Get Started With Snapchat: A Guide For “Older People”

Ben Matthews

By Ben Matthews

In Blog, Empower Life, Moments

Reading Time: 3 minutes

For late adopters, Snapchat can be a confusing social media tool.

Forget about integrating Snapchat into your organisation’s overall marketing strategy, many people don’t even know how to use it personally.

I’ll admit that I was one of those late-adoption grumpy anti-Snapchat people. I downloaded the app eons ago and felt like it was clunky, frustrating and unintuitive.

Eventually, I realised it was time to swallow my pride and do some learning.

As frustrating as it might be, Snapchat is one of the fastest-growing platforms for young people, so it’s important to for digital marketers of all ages and backgrounds to feel empowered in using it at least in a personal manner.

Understanding the platform and how it can be used can help communications professionals to advise on Snapchat strategy and explore the possibilities of using it creatively in their organisations.

In the US, more than 50% of 18-24 year olds are using Snapchatat least monthly, and that is growing steadily.

The growth rate for use and uptake for older Millennials and over 35s is significantly lower as outlined in the chart below:

Now, for those of us who are over 25 and consider ourselves technically savvy, not knowing how to tackle the most basic functions on a hugely popular app can leave you feeling like you’re a dinosaur (No, you’re not alone!).

A quick search for “Snapchat horrible UI” on Google will lead you to countless articles about how this is a true generational gap – as it is specifically designed for younger people who have grown up using technology mobile-first rather than on a desktop device.

What feels unnatural for older Millennials, Gen Xers, etc, probably feels completely intuitive for your average 19-year old.

But don’t worry – we’re here to help you learn the basics and get started with Snapchat.

You’ll be snapping away your weekend adventures along with the kids soon enough!

Get Started with Snapchat

Here are some great resources for getting the basic account set-up started including adding friends, choosing a username, etc:

Publishing Posts: Private vs. Public

Something that took me a while to wrap my head around was the way in which you actually share content on Snapchat. It’s a different sharing style than any other platform to date.

Less polished, more spontaneous, more intimate.

It’s not about public statuses, like Facebook or Twitter, and unlike Instagram, the photos will disappear after a short while.

As a personal user and a newbie, I’ve noticed there are two ways in which I share on Snapchat: Sharing privately and sharing a public story.

1. Sharing privately

One of the best parts about Snapchat that I had been missing out on as a late adopter was just how much FUN snapchat can be when used with a great group of friends.

For all the candid silly moments, boozy karaoke nights and general adventures we all have in our day-to-day lives, it provides a medium to share with each other in a way that doesn’t last forever on the internet.

We suggest learning how to use Snapchat’s ever-changing filter tools & selfie lenses after a few glasses of wine. Endless entertainment.

(Bonus: you don’t have to delete it the next morning!)

2. Sharing a public story

When you’re sharing on Snapchat and you choose the ‘My Story’ option, this is published publicly, meaning you’re sharing it with everyone who follows you on Snapchat, whether you’re friends with them or not.

This is obviously less intimate than sharing off-the-cuff personal silly moments with a handful of friends on Snapchat, but it is great if the content is something you want to be widely shared, or you’re trying to grow an audience either personally or as a brand. For example, “Follow my trip on Snapchat!”.  

(P.S. You can also share content that’s already on your phone’s media gallery if you learn the right tricks!)

Exploring Media & Celebrity Content

To get an idea of how media publications and celebrities are using Snapchat to share content, just head over to the ‘Discover’ area of the app.

These small pops of content are designed exactly the way the entire app is designed: for a short attention span. Here’s a guide to exploring the Discoverable content.

We’ll be touching more on using Snapchat as a brand next week, so be sure to come back for our next post about using Snapchat for your business or charity.

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