Snapchat: What, Where & Why I’m All-In

IMG_4131To set the record straight I have a serious case of F.O.M.O. or the fear of missing out, so when I jump on new platforms there isn’t any great surprise.  The surprise for most was in the fall of 2014 I uninstalled Snapchat and called it “The dumbest wanna be social network really a disappearing chat app ever!” 

Then I started to meet Snapchat Influencers and study what my friend Nick Cicero was doing with Snapchat data, analytics and influencer marketing at his company Delmondo!

I spent the first 4 months of 2015 studying, listening & watching how people, brands, and creators were using the platform.  After studying the platform I realized that I was trying to think like I was managing a facebook page or translate it into twitter value rather than truly understanding the value the users were gaining from this platform.  

I believe we are seeing “Snapchat Effect” impact every social network & marketing platform as Snapchat understands & empowers the social user of tomorrow!Click To Tweet

Fast Forward 1 year and I’M ALL IN ON SNAPCHAT…  IMG_3085

What changed… well first off I admit that I was wrong… I also started to realize that I need to watch and learn from those doing it great and then adapt it to my style and personal brand.  I was looking at the limitations and the lack of scale or automation as downsides rather than understanding that those limitations are exactly why the time you spend on snapchat is real and raw!

Snapchat's limitations make the access you get more valuable & worthy of your time because it can't be faked, automated or outsourced!Click To Tweet

So who did I listen too? Check out the bottom of this page for the snapcodes of those that are providing me & their communities tons of value!  

Over this year, I’ve studied, read and snapped a lot but I’m nowhere close to an expert or a master snapchat creator but what I am is a student of the Snapchat Mindset.  Below you’ll find some links to blogs, people and sites that have helped me fall in love with Snapchat!

Why Do I Love Snapchat?

Well, it isn’t just because Gary Vaynerchuk told me to go HAAARRDDD on it at SXSW this past rather its the response from my community, clients and even peers in the industry.  (Jump to the 11:00 min mark)

ACCESS is what everyone on social is looking for today, Snapchat streamlines Access to people, stories, experiences, events & brands!Click To Tweet

Snapchat to me allows for real and raw storytelling that isn’t full of fluff, buzzwords or marketing crap.  But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have business value, rather because of these reasons the relationships & authenticity you create on Snapchat become business value GOLD!

What Features & Limitations Do I love the Most?

Snapchat’s limitations make the access you get more valuable & worthy of your time because it can’t be faked, automated or outsourced!

  • Stories:
    • When you post to a story it’s a One-Many relationship where everyone who follows you can see your content just like most of their social networks.  The difference is when some replies to a story or a piece of the story it’s a One-One conversation that nobody else consuming the story knows about or can see.  Why does this matter?  Most people today comment on Facebook just cause or Quote RT something to brag to their followers and be seen.  With snapchat every direct one to one conversation is private therefore consuming & engaging in these conversations isn’t about the user being seen rather they have something to say and want to be heard.  Therefore for me, spending time watching and reading my snap replies is much more personal and valuable for me then @ replies on twitter or comments on a blog.  
  • IMG_3817Geo Filters:
    • SXSW was the first major event to happen after Snapchat rolled out user created Geo Filters that are submitted to snapchat and approved based on a geographical region.  What this means is unlike hashtags which can be used for events no matter if the person is there or not, GeoFilters are only available to overlay on your snap photo if you are physically in that location.  For brands this is a game changer because today’s social user is all about sharing their offline experience and by using these geofilters and downloading them to their phones you are now seeing branded personalized graphics showing up on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.  Who would have guessed a year ago that people would be excited about putting a giant logo or graphic on their picture but because of the LIMITATION of only being able to get that graphic if you took the picture at that location users are more than proud to provide massive word of mouth for brands!GaryVee wrote a great post on how to create GeoFilters here:
  • Downloading and Up-Cycling of Content:
    • Most people know that Snapchat stories only exist for 24 hours which if you think about it up until the DVR Tv shows only existed for 1 hour.  For me, I’ve made it a habit to download each picture or 10 second story so that I can save it for blogs like this but also downloading entire planned out stories so that I can upload them natively later if the content is relevant to places like Facebook, YouTube or vertical video sharing app Slinger.
  • Text Overlays & Emoji Art:
    • Adding context to pictures or 10 second stories with text and emoji’s not only makes the apps fun but if a picture is worth a thousand words what about a 10 second video clip with 2 emjoi’s and text??
  • Creator Collaborations:
    • Discovery and growing your following is always hard on new apps but Snapchat has seemed to make it extremely hard but for those creators doing great things on the platform they’ve embraced the philosophy that has stood the test of time, collaboration.  You’ll see creators, musicians, and even brands collaborate in stories to not only increase the value of the story but also bridge & merge audiences therefore, growing both communities!
  • Brand Takeovers:IMG_3831
    • Influencer Takeovers have become more a standard with live streaming and visual platforms, where an influencer promotes and talks about the brand, product or event on their own channel driving users to follow that branded account for additional content or for exclusive content when that influencer is in control of the handle.  Why is this exciting, first off as someone who’s been hired as an influencer for big brands one of the hardest things is establishing trust between the brand and the influencer, the influencer and the brand as well as the reason for the partnership.  With brand takeovers on snapchat most creators have done a great job of being themselves, sticking to what they do best while also weaving in the brand message or value proposition.  Because the creator working with the brand is so transparent, users know that their favorite creator is getting paid by this brand yet because of the trust are ok with it and because these creators on Snapchat are so talented, the content is extremely entertaining and fun to consume.
  • Snapchat Ads:IMG_3970
    • Nobody likes Ads…. Except for me on Snapchat!  Snapchat ads in live event stories and media discover stories are less about disrupting the user experience and more about complimenting it.  When you see an ad on Snapchat the content is vertical, short, fun and the message is direct.  I believe Snapchat style, understanding and control of advertising is unlike anything we’ve seen and will shape how ads are placed on social networks and all digital properties in the future.

