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Getting to Know the Ghost: The Complete Beginners Guide to S…

This post has been refreshed for 2017 👻

Snapchat is the latest platform taking the social media world by storm.

Since its launch, in September 2011, Snapchat has shown incredible growth. The Venice, California-based company now boasts over 161 million daily active users and 10 billion video views, daily.

And with consumer attention comes ad dollars, with many major brands turning to Snapchat as a way to connect with their audience. Gatorade is one of the brands getting involved; they ran a sponsored Lense during the Super Bowl and generated over 100 million views.

So how can you get in on the action? And how can you use Snapchat to grow your business?

This post will give you the lowdown on Snapchat, from the basics of how it works to 5 super-actionable tips for brands and businesses from marketer, Everette Taylor.

Ready? Let’s get started 🔥

Getting to Know the Ghost: A Handy Guide to Using Snapchat for Marketers

What is Snapchat?

In a social media age where saving and preserving moments has become the norm, Snapchat found a way to go against the grain.

With Snapchat, every moment is temporary. What’s shared is rarely saved. It’s about in the moment connections.

In its rawest form, Snapchat enables us to share temporary, self-destructing photos, videos, and messages (also known as ‘Snaps’). Images and videos will last anywhere from one to ten seconds, and users can embellish each Snap with captions, drawings, and filters.

Once a Snap has been viewed, it’s gone forever.

Though the temporary nature of Snapchat may sound a little strange, when you think about how we interact with each other day-to-day, Snapchat mimics that behavior closer than any other social network, as Gary Vaynerchuk explains:


The way Snapchat works is much closer to how we communicate face to face than any other social network. What I mean by this is that: when we talk to each other, passing in the halls or just living out our lives, those moments disappear. Snapchat emulates that behavior and psychology.

Sidenote: The infamous ghost in Snapchat’s logo is named Ghostface Chillah, based on Ghostface Killah of the Wu-Tang Clan.

Snapchat 101: Everything you need to know about getting started with Snapchat

So we’ve covered a little about what Snapchat is, but how exactly does Snapchat work? Let’s dive into some of the main features, and frequently asked questions.

Snaps, Stories, and Chat

What’s a Snap?

Snap is the word used to describe disappearing photos and videos – the main functionality of the app. When you send a Snap to a friend, you can make it last anywhere between one to ten seconds and then once it’s been viewed, the Snap will disappear.

What’s a story?

A Story is a collection of Snaps played one after the other. Stories, unlike Snaps sent to individual friends, can be viewed by anyone who follows you. Stories last up to 24 hours after being posted and people who follow you can re-watch stories as many times as they like.

Pro tip: When you’re watching a Snapchat story, you can reply to a particular photo or video by swiping up from the bottom of the screen.

What are Memories?

With Snapchat Memories, you can now, for the first time, share photos and videos captured outside of Snapchat to your Story.

Memories enable Snapchat users to tell bigger stories that incorporate more than just in-the-moment photos and video. Instead of purely spontaneous content, Snapchat can now be used to share much more thoughtfully — similar to the approach you’d take with platforms like Instagram and Facebook, where the content you post doesn’t disappear.

How does chat work?

Snapchat also has a Chat feature, to start a conversation with someone just swipe right on their name from your recent Snaps page. Like Snaps, Chat messages disappear once you’ve read them.

More than 60 percent of users use the app’s chat function every day.

You can find out more about how Chat works in the below video: