Boy snapping a photo on his mobileSnapchat has graced us with its presence for a few years now. Whilst its initial use was accompanied with a feeling of slight awkwardness as we attempted our first public ‘selfies’, this is no longer the case as individuals on every corner unashamedly snap away.

But how well do you really know the app, all its filters, emoji’s, and additional features? And besides personal use, have you considered Snapchat as a tool for your marketing efforts? Well, we have devised a simple two part guide to get you started on your snapchat journey. Find out exactly how the app works below:

Remind Me, What is Snapchat?

The messaging app, which first launched back in 2011, is a convenient and fun way to message your friends and family via real time photos and videos. In a world of the ‘selfie’ the app channels the popular and slightly narcissistic nature of photo capturing with over 100 million daily active users sending more than 400 million snaps per day.

Choose to add captions, drawings, and filters to your photos and videos where, unlike other apps, the snap is visible for a maximum of 10 seconds before it ‘self-destructs’.

What started out as a relatively obscure application is now a mainstream part of our digital world as the facts suggest for themselves:

  • 9,000 snaps per second
  • 8 billion daily video views
  • 54% of users use the app daily
  • The most popular feature is the stories with 1 billion viewed per day

Adding friends - SnapchatSet Up, Finding Your Contacts, and Settings

Set up is easy. Simply download Snapchat for free from your app store and follow the onscreen instructions. We promise that there won’t be anything too confusing.

During the set up process you’ll see the ‘Add Friends’ screen where the app will request access to your contacts. This allows you to easily select from a list of your friends who have already downloaded the app too. You’ll also be able to add friends from their username, snapcode (similar to QR codes) and those who are nearby. To reach this screen in the future simply swipe down from main camera view.

Creating Snaps

Snapchat will automatically activate your camera when opening up the app.

Adjust the focus by tapping anywhere on the screen, or turn to ‘selfie’ mode by touching the camera icon in the top right hand corner. To take a photo simply tap the circle in the bottom centre or hold to record a video; both are set to view/record for a maximum of 10 seconds.

Captions, Filters, and Effects

Once you have taken your photo a new set of icons will appear on the screen.

Select the pencil icon, changing the colour with the dropdown slider, to add a drawing; add text by selecting the ‘T’; include a sticker; change the hues, add local times & locations, and speed up or slow down videos with simple swipes to the left; or distort your own image by tapping and holding on your face until a mesh outline appears bringing with it a selection of animated filters.

Set the time limit that you want recipients to view the photo for by clicking on the stopwatch icon in the bottom left hand corner and scroll through the carousel until you reach the desired time.

Doodling on new office plant picture on snapchat Dog filter on snapchat Speeding up a video on snapchat

 Sending & Receiving Snaps

When you are ready to send your photo/video, click on the arrow in the bottom right hand corner. This will bring up your contact list. There is no limit to how many people you can share your snaps with so select away.

Swipe right to see your thread of sent and received snapchats. Sent snaps will appear as a filled triangle (for photos) or square (for videos) next to the recipient’s name. Once the message has been opened the same icon will appear empty. According to Snapchat, once the snap has been viewed “they automatically delete the snap from their servers and the services are programmed to automatically delete the snap from the Snapchat app on the recipient’s devices”.

Receiving a snapWhen receiving a snap you will notice a coloured square indicating how many snaps are waiting to be opened in the bottom left hand corner of your camera screen. Click on this or swipe right and you’ll be directed back to your sent/received thread to open.


A Snapchat story is a single, or indeed a series, of photos and videos that is visible to everyone in your friends list. These are live for 24 hours and can be viewed multiple times.

Posting a snapchat story is easy. Once you’ve taken a photo or video you should notice a square icon with a plus sign located at the bottom of the screen. Tap here to add to your story. View your own story, as well as stories from those in your contact list, by swiping left from the camera screen. Tap on your own story to see who has viewed it.

You will also notice a ‘discover’ section at the top of the Stories screen. This is a network of media partners, such as Comedy Central, Buzzfeed and Sky Sports, who use the app to bring you the latest news, gossip, and videos.

File_000 (2) 11 What the icons mean on snapchat

Emoji’s Explained

You may notice a series of emoji’s appear next to the names of recipients on the sent/received screen.  In the company’s own words, these friend emoji’s are ‘a fun way to learn a little more about your friends on Snapchat’.  Take a look at the images above for a simple guide to understanding these.

Sending Messages, Camera Roll Photos, & Video Call

Video chatting on SnapchatSwipe right on a recipients name to simply send them a good old fashioned message. However, like with the photos and videos these too will shortly disappear, leaving no evidence of the conversation.

You can now video chat via the app, with the ability to send images, messages, and emoji’s as you talk. Simply swipe right on the recipient’s name and select the video camera icon. Add images, emoji’s, stickers, and messages by using the remaining icons.

Need More Help

Snapchat is a relatively intuitive app to use; play around with its multiple features and you’ll soon get the hang of it. Already a keen user of the network? Keep an eye out for Part 2 of our guide to Snapchat and learn how you can harness its powers as part of your marketing strategy.

Alternatively contact the team on 01793 766040 for more information regarding all of our social media services.