With every new social network comes a period where brands, marketers, and entrepreneurs try to decipher how to maximize engagement and monetize the platform.
Snapchat is no exception, with its exponential growth in recent years; more than 30% of millennials are using the platform daily, with some 100 million daily active users snapping at 9000 updates per second.
But in order to leverage, monetize, and get some kind of gain from platforms like Snapchat, you need to build up a following first.
If you're not having any luck with that, then you may be making one or more of the following mistakes.
1. You don't have an image to identify you
Remember all the free-flowing advice years ago about how to get more followers on Twitter? A lot of it is still out there. One of the things that always came up first was the recommendation to change your profile picture from the default egg that would appear until you uploaded a new image.
The same thing applies to your Snapchat account.
Users are pretty dissuaded from following you if they can't even see who they're going to be snapping with. When you create a new account, your Snapchat defaults to a plain ghost, which will remain until you change it.
Users may not want to click "add" if they're not sure it's you.
"Keeping a consistent profile helps others find you easily, and it helps cement a picture of you in the minds of others," writes Kevan Lee of Buffer. "The fewer variations you have (ideally you'll create one consistent look), the easier it is to be memorable."
Unlike other platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, there's no uploading an image here. You have to tap the ghost icon at the top of your home screen and it will record a string of still images so your profile picture is like a mini photo shoot.
2. You're only talking about yourself
The title of this section is actually fairly narrow. In reality, it's probably more fitting to say something like, "You're not talking to your audience."
At least not in the way they want to be engaged.
That can take a lot of forms, with the most offensive being that you're trying to sell something. Just because you have a sales or marketing role, or you have a product to sell, doesn't mean that your audience wants to know about it.
They don't care about your company or your product.
During a 2015 podcast,Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose dug into research from Marketing Charts, citing that only 32% of marketers are focusing their content on customers--and far too many companies are still focused on themselves.
What your followers want from you is natural, authentic, one-on-one human engagement. They want to be informed and entertained, and they want a glimpse behind the curtain to see the people behind the brand.
You can immediately see the wide gap between talking about yourself and delivering some value with personal engagement.
3. People don't know your Snapchat exists
If you make a Snapchat and do absolutely nothing with it other than post content, no one is going to know about it. Snapchat isn't like other social networks where people can easily search and browse content.
They need to know your username, then add you--then they can see what you're sharing. But in order to add you, they have to know your username.
You likely have a number of other social channels and points of contact with your target audience, so make sure your Snapchat is clearly visible in every profile you're using. While you're updating that information, change your profile pic to a customized snapcode that is made up of your picture plus the unique code for your profile. Your followers can add you with a snap.
Cross-promote your Snapchat in posts on other social networks. Encourage your fans to come and add you, then introduce themselves and say hello. You'll immediately show them that you're open to that kind of one-on-one engagement. Promote your Snapchat in your email newsletter, or your storefront, if you have one.
If your brand does content marketing, find a way to work your Snapchat username into your content where it's relevant. Mine is sujanpatel16.
Just like that.
4. You're over-snapping
Your fans on Twitter and Facebook would be quick to drop you if you blasted out posts non-stop throughout the day. In fact, Facebook is so protective of users that its algorithm will just bury your content if you try to spam your followers.
Snapchat doesn't have an algorithm... yet. That doesn't mean you should take a spammy approach to content.
Snapping all day long is fine. What's not fine is constantly sending those snaps out to your followers or loading every single image and picture in your snap story. That takes people forever to get through and it's the fastest way to have a follower drop your brand.
Along the same lines, don't leave the duration of your snaps at the default 10 seconds. It might not seem like a long time, but during a snap story that can seem like an eternity for the people viewing your content.
5. You're under-snapping
Simply put, if you're not using Snapchat and you're not regularly posting content, then people have no reason to follow you. They're not going to talk about you, or engage with you, when you never show up in their "recent" section.
You don't necessarily need a posting calendar for Snapchat, but you should be posting something daily so you have fresh content every 24 hours (since old snaps are done at the 24-hour mark and are removed). This way your brand is always in followers' recent updates section.
If you're not, you're likely to get dropped and there won't be any more new followers coming from that individual.
6. You're not sharing your content out
Letting your followers on other networks know about your Snapchat isn't going to be enough for some people: make sure you're giving them examples of what they can expect from your Snapchat. Save your snaps to your device and be sure to share them in other places with a call to action to follow you for fun, entertainment, news, promotions, exclusive discounts, giveaways, etc.
Even your videos can be saved and shared out to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Give your fans a reason to jump over and start following you.
What do you think? What are the best ways you've found to bring followers over to your Snapchat account?