What is Snapchat?
Snapchat is a mobile messaging application that can only be accessed by a smartphone. (Currently on Android and iOS.) The popular mobile app allows you to share different types of media such as photos, videos, texts, and drawings which all expire and automatically delete after a set time. The timing depends on the user's preference and can range anywhere between a few seconds to 24 hours.
Snapchat has become insanely popular in the past year but has actually been around since 2011. With its ability to provide bite-sized, raw, and highly engaging content, Snapchat has become the preferred social media platform of 2016.
Who’s on snapchat.
What was once an exclusive younger demographic has recently grown to a more broader audience. According to mediakix.com “Over 60% of U.S. smartphone users between the ages of 13 and 34 are Snap-chatters." Snapchat is quickly becoming popular among older demographics as well. Over 50% of new Snapchat users are over the age of 25, and the percentage growth of those aged 35 years and older is actually greater than the penetration rate for 18- to 24-year-olds.”
What is the snapchat lingo?
Snapchat uses it's own kind of lingo which can easily confuse the heck out of someone who has never used the platform. Here is a list of commonly used Snapchat phrases that a new user should know.
Snap-chatters: Refers to all snapchat users
Snaps: Photos or videos taken via Snapchat. You can send a snap to a snap-chatter, but it can only be viewed by the recipient for 1 to 10 seconds before it disappears forever. Recently, Snapchat has released a “replay” function and allows you to replay the snap one more time. This function is new and does not appear on every snap you receive. Also keep in mind, you must replay at the time you watch the snap for the first time or else the replay function disappears.
Snapback: A reply to a snap you received
Story: A snap you can broadcast to followers. Your recipients can view for unlimited amount of times in 24 hours, and you can also post multiple snaps to your story in one day to create a narrative. You have the option to delete snaps added to your story as well as save those snaps.
Scores: The total number of snaps you have sent and received. This number appears next to your name in friends' contact lists and vice versa.
Chat: A feature that lets you privately/directly message friends
How do I use Snapchat?
When you open snapchat you will be taken to the main screen which is your camera. The top left-hand corner has a flash icon for toggling your camera's flash, while the top-right corner has a camera button for toggling the camera between front- and rear-facing mode. The center area is your camera view.
On the bottom of the camera view there is a big round camera button in the center for taking photos and videos (aka snaps). Hold the camera button down to record a video with sound, or tap the camera button to take a picture.
The bottom left-hand corner of the main screen has a square icon that will display in numbers how many unread snaps are waiting for you. Tap it or swipe from left to read your snaps, directly message friends, or search.
The bottom right corner will show a three-line icon (or "+" if you have stories from followers available). You can tap it or swipe from right when you want to view stories or discover content from publishers like Cosmo and other big brands.
Below is an infographic of the Snapchat home screen.
How do I take a snap?
When you’re ready to take your first snap navigate to the main screen. Once opened, tap the large camera button to take a picture or hold down to record a video. This is your snap. Once you've finished taking your snap, a preview screen will pop up with different options of customization. You can adjust the length of time your snap will be available, add emojis, add stickers, type a text overlay, and more.
When you're ready to send your snap press the send button and a list of all of your snapchat friends will pop up. You can send your snap to as many friends as you want and add to your snapchat story. Your story shows your snap for 24 hours before deleting indefinitely.
Below is an infographic of an actual snap taken by Social Marketing Queen.
Why should I use snapchat?
Snapchat is a great social media network to connect with the younger generation however, research is proving that the older crowd is jumping aboard the social media bandwagon too. Snapchat is an application that takes photos and videos in real-time which differentiates the platform from other networks like Facebook and Instagram. Along with that, the disappearing function makes it easier to capture your viewers undivided attention because once they watch the snap, they can never view it again. (Unless they enable the replay function which we talked about in the lingo section— more on that and other #Snaphacks at a later time.)
For now, I encourage you to download Snapchat and maneuver around the app to get yourself comfortable. In an upcoming snap series, I plan to teach you all “Snapchat for Business” and “Snapchat Hacks for 2016.”
In the meantime, feel free to drop me a line with any questions you may have that I might have missed in this article. You can also tweet me on twitter by @katelynrhoades_
Happy Snappin’ :)