The ultimate guide to marketing on the second most-used social network in 2016 – Snapchat

If you are not already familiar with Snapchat, you should get acquainted soon. Snapchat is the second most used social media network in America. Snapchat provides a unique means of connecting with an audience that is responsive to clever, creative marketing. For businesses, it’s an opportunity to provide content that people pay attention to because of its limited lifespan on a platform that combines the appointment-viewing value of sports along with the engagement of social media. However on this platform, a brand is only as good as its last Snap.

So how do you use such a platform to grow your business? Well that requires a bit more explaining. Lucky for you, we’ve done the work and here is everything you need to know.

How the hell to use Snapchat

First things first, universally the objection we see for people using Snapchat is that they can’t figure out how to use it, so let’s start there.

If you have a friend who is active on there, get them to show you; that is the easiest way. If not, here are a few key things you need to know.

How to set up your Snapchat profile

To set up your profile, you will need to download the app from the iTunes store or Google Play store. You can then sign up and create your account and profile.

You will need to enter your email address, password and birthday followed by a username which users can use to search for you.

Once you have chosen your username and entered your phone number, people with the phone number in their contact list can find you unless you change that option in the settings.

Settings You’ll now be taken to a screen where you can create Snaps and stories. Tap the ghost icon and you will be able to add friends and manage your friends. Click on the wheel icon and you can update the rest of your settings.

Snapchat’s default setting allows only users you have added to your friends list to send you Snaps that you can view. If someone you haven’t added as a friend tries to send you a Snap, you’ll get a notification that they added you. However, you will not receive the Snap they sent until you add them to your friends list.

snapchat settings To change this, you can make the change in your settings. Scroll down to the ‘Who Can…’ and tap ‘Contact Me’. You can pick ‘My Friends’ or ‘Everyone’ and update who can send you Snaps.

How to snap a pic

snap a pic When you are in Snapchat’s main screen area, tap an area of the picture you want your phone to focus on. Tap the big round circle to take a picture.

Save your picture

save your picThe icon to the right of the timer, a downward-facing arrow, allows you to dump the shot you just took into your phone’s traditional gallery. It’s useful if you want to save your shot for future purposes, as there’s no other way to do so once you’ve sent the picture out.

Set a picture time limit

time limitTap on the stopwatch icon in the lower left, and you can set the specific time that you want your picture to be available for a friend to view. You can set it for 1 second to a maximum duration of 10 seconds.

How to add a caption

add a captionTap in the middle of the picture, and you can add text on top of your photo or video. Tap on the T icon to change the caption from a line of text to a larger brick of text. After you’ve written a caption for your Snap, you can move, pinch and zoom that text to place it just where you want. Before you can pinch and zoom your caption, you’ll need to have set the text to the larger font, by tapping on the T icon.

color captionYou can also tap on the icon in the upper-right corner of the screen to draw directly onto your image with varying colors.

How to share an image from your camera roll

camera rollOpen your camera roll.
Select one or more photos or videos you’d like to send via Snapchat. Just tap to send the photo or video to a friend. You can get creative with your photo or video by adding a doodle or caption — just tap ‘Edit’ before you send it.

How to snap a video and send via DM

send to friendsWhen you are in Snapchat’s main screen area, tap an area of the picture you want your phone to focus on. Hold the big round circle to take a video.

You have the same options with video as you do with snaps.

snapchat marketing - send toTo send the picture or video, click on the arrow icon in the lower right of the screen. Your friends list will pop up; select everyone that you want to receive your image, and click on the arrow in the lower right-hand corner.

What the story is and how to post to the Story

In Snapchat, a Story is a compilation of Snaps that create a narrative. They appear in chronological order to tell a story with a beginning, middle and end.

To post a story:

add snap to storyTake a Snap as above.

Tap the square with the plus sign button on the bottom of the screen to add your Snap to your Story (and if it is your first time creating a Story, tap ‘Add’ to confirm you want to post to your Story). You can also tap the arrow and select ‘My Story’ to add a Snap to your Story!

The Snap will be added to your Story.

When you add photos and videos to your Story, you can view your Story analytics and even download it to share elsewhere.

my storyYour Story will always appear at the top of the Stories area. Each photo or video you add will expire after 24 hours. The amount of time your friends have to view your Story is indicated by how full the circle is.

