I guess you’ve heard about Snapchat?
But do you know how to use Snapchat for your business?
I can bet it that your answer is “NO”!
Something feels extra-special about Snapchat in these first few days of 2016. The user base is getting broader as its earliest users grow up, and it’s maturing as a business with a new ad-tech platform on the way.
What a killer combination. It feels like YouTube in 2008, and there are certainly worse products to emulate. But Snapchat has an interesting advantage over YouTube.
While it’s easier than ever to create and post videos to YouTube, there are still barriers: editing/capture-cards/cameras etc. There is a certain level of quality that is expected on that platform.
But on Snapchat, anyone with a smartphone can create engaging, as-it-happens video. The quality bar is low and the emphasis is on real, personality-driven stories.
Why is there so much excitement about Snapchat in early 2016?
Let’s consider the addressable market size Snapchat has to work with over the next few years:
- There are approx. 1.5 Billion personal computers (laptops and desktops) on earth right now. In terms of usage this number is decreasing each year and a fraction of these devices are capable/being-used to edit and post videos to YouTube.
- By 2020 there will be around 4 billion smartphones on earth. The vast majority of these phones will be able to create Snapchat stories. What’s more, currently 65% of Snapchat’s daily active users contribute content. Click To Tweet
That’s an unprecedentedly high creator percentage for a video platform. Simply put:
So Snapchat is taking over the world, but what do I actually post?
For those of you who don’t yet use Snapchat, here are a few ways you can get started, as a business or an individual. Once you get used to it, the best posts will be videos that are natural and involve little to no preparation.
But it can feel unnatural to start capturing your life without previous experience, so feel free to use the below as prompts.
Quick tip: Feel free to make the stories 100% personal (most of the best accounts I follow are), but they should never be 100% business/promotional, no one wants to watch that. Find a balance that you’re comfortable with.
The Definitive Snapchat Guide for Entrepreneurs: Practical Ways of Using Snapchat for your Business Needs
People talk a lot about storytelling being the holy grail of video/content creation. These people are right.
But building a startup is, somewhat remarkably, interesting to a lot of people in 2016. Creating something new, and getting people to care about it, is absurdly tough, with plenty of trials and tribulations along the way.
You, as a founder or early team member are, at given moments, playing the roles of a firefighter, dragon slayer, hero and villain. Succeeding in the face of overwhelming odds is epic storytelling 101.
Don’t feel like you’ve got a story worth telling? Your startup is living its own blockbuster survival movie.
What to post: Examples of interesting ways to use your product, team trip/lunch vlogs, explain why you built the product, feature request sessions, explain your culture, Q&A’s, basic support/troubleshooting sessions for first users/customers, office tours, team member Q&A’s.
Example: Product Hunt (producthuntteam on SN) snaps team members, Bieber dance-parties in the office, product development, new products + beta/unlock codes, positions they are hiring for etc. These quick visuals give viewers a window into the human-beings behind the startup. It makes me root/evangelise for them on a deeper level than being just an average user.
The Mid-Size Company
What to post: You have more resources than the startup, but people care less about your story and more about your product. DM me on Twitter with your company size and industry, and I’ll send back 5 Story ideas.
Example: The Verge/Vox Media (verge on SN) Kirsten + others do an excellent job of product demo’s, rotating team members, convention coverage, gadget/spec breakdowns.
Generally making tech approachable and interesting. Very few of their stories feel staged or scripted, it’s conversational, genuine.
What to post: War stories from deals/startups, office hours, requests for startups, breaking down the term sheet, simplifying the industry etc.
Example: Mazzeo (mmazzeo on Snapchat) just started holding weekly, Lowercase Capital, Snapchat office hours. Talks back.
What to post: CEO’s are conventionally unapproachable. Buck the trend. You may not have a lot of time to devote to Snapchat, but even sharing small POV parts of your day can help the viewer appreciate that there is a real person behind the title.
If Taylor Swift has time to host sleepovers with her fans, you have time to record a few seconds of your day.
Example: Gary Vaynerchuk (garyvee on SN) Posts engaging monologues about how best to use Snapchat/Twitter/Facebook/YouTube + shows us his Jet’s/gym/basketball obsessions and office/team. Talks back, a lot.
Example: Ryan Hoover (rrhoover on SN) is an example of an early stage founder who doesn’t have the time/content to spend too much time crafting Snapchat Stories, but even a few snaps a day of the Product Hunt office, team and what he gets up to outside work make him real & interesting.
Example (expert level): Casey Neistat somehow finds the time to make engaging, daily YouTube vlogs of his life. These are like Snapchat Stories on steroids, but have a similar overall effect, they humanise him and give his other projects personality. (Neistat also posts on Beme, his own video sharing startup).
The New Band/Musician
What to post: Once a week perform a short cover that a fan/subscriber has requested, excerpts of new music you make, talk people through the creation process, explain the lyrics, what you are doing to get your music out there, plug your YouTube/Soundcloud, how you got into an instrument, advice for those just starting the journey, Q&A’s.
Example: I don’t know of any new musicians using Snapchat in interesting ways. If you know of any, show them to me!
Not a VC/Founder/Startup/CEO/Musician? No problem, DM me on Twitter and I’ll help out with ways to start Snapping.
Pester me enough on Twitter and I’ll write another post with examples for any other industries/individuals you’d like to see.
Use Snapchat as a frictionless way to show the personality/human behind whatever business/product/side-project you have.
Good luck, happy Snapping.
This guide is courtesy of Matthew Willis.
Matthew Willis is a YouTuber & Product Manager from London. You can find him on:
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