Despite months of holding off and constantly debating whether it’s worth your precious time, you’ve finally taken the plunge. You think Snapchat can work for your business and you’re ready to embrace all it has to offer.
You have great ideas and have been cranking out some fantastic stories almost anyone could enjoy. From storyboarding your snaps to picking the perfect geo and facial filters, you’re starting to develop your Snapchat chops.
There’s . . . just one problem.
You don’t have any followers. Your stories are falling on deaf ears.
Snapchat is unlike any other social platform in that it does not have a native search feature. You can’t find other users in the app unless you know someone’s specific username, have their Snapcode, or have their phone number in your address book.
Growing a following on Snapchat can be difficult, but using your current audiences for promotion makes it easier. While you don’t yet have a following on Snapchat, it’s likely you have a social following elsewhere. Leveraging your existing social circles and a few other tactics, you’ll have a Snapchat audience in no time at all!
1. Leverage People Who Already Know You
You saw this one coming, but it is seriously the most important.
You have followers on social because those people find you worthy to follow and something about what you share is valuable to them. Snapchat’s user numbers are growing every day, so you may know quite a few people already using the social platform.
So in these cases, you can try to sort out high-value followers through different methods and then target them with private messages. From here, try to figure out a tactful way to get them to share your Snapchat account details with their followers, and this should give a little boost. Think about why their followers should tune in to your stories and always be polite in your request.
The second way to leverage your existing circle of followers is through email. Your contacts signed up for your email list because they want to hear from your business. They are likely to connect with you on other social channels, such as Snapchat because they’re already your most devoted followers.
In your next email campaign, make sure your subscribers know you’re on Snapchat. Be sure to include your username, a brief description of why your readers should follow you, and what they can expect from your Snapchat story.
2. Share your Snapcode
on social media EVERYWHERE
Back in 2009, you could rarely go anywhere without seeing a QR code. Short for “quick response” code, QR codes became popular because of their fast readability and ability to share information by allowing users to open URLs or access bonus content.
But QR codes are so 2009, utterly passe. That is, of course, until Snapchat rose and resurrected the QR code from the ashes. Although QR Codes aren’t as popular as they once were, Snapchat has taken the QR code and made it cool again.
Known as Snapcodes, the yellow ghost images can be used to easily add users on Snapchat. You can find your unique Snapcode by signing into your Snapchat account and clicking on the ghost icon at the top center of the screen.
Tap on the code and choose the download button in the top right corner. This will allow you to share your Snapcode via Message, Mail, Notes, Twitter, Facebook, or other social networks you may have connected to your device. You can also save the image to your photos.
When the user taps on the screen, the app will read the code and automatically add the profile connected to that Snapcode. The user can also save your Snapcode to their photos and add it using the “Add by Snapcode” option. The app will confirm that the user has been added to your friends list with a success message at the top of the screen.
You can also customize your Snapcode in photo editing software like Photoshop. As long as the black dots and hard black outlines are kept intact, any device can read them. You can even change the color from yellow to a more “brand-friendly” color!
By sharing this code on your social networks, adding it as your account profile and header images, you are bringing your account directly to new users and inspiring them to add you with little effort on their part.
But social media is just one place to share your Snapcode. Alternatively, you may want to think about adding it to your email signature or printing out your code on stickers and T-shirts. We certainly don’t condone vandalism, but this where you can get really creative with getting your code seen in as many places as possible.
3. Breathe Life Into Old Content
Stories on Snapchat don’t live on forever, so once the 24-hour window has passed, no one else can watch it. Unless you were smart enough to save it before moving on the next thing.
Don’t think of this short lifespan as a disadvantage since timeliness is one of the great appeals of the platform. Because the app lets you save your stories or individual snaps for later viewing, you’re free to let it live on in other places.
For images, the easiest place to start will be on Facebook, Twitter, but most importantly, Instagram. Just be advised that photos taken within Snapchat can suffer heavy compression and may not like all that great. However, any sketching, text, and emojis are kept intact, so what you see is what your followers on other channels will see.
For the full story or video snaps, consider posting directly to Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter. Again, this will be touching on your existing followers; however, these videos are easier to share, so you may get a little better visibility beyond your immediate circle.
4. Add Your Snapchat Username to Your Bio
One of the easiest tips for promoting your Snapchat account is to add your Snapchat username to your social media bios. Keeping your username consistent across all social channel is a great way to make sure your fans can find you easily. However, if you have different handles for your accounts, be sure to address that.
For example, Michael Stelzner, founder of Social Media Examiner, has different handles for Twitter and Snapchat: @Mike_Stelzner and mikestelzner, respectively.
He makes this clear by adding his Snapchat username to his bio.
Even if your social media usernames are the same, including your Snapchat username in your bio lets your followers know that you are on the channel.
Bonus: Snapchat now has a custom URL for every account so anyone on a mobile device is redirected to the app to follow you after clicking on the link. This is so easy, you can add this personal URL to almost any social profile.
5. Orchestrate a Snapchat Takeover
If you’re a true student and heavy user of Snapchat, you’ll undoubtedly be familiar with takeovers. When done properly, you can spread awareness through takeovers to an entirely new set of eyes that may have never been exposed to your content in any other way.
Sure, you may be repurposing your content for other channels like Instagram or YouTube but there’s nothing quite like experiencing what you’ve created when users are directly inside the platform. Not to mention that since they’re already in the app, this makes it slightly easier to screenshot your Snapcode or add you by your username.
If you want to learn more about takeovers, here’s a great list of resources on how to do it right:
6. Purchase Geo-Filters in Highly Populated Areas
You may not have thought about using geo-filters except in terms of event marketing, but there are a ton of reasons why you should be using them a lot more. Starting at just $5, you can select a specific area that you think is frequented by your target audience.
For example, say you’re a pizza shop and you want to reach more students at a local university. You could target the nightlife areas or even college sporting arenas with a tantalizing filter asking people to give you a follow. The filter may not get used a whole lot, but some will and you’re getting extra exposure than through the other methods mentioned.
7. Joining Snapchat Communities & Directories
Getting new followers without some kind of natural discovery is tough on Snapchat, but everyone else is feeling the same pain. That’s why there are several directories out there that you can join to reach a larger base of people looking to do the same thing you are.
There are various Snapchat directories that can help you find people to follow on Snapchat:
Simply add your Snapchat username to these directories so that when users search for Snapchat users to follow and connect, your username should pop-up and they may easily follow you. Think about what category your brand might fall under since users are sorted accordingly.
Snapchat isn’t something that can be easily mastered overnight, but then again, neither were any of the social platforms in their early days. If you really believe in the power and relevancy of Snapchat, you’ll want to take the time to understand the ins and outs, and all the little nuances to harness the platform for your business.