10 Tips for Getting Started on Snapchat
You’ve done it; you’ve taken the leap and joined the legions of SnapChatters. You are ready to get in on the buzz and excitement of this rapidly growing platform. But once you open the app, what’s next? Can I edit snaps? Who can see them? What is a Snapcode? Whether you are snapping for business or personal fun, here are 10 tips to help turn you into a SnapChat master.
- Your Profile GIF – Not a requirement, but adding a GIF to your profile adds a bit of personalization. GIFs will appear next to your name or when your friends click on your name in the platform. To add or change your GIF, navigate to the ghost icon on the camera screen and click on your Snapchat Snapcode (the yellow box with the white ghost, more on that later). Press the capture photo button and the app will count you down before taking a series of images that will become your GIF.
- Filters, Stickers, & Text – Pictures and videos are great, but half of the fun of SnapChat is what you can add to your content. After taking a photo or video (hold down the capture button for video), use the icons on the top right of the screen to add text, draw on your picture, or add emoji stickers. Stickers can be moved, resized, or rotated once added. Use two fingers to rotate or resize the stickers. When drawing, change your color selection by tapping on your desired color on the color bar. Text can be added using the “T” icon in the top right. Finally, after taking a picture or video, swipe left or right to add filters to your snaps. Continue to swipe to view all of the options. Swiping on a video also gives you the option to speed up or slow down the video.
- Editing Snap Duration & Saving Snaps – Before you send your snap you may want to save it to your camera roll or change how long picture will display (videos will play the full duration you recorded). The save icon is located in the middle of the lower left hand side of your screen. To change the snap duration, click on the far left icon on the lower left and scroll to your selected second count.
- Your Story – Adding snaps to your story allows your friends to see that image for a full 24 hours. You can add as many images to your story as you like, with each image vanishing as its 24 hours expire. To add to your story, you can either select “My Story” on the top of your friends list or click the quick add button on the right of the lower left hand options panel. Using quick add will send your snap to your story but does not allow you to send the snap as a private message to anyone else. If you would like to see who has viewed your story, navigate to the story page via the icon in the lower right of your camera screen. You will see “My Story” at the top with three vertical dots to the right. Select the snap you wish to view and tap the up arrow at the bottom of the screen to see who has viewed the snap.
- Deleting Snaps from Your Story – Whoops, you misspelled something on that last snap? If you sent it in a direct message to a friend there is no way to get rid of it, however if it was posted to your story you have theoption to delete it. To delete a snap from your story, navigate to the story page and click the three dots to open your story and select the snap you want to delete. Once the snap opens select the trash can in the lower right hand corner.
- Chat – SnapChat isn’t all visuals, you can chat with friends too! To open a chat, navigate to your inbox (square icon in lower left of the camera screen). If you have recently sent a snap or received one from the friend you want to chat with, swipe right over their name in the list. Chats function like snaps and will disappear once messages are received and the chat box is closed. If the desired friend isn’t in your recent snaps, select the chatbox icon in the top left of your inbox screen to see a list of all of your friends and select who you would like to chat with.
- Privacy – Depending on how you plan to use SnapChat, you will want to select different privacy settings. For personal use, you may choose to only allow people you accept as friends to send you snaps and see your stories. Brands on the other hand may want to allow fans to follow them but not send them snaps. To view and edit these settings, navigate to the ghost icon from the camera screen and select the gear icon in the upper right corner. Scroll to “Who Can…” and select who is able to contact you (send you snaps and chats directly) and who can view your story.
- Discovering New Users – One of SnapChat’s weaknesses is the lack of an easy user discovery process. When you first log in to Snapchat you are prompted to allow SnapChat to access your contacts and display who in your phonebook is already on the platform. While this will likely lead you to the people you communicate most with, it will not help you find accounts owned by people you do not have in your phone. To follow brands, celebrities, or entertainers you will need either their user name or their Snapcode. A Snapcode is a unique QR code that allows you to add friends by taking a picture of the code. Access this feature by first taking a picture of the profile code and saving it to your device. Open SnapChat and navigate to the ghost icon on the main screen and select “Add Friends.” Click “Add by SnapCode” from the list and select the image with the code from your camera roll. This will automatically add the user to your friends list. You are also able to add users by username from the Add Friends screen.
- SnapChat Discover – Discover channels are semi permanent channels purchased by brands and publishers that publish new content everyday. The current lineup includes brands such as Cosmo, BuzzFeed, CNN, and ESPN. The content on each of these channels lives on the platform for 24 hours and offers users an interactive experience with the brands. Unlike regular snaps, Discover channel content may contain several layers that are accessed by scrolling up on a selected screen. Instructions on how to access the content will be displayed within the channel. Discover channels are accessed from the Stories screen and will appear without the user having to follow the brands. 5 channels appear at the top of Stories screen by default; scroll to the right or click the globe icon in the upper right to view all channels.
- Live Stories – Live Stories feature snaps captured at specific events from around the world. Events include major sporting events, festivals, and even the class of 2016 graduation ceremonies. If you are within the range set for a specific event you will be served the option to add your snap to the event’s story.