Lately I have been getting a lot of questions about Snapchat from friends and followers. The questions usually look something like this?
How do I grow my following on Snapchat?
Is there any value in using Snapchat for my business? How do I use it for my business?
Over a year ago I signed up for Snapchat, opened the app, clicked around, closed it and deleted it from my phone. I totally didn't understand why I would ever spend time on this app. The only person I ever text photos to is Brooke and they were normally of June and I didn't want them to disappear after six seconds. At that time the story feature of the app wasn't what it is today, and I just couldn't wrap my head around why I would create content for walk in love. that would end up disappearing.
One of the 10th grade guys in my small group used Snapchat a lot, mostly to flirt with girls, and I remember telling him, "I just don't understand Snapchat. I don't know why I would ever use it." 😂
Fast forward to August 2015, and I am starting to see the app rise in the App store and I hear Gary Vaynerchuk, my favorite business guru, start talking about how "now is the time to go all in on Snapchat." So, I re-downloaded the app and started using it more regularly. In just seven months I have been able to grow my personal Snapchat story views by hundreds and walk in love's by thousands.
Below I'm going to do my best to explain what I am doing on Snapchat in hopes that it helps you grow your story views!
1. Tell An Actual Story 🎥
Too many people just post random Snaps and they don't actually tell a story. The first "story" I told on Snapchat was about Brooke and I making popcorn to watch Netflix. In 15ish Snaps, I showed Brooke making the popcorn, me singing about the popcorn and us starting to eat the popcorn to watch our show. It was literally a story about popcorn. 😂 That night I had friends texting me telling me they were cracking up while watching those Snaps. They enjoyed it because it was an actual story. It had a beginning, middle and end. I could have very easily just taken a photo of a bowl of popcorn with text that said, "Popcorn and Netflix." People would have clicked past that and, chances are, no one would have cared. Too many people are just posting a Snap here and there, which is okay occasionally, but that's not really using the "story" mode of Snapchat to it's fullest potential. Tell the story of you going to Target, or getting your coffee or of your workout at the gym. If people are following you on Snapchat they want to see that! Don't be afraid of going overboard on the amount of Snaps it takes to tell someone how you got from your house to Panera. Tell simple stories like that, or tell long stories like working on your house for weeks to get ready for a party. I have done both!
On the business side of things, we do post more random Snaps, just so our story always has something in it, but when we can tell a full story of us taking product photos, or working on blog posts, or creating something, we do! That's always preferred!
Again, it's called a story and people are ready to watch one. People love telling good stories, so if you show them a one on your feed, they might be more likely to tell their friends about it - which could lead to another Snapchat follower!
2. Don't Be Someone Else 💯
When I started really using Snapchat, I was only following Gary Vaynerchuk, and watching his story, so naturally I started to mirror what he did. He encourages people in their businesses and tells them to just do it and stop making excuses. He does it while saying the F-word a lot, which isn't my style, but encouraging people in business is something that I really like to do, but it's not totally who I am. I also like to sing, have fun and interact with my family, something Gary doesn't do on social. Once I started to lean into the person that I am on Snapchat, my following started to increase rapidly. Not only that, but I started to see people tweet and post about how much they were enjoying my stories on Facebook and Twitter!
I think the word "authentic" is so overused in such an obnoxious way on social media right now, but if you want to grow on Snapchat be authentic, like the real authentic, not the fake I am trying to copy someone else authentic. Snapchat actually is the most raw and authentic social media on the market today. It's not edited, color corrected or flashy. It's just you with a front facing camera doing yo thang. There is no room for bull-crap and if you try to be anyone than yourself people will see through it and stop watching. Be the best version of yourself on Snapchat and lean into that whole heartedly. Anytime I ask Brooke, "You think I should post that?" She responds, "If you like it, then it's worth posting." If you want to jump completely into the Snapchat world leave the editing and touch-ups to your Instagram. Be the real version of yourself. I think the app is growing because that's what people want to see!
3. Use Your Content Elsewhere 📱💻
Two months ago I had the idea to create a "reality show" based off my Snapchat called, "Oh Snap! It's Brooke + T.J." The first "episode" was recorded during the massive blizzard that hit the Northeast. I saved all my Snaps from the day, added a little intro and posted it to YouTube. It didn't go viral or get an enormous amount of views. Currently it has 171 on YouTube and 237 on Facebook. Instead of letting all my content die on Snapchat, never to be seen again, I let it live on Facebook and YouTube. I don't save every Snap, but instead I save the occasional day here and there, so my followers without Snapchat can see it and engage with the content I am creating. I am confident that if people are watching episodes of "Oh Snap!" on Facebook or YouTube they will follow me on Snapchat the second they get the app. They aren't viral videos by any means, but some of the episodes have over 1,000 views between Facebook and YouTube. So, over 1000 people are engaging with my content outside of Snapchat. That is worth the time it takes to upload. Take your best Snaps and upload them to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter or Instagram. Let them have more life elsewhere to grow your following!
Here is one of our longer episodes of "Oh Snap!" While the YouTube views on it aren't high, it was viewed over 2,000 times on Facebook!
