OUR BLOG

02 May 2016

5 Ways to Build An Engaging Community on Snapchat

Snapchat, Snapchat – current owner of my social media heart. I love Snapchat. It’s the social network I’ve been spending the most time on, and not just because it’s fun.

But because the community is second to none.

A recent study said that Snapchat users aren’t buying anything, but I disagree wholeheartedly.

Several of my #SnapchatFam followers became NutriBullet users after watching me churn mine after morning workouts, influencer personalities have become the go-to way to promote for brands, and well, there’s no shortage of these stories.

Why? Because people buy based on recommendations from friends and family they know and trust.

That’s difficult when you’re a business. You have a service or product to sell, but want it come off as authentic and trustworthy. And that’s why it’s so crucial to build a community.

Think about it.

If you go to a restaurant and have a spectacular experience, how many people do you tell? And who are your friends going to listen to – you or a review from a random source?

That’s why building communities online is so important on every social network you invest in, but especially on Snapchat.

I’ve been hanging out on Snapchat for over 3 years now – waiting and watching for the world to catch on, and the end of 2015 belonged to Snapchat. It grew from 2 million uploads per day in October to 2 BILLION by December.

Talk about an explosion!

What’s so different about Snapchat? It’s raw, real, and ultra personal. It allows any and every brand the opportunity to tell a backstory with minimal exertion, and without fancy equipment. And the millennials are ALL over it.

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So how do you build a community on such a cool platform? One snap at a time.

And if that seems overwhelming, simply follow my fives ways to build an engaging community on Snapchat. I won’t steer you wrong.

1. Be yourself

This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s not. While there are many ways to hide yourself and/or your brand on other social networks, it’s going to be a tough sell on Snapchat.

Why? Because Snapchat isn’t the environment for portraying anything false. It’s authentic and raw, and will require those traits from you.

But (as with all things related to social and your business) this is an area where you’ll want to pay special attention to ensure the content you or someone on your team produces aligns with your brand.

Take the time to write out what you will and won’t do on Snapchat, the things you will and won’t share, and be concise. Being purposeful about how you share yourself or your brand is everything because it creates boundaries for the type of content that can be shared.

And believe me, that’s a blessing.

My Snapchat fam knows what I’m all about: encouragement, motivation, food, travel, social media, salsa dancing, yoga, healthy eating, #AhnaAsks, and LOTS of laughing. They know I let my dorky side out on Snapchat and even though it makes me feel vulnerable at times, it’s the realest I’ve ever been on social media. I share my work, talk about projects and clients, but that isn’t my main priority.

It’s about sharing myself, and it’s created an engaging and personal community.

2. Post consistently

Consistency is the #1 ingredient to social media success across the board, and Snapchat is no different.

Don’t think it’s okay to bounce in and out of this network if you want to build a solid following and community. But don’t let that overwhelm you because it’s a huge undertaking.

More so, don’t spend several days Snapping like a crazy person and then disappear for a few weeks only to return to sporadic snaps.

Why not? It looks bad for the credibility and reliability of your brand. Have you ever seen a Twitter handle tweet 20 times within an hour and then not again until a month later? What do you think when you see that? Whatever it is, it probably isn’t so great.

Snapchat is raw and real, so you’re allowed to let followers know you’ll be MIA for a few days or so busy that snapping isn’t possible, but do your best to maintain a consistent schedule.

My Snapchat fam knows that I’m on almost everyday, multiple times a day, unless I’m bogged down with work. But even then, I usually pop in to tell them how busy I am or at least share my yoga happenings for the day. It’s important to me to do my best to maintain consistency on SC because it’s only going to continue to blossom.

3. Incorporate fun themes/activities

If there’s anything my Snapchat fam can count on when they follow me, it’s FUN. I do my best to incorporate silliness, jokes, music, contests, and themes to keep them entertained. Mind you, these are things for THEM, not me.

But that’s how I do social. By focusing on creating content for my audience instead of using a channel to broadcast my own supposed wisdom, quality folks come my way naturally.

