When it comes to adding people to follow on Snapchat, the platform has been incredibly creative. Snapcodes, with their little ghost, provided a useful variation on the QR code which was actually useful for adding people on Snapchat . Although you can also add friends by username, from an address book, by URL and even by looking for snapchatters nearby, scanning Snapcodes is by far the easiest way to follow people.

But Snapcodes don't help users to discover people to follow on Snapchat, and that's where the app is still coming up short. Snapchat was built for friends but now that it's grown to have more than a 100 million daily active users, there's a ton of great content, entertaining stories and terrific people on the app that you may not know even exist.

"They've neglected discovery from the beginning," says Hunter Harrison, Senior Director of Brand Strategy at Softway, a digital agency. "The struggle with finding interesting people to follow is, in fact, real."

Twitter suffered from a similar lack of functionality shortly after it took off, and those gaps were initially filled by third-party providers. The same thing is happening on Twitter. Hunter and his colleague Frank Danna have created Ghostcodes, an app that provides a categorized directory of Snapchat users. The app allows Snapchatters to choose from 40 different categories and add their interests, making it simple for anyone to find people creating stories about topics from entertainment to inspiration and from sunsets to sailing. The most popular categories are Storytellers, Comedians, Fitness, Travel and Interesting. (So picking less popular categories may be a better way to stand out.) Users are ranked in categories based on the number of "kudos" they receive (little hearts under their codes), and the home page also shows featured snapchatters. Anyone can ask to be featured and the people selected by Ghostcodes' editorial team spend a week at the front of the app.

"Features are in high demand, and something we spend a lot of time on," says Hunter. "Users that have really high quality content will increase their chances of being featured."

Ghostcodes isn't currently releasing the number of people who have joined the app, but the platform has grown "by thousands of users per day" since its release on April 15th. Those numbers are likely to grow much faster when the Android version launches in mid-May. Hunter and Frank also plan to add features that allow users to stay private and discover others without being discovered themselves.

As brands have expanded onto Snapchat, the platform's lack of easy discoverability is becoming an increasingly important problem. Ghostcodes is one very useful solution but it still only does half the job. That's because success on Snapchat isn't about the numbers of followers; it's about the depth of the relationship with those followers.

"Followers on Snapchat don't really mean anything if they're not watching your content or interacting with you," explains Hunter. "The key is to actually interact and build relationships with people that are in your category and those with similar interest sets."

Referenced accounts to add on Snapchat

Published on: May 5, 2016