4. Create Snapchat-Only Content 📲
I know I just told you to use your content elsewhere, but on the other side of that, I will tell you to keep some of your content just on Snapchat. Snapchat is the "gated community" of social medias. The only way people can see what's inside the gate is by going through the process of finding and following you. There is no discovery page, no hashtags, no following the people you follow elsewhere. It's straight up old school marketing - trying to get people to watch your story by telling them to watch your story. I think one of the best ways to get people to climb the gates to see what's on the inside is to entice them with the occasional exclusive content. Every now and then post to Instagram, or wherever, that people have to see what you just did on Snapchat. Get your followers on other social platforms to climb the walls of your Snapchat and step inside your story.
One way we did this for walk in love. was by having a Snapchat Easter egg hunt. We drove all around our hometown hiding Easter eggs with gift cards in them. The only way to get the clues as to where the eggs were was to follow us on Snapchat. In two days of hiding eggs, we doubled our story views. Creating unique content for Snapchat will always help your story grow! Here are a few of the many Snaps walk in love. was sent when people found an egg! It was so much fun, added lots of value to our customers, and grew our Snapchat following!
5. Be A Super Fan Of Your Snapchat 😀
If you want more people to watch your story stop posting to your other socials things like,
"Well, guess maybe I am giving this whole Snapchat thing a try, follow me if you want, but whatever, it's not that cool, if you aren't too busy, maybe you might, be able to maybe, follow me if you want to, maybe..."
If you want people to add you on Snapchat then you should be a fan of what you are doing on Snapchat. Too many people under sell what they do with "false humility." Be proud of the story you are telling and ask people to follow it! There is nothing wrong with that. If you aren't a fan of what you are doing, why would expect anyone else to be?
6. Pimp That Ghost 👻
If you want to make an epic run at growing your story views on Snapchat you will need to tell more people you are on Snapchat. Here are some easy ways to do that.
- Have your Snapchat username in your Instagram + Twitter bios.
- If you have a blog, make sure your Snapchat ghost is there! On your side bar, or footer! Or "About Page"
- When you have a great story going, post to Instagram a corresponding photo telling people to "see more on Snapchat".
- Have days where you answer questions on Snapchat, if that's something you like doing. I love doing it!
- At walk in love. we have a little cards that we put in every order that have our ghost on it. If you sell something, send the ghost with every order! It's so easy!
- I recently told a hand type artist to figure out if she can paint her Snapchat ghost, so that shows up on Instagram and isn't the same ghost that everyone else posts. I think if you make a template and get the dots just right it will work! Using your ghost creatively will probably lead to a few followers!
- Post the occasional Snapchat Ghost to Twitter and Facebook. Remind people you use Snapchat.
7. Be Consistent ⏰
Consistency is the key to all social media. If you can create good content in a consistent manner you will grow. I really try to have something on my story at all times. If it's the number one app in the App Store right now, that means people are checking it non-stop. I want my story and my business to be there whenever they are so I can keep reminding them that we exist. Hopefully that constant reminder will eventually lead to a t-shirt sale!
8. Use Snapchat As a Customer Service Platform 📞
Let's be real. The internet has made us all lazier. We want people to tell us exactly what we want, when we want it. Which is why I try to answer as many questions as possible on Snapchat. It's the new Twitter customer service channel, but unlike Twitter, you can actually type back a full response and not spell "you" with just a "u", which is just the worst.
9. Be Ready To Change With Snapchat 🔔
I don't know if you heard, but Instagram is changing 😂! Facebook has also changed a few times and so has Twitter. All socials will change because of the way we interact with and use the internet as a whole changes. Be ready for that change on Snapchat. Adapt to the social media instead of throwing a pitty party every time change comes. Be ready to analyze the change and come up with a way you can use it to grow your story view or brand.
10. Celebrate Any Growth 🎉
I am not DJ Khaled or Kylie Jenner, who are the two most viewed people on Snapchat. I think we can see an image like the one below showing a screen shot of DJ Khaleds views and think, "I will never be there, so what's the point?" Even if you start just getting one more view on your story than you did last week that is growth - and all growth is good growth. Who knows? That one new person might lead to thousands of dollars in sales for your business or might be the person who offers you a sweet job! Celebrate all growth, no matter if you are going from 10 views to 11 or 1,000 views to 10,000.
BONUS - Custom Geo-Filters 🎯
I have not personally used a Snapchat Custom Geo Filter, but I can't wait until the opportunity presents itself! These are going to be the social media add-ons for all events in the future. If your brand, business or organization is having a big event, use this new feature Snapchat introduced! I was just telling a friend of mine who runs the social media for a food truck that she should use it when they launch their summer opening this year!
I don't know how helpful all these tips will be in the future of Snapchat, but it's what is working for me and my company right now. You might read this and think, "Geez, all this guy cares about is views, that's so beneath me ... blah blah blah." Well, when you run a business and want to grow it and sell more, the amount of followers, views, likes and so on does matter. The more people I can get looking at walk in love. shirts, the more chances I have to sell one. Do the amount of views I get define me? Absolutely not. But I do see the value in them and if you want to grow your business or brand, you should too.
And while I've got you feeling pumped up about Snapchat, go ahead, ADD ME!