But There’s No Data or Discovery or CTA Link Options!

I firmly believe better analytics, better understanding of community use of Geo Filters and user generated event-based stories are features we will see rolled out in some shape or form adding ,even more value to the platform but even without these features you can leverage your story view data to gain a crowdsourced idea of when & where people lost interest or even acted on a CTA such as a screenshot or story chat reply!

Limitations Inspire Creativity!

Like I said I’m still learning every day, following and unfollowing people but I can firmly say that the value I’m finding here is only growing and for the brands I’m working with at Backlamp LLC, Snapchat will now be part of the brand storytelling and community building strategy alongside Facebook Pages, Instagram, Twitter, Periscope and Facebook Live!  

Here is a list of blog posts & websites that are must read to truly understand this platform!

I consume all of my content using the app Flipboard and I’ve created a board focused only on Snapchat that you can subscribe to below to find future content I discover around Snapchat!
View my Flipboard Magazine.

Must Reads:

(If you have additional guides please comment below and make sure to follow my Snapchat Flipboard as I add content I find to that daily!)


BreakTheInternet – YouTube Channel with guides & updated videos after every Snapchat update!

Discovery of Snapchat Creators broken down by categories available on iOS in two weeks under “Ghost Codes” or browser version:


Snapchat Directory Google Doc w/ 9k+ snapchat user names created by Carlos & Saba:

Snapchat 1000 square opt-in site created by Mark Kaye:

Sunny Lenarduzzi YouTube Channel lots of easy to consume videos about snapchat:

#ChatSnap NEW twitter chat every Wednesday at 2pm ET hosted by: @KrisGillentine & @BlakeC432:

Watch the 30 min panel from SXSW that I was on with Snapchat Creators, Influencers and Technology Leaders:

Who I’ve Learned From:

Over this last year, I’ve discovered some amazing people, leaders and creators on Snapchat and there are far too many to list here so I recommend checking out the Ghostcodes App I mentioned above but I wanted to share a couple people who have really shaped my thoughts & inspired me to go all in with Snapchat!

If you don’t think your business needs to invest in community; brand storytelling, authenticity or acquired attention then Snapchat might not be the place for you!

It’s time we stop trying to fit old metrics, KPI’s and processes into our new digital world… times have changed, customers have changed, social media has changed and the value brands and consumers get out of it has changed.

Snapchat made no sense to me 2 years ago but in those 2 years I’ve studied the brand social landscape and listened to the community and now believe that Snapchat is the social platform of TODAY… it’s not a facebook replacement it doesn’t provide the same value as other marketing or social networks but why would it….. the value, the engagement the SOCIAL mindset that lives within Snapchat doesn’t allow for it…

All I ask is to take an open mind approach to this report and Snapchat…. don’t think how will this replace something else rather…

  • Watch..
  • Engage..
  • Ask..
  • Snap..

Then think about what value can I bring my community, how will this help me tell my story and ultimately how will this help my business…

Hope you enjoyed this post… If you have links or blogs you’d like added to this post please comment below & I hope you’ll follow me and all of these other great creators on Snapchat!

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