I held a very successful AMA that resulted in over 47 minutes of content (and serious brain fuzz), and I made sure to answer EVERY question that came in. Another time, I asked folks to share their favorite song with me, and used those to make a public playlist for everyone to enjoy. And more than anything, my #AhnaAsks questions are a major hit. I ask a simple question and reply to every answer. Followers love them because they have a dedicated reason to interact, and it helps me to get to know them in a digestible way.

The bottom line, your Snapchat fam isn’t there just to absorb everything you put out, they want to be engaged and involved. So how are you going to make that happen?

Come up with your own games, activities, and make sure to tie it all in with your brand. I typically ask questions covered in the topics outlined in #1 above or those relating to a topic I’m discussing that day. For instance, when I was headed out on a work trip, I asked folks where they would travel if they could go anywhere.

Think about how you can add value to your audience by engaging them and not just preaching at them. I’m seeing a lot of folks become blasting speakers for their own agendas on Snapchat, and it’s sad because I used to enjoy watching their snaps. But I don’t watch anymore.

The audience wants in, wants to interact and be a part of the conversation. So get creative and figure out ways to do that.

4. Give shoutouts and promote others

I’m a big fan of the “all boats rise” philosophy because it relates to ALL aspects of life, even Snapchat.

When we take the time to show love to others we admire or see doing awesome things, that love always circles back. And the cool thing is, even if you aren’t genuine about doing it at first or have to remind yourself – once you start, you’ll be so overjoyed by the appreciation of others that you’ll start doing it organically.

Share your favorite follows on Friday or throughout the week, call out someone who’s really doing a great job of interacting with you, tell your followers about an awesome story someone you follow posted for the day or simply thank your followers on a consistent basis for sharing their time with your goofy self.

Gratitude never loses, especially not in Snapchat-landia!

5. Ask for feedback

The best way to grow to get creative is always to ask. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. And if you’re wondering why no one interacts with you, grab a few of your closest followers and ask for feedback.

But don’t do it if you aren’t prepared to hear something you may not like.

There are people I don’t follow because they simply preach on their snaps, others I don’t follow because it’s quite obvious they’re only out to get a large number of followers, and even more because they are simply rude.

How we present ourselves online is VERY important and shouldn’t be taken lightly. But we are all guilty of forgetting that sometimes and going off on a rant, sharing negative info or stepping outside the lines of simply politeness.

Post. With. Purpose. It’s one of my biggest social media mottos, and it’s something I live by.

The flip-side of that is getting feedback is a great tool for learning what your audience wants, so you can create content they will be interested to watch. That doesn’t mean you do whatever they want, it simply means that maybe they want more variety or more of you.

Either way, you don’t know until you ask.

I hope this has helped you learn more about how to grow a quality community on Snapchat. It has been such a joy watching this network explode over the past year and being partial to the communities flourishing everyday. Real people congregate on Snapchat, and I dig that.

Did I miss anything? Post your recommendations below!!

Ahna Hendrix

My specialty is organic growth across all networks. I specialize in content creation, design, relationship development and community growth. Since I was a young girl, my family owned businesses – from real estate to restaurants to nutritional consulting. I grew up in my parent’s businesses, saw what it takes to succeed, and developed a deep love and appreciation for what I consider “the cornerstones of every economy.” I love small businesses! And I love the entrepreneurial mind. So it wasn’t a surprise when the day came for me to strike out on my own and begin catering to like-minded people who work everyday to make their dreams a reality through the growth of their businesses. I fell in love with social media in 2009 and haven’t looked back. It’s never boring, and challenges me everyday. But seeing results and helping my clients succeed is the best! I built my businesses with the intention of having the freedom to manage it from anywhere in the world, and hope to eventually teach others how to do the same. ARCH Digital Agency is fortunate to work with clients worldwide – the U.S., Spain, UK, Switzerland, Australia, and more. On a personal level, I love to explore new places, indulge in oaky red wines, share dinner parties with close friends, curl up with a good book, and try out ethnic restaurants. I’m also a photographer, painter, green-thumb plant grower and rock the cooking game. Reach out to us with any questions you have or simply to say hello – we will respond to every email and would be delighted to hear from you.