It's been a long time since Snapchat was all about the teenagers. It's now a major entertainment channel, a place where brands and businesses engage directly with customers, and audiences return daily to see the latest uploads from their favorite broadcasters. In January, Bloomberg reported that the service was winning more than seven billion video views a day. That's a rise of nearly 50 percent since September 2015, and it puts Snapchat at just a billion daily video views fewer than Facebook, which has 15 times the number of users. And Snapchat's users are growing up. Sixty percent of 18- to 34-year-olds in America with smartphones use the service, but more than a third of its 100 million daily users are between the ages of 25 and 54.

Snapchat has reached the point where businesses really need to pay attention.

But while young people who grew up with Snapchat "get it," for the rest of us, the service has been called the "least intuitive" for a reason. You need to use it to get it. You need to follow the right people, keep returning for a few days, and understand what they're doing right. At some point, it clicks and you're hooked. I know I am.

Here are 25 people who "get" Snapchat. Each one of them is doing something slightly different. Each one of them shows what Snapchat can do. Download Snapchat, follow all of them, check in every day to see their latest vids, and by the end of the week you'll be snapchatting like the best of them. (If you are viewing this on a mobile device and have Snapchat installed, you will be taken directly to each person's profile.)

1. Amy Schmittauer - @schmittastic

Amy Schmittauer is a business and content marketing coach with a healthy YouTube following. Her big lesson? Keep it informal. Stop being so professional and just be you on Snapchat. Authenticity is everything on this platform.

2. John Kapos - @chocjohnny

When your family owns a chocolate boutique, you've got content that people will want to see (and eat). Snapping from his home in Sydney, John Kapos's account shows one typical way that businesses use the service: He takes people behind the scenes and shows them how the delectable treats are made.

3. George Bryant - @cookingcaveman

For a real cooking show, though, check out paleo chef George Bryant's uploads. Once, these videos would have been on YouTube. Now Snapchat is more likely to win him the audience he wants.

4. Brian Fanzo - @isocialfanz

Like many people, Brian Fanzo doubted the power of Snapchat. It took him four months of following and head-scratching. But since the light went on, he's become one of the platform's biggest evangelists. His "Think like a fan" philosophy helps iSocialFanz speak to businesses and brands that wish to be on the cutting edge.

5. John Lee Dumas - @johnleedumas

Snapchat isn't just a broadcast tool, like Facebook. It's a two-way communication channel. The host of the Entrepreneur on Fire podcast, John Lee Dumas, uses it for direct mentoring. He regularly delivers original content and his famous "JLD Rants" via his snaps.

6. Owen Hemsath - @owenhemsath

Video marketer Owen Hemsath has made a splash on YouTube. Snapchat takes his video fans behind the scenes of his creations. Think of these stories as the DVD extras, and you know how much fans enjoy those.

7. Chris Strub - @chrisstrub

In the summer of 2015, Chris Strub traveled the U.S. to volunteer with youth-related organizations nationwide. His journey spanned 100 days, and he became the first man to Snapchat all 50 U.S. states. He continues to innovate and seeks to make a difference with his snaps.

8. Vincenzo Landino - @vincenzolandino

Vincenzo Landino runs a content marketing consultancy. He uses Snapchat to share moments (often crooning to a tune while behind the wheel) but also to find out what audiences want to see. For Vincenzo, Snapchat audiences are like focus groups.

9. Chelsea Votel - @ieatpickles1111

Chelsea Votel is a social media influencer and traveler. She's currently touring North America and sharing interviews and news about brands, artists, and culture. Check out her stories to see how to build your own TV show on Snapchat.

10. William Green - @yesmagicshop

YES Magic is a magic school in Orlando owned by William Green. William uses Snapchat to provide samples of his work. He uploads workshops, giving audiences a taste of what they can receive when they pay for a class. Not an illusion, Green's snaps are pure magic. 

11. Sean Vosler - @seanvosler

For launch specialist Sean Vosler, Snapchat is not a place to sell. It is a place to engage audiences, build relationships, and keep them close. Watch his videos (and his wild hairstyles) to see how Sean does it.

12. Pat Flynn - @patflynnspi

Passive income expert Pat Flynn sees Snapchat as a personalized way to interact with an audience that increasingly matches the demographics of many businesses. He uses authenticity and personality to share ideas and build relationships.

13. OperAmericano - @operamericano

OperAmericano calls herself a "Snapchat artist." The doodles she adds to her stories have won her 20,000 followers (according to the number of views and interactions she receives), and even though she's just 19, she took over Disney's Snapchat account for Disneyland's 60th anniversary.

14. Dana Garrison - @danagarrison

Dana Garrison is a business and life coach whose services include Snapchat coaching. Uniquely clad in her trademark kitty ears, Dana runs her service to offer live training to her audiences. That's engaging content that keeps her clients close.

15. Carlos Gil - @thecarlosgil

Carlos was running social media for a supermarket chain when he started experimenting with Snapchat. What won him over was the engagement. He found that Snapchat users understand if they don't come back every day, they miss out. For Carlos, daily content wins.

16. Chris Ducker - @chrisducker

It took a while for business coach Chris Ducker to "get" Snapchat, but check out what he's doing now. He says he uses it to show people what a regular day for him looks like: "where I work, what I do, where I go, etc." It sounds simple. Look how interesting that simple content can become.

17. TristanTales - @tristantales

What moved Snapchat from teenage photo-sharing to branding powerhouse was the launch of Stories: videos that can be seen by friends and followers. TristanTales has worked with brands including Coca Cola, Fox, and MGM to create stories that go viral.

18.  Peter Shankman - @petershankman

Peter Shankman is the PR genius behind Help a Reporter Out. He uses Snapchat as a communication tool, a way to create real conversations that go beyond broadcasting.

19. Samantha Kelly - @tweetinggoddess

Samantha Kelly runs Twitter accounts for business clients but is increasingly using Snapchat, which she sees as an effective way to generate strong loyalty, advocacy, and eventually sales. Check out her account to see the relationship between Snapchat and other social media platforms.

20.  Sarah N. Moore - @thesarahmoore

The Snapchat philosophy of Sarah Moore, the founder of a social media agency, is to be creative. Tell stories that are interesting, captivating, page-turning. Find a way to measure the response. Above all, avoid being boring.

21. Jeannie Spuhler - @oursnappyhour

The most important strategy on Snapchat is to show the real, unedited you. Jeannie Spuhler shows one way to do that by including her family in her snaps. Combined with her creative use of filters and entertaining lip synching to popular songs, Jeannie understands that on Snapchat, everything is personal.

22. Jana Francis - @janasteals

Jana Francis's background was in broadcast media. She now runs Steals.com, an e-commerce site, and her Snapchat account is good example of how to match the platform to e-commerce.

23. Hillel Fuld - @hilzfuld

Israeli technologist Hillel Fuld says that he is smitten with Snapchat. He measures success on the platform in terms of "mind share," and describes it as an alternative to Facebook's ownership of user content.

24. Ryan A. Bell - @randersonbell

Ryan A. Bell has dedicated himself to live streaming, which he's used for music, community, and philanthropy. A foreword-thinking proponent of virtual reality, Bell's snaps show his range of storytelling styles.

25. Rachel Martin - @rachfindingjoy

A single mother of seven children, Rachel Martin shares the real trials and joys of motherhood via her Finding Joy website. Rachel's snaps, involving parental insights and quirky humor, help her audience build an even deeper relationship with her.

Who are some of your favorite Snapchat users? Be sure to snap me at @joelcomm

 

Published on: Apr 12, 2016