Why Snapchat is the Perfect Platform For Storytellers
As a blogger or writer, you most certainly have a Facebook page, Twitter profile, LinkedIn account and probably even an Instagram or Pinterest board. So, why are you not also on Snapchat? As of May 2017, Snapchat has 166 million active daily users, 301 million active monthly users, and 3 billion (yes, that’s a B) video snaps a day. And while Snapchat is seeing a downturn in users with Instagram and others nearly copying the wildly popular video app, these numbers are still impressive. It may even be beneficial for you to practice getting comfortable in front of the camera on a less popular app before jumping head first into Facebook Live broadcasts. So, what are you waiting for…there are millions of story-hungry viewers waiting for you out there!
But Snapchat is Only For Teens and Porn, Right?
Perhaps you have been dissuaded from joining because of the perception that Snapchat is only for teenagers and people sending pictures of their junk (yeah, but it happens on Twitter too and that didn’t stop you, so don’t worry about it). While it is certainly popular with the majority of 13- to 34-year-old smartphone users, it is now gaining momentum with old people (and by old people, I mean anyone over 35). And there is nothing wrong with that! Snapchat is incredibly fun, easy to use, and probably the most personal social media platform out there today. Unlike Facebook, Twitter, and the other popular platforms that encourage you to gain a huge amount of followers, whether you know them or not, Snapchat encourages more of a one-on-one relationship between users. It is not about the number of fans you have, but the amount of interaction you have with your followers. Snapchat profiles don’t even show how many people follow you, so gaining thousands of followers just for the public bragging rights is a moot point.
So, What Is The Point?
Well, I’m glad you asked. It’s all about creating quality content that your family, friends, or fans would want to follow. Rather than creating repetitive messages that you are most likely posting to your other social media pages right now, it is highly focused on storytelling. Ahhhh, and that’s where it starts to get interesting, particularly for all those storytelling writers out there! While you can still take individual, standalone pictures, the fun part of Snapchat is how you can create little stories through a series of 10-second videos that automatically disappear 24 hours later. That might sound strange, but it is actually a little bit of genius, making it easy to tell stories quickly and keep things fresh. Creating stories through a series of quick videos is like stringing together individual sentences to create a paragraph…hey, that sounds like what us writers do! Whether you are posting pictures, videos, or a combination of both, the point of Snapchat is to put those images together into funny, interesting, poignant, creative, persuasive, or informative new ways.
Now We Get to Ruin Another Cool Thing For Teens!
This is why Snapchat is bursting out of the teen zone and becoming the preferred platform for social marketers, life coaches, bloggers, musicians, teachers, fashion designers, advertisers, filmmakers, writers, and anyone else who has a story to tell. At its core, Snapchat is designed to connect people together on a more personal level. While you might have hundreds or even thousands of followers on other social media platforms, are you really communicating with them in a meaningful way? Probably not. During the early days of Twitter, before all the fun was killed by nonstop marketing messages, it was an easy way to connect with people around the world. But those days are long gone.
Snapchat is For Storytellers, Not Advertisers (wWell, sorta)
Snapchat today is what other social media sites used to be…a fun way to share stuff with other people. Hopefully, it will stay that way. You cannot just inundate your Snapchat story with endless, repetitive marketing pushes. Well, you can, but no one will watch your story because who wants to watch an endless series of advertisements? No one. Snapchat requires that you be a little more creative than that. You know the writer’s golden rule…Don’t tell the story to your readers, show it to them. This golden rule also applies to your Snapchat story. Rather than constantly telling people what a great storyteller you are by promoting endless advertisements about your book or blog, you can show people what a great storyteller you are on Snapchat. By creating short stories that showcase your humor, style, ideas, and personality, you are connecting with viewers on a more personal and intimate level of communication. Isn’t that our goal as bloggers and writers, anyway? We don’t write for the sake of putting down words so that they can be printed and stored on a shelf where no one will read them. We write because we have something to say and have a deep desire to connect with others through our words. So, take your message to where the people who want to hear your message are at these days…and see you on Snapchat!
Tips For Starting Out On Snapchat
- Show your everyday life and keep it personal. Snapchat viewers want a glimpse into your daily life, so don’t be shy and show them who you really are as a person.
- Snapchat videos disappear after 24 hours, so don’t be afraid to read excerpts from a blog post or a current book project. By the time someone thinks to steal it, it’s gone.
- Show followers your writing process from start to finish by creating a diary story on Snapchat. Saying your ideas out loud just might help you work through a story.
- Engage with your followers by asking for suggestions or story ideas for you to write. Snapchat is a great way for collaborating with others and soliciting new ideas.
- You can still promote your book, blog, or services, but do it subtly. You can snap a link and talk about what you are promoting, but stay away from hard sales.
- Don’t be shy! Once you get the hang of it, Snapchat is addictive and fun. Be silly and be yourself. Remember, it all disappears in 24 hours, so let loose!
- Play around with the face animations, image filters, bitmojis, texts, and finger painting tools. Snapchat adds new features every day, so have fun and get creative.
- Interact with other bloggers by commenting on their stories. Snapchat makes it easy to chat live with other users (it’s the second word in Snapchat after all).
- Publish your GhostCode everywhere. This is the square, yellow ghost icon. It is your personal ID and people can just scan it with their phones to follow you.
- Promote your stories on your other social media sites with screen captures to showcase what you are posting on your Snapchat account.