Snapchat app - Tap to take a photo. Hold to take a video.

 I first heard of Snapchat when Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia and Serial Entrepreneur, hyped it as the next Facebook. Already juggling a few other social media apps I hesitated to play the role of early adopter and see where it would go, like I am sure many people did. Today Snapchat is the 3rd most used social app behind Facebook and Instagram. I’ve been using it for a few months now and there is a unique charm to this thing called Snapchat.

To those unfamiliar, Snapchat at first may not scream out as a practical necessity, but for those who do use it, the necessity is in the creative fun it inspires. This application is based on a few things, but the core of the apps is the fleeting nature of its content. Photographs and (vertical) video, or snaps, last only one viewing of up to 10 seconds or, if you put it in your story, up to 24 hours. The other elements to this Snapchat sensation is it is only usable on mobile devices.

Getting Started

To get a taste of the fun download the free app to your mobile device. When first started, the main Snapchat interface may look a little disorienting, but it is simple enough if you build from the basics. For example, to shoot a video snap, you hold down the circle trigger at the bottom of the screen and just tap to take a still snap. From there these snaps will be sent to either selected friends or every friend on your list. These images will only be viewable for a single viewing of up to 10 seconds.

 When first started, the main Snapchat interface may look a little disorienting, but it is simple enough if you build from the basics.

The Snap Chat story option I spoke of earlier is a way to share the fun of Snapchat where the content you send out to the public will be viewable for 24 hours. This option allows subscribers to add snaps to an ongoing list of snaps that can span throughout a day, showing the moments between Instagram and Facebook, where images seemed to be a bit more calculated and perfectly edited. With Snapchat there is less of that as the image quality captured is low, yet audio is still important, as always. The limited life span and then disappearing never to reappear and haunt you before your next interview or the next family gathering may be another draw of the app.

What’s your story?

The Snapchat story option is the most dynamic feature, which I feel appeals to everyone’s desire to share moments of their life, their work or projects allowing a bit of fun and mischief to arise creating something that sometimes can be more genuine than the identity you present on other social media applications.

To add any video or still snap to your story, just press the box merged with a plus sign and this will add it to your ongoing Snapchat story where it is now viewable to those on your friends list. Using the touch screen, you can draw on a snap still or snap video and by adding filters you can create some interesting interactions with friends and those who follow you. The ability to draw, add filters and emojis on individual snaps before sending them out allows each author an incredible amount of creativity to enhance the otherwise standard and random snaps. Embracing the playfulness of the app is key using the app effectively.

From a Marketing Standpoint

It’s inevitable that Snapchat will be used to market products to its loyal users be it through Snapchat stories, as Taco Bell did to introduce it’s new flavored taco. Similarly, the hit show “Pretty Little Liars,” which airs on ABC, uses Snap Chat to promote it’s new season. For the video producer, building a Snapchat following and pushing your content  through that network through individual snaps can be a great way of driving traffic to your Youtube channel or website. Marketers are on the lookout to develop the right tactics to get to the consumer, but as of yet Snapchat still has that fun insider feel to it that can be used to your advantage as a content maker.

So if you have yet to give Snap Chat a try, consider reaching for your phone and downloading the app to start snapping away building a Snapchat story that shows how fleetingly fun life can be.

Marc Johnson is a University of Chico graduate, a lover of the creative arts, avid photographer, with an undying entrepreneurial spirit.

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