Snapchat is the red-headed stepchild that everybody loves to pick on. The platform that everyone loves to hate.
But the truth is, Snapchat is an invaluable tool for growing just about any business or personal brand.
It’s the cornerstone of candid, natural content creation in the real world.
And trust me, that content type is seriously lacking.
While Instagram is awesome for showcasing products and edited “best versions,” Snapchat kills it at being completely natural.
Snapchat users spend an average of 30+ minutes on the app daily, opening it more than 25 times in a single day.
That engagement is almost unheard of.
The social platform may take a bunch of heat from critics who compare it to Instagram’s astonishing 800 million monthly active users, but they’re dead wrong.
And while the two platforms may be similar, they can be used in dramatically different ways.
Snapchat isn’t Instagram, and Instagram isn’t Snapchat.
Here’s how to leverage Snapchat for business and personal branding to get your first 1,000 followers in 30 days.
Invite contacts & share your QR code on social and email.
The first step in gaining easy followers on Snapchat is leveraging your existing contacts and connections.
These will be the easiest followers you can get because chances are, they know you and will follow you back instantly.
Since Snapchat connects to your phone, you can easily allow it to access your contacts and social media platforms.
That means you can instantly add selected contacts or Facebook friends with just a few clicks.
When starting up your Snapchat, head to your profile and click on the “Add Friends” button:
From here, select the “Contacts” menu and click “Find Friends” to allow Snapchat access to your contacts and social profiles.
Then navigate back to “Add Friends.” In this section, Snapchat will have a long, curated list of everyone you can add with one tap.
Now just sit back, relax and wait for your friends and family to follow you back.
With this simple move, you should be able to secure a decent amount of followers to get the ball rolling.
Next, you can use the existing followers you have on any other social platforms to spread awareness of your new Snapchat profile.
One of my favorite examples of this technique being perfected is from Gary Vaynerchuk. On his Twitter, he’s amassed over 1.6 million followers.
And while that amount of followers and traction won’t be the case for you and me, other social platforms that you have are perfect places to promote a new one.
Why? Because people don’t just use one social platform. They use multiple.
Chances are, your followers on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram use Snapchat. Maybe not all of them, but some of them surely do.
To take advantage of this, Gary Vee promotes his Snapchat account using his unique QR code and direct instructions:
With Snapchat, you can generate a unique QR code that is shareable to anyone you send it to.
This makes it extremely easy for users to follow you. All they have to do is save the image, open Snapchat and import the picture.
To find your own Snapchat QR code, head to your profile on the mobile app and click on your profile name and image:
This will bring up a menu of three choices:
First, you can either share your Snapcode directly from your profile via email, text or social media.
But, for this step, I personally recommend that you simply save your Snapcode to your camera roll.
Let me explain why:
If users are newer to Snapchat, they might not know how to add you via the QR code function.
That’s why Gary Vee used instructions on his Twitter post about Snapchat:
To make the process easy and ensuring he gets the maximum carry-over of followers from each social platform that he shared the graphic on.
So for this step, select “Save Snapcode to Camera Roll.”
One of my favorite tools for creating fast graphics is Canva. Taking that newly created Snapcode from your camera roll, you can import it directly into Canva and create a graphic for social media.
Let me show you how:
First, fire up Canva and select the generic “Social Graphic” template.
In the image editor, head to the “Uploads” section and upload the Snapcode that you downloaded previously:
You can then choose from pre-made Canva templates for a design that fits your branding.
If you don’t want a pre-made template, you can always edit your own using more uploaded content or background colors:
In just a few minutes of editing and tweaking, I created this simple graphic to post on social channels that will drive tons of easy follows:
When creating your graphic, be sure to include simple instructions to reduce any potential friction by adding you.
Now take your graphic and spread it on your most active social channels.
Once you’ve done that, you can move onto your email list as a secondary way to drive social follows.
The key here is to provide incentives to following your Snapchat. You have to make it worthwhile for users.
If you don’t incentivize, you likely won’t get follows. Why? Because the offer has to be mutually beneficial.
If you are focusing on personal branding, can you offer them free content or a coupon for your online course?
If you sell products, can you offer them a 5-10% discount?
You get the point:
Use discounts, coupons or content to reward your loyal fans for following your Snapchat account.
Let’s recap your steps to get you tons of followers fast:
- Invite your contacts: this is an easy win. A quick way to get potentially hundreds of followers.
- Share your QR code: using Canva, craft a beautiful graphic with your Snapcode and use it on social media to spread the news.
- Email your subscribers: using that same graphic, email your subscribers with an incentive to bring in loyal followers who will buy from you.
