Imagine you’re a 23 year old and Facebook offered you $3 billion for your two year old startup that had no revenue and around 30 million users. You’d jump at the offer, wouldn’t you?
Well, if you were Evan Spiegel, Snapchat’s founder and CEO, you’d turn it down. You see, Spiegel had bigger dreams for his company and the vision to realize them a few short years later in an IPO that valued Snap Inc. at $28 billion. The company is anything but an ordinary business.
Here’s how they described themselves, and I’m quoting. “Snap Inc. is a camera company. “We believe that reinventing the camera “represents our greatest opportunity to improve “the way people live and communicate. “Our products empower people to express themselves, “live in the moment, learn about the world, “and have fun together.”
Like Instagram, Snapchat is a mobile first platform, but unlike Instagram, you can’t see any of your snaps or activities on a desktop. Snapchat’s biggest appeal is its audience, young people who are hard to engage on other platforms.
Snapchat reaches a large proportion of the 18 to 34 year olds in the US and users spend an average of 25 to 30 minutes daily on the app. But the main difference between Snapchat and its competitors is that everything disappears. Well, pretty much everything.
You can save photos and stories to your account and Snapchat’s limitless snaps gives you the option of setting an unlimited viewing time on your photo or video that users can dismiss when they’re done.
Defaulting to a camera as a home screen does take some getting used to. But it reinforces their positioning as a camera company and it lets you open the app and snap a photo or video fast. You may have heard the term ephemeral messages. That is messages that are onscreen for a short time and then disappear. That’s the heart of Snapchat. But publicly traded Snap Inc. offers a lot more than that. And the business has had to grow up fast.
They now have to file disclosures and financial statements and demonstrate value, and they have to fend off copycat features on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Whatsapp. To do that, Snapchat relies on its biggest assets. One, its founder’s vision. Two, the company’s ability to turn on a dime. And three, its young, loyal, and hard to reach millennial audience.
The best way to get comfortable with any social media platform is to test it out. That way you can see how it works firsthand. Let’s open Snapchat.
As you can see, you’re on the camera screen and while you may be tempted to shoot a quick selfie there are lots of other things you can do by swiping left, right, up, or down. Let’s start by swiping down. That gets us to our user account. From here we can see who added us, add friends, and see who our friends are.
We can also get there by tapping the account icon on the left. We can customize our user icon by creating a Bitmoji. Bitmoji are cartoon versions of yourself.
Tap the add Bitmoji button at the top left of the screen to set it up. Since we already have one ours says Edit Bitmoji. We’ll be talking more about Bitmojis in another video. Wondering about those dots around your profile? That’s your Snapcode and it’s a direct link to your profile. Now it’s time to add some friends.
Click on the Add Friends button. There you’ll find a number of options. You can search for friends, add contacts, check out who might be nearby, or add people by Snapcode. Let’s add a friend for Audry Topsy by username. Click on Username, type it in, paste it, there’s Mary Lou Scott, so we can add Mary Lou Scott very easily. Once you’re done adding friends swipe right to get back to your account page, and swipe up to get to your home screen or camera.
You can also get there by tapping the camera button. Next, swipe right and you’ll come to the Chat screen. Tap on the Chat plus icon on the top right to start a Chat.
Type in the username and you can send a message, add emoji, record a video or audio, or even have a real time video or audio call and combine that with Chat and picture sharing features. You can also click on the names of anyone you chatted with to rekindle a conversation.
The Chat screen is a creative way to use multimedia to connect with friends. From the Chat screen you can either swipe left or click on the camera button to get to the home screen. Underneath the camera button you’ll see a smaller circle, click on that, and it will take you to Memories, the place where you save your images and stories.
You can also get to your saved images by swiping up from the camera. Now pinch the camera screen in the center and you’ll be taken to Snap Maps, a location feature you need to enable in settings.
You can also get to Maps by pinching on the Chat or Stories screen. On Snap Maps you can see where your friends are and what they’re doing and other hotspots, denoted by blue and orange circles on the Map.
Move around the Map by pinching in or out. Or tap a spot and you’ll see various snaps from that place. To add yourself to Maps click on our stories when you send a snap. Now let’s go back to our home screen by clicking on the shutter button. Swipe left to get to your Stories screen.
That’s where you can create your own Stories, contribute to our Stories, or watch the ones your friends created. Underneath your Stories you’ll find a carousel with Snapchat’s featured Discover channels, shows, and so on.
Tap the magnifying glass on the top left next to your Bitmoji or picture to get to a search function. From here you can find Top Stories, see Discover channels and more. Tap the X in the top right corner and you’re back at the Stories screen. Swipe left from Stories to get to Snapchat’s Discover channels.
Original content created by established publishers and broadcasters, like Buzzfeed, CNN, People, Cosmopolitan, and lots more. Discover channels feature custom content, including short videos, images, and stories you can watch or share. You can also subscribe to Discover publishers and their latest updates will show up in your Stories screen. There’s lots more you can do with Snapchat, but right now you know the basics, so you should feel comfortable to get started.
How easy is it to capture a photo or video on Snapchat? (snapping fingers) That’s pretty much it. Okay, it’s a bit more complicated than that, but one of the things that distinguishes Snapchat from other platforms is the speed in which you can point, shoot, add creativity, and share. Let’s try a photo. Open the app, and the camera’s right there. Decide if you’re capturing the world around you or doing a selfie. If it’s a selfie, tap the camera icon on the top right of the screen.
