How to Use Snapchat.
1. Download the app. Go to the Google Play Store or iTunes Store, search for “Snapchat”. Install. (Note: there’s no “computer” version – this is phone/tablet only.)
2. Open up the app. It looks like this:
5. Pick a username. (Note: At this time, there’s no way to change your username, so pick one wisely.)
6. Verify your email address, and return to the app.
7. You’ll now be confronted with a picture of yourself, or a picture of your surroundings. To change the camera, press the small icon in the top right corner. Press the smiley with two arrows to switch the rear-facing camera on, or press the circle with 2 arrows to turn the front facing camera on.
8. There are 3 main screens for Snapchat. The one you’re on right now (the live camera), the one that appears if you swipe left (your inbox) and the one that appears if you swipe right (Stories).
9. Swipe back to the middle (the live camera), and click the little ghost at the top (or swipe down from the top of the screen). You’ll be confronted with a menu that shows you about your profile, including your username and your name as it appears on other people’s phones. For instance, my username is “DanielHillMedia” but my name shows as “Daniel Hill”. You can change that if you’d like.
10. Click on the yellow icon with the dots. This is your snap code. It’s a specialized QR code that can lead users directly to your Snapchat page. Tap the circle at the bottom to take a profile picture (it’s actually a collage of 5 pictures).
11. Once you’ve taken that picture, click the < icon in the top right to Share it – put it on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and anywhere else you spend time.
12. Now search for people you want to follow. You can do that in a few different ways. Click the ghost at the top again (or swipe down) and choose “Add Friends”. From this menu, you can add by typing in their username (you could type “DanielHillMedia” to find me – no “@” sign needed) or if they’re in your phone’s contacts, Snapchat will find them automatically for you. You can also add them by Snapcode (remember the QR code with profile picture from before?) – if you see someone’s Snapcode on Instagram or elsewhere, take a picture (or screenshot it), open the app and search that way.
13. Now, there are 2 main ways to use Snapchat:
13A. Take a picture or 10 second video and send it directly to someone. This is similar to texting, in that it’s private. Take the picture, look for the the >> arrow in the bottom right and press it. Then choose who you want to send the picture to.
13B. Take a picture or 10 second video and post it to your story. This is similar to Instagram, in that it’s public. Take the picture, look for the box with a plus sign at the bottom of the screen, and press it. Now that was added to your story.
14. Watch the stories your friends have posted over the past 24 hours. If you find one picture of video is too long for you, tap on the screen to skip forward to the next section of their story.
15. Watch how your friends use the platform. What do you like about the way they use it? What do you not like? If you really like something they did, push the “Chat” button while their story is playing to send them a message about that particular section of their story.
16. See if anyone has watched your story. You can do that by tapping on the 3 dots next to “My Story”. It will show you how many people have watched, and if you watch your story and swipe up, you can see who exactly watched your story (extremely valuable information!)
There are many more advanced things you can do (filters! sending to multiple people at once! deleting something from your story!) but these are the basics to get you started. Snapchat doesn’t make their button actions very obvious, so occasionally you have to press a button then figure out what happened, but this guide should get you started.
Questions? Ask away! I’m looking to do a “Introduction to Snapchat” webinar soon, covering a lot of these steps and showing how to build a brand on the platform.