Use Bitmoji and Augmented Reality to create viral content
Snapchat is a highly engaged platform. People spend a ton of time on the app daily. While that’s a great opportunity to capture attention, it also poses some serious challenges:
- Saturation: thousands of companies and brands use Snapchat, posting daily with excellent content. Topics have been covered from end to end, making viral content hard to create.
- Competition: With so many brands using Snapchat, getting attention is harder than ever, despite engagement being through the roof.
Luckily, Snapchat has a few tools up their sleeves that have shown serious potential for crafting viral content, even if your brand isn’t well-known.
Bitmoji is a key addition to Snapchat that has become a cornerstone of content.
Bitmoji allows you to customize a virtual avatar that looks exactly like you.
It can be used on your Snapcode, in actual snaps and photos and even messaging across Snapchat or other social platforms.
In 2016, Snapchat acquired Bitmoji’s parent company, Bitstrips, for nearly $70 million.
Bitmoji consistently ranks as a top application on mobile stores for iPhone and Android.
It’s safe to say that Bitmoji is catching fire and users are loving the customization. According to a ComScore study, Bitmoji has increased its unique user base by 5,210% since 2015.
Its ease of use with Snapchat makes it widely popular. Users are able to simply take a selfie and Bitmoji instantly builds a potential avatar for them:
Once in the app, you can edit everything from your hair color and style to clothing and even eye color:
The real big win with Bitmoji comes in the form of creating more dynamic content on Snapchat.
For example, you can easily integrate Bitmoji shots into any photo you take:
You can use the search bar to find relevant Bitmoji scenarios. Everything from specific foods to events and keywords will bring up new Bitmojis.
Setting up Bitmoji is extremely easy and can only improve and aid in your content creation.
To get started, download the application on your phone and connect the two.
From here, Bitmoji will prompt you to connect to Snapchat. Begin editing your avatar and it will quickly populate to your Snapchat profile, giving you new avatars to use in any photo you send to friends, followers and your story.
Using BitMoji can also aid in the use of augmented reality features on Snapchat. And the AR features of Snapchat are already proving to be viral.
You might remember seeing the dancing hot dog meme that blew up the Internet in 2017:
That originated using Snapchat’s AR developing tools.
Now brands are creating their own Snapcodes that unlock in-app AR features, allowing any user to create viral content:
That single hotdog AR character was shared more than 1.5 billion times in 2017.
It’s safe to say that augmented reality features are making content much more engaging.
So, how do you get started?
It’s easy. On your Snapchat, head over to take a new Snap, but click on the smiley face button next to your camera button:
This will instantly bring up a scrollable menu of augmented reality features that you can use for any photo:
Use these new and constantly updating AR features to create the most engaging, funny, viral content you can.
Run an interactive Snapchat giveaway
Everybody loves a good giveaway.
I mean, who doesn’t like getting free things?
It’s no secret that giveaways can have a huge impact on driving sales, followers or email list subscribers.
Don’t believe me? Let me give you a few examples.
Josh Earl of SublimeTextTips grew his email list by 187,000. He started with a mere 5,500 subscribers, growing it by 3,400%.
Now I know what you must be thinking:
Did he offer to give away a new car?? A new house?
Not even close. The total prize value of his giveaway was less than $100.
You don’t have to give away your life savings or a dream house to benefit from a giveaway.
Simply providing value to your target audience can result in tons of engagement.
Giveaways aren’t only for email lists or blogs. Snapchat giveaways can lead to massive increases in sales.
GrubHub recently conducted a Snapchat giveaway/competition, giving away a $50 gift card to the winners:
Nearly 33% of their followers on Snapchat participated in the competition. But not only did existing customers benefit, tons of new traffic flooded in.
They grew their already huge following by 20% from the giveaway.
Taco Bell has followed suit, creating small trivia games in which followers and new users can win gift cards:
The proof is in: Snapchat giveaways can result in big success when it comes to pleasing your current follower base and even growing it by reaching new interested users.
Consider creating a giveaway directly on Snapchat and promoting it on other social channels.
You can even partner up with other popular influencers in your niche to co-promote the giveaway.
Some of my favorite Snapchat giveaways have followed these themes and ideas:
- Local-based scavenger hunts
- Trivia questions
- Photo or hashtag contests
Try putting those to the test on your Snapchat to see which generates the best ROI.
Another technique that I’ve used before with great success is using a third-party source to host your giveaway.
Using Gleam, you can ensure that all entries to your giveaway follow your Snapchat account.
Gleam works with hundreds of account integrations from social to blogging and your website.
Through intense verification methods, they confirm that users follow your directions to be entered, ensuring that all giveaway or contest entries complete the rules.
