We live in a Snapchat world. 150,000,000 people are actively using the app every month. It’s getting to the point now where a lot of those people are consuming more Snapchat content than television programming.
Taylor Nikolai and Sarah Peretz are Snapchat influencers who have made a name for themselves on that platform. As such, they’ve encountered a lot of bad practices from other Snapchat users, and have devised a few “commandments” for better quality snaps to help you grow engagement instead of deterring people from following you.
The following testimony appeared on Sarah’s Snapchat on the evening of April 30, and she was nice enough to send it over and let us dissect some their rules for Snapchat conduct.
Watched it? Good. Let’s break it down…
Quality over quantity. People will sit through a 3-hour movie if it’s good, but those same people will skip a 10-second snap if it sucks. Don’t suck. Make sure that what you’re snapping provides value to your audience.
But what is value? Value is subjective. Some people get the impression that providing value means “doing something to help someone,” but it can be broader than that. You provide value by your content being important or beneficial, which can be through helping, teaching, or entertaining. But how much value do you think you’re bringing people by “brushing your teeth” or “drinking your coffee”?
There’s a time and place for these things, but 800 snaps of it every day isn’t doing anyone any good.
Shoot from a different angle
Okay, so you probably don’t really have eight chins, but snapping from that angle is still not the most flattering.
In December, model Tess Holliday made a video with BuzzFeed where she coached women to take better selfies. I think we could all learn a thing or two on how to put our best face forward…
Mass-Snaps are a no-no!
This one really is the most important, because they’re the most destructive to your Snapchat credibility. Put simply, mass-snapping is when you take a snap and add it to your story… and send it directly to a number of other users.
Now, I think that there’s a difference between mass-snapping and multiple-snapping, and the latter is sometimes acceptable. For example, when I snap something that I know a specific friend or friends will be interested in, I include them, but I’m very selective in this process.
If I want to send someone a direct snap, one of two things will be inferred:
- Either I had them specifically in mind.
- They received the same snap as everybody else.
I ensure that any snap I send directly to someone will be the former, because people’s BS meter is sensitive and they’ll know if it’s the latter.
Tell a story
The shortest point between two people is a story.
This is as true in life as it is in the world of Snapchat. You don’t grow an audience on small talk. Be real, open, and honest with people by telling them your story.
When people hear “story” they think characters and plot (and maybe even symbolism if they paid attention in high school English class), but again it doesn’t have to be. A story is just an account of past events in someone’s life or in the evolution of something. That’s something that anyone can do, but as I mentioned before, make sure it’s valuable. Make sure it helps, teaches, or entertains.
“Engagement” refers to all the various ways that a customer reacts or interacts with content you post online. The level engagement is much higher when customers feel involved, which can be achieved through interaction. Ask people for their opinions, share your opinions with others, collaborate with other Snapchat users, reply to snaps and messages people send you, follow others, etc.
Seriously, be authentic. Like Sarah says, it’s okay to play a character sometimes, but the people following you want to get to know the real you. Your north star has to be truth, because I already mentioned that people’s BS meter is very sensitive. People want to get to know the real you, especially if they’re going to be following you for a while.
I know it can be hard to get your life story across in 10-second snaps, but it’ll happen over time. As long as each one is authentic, they will help you build trust with your audience over time.
Never, ever, ever, ever upload. Ever.
In case you are not aware, yes there are third-party applications for both iPhone and Android that allow you to upload photos and videos from your phone to you Snapchat story. This allows people to shoot and edit snaps elsewhere, and then upload them to Snapchat in an effort to be cooler and more structured. These people are going against Snapchat’s terms of service and could be banned from the network.
First, why doesn’t Snapchat allow uploads? I suspect for two reasons:
- They want to keep things authentic, and when you have the ability to edit and touch-up your content, you’re not being truly authentic.
- They want things to be as close to live as possible, and if you can upload content after-the-fact then your audience can’t follow along.
There’s a raw-ness to Snapchat that allows people to follow you as you go on your adventures. It also doesn’t allow me to lie by using fake or altered content. What you see is who I am and exactly what I’m doing. If you want to edit a string a complex shots together to make a little movie, there’s a place for that: YouTube.
Why should you stay within these guidelines? Because limitations foster creativity. Follow some really talented people on Snapchat, and you’ll see what’s possible by bending the rules, but not breaking them. Seriously, some people get mad creative!
Don’t send pictures of your d***
Just don’t. I don’t need to explain why.
So how do you accomplish any of this? How do you do it right? You try, you experiment, you listen, you adapt, and you try again. You see what works, what your audience likes, what they don’t, and what your strengths are. You’ll get better, just try to keep these rules of thumb in mind as you do.
How many of these commandments have you broken? Repent, and your snaps will be forgiven!