To switch back, tap it again. When you’re ready to take your photo, tap the white shutter button in the center. But that’s just the beginning. Snapchat offers augmented reality features called lenses that you can add to your photos and videos. These work in both the outward and selfie-facing cameras. Before you hit the shutter button, tap either to the right or left, and you’ll see a series of icons. You can scroll through them. There’s a nice emoji of Audrey Topsy that we can use.
Once you’ve chosen it, aim, tap, and that’s it. You can do the same with video. Just be careful not to put your finger too far above or below the shutter button when you’re scrolling through the icons, or you might find you’re in the Stories or Chat screen. Once you have your lens, hold the shutter button down for as long as you want to record your video. Zoom in or out by moving your finger up or down the screen. When you’re done, your video’s enhanced with an AR lens. Okay, you’ve got your photo or video.
You can send it to specific friends, to a story, or both, but before you do, you may want to add a little bit more personality. Swipe left or right on the photo or video and you get a number of filters. You can change the color, add temperature, time, bitmoji, Audreycam, that’s not bad.
See what else we’ve got. Location. You know what, let’s go back to Audreycam. Now let’s look at adding even more personality and effects to our photos. Let’s start by tapping in the T on the top right of the screen and typing in or adding a short description.
We’ve got some text we’re going to just paste in here. And before you do, you can change the size by tapping the T again, and then pinching it down to get the right size. You can also change a color by scrolling up or down this little color bar. We like, let’s see, that’s a pretty nice color for Audrey. So done, and then we have our text. You know, we’re going to make it a little smaller and give it a little angle. Not bad, not bad at all. Okay, so now let’s keep scrolling down and see what other options we have.
If you tap on the pencil, there are a number of things you can do. Click on the heart, that gives you some effects, so let’s tap on the star effect and just highlight Audrey’s decorating, that’s really nice. If you tap on the color bar below the star or below the effects, you can actually doodle or write things in if you want.
When you’re done, tap the pencil, and you’re back on the main screen. If you tap on the little post-it note under the pencil, what that does is it lets you add in emoji or bitmoji. So let’s try with the thumbs up.
Of course, we don’t want the thumbs up there, so let’s move it down a little bit, make it a bit bigger. Whoops. You have to really be careful when you’re doing these because if your fingers are too big, you don’t get what you want, you have to go back. So there we go, the thumbs up. Let’s add another bitmoji to this too.
There’s Audrey with hearts, ’cause she loves baking. Put this on her shoulder over here. It’s kind of cute like that. All right, let’s tap on the scissors. That gives you four options. If you tap on the first option with the plus sign, circle something you want, that automatically creates a little sticker.
Now, having two bitmojis is a bit much, so just press down on the sticker, drag it, and you’ll see the garbage can, you can just do that to delete it. Let’s click on the scissors again. There’s a number of things you can do. You can click on the little square, that lets you add in some background effects.
That’s a bit too much for us, and if you see it, you can see the other effects that we’ve added have disappeared, but they’ll be back when we go back to our photo. Let’s click on the little paintbrush, that lets us paint something on there.
Again, a little bit too much color, although the pink on Audrey is not bad, but we’re going to get rid of it, because we want to show she’s a professional baker. Click on the scissors, you’re out of that. Under the scissors there’s a paper clip.
What the paper clip does, and this is really great, is it lets you add in a URL, if you want to direct your customers to another site that opens up directly in a Snapchat browser. That’s great for Audrey, if she has a blog post with a recipe, she can direct her customers there. The last thing we’re going to do with this photo is set the time.
So you look at the time, you can go anywhere from one second to no limit. If you set it to no limit, it means your photo won’t disappear until your users or customers dismiss it.
We want to make ours go for seven seconds, click the clock. So let’s look at this photo and just make sure everything is right. #cakeperfection maybe a little bit too big, let’s get it smaller. Yeah, the thumbs up is okay. This extra bitmoji seems like it’s a bit much, so let’s delete it. So we drag it down to the garbage can by holding down on it, and there’s our photo.
So we’re pretty happy with it. Let’s send it to our story just by clicking our story, send, and away you go. Now if we want to have a look at it, you just click on the three dots, and there it is, the photo, and it’s good to go. I mentioned bitmojis, and I want to show you how to customize or set up your bitmoji.
If you haven’t already done it, you got to download the bitmoji app and link it to your Snapchat account. Now you go to your camera screen, we’re already there. Click on the icon on the top left, that takes you to your profile.
Top left of that, you’ll see two options, either Edit Bitmoji or Add Bitmoji. Since Audrey has one, we’re going to edit it. Click on Edit, and it gives you some options of changes you could do. So we could change Audrey’s outfit, we could change her hair style, we could change her selfie to reflect a different mood.
You can do all sorts of things with your bitmoji to make it reflect your personality or even the day, for example. And once you have one you like, you can add it to your profile, and add it to your snaps.
Just be sure to use your judgment when you’re adding bitmojis to photos. One CEO embarrassed staff on a retreat by sending out a bitmoji where he was wearing sexy pajamas. Let’s just say he went viral, but not in a good way. So as you’ve seen, Snapchat offers you lots of ways to express your creativity and create one of a kind snaps on the fly.