Getting Snapchat followers is incredibly easy using Gleam. You can promote the link on outside platforms to reach wider audiences.
Meaning you don’t need to host the giveaway or contest only on Snapchat. With this method, you increase your chance of reaching a broad audience rather than just your current Snapchat following.
Plus, making an account with Gleam is free.
Once you sign up, you can get a giveaway live in just minutes. When it becomes live, you have a unique link that you can share with anyone:
Using a multi-entry system, Gleam will collect all of the data and automatically choose a winner for your giveaway when it ends.
It takes out all of the stress of managing typical giveaways that can get out of hand fast.
Want more followers on Snapchat? Consider running a giveaway.
But be sure that your giveaway prizes relate directly to your target audience. You don’t want to bring in thousands of followers that don’t like what you post on a daily basis.
For example, if you run a blog about jewelry, give away a piece of your jewelry. Provide value that attracts the audience you need.
Create engaging blog-style stories
Getting followers and keeping them takes more than giveaways. It also requires consistently great content to keep people entertained and following.
If you can’t consistently create content on Snapchat, you might not reach your follower goal.
Just recently, Snapchat announced that the Discover page would have fundamental changes.
Now, you can see popular content from those you follow and content that’s similar or even content that your friends follow.
This provides an excellent opportunity to capitalize on more followers. All you have to do is focus on creating the best content you can.
One of my favorite examples of content that keeps users engaged and coming back for more was from the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics on Snapchat:
Their Snapchat news story used a listicle style post to drive tons of clicks:
14 Secrets Olympians Won’t Tell You.
When you scroll on each page, you get to see one of the 14 different secrets:
Clicking on the right-hand side of each page brings users to the next secret, keeping them on the edge of their seats waiting for more.
One of my favorite aspects of the story was how it was leveraged to drive website traffic using a simple call to action:
With Snapchat’s swiping capabilities, you can link full articles from each slide.
Meaning you can tease content and stories on your Snapchat, but ultimately use those social visits for sales or leads on your site.
If you are struggling to find ways to create engaging stories like this on Snapchat, try thinking of them as a blog post.
You can even repurpose your blog content into new Snapchat stories.
For example, this recent post I wrote on Excel hacks could easily be broken down into seven different slides for my Snapchat story:
Take a look at any recent blog posts or pieces of content you’ve created.
Analyze them to see how you can split them into different slides for a Snapchat story. If you want to cover new topics, let Google do the work for you.
Searching for almost any topic on Google will give you multiple sub-topics to cover. For example, take a look at this search I did regarding the Olympics:
Notice the “People also ask” box? It gives me four topics instantly that I can use for a Snapchat story.
Each slide can cover a different question relating to the topic, giving you tons of content to work from.
You can bring up these topics with most Google searches. Cover topics that you know a lot about, or use them as an opportunity to research and share the news with your fans.
Create story-driven content that keeps people engaged and coming back for more.
Copy content ideas from the Discover page
When all else fails, competitor research should be your go-to technique for content ideas.
You can see what works and what doesn’t without taking the risk yourself.
Instead of spending hours on content creation that doesn’t drive follows, search existing popular content.
The best place to gather more information on content ideas is from the Discover page on Snapchat:
While some of the content on the Discover page contains paid placements, it still gives you an idea of what content succeeds.
Look for stories on the Snapchat Discover page that are labeled “Popular Story.” These are unpaid, organic posts that are gaining traction.
Mimic their style, tone, and ideas with your own spin.
With Instagram stealing the show, Snapchat has taken a backseat. It’s often put down and given negative press when compared to Instagram.
Instagram’s user base is more than 4x the size. But that doesn’t mean Snapchat can’t be used for business and personal branding.
In fact, its platform has amazing engagement. People log in nearly thirty times each day.
This opens the door for capturing tons of new followers who love using the application.
But getting your first 1,000 Snapchat followers isn’t easy. Following someone on Snapchat is harder than platforms like Instagram or Twitter.
To combat this, share your QR code on social media platforms to spread it like wildfire. Send it to your email list and provide incentives for people to follow you, like a five or ten-percent discount or free content.
Start populating your account with viral content using BitMoji and augmented reality features. These additions to Snapchat are proven to increase engagement.
Run interactive Snapchat giveaways directly on the platform, or use third-party services to drive follows on your most popular platforms.
Then create engaging stories like the Olympics so you can keep people coming back for more. If all else fails, search for content ideas on the Discover page to boost your traffic.
Snapchat isn’t dead. It’s alive, and the user base is active. Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to 1,000 followers in just a month, growing your brand and credibility in the process.
How do you plan to use Snapchat to gain more followers and build your brand?
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