Snapchat 101: Knowing the Basics


If you’re not already familiar with Snapchat and you’re hoping to market to millennials, this article is for you. Snapchat is been getting a lot of visibility lately, likely leaving you wondering, “What is Snapchat and how do I use it?”

Well, Snapchat is basically a photo and video messenger app that launched in 2011. The main appeal of this app is that these videos and photos can only last up to 10 seconds each and they then vanish from existence! Pretty sweet, huh? Snapchat is very user friendly…so user friendly, in fact, that even the technologically challenged folks could get the hang of it in no time! I’ll walk you through some of the main features to help you get a further look at why Snapchat has become one of the most popular smartphone apps out there.

  1. Videos vs. Photos

To start, when you open the app, you’ll see a large, round button at the bottom. This is where you determine whether you want to take a photo or a video. If you simply tap the button, you’ll take a picture. However, you’ll notice when you hold your finger down, it will initiate a video recording. Keep in mind…these videos only go for up to 10 seconds so make sure your timing is right if you’re taking a video of a friend, anticipating they’ll do something hilarious. Timing. Is. Everything.

  1. Recent History

The next feature is the small box to the left of the round button on the main screen. Tapping this will bring up your history of conversations with your Snap-buddies. Of course you can’t go back and see anything posted in your conversations, but it’s always nice to have a little reminder of who you might have embarrassingly snapped last night when you were out with your friends….

snapchat marketing for beginners

  1. To Selfie or Not to Selfie, That is the Question

Another great feature on the home page is the camera box in the top right corner. When the icon looks like a camera, it means you are taking a video or photo of something that your camera is facing. Say you’re hiking a 14er and you are in desperate need to take a photo to brag about how gorgeous the view is, make sure it’s the camera icon that pops up. If you’re lookin’ really good one day and need proof of this rare moment, tap the camera box and it will show your face on the screen instead! Selfie time!

  1. Why Can’t We Be (Snapchat) Friends?

The next main feature at the top of the home page is what I like to call the “Snapchat Man”. When you click on this little dude, a menu will drop down to help with any of your questions. Want to know who has added you? Click the little happy face and give people permission to be your Snapchat friends. Click the “Add Friends” button to find your friends on Snapchat. Furthermore, click the “My Friends” button to see your contacts in Snapchat (See? Pretty user friendly). At the top right, you’ll notice an icon for settings. This is where you can go to change anything from privacy settings to managing your conversations and personal info. Anything you could possibly need!

  1. Life Story

There have been a few relatively new features added to Snapchat and one of them is the Stories section. Stories can be a mix of photos and videos that last in your news feed for up to twenty-four hours.  This is where you can follow your favorite companies and their happenings such as ESPN, National Geographic, or the Food Network (along with many others). You, yourself, can also create stories! All you have to do is create a video/photo masterpiece and send it. Instead of clicking on a certain name in your contacts to send it to, select the “My Story” option and you’ll be able to show off your stuff to your friends.

  1. Can This Get Any Better?

Yes, yes it can. The last thing to be discussed is the awesome and newly added feature of filters. Can’t get enough of the filters accessible on Instagram? Well Snapchat feels it too and decided to add the option to use filters with your snaps. Wait, what?! I know. Make sure you give the app permission to detect your location and you’ll have yourself an awesome time looking through the possibilities of what you can choose to depict your location. Just take a snap and swipe the screen. There are so many selections for your every snapping need. You’ll see filters like time, temperature, cute little pictures, photo filters and so much more so you can express your current state/mood to its fullest potential…thanks Snapchat for understanding us.

snapchat marketing

Hopefully this has shed some light on what Snapchat is and the basic functions that it offers. If you’re curious, download it and play around on it. It’s FREE.

Subscribe & Get Your Free E-book “What the Best Brands on Social Media Do Differently”

* indicates required

Blue Bear Creative is a Denver social media agency focused on helping food and beverage brands market to millennials.