it allows the user to individually choose who they share their content with.

Users start by taking a photo or video with their smartphone. They are then prompted to overlay a caption, filter, geo-filter, sticker or drawing.

These editing options are what make Snapchat popular amongst millennials. Some popular options include: face swapping, animal overlays, time and temperature overlays and the black and white filter.

Once the edit is complete, users have the option to save to their devices gallery. Then they choose who will receive it and how long the recipient can view it for. The maximum amount of time for photos is 10 seconds and videos can last for 30 seconds. Once this time has elapsed, the content is gone forever…well, in theory –

The receiver can choose to replay one snap per day. However if they do this, the sender is notified. Similarly, if the snap is screenshotted, the sender is notified.

It’s important to remember that once a snap is sent you can’t get it back – so make sure you are sending the snap to the right person!

Example of the Face Swap Filter

Example of the Face Swap Filter

Example of the Dog Filter

Example of the Dog Filter

Example of a Geo-Filter

Example of a Geo-Filter

2. Snapchat Chat / Instant Messaging

Snapchat’s chat feature allows users to send text messages (instead of images) to friends via the app. Chat makes it easy for users to reply directly to photos and videos they receive.

Just like sending snaps, these conversations disappear once the user exits the app. There is an option to save certain messages but the sender will be notified.

Distinguished by a blue icon, the user can see when a chat has been sent and opened. They are also notified when someone is replying via chat.

Inside chat, users can make voice calls, video calls and send photos from their device gallery.

Example of Chat Functionality

Example of Chat Functionality

Example of Snapchat Stories

Example of Snapchat Stories

3. Snap Story

Snap Stories allow the user to share media publicly with all their connections for 24 hours. However you can block specific users from seeing your Snap Stories if required.

The user simply adds Snaps to their Story throughout the day to create a compilation. This compilation can later be saved by the user (prior to the expiry) as a Memory.

Snapchat also features ‘Discover’, which allows users to view Snap Stories made by organisations and networks like Buzzfeed, CNN, National Geographic, and MTV. This is a way for users to remain updated on current affairs, popular culture, and events happening around the world.

Additional Features

Snapchat Memories:
Allow the user to edit saved snaps and re-post them.

Snapchat Trophy Case:
Rewards the users for performing certain tasks on the app. A full list can be viewed here.

Your Snap Score:
Snap Scores reflect your Snapchat usage. Users receive points for sending snaps and can compare scores with their friends.

Your Snap Streak:
Snap streaks indicate that a user has sent and received a snap from another user every day for more than 3 consecutive days. After 3 days, a number appears to indicate how long your streak has lasted. If you miss a day, your streak ends.

Friend Emoji’s:
These emojis appear next to users you interact with regularly. For example: the cake emoji is used to indicate a birthday. A full list can be seen here.

Example of Friend Emoji's

Example of Friend Emoji’s and Snap Streaks

Example of Snapchat Trophy Case

Example of a Snapchat Trophy Case

Example of Saved Memories

Example of Saved Memories

Snapchat can take a little while to get used to and its user interface is not always intuitive for non-millenials. However the platform is positioned to remain an important social media platform with expected growth in the foreseeable future. So if you are a Social Media marketer or someone who enjoys Social Media it is worth familiarising yourself with Snapchat.

If you haven’t given Snapchat a go yet, visit the App or Google Play store to download it for free and then let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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