If you tap on the dots to the right of your Story, you’ll see your Story analytics.

story downloadTap on the arrow that appears next to your Story to download it as a video before parts of it expire.

To see who has viewed your Story, tap on an individual image or video in your Story.

Then tap on the icons on the left.

Tap the icons on the right to delete the individual image or video from your Story.

How to view other people’s Stories

view other peoples storySwipe left on the Camera screen to the Stories screen.

Scroll down to ‘Recent Updates’.

Tap a Friend’s name to view their Story.

view friends storyWhen you finish a Story, the next one begins. To move to the next Snap in the Story, just tap the screen. Swipe left to move on to the next Story. To exit a Story, just swipe down.

reply to storyWhen watching a Snapchat Story, you can reply to a specific photo or video by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. This opens a new chat window.

Simply type your message, hit send, and your friend will receive the message along with a snapshot of the photo/video you’re replying to.

How to follow people via Snapcodes

A Snapcode works like a follow button. You’ll find your unique Snapcode when you open Snapchat and tap the ghost icon on the top middle of the screen.

You can also use Snapcodes to follow people.

Here is how you can do that using the camera on your smartphone.

snapcode isocialfanz - snapchat marketingOpen up Snapchat.

Make sure you’re on the camera like you would if you were about to Snapchat a photo.

Point the camera at the Snapcode.

Press and hold the screen over the Snapcode. It should notify you that it added a friend.

How do you follow a person using a photo of a Snapcode?

Follow the steps below.

add a friendOpen up Snapchat.

Select the ghost icon in the top middle of the screen.

Select “Add Friends”

adding friend with a snapcodeSelect “Add by Snapcode”.

Select the photo of the Snapcode from your albums.

add friendIf is recognizes the Snapcode, it will notify you that it added a friend. If it doesn’t, it will show up with a X icon.

To get you started, here are the Snapcodes of some cool people worth following.

Amy Schmittauer
Amy Schmittauer


Chris Ducker
Chris Ducker

Dan Norris
Dan Norris

Dana Garrison
Dana Garrison

Danny Sullivan
Danny Sullivan

Sophia Amoruso
Sophia Amoruso

Gary Vaynerchuk
Gary Vaynerchuk

Justin Kan
Justin Kan

Jeannie Spuhler
Jeannie Spuhler

Kerwin Rae
Kevin Rae

Anika Morjaria
literally anika

Jay Baer
Jay Baer

Mark Suster
Mark Suster

Matt Vergotis
Matt Vergotis

The Merrymaker Sisters
The Merrymaker Sisters

Morgan Brown
Morgan Brown

Sara Hopkins
Sara Hopkins

Shaun Ayala
Shaun Ayala

Chelsea Votel
Chelsea Votel

Chris Marr
Chris Marr

How use filters

You can get creative and jazz up your Snaps by using filters. Here’s how:

snap filtersTake a Snap.

Swipe right or left on the preview screen to add colored filters. Other things you can add include the current time, local weather, speed overlays or Geofilters to your Snaps.

How to do a face swap

A popular lens right now is Face Swap, which, you guessed it, swaps faces.

Before you do a face swap, you will need to activate the lens. Here is how:
face swap

  • Launch the app
  • Get on the camera screen.
  • Ensure the screen is facing you. You should be able to see your face on screen.
  • Now, tap and hold your face until you see a sort of mesh form over your face.
  • You’ll can now swipe through the lens options that appear at the bottom of the screen. The face swap is a yellow icon with 2 smiley faces inside. Tap on it and you should see 2 smiley faces appear on the screen now.
  • Grab someone or something that you want to swap faces with, and align both of your faces with the icons on screen until they are both yellow.
  • It works best if you remove your glasses, and if you’re both facing the camera directly. Snapchat uses the map of your face to adjust the other person’s face to fit yours. In other words, if you talk you’ll see their face moving on your body.
  • Tap the circle at the bottom with the face swap icon to capture the image. To save it to your phone’s photo album, you’ll need to tap the icon in the bottom left corner that looks like an arrow pointing downwards.

What works on Snapchat?

1. Promotions/Launching Products

NARS turned to Snapchat to promote its new color cosmetics collection. The company spread the news via its @NARSissist Twitter and Instagram account.

