The Basics of Snapchat

Jul 7, 2016

By Tim Saye

Here's what you need to know to get started on Snapchat.

Our social media expert Kelly-Marie West takes you through this fairly un-user-friendly platform that can no longer be ignored....... (If you prefer videos we have one at the bottom of the page showing you everything.)

Snapchat is a fun messaging app for sharing moments. You can take a video or photo, add texts, emojis, doodles and lenses and send it directly to a friend(s) or add to your story to share with everyone.

Snaps can be viewed for seconds and then it disappears. Stories stay live for 24 hours.

Possibly more than any other social media platform you will get people that use it for seedy reasons. As a business you need to block these people.

You are there to serve your followers. As an Online Personal Trainer Snapchat is a great way for you to connect with your current clients as well as building your expert status.

Where do you start?

1. Download the app
2. Set up your account
3. Verify your phone
4. Tap ghost to configure profile settings
5. Go to settings (cog at top right) Enter your name, email and privacy settings
6. Add friends (you can do this in 3 ways)
a. Snapchat username – just enter someone’s username to find them
b. Add Nearby – ideal if you are attending an event or with your client
c. Add from address book

The 3 lines (bottom right) take you to the stories; this is like your newsfeed.

Discover/Live are advertisers.

Click a story to see more, tap the screen to fast-forward to next screen, swipe down to exit story.

Adding others will build your following, as they will be notified when you add them and will usually do the same in return.

Snapchat Filters

When you take a picture, swipe left to see the different filters.

There are some basic ones, black and white, temperature, speed and time.
HACK – adding 2 filters at once

You can use an image filter along with a data label (speed, temp).

First you have to select the image filter e.g. black and white.

Then hold one finger on the display while using another finger to choose between the data filters.

You can add hilarious face swaps, Dalmatian ears and the strangest of things like barfing rainbows, by adding an overlay called a ‘lense’.

To add these you need to hold the finger on the screen and you will see the various overlaps along the bottom.

Keeping your Snapchat fun yet professional is the best way to be.

We are human after all, no corporate boringness necessary.

Emojis and Text

Adding emojis and text to your images helps you to connect with your following. You can pinch to resize and even replace heads with them!

Text can be inverted, shrunk and blown up in the same way.

HACK – Create your own filter

You can create your very own filter by using an emoji. Resize it to the length of the screen and put it just off screen.

That way you get the last few pixels across the screen.


To switch between the cameras (front and back) you just have to double tap the screen.

You can also zoom in and out, by pinching 2 fingers on screen inwards and outwards.

Use videos to tell a story, they are 10 seconds long.

Here are a couple of ideas:

Exercise demo
Part of your class
You with a client
Top tip/ advice
Ask a question

After you make a video with Snapchat, you can swipe across for various filters and you will also find 3 icons, which will change your video.

A snail > Slow motion
A rabbit > Fast Forward
Rewind Button > Plays video in reverse

Snapchat on a tablet makes it a lot easier to draw than on the phone. It allows you to do more complicated drawings.

HACK – More colour

When you click the icon to draw you are given a choice of colours.

In order to get access to more colour, you can select a colour and keep finger held down, swipe to the left of the screen and the colour will get lighter and softer.

If you swipe all the way to the top left corner you will get white, and if you go all the way to the bottom right you will get black.
Useful Tips

1. To save your top clients or best friends at prime of place on your Snapchat address book.

Edit their profile by changing their name and put a_ before their name so it would look like this: @_kellymariewest.

This just saves you time when looking to send your BFFs or clients an image or video.

2. Your story stays live for 24 hours. So if you are having several conversations with different friends and clients and they are helpful. Add them to your story too!

3. If there is poor lighting and the flash isn’t enough, cover the lenses and a moon icon will appear next to the flash icon. Select it and you will be in night camera mode.

4. You can send previously taken pictures in your gallery to your friends.

Go to the image in your photo gallery, select it and then press the box with arrow button. Select Snapchat and you can send directly to a friend.

N.B These cannot be added to your story

5. You can get your story analytics.

Hit the 3 docs next to the story to see your analytics. You can also swipe down whilst in your story to see who has watched it and how many views there are.

6. Content sharing – can’t think of anything interesting to share?

Tap on stories in discovery section. Tap the story video or image and hold finger down on screen and it will give you edit options.

N.B these cannot be added to your story, only sent directly to your friends.

7. You can create more text space by opening your ‘notes’ on your phone. Hit return a few files, copy and paste in to text box. This will give you a bigger text box; you will have to use your finger to go to the next line (tap where you want to write) rather than hitting return.

8. Video chat, something Gary Vee does all the time.

When someone you’re talking to online is also online you can save time by video chatting directly with him or her.

Press and hold your finger down (like a video) to chat with them, when you remove your finger the video will end.

9. You can use your volume buttons when using the front facing camera to help you get a better angle.

10. You can add music to your videos by using iTunes or Spotify on your phone.

Play your chosen song in the background and record your video on Snapchat. When you share your video the music will be part of your video.

Get Strategic

Commit to using Snapchat as part of your marketing strategy.

Use it as a behind the scenes tool.

Use it to provide teasers about products and create buzz around your brand.

You can create a slideshow within your story did this with job opportunity.

Release on Twitter and Facebook that you will be announcing a preview. However ONLY people that friend you on Snapchat will get access.

Add 10 people per day as a friend; you will build your following by following others.

You can Snapchat all day long. So why not commit to posting an image or video every other hour?