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#HCUASocial: The Basics of Snapchat

Last week, we looked into Snapchat and asked if it's the right platform for your credit union. If you answered yes or maybe, I encourage you to first test out the app before creating a Snapchat account for your credit union. Read below for where to begin and Snapchat basics. 

Getting Started

First, you'll need to download the app from iTunes or Google Play. Setting up your account will take just a few minutes. 

  1. Open Snapchat and click "Sign Up." 
  2. Enter the requested info - email address, password, birthday, etc. 
  3. Next, you'll provide a username (max of 15 characters). Note: When you create your credit union's account I suggest using a username similar to the Facebook/Twitter ones.
  4. The final step will ask you to enter and verify your mobile number.

Once you're done with that, you can adjust the settings of your account. Click the ghost at the top of the camera screen, and then click the gear in the top right corner. From here you can adjust your name, privacy settings, enabling push notifications, etc. 

Basic Snapchat Lingo

Here are a few terms you'll need to become familiar with before your Snapchat adventure:

  • Snaps - short, 10-seconds-or-less photos or videos that "self-destruct." These are sent directly to friends. 
  • Stories - these are snaps that are broadcasted to everyone (or only friends depending on your privacy settings) and these are live for 24 hours. You can follow brands and public figures' stories as well.
  • Chats - one-on-one text chatting feature, but these messages will disappear with the snap. 
  • Lens - this is like a filter but can only be used on faces (read more in the selfie section). Unfortunately, this feature is not available on all mobile devices. 

To take a photo, you'll want to be on that camera screen, and you'll click the circle at the bottom (pretty similar to taking a photo on an iPhone). If you want to take a video, you'll hold down the circle button until you've captured everything you want to film. After you've taken a photo or video, you'll notice a ton of new icons. You can add drawings, filters, text, stickers/emojis and add multiple frames to a story. Check out the key, pictured at right (click to expand the image). 

Pro tip: After taking a snap, you can apply a filter to the photo/video by swiping right or left. Some locations and events have special filters that you can add to your snaps as well. Try it out! 

Snaps vs Stories

So you know the major difference between snaps and stories - snaps are directed to specific friends or contacts and stories are pushed to everyone (or friends). In addition, stories can contain multiple snaps, and can be very engaging. You can get more out of the analytics for stories because you can see how many people viewed all or specific frames of your story. Pretty cool! 

When you have new snaps or stories to view, you'll notice that the icons at the bottom are highlighted certain colors. The "quote bubble" icon at left is for snaps; the three circles icon is for stories. Check out the icon/color key at right to learn more (click the image to expand). 

The Art of Selfies

Snapchat is THE platform for selfies. One of the platforms silliest (and perhaps the most popular) features is Lens. You can use this in or out of selfie mode BUT you have to "map" a face before you can apply it. To do this, you touch/hold your finger on a face. Below are the steps to apply these filters from selfie mode. 

  1. From the camera screen, you'll click on the icon at the top right of your screen (it looks a bit like a camera). 
  2. Once you see your face on the screen, click/hold your finger on it until Snapchat "maps" your face. 
  3. Then you'll see a bunch of circles with different filters at the bottom of the screen.
  4. Click on a circle to apply the filter. Scroll right to browse them.
  5. After you find one you like, take a picture/video and share like you normally would. 

After you've experimented with Snapchat a bit, you'll want to start thinking next steps. Check out this in-depth guide to Snapchat for businesses from Social Media Examiner. 

That was quite a bit of information AND there are still a number of features we didn't even discuss! If you have questions, please contact me via email or phone, 314.542.1349.