Want to Win on Snapchat? Try These Three Things

Admittedly, I don’t know exactly what this guy is doing, but I’m betting it’s Snapchat.

So here’s the deal, Medium friends. Snapchat is exploding right now. BUT, with any bubble, there is bound to be a burst.

Already I’m starting to feel the way I was with Twitter — I’ve followed too many people. I’m starting to get a little overwhelmed by the sheer noise in my stories.

This is a critical time for anyone trying to make an impact on this platform. The good snappers will rise to the top, getting exponential growth simply because Snapchat is hot.

And the bad ones? Well, the unfollow button isn’t that far away.

Here are three ways to step your game up right now.

1. Get your picture out of my face

If I wanted to take some time to gaze at your artistry, I’d be on Instagram. Sure, you can (and should) take awe-inspiring pictures on Snapchat, but don’t you dare put them up for 10 seconds. 3 or 4 is best.

Don’t think that’s enough time? That’s cool. Now someone will have to go watch your story again if they want to see the picture.

What a disaster. </sarcasm>

They key with Snapchat is to remember most people are going to get your whole day in just a couple minutes. They won’t sit through 9 seconds of nothing moving, and if you try and force it, they’ll just tap-tap-tap on through without absorbing anything you wanted them to anyway.

2. Watch your stories after you post them

Guess what Peyton Manning and Cam Newton have been doing this week after winning their Championship games?

Watching film. Preparing themselves for what they can do better.

I’m not necessarily suggesting you should get NFL-level serious about Snapchat, but if you plan to grow an audience or market anything (even if it’s yourself) — you’ve got to have a sense of what your stories are looking like.

Here’s what I’d recommend:

  • Snap for a day as normal
  • Download the story at the end of the day
  • Give yourself a week to forget how awesome you are*
  • Now watch the story and give yourself some honest critique.

*This step is critical. You won’t see your flaws if you’re standing to close to the work.

What you’ll find, most likely, is that you aren’t as good as you thought you were. This is the best conclusion you can possibly come to because guess what? Now that you can admit that, you can get better.

Stephen King doesn’t publish the first draft of whatever he writes. No, he gets the first draft out, finds the good bits of the stories to make them shine, and then takes away what is boring or irrelevant. You should do the same with your stories.

*Bonus points* — Go super analytical see if your views are dropping off at a certain point in your story. Are people leaving because of what you’re snapping or because of how long your story is? I had a lot of positive feedback on my recent snaps through NYC, but I also had a pretty big drop of rate midway through every day. 3 minutes can be an eternity on Snapchat.

3. String threads together

The best storytellers can always stay on topic from beginning to end.

You don’t have to have only one story throughout the day, but even two or three snaps strung together feels nice.

Honestly, you don’t have to craft an elaborate story. One my friends recently snapped her way through a big dinner with the caption “WAYYY Up I feel blessed” over every course.

It only took a little extra effort on her part, but the end result was hysterical. She took potentially boring food pictures (which we all see from everyone) and gave them a little life.

Your snaps should never be random. They should be… wait for it… telling a story.

Make a little magic. If you don’t have an idea how to tell a story, keep this simple structure in mind:

Every story has a beginning (exposition)

Set up what’s going on — what are you about to do? Go to the grocery store? Head into work? Get your workout on? Travel?

Give people details on what you’re about to do.

Every story has a middle (conflict)

The one thing in common with every good story is that nothing ever goes exactly as planned. Travel is perfect for this. Is your flight delayed? SNAP IT. Did your bags get lost? SNAP IT. Got a flat tire? SNAP IT!

The important thing is to stay positive while going through the middle. You’re the main character in your snap story.

And people hate whiny main characters.

Every story has an ending (resolution)

Don’t forget to give your stories a nice conclusion. Make sure to snap whenever you arrive, whenever you survive the grocery store, or whenever your bags show up at your hotel. (I swear the “hands in the air” emoji was made for this).

People are drawn to completion. Closing that loop keeps your audience from getting hung out to dry.

EDIT: You can now add me on Snapchat by clicking right here if you’re on your phone.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to share this with everyone you know who needs a Snapchat boost.

Also, don’t miss this massive post — Your Complete Snapchat Guide. I’ve got all the details, strategy, and context you could stand around Snapchat in there.