Only people who added NARSissist as a friend on Snapchat before the launch time had access to the preview content. The user experience on Snapchat is quite different compared to other social media platforms. Content can be quickly and easily produced, but must be filmed or shot in the moment. This as opposed to uploading from a camera roll. This means that the platform best lends itself to brands who value – and are willing to invest in – being relatable to their audience, regardless of whether a snap is sent one-to-one or one-to-many.


NARS, the makeup company, received a lot of positive feedback and did generate buzz, which was the goal. However, their video/teaser was only 3 seconds in length, and many note that they couldn’t get a real sense of what the products were. Perhaps this was a strategic move on the company’s part, as users can net screenshots with longer videos and post online. This may have been intentional to keep people talking, without any real info.

2. Keep it fun

The car manufacturer Audi sought to authentically connect and entertain the millennial demographic during the Superbowl, by using humor and real-time events.

audi campaign

According to HUGE inc. –

“The campaign received 100,000 total views on Snapchat and generated 2,400 mentions on Twitter, reaching a total of 37 million social impressions. The team manually added 9,600 followers to the Audi Snapchat account over 48 hours, reaching a total of 10,500 followers, pushing Snapchat’s ability to keep up with the volume of user growth.”

This has been called the first and most successful Snapchat campaign of its size.

3. Raise social awareness

To raise awareness about endangered species, The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Grey Group ad agencies launched a campaign which compares the fleeting existence of a Snapchat post to the threat of extinction facing many species.

According to PR News Wire –

“WWF has created a series of selfies showing endangered species and calls them the #LastSelfie. These selfies will disappear on Snapchat, and young people are expected to share and spread them in social media. The emphasis of this new campaign is to underline that if we don’t take action in real life, these species will disappear for real.”

4. Empower influencers

Even small companies like UsTrendy are getting in on the Snapchat action. Based on their findings, young adults want to know the ins and outs of their favorite companies to understand how they work, in an effort to relate.

The company has both employees and influencers such as bloggers in the fashion community take over the account for a day. The bloggers share themselves trying clothes on and take videos of themselves, which tend to generate more engagement than just generic photos. The influencers also tend to promote the account to their followers as well. To make this work, UsTrendy has developed guidelines on what sort of content is acceptable, which influencers and employees need to abide by.

5. Go behind the scenes

Prior to using Snapchat, the somewhat-famous DJ Khaled was known in small music circles for making decent radio hits in Miami. After a friend suggested he look into the app, the musician has made a name and an entire brand for himself. By simply sharing who he is, showing what’s important to him and his success through short videos, he has accumulated millions of followers and is now highly sought after.

dj khaled

According to Bloomberg, Khaled’s videos regularly attract 3 million to 4 million viewers each. So given how Snapchat skews overwhelmingly tween to late-millennial, his audience is the same as those that watch the biggest network sitcoms.

6. Build a community

Arsenic inadvertently created a Playboy competitor in just a couple of years. According to Business Insider –

“Arsenic has transformed from being one woman’s hobby to a social-media movement where women of any shape, size, skin color or location are submitting their own photos and videos for free just because they want to be a part of it.”

Initially, the company’s goal was to promote models who weren’t being paid, who just wanted to experience the fun of it all. After trying out multiple social media platforms, the group finally landed on Snapchat, and their channel has around 500,000 people clicking on every photo and video posted.

7. Unconventional partnerships

Companies are having to get creative and even more strategic about partnerships. Rather than taking the “easy” approach and using mainstream celebrities like athletes and musicians, companies like Sour Patch Kids are connecting with their target market by using social media stars like Vine favorite Logan Paul.

SPK and Logan Paul

This allows for a personal way to connect with people and enables brands to send content in a one-to-one manner. Sour Patch Kids, in partnership with Logan, published a daily Snapchat Story. Logan also reached out to some fans directly, with personal video messages using Snapchat’s video feature.

Start Snapchatting

As you can see, it isn’t hard to get started on Snapchat and engage your followers. To help you get your first 100 followers, we put together a brief guide which you can download below.

snapchat marketing leadmagnet


Vinay is the content marketing manager for WP Curve. Follow him @wpcurve

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