One of the most overlooked and challenging parts of being a social media manager is determining which social media platforms to be on and having a unique strategy for each one. Say what you will about the stereotypes of Snapchat, but it has formed into a reliable social media platform. If you’re looking into creating a Snapchat account, I have five steps to help get you started (or not get started, for that matter):

1. Determine if it’s right for you

Not every social media platform is for every business, church, or organization. I am an advocate of analyzing your own demographic metrics for social media as opposed to reading articles about averages, but since official Snapchat analytics are hard to come by, I turn to averages. According to eMarketer.com, Snapchat user penetration is 83.4% for 12-17-year-olds and 78.6% for 18-24-year-olds. If you are trying to reach someone outside of these two demographics, I would stop here and not waste your time on Snapchat. Not that people outside of these demographics don’t use Snapchat, but because you don’t want to spread yourself too thin and take precious time away from focusing on a platform in which you have better engagement, I would avoid Snapchat if your core demographic is not between 12-24 years old.

Another way to determine if Snapchat is right for your organization is if you can produce the content to which people seem to react the best. Behind-the-scenes content including interviews with VIPs, backstage access, or just creating general FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) helps organizations succeed on the platform.

2. Make an account

This is a fairly simple step, but a crucial one. Download the Snapchat app from your phone’s app store and tap “Sign Up” after opening the app. Your username should be the same as your Twitter handle, Instagram username, Facebook username, etc. if possible. If not, try to make it as close as possible.

3. Promote your account

The tough part about Snapchat is there is not a clear-cut method to gain friends or followers. Unlike Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms, there aren’t main avenues by which to put yourself in front of people who you aren’t friends with such as retweets, shares, or likes. The best option to grow your Snapchat friends number is to promote it via a “Snapcode.” A Snapcode is a QR-like code of which users can take a picture or screenshot.

After that, they go to the “Add Friends” section of Snapchat and it scans a photo the user selects for a Snapcode and proceeds to add that user. Another option is to simply add a user by username. It’s not as fun and visual as a Snapcode, but still a way to promote your account.

4. Create content

Of course you need content in order to succeed on Snapchat, but sticking to a strategy is as key with Snapchat as it is with any other social platform. Just because the younger audience may not think of it as such an integral part of an organization’s marketing strategy does not mean it doesn’t garner as much attention to detail as others. If you set a limit of snaps, keep to that so users don’t unfriend your account if your story becomes unusually cluttered one day. If you (hypothetically) snap videos of your dancing grounds crew every single home game, keep up with that.

5. Keep an eye out for new, engaging content

This seems to be an underlying theme for all social media platforms. While you want to stay true to what your friends have become familiar with, it’s imperative to constantly think about what new features your friends would like to see. For example, I travel through the tunnel from the players’ clubhouse to the field hundreds of times per season, but our friends on Snapchat could think it’s the coolest behind-the-scenes access in the world if we capture that on our Snap Story. Keep an eye out and create the FOMO that will benefit your organization.

Snapchat isn’t for all organizations, but if you discover that it is for you, use it! Happy Snapping!

Kyle Martin
Kyle is the New Media Engagement and Promotions Manager for the Columbia Fireflies, a Minor League Baseball team affiliated with the New York Mets. Follow him on Twitter @Kyl3Martin.