For those of you that don't know, Snapchat is taking over the world. 

Snapchat is a video/picture-sharing messenger app with the primary purpose to send pictures or videos that will appear for approximately 1-10 seconds. Over the past 2 years, Snapchat has skyrocketed and now leads as the most preferred social media platform among teens. Snapchat is not as "useful" as other platforms to grow a following, but it is unparalleled in its ability to connect a brand or influencer with their audience on a deeper level.   Its content is real, tangible, and rapidly consumed.

Follow my daily vlog on Snapchat: @nicolascole77

To set the stage here:

- 70% of Snapchat users are women, 30% are men.

- Primary age range is between 13-25.

- 18% of all iPhone owners have a Snapchat account.


Snap: A 1- 10 second photo or video sent to one or a few friends that disappears after viewing.

Chat/Here: Real-time face-to-face video chat.

Our Story: A location-based collaborative Story that doesn't just cover a live event.  Anyone in the location can contribute to help tell the story. But it has to be approved.

Memories: A a new way to save Snaps and Stories on Snapchat. It's a personal collection of your favorite moments that lives below the Camera screen. You can use Memories to create new Stories from Snaps you've taken, or even combine different Stories into a longer narrative.

Snap Story: Snaps threaded together to create a flip-book of moments for all your friends to see. Each individual Snap lives for 24 hours before it disappears. There is no limit to the number. When a friend views your Story, they view it the way you lived it.  The Story is by far the most commercially viable aspect of Snapchat, as it is for public view and has limitless creative possibilities in beginning formative stages.

Geotags: Anybody can create a customized graphic to be added as a filter to any snap.  These tags are created based on location and are available for public use while in the given location.

Snapcode: This is essentially your profile picture in a frame with dots, which acts as a scanning tool.  People can take a picture of your image and add your Snapchat account.

Filters: Used by swiping left and right to create a new photo/video.  It could be simple, like a differently tinted photograph, or complex and crazy face swap.  These filters offer abundant creative material ready to be exploited.

How to Promote Your Brand on Snapchat

Step 1: Create a Snapchat account.

Step 2: Personalize your Snapchat profile photo. (Go to main screen as if you were about to take a snap, click on Snapchat ghost logo located at the top middle of your screen, tap the yellow personalized image, take your photo.)

Step 3: Take coded image of Snapchat cover and use that image as your profile photo across social media platforms (Except Twitter: They do not allow it). This allows all your other platform followers to easily add your Snapchat by taking a snap of your profile picture.

Step 4: Promote your Snapchat by tempting your audience with inside information only released on your Snap Story, giveaways, or even just the ability to be even closer to the brand they love. Make sure to also include your addable Snapchat name so people can add you that way as well.  

Step 5: Create relevant/personal content.

Content Types

The key to good content on Snapchat is by creating what is called "timely content" (Content that is very relevant. Seen today, gone tomorrow). This is similar to the approach of Twitter, except with pictures and video.

There are a few content buckets that tend to work better than most.

Behind the scenes footage

This content should give your audience(s) insight into what goes on to create your brand. Your office setup. People who work at your company. Company activities.

Because Snapchat is such a personal connection to your audience, your content should follow the vibe. Give them a glimpse into the "real you" because that is ultimately why they followed you in the first place.

Product content

This is the type of content your brand should be itching to put out. Your product! What value do you bring to your audience? Give them special deals or information that they would only get if they followed your Snapchat. This gives them incentive to frequently check your story and keep up to date with your product(s).

Your employees

Your audience knows the vibe of your brand, and they are curious about the people. Things like what type of music you listen to is, for some reason, an important thing to a lot of audiences. People don't like following content that is fake and repetitive. Be real. And be creative. Here are a few ideas to get your audience interested: Team activities/office pranks/your music playlist/walk through of your daily routine/office challenges/personal hobbies/daily goals/long term goals/etc.

Influencer Pairing

Working with influencers is probably the most effective way to grow your audience. The key to finding the right influencer is finding someone who fits the tone of your brand. Then clearly stating to them how you would like them to approach your content. Here are a few case studies to help you understand how to do this effectively.

In 2014, Wet Seal handed its Snapchat account over to a 16-year-old teen blogger who grew its account by about 9,000 followers.

In 2014, Sour Patch Kids teamed with influencer Logan Paul to grow its audience by 120,000 followers and surpassed impressions of 6.8 million.


Put simply, ask people who you work with if they are going to any events or activities that are popular, and give them your Snapchat handle. If you have 5 employees driving down to Lollapalooza together, your audience will be interested in that. Again, give them insight into who your company is in real life, and your audience will be more engaged.

What's the key to building a great Snapchat story?

For this question, I asked Snapchat extraordinaire @jessicazweig here in Chicago.

Her advice?

Tell. A. Story.

"If you're a blogger, an influencer, a marketer, an entrepreneur, (or operate any kind of business that needs customers for that matter), there is no better channel to build your brand than on Snapchat. (#IMHO.) In relation to other social platforms such as Insta, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you've got to think about Snap differently.  Snap isn't about promoting, posturing, styling or selling. It's about story telling. It's an entirely new context to add more dimension and humanness to your personal brand, which is why I am particularly the most excited about it." 

I couldn't agree more.

There is a clear difference between people who "post" on Snapchat, and those that use the medium as a form of creative storytelling.

What is your narrative? How can you take your viewers on a mini journey?

Now go create that.