Snapchat Basics for Beginners #SHRM16

The annual SHRM national conference is only days away now!  As you get prepared to join us for #SHRM16, don’t forget to pack your favorite social media tool to bring along with you. 

Speaking of which, as you may know, social media has played an increasingly important role at conferences like ours over the past several years.  Using your favorite social media platform, conference attendees have shared their experiences at the SHRM conference with people all over the world via a simple push, tap or click of a button.

Until recently, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram were the most common and popular platforms that people used to express themselves and share their adventures.   This year however, these three mainstays are making room on the social media stage for Snapchat, a relatively new platform currently enjoying it’s time in the spotlight. 

Snapchat was first released for public consumption in 2013.  Initially, it only caught the attention of the teenager demographic.  However, with the roll out of recent app updates, Snapchat’s appeal has sky-rocketed across age ranges.  In fact, it is currently considered the hottest social media tool available.

The #SHRM16 conference Social Media Team’s mission has always been to help you connect with each other via your favorite social media tool.  This year is no exception.  We are excited to announce that we have added Snapchat to our social media toolbox and invite you to share the awesomeness of your #SHRM16 experience via Snapchat with us.  (We are @shrm on Snapchat.)

To help you get started using Snapchat, we have put together a list of tips that walk you through setting up your profile, creating your first “snap” and how to post your “snaps” for others to enjoy.  If you have tips on how to use Snapchat that we have not yet covered, feel free to share them with us! We’re always willing to learn more.

See you soon!

Snapchat Basics for Beginners

1:  Download the Snapchat App

2:  Setup your account

3:  Set your personal preferences

Inside the Snapchat app, tap the Gear Icon in the top right corner.  This is where you can update your personal information, choose who can send you snaps and view your Stories

4:  Activate Additional Services

Tap "Manage" under Additional Services.  There are several bonus features that you can enable.  You can enable filters, front-facing flash, power save mode and special text, for example. 

The special text feature allows you to overlay large text and emoji on your snaps. After you activate this, the letter "T" will appear next to the pencil in the upper right-hand corner of your screen of your snap draft screen. Tap on the "T" and type letters or emoji.

The replay feature lets you replay one snap that was sent to you in the last 24 hours. You can only use replay once every 24 hours, and it will only allow you to replay the snap you last viewed.

To use features like filters and Stories, the app requires access to your location.  By turning on filters, you are giving Snapchat permission to access your location.

5:  Enable Geofilters

Enabling Geofilters on Snapchat requires turning on location settings on your phone.         


Flick the “Filters” option to “on” and ensure you have location services enabled.

Then, back in Snapchat, take a photo or video, then swipe the screen in either direction to pull up the local time, temperature, or a geofilter or two.

6: Use Wi-Fi

Snapchat can use a lot of data.  Do as much snapping as possible while connected to Wi-Fi.

7:  Turn on Travel Mode

Travel Mode is located in the Settings menu (Profile > Settings > Manage Additional Services).

Turn it on, and Snapchat won't automatically load stories and snaps, which will save you data.  Simply tap to load it, ideally once you're on Wi-Fi.

8:   Follow people

  • Open SnapChat
  • Tap the Ghost at the middle of the top of the screen
  • Tap “My Friends”
  • Click on “CONTACTS” at the top of the screen.   You’ll see a list of people already in your phone who use snapchat.  Follow them.

9:  Create snaps

To use your snapchat camera, Snapchat automatically activates your phone's camera, and it's pretty easy to use. To adjust the focus of the camera, tap anywhere on the screen. Tap the camera icon in the top right-hand corner to switch from rear camera to front camera, and tap the lightning symbol at the top-left corner to turn on the flash on.

To take a photo, tap the circle at the bottom of the screen.

To record a video, tap and hold the circle at the bottom of the screen. You can record videos up to 10 seconds long.

Take photos both of you and others and things you are experiencing.  There's no big secret snapping strategy -- just take photos and videos on Snapchat like you would on any camera. 

Same rules as on Instagram:

  • Avoid shooting into direct sunlight,
  • Ensure that your subject is properly framed,
  • Keep the lens and microphone unobstructed.

10:  Add a caption

Snapchat allows you to spice up your snaps with captions. When your recipient opens the snap, the caption will appear in a bar on top of the photo or video. Tap anywhere on the screen to add a caption.

11: Draw on your snap

You can doodle on your snaps with the pencil tool, which is located at the top-right corner. To pick a color, simply adjust the slider. Then, use your finger to draw on the photo. If you make a mistake, don't worry. Simply tap the arrow (left of the pencil) to undo your mistake.

12: Add a filter or effect

Want to add different hues or cool things like time or location to your snap? Make sure you've enabled the filter feature in your setting; swipe your finger left or right to preview each filter.

13:  Paint first, add text next.

Use the painting function before you start adding words and emojis, because those will appear over your drawing. If you're hardcore, you can also grab a stylus, which helps your paint game immensely. 

14:  Make text bigger or smaller

After taking a photo or video, tap the "T" tile in the upper right of your screen.  Type something.  Then tap the “T” tile again, once for left-aligned text, twice for center-aligned.   You can use a pinching motion with your fingers to make the words bigger or smaller.

15:  Text colors
You can manipulate the color of every letter of text on your screen. Just type something, then tap the “T” to pull up the sliding color spectrum. If you want to change the color of just a couple words, highlight them with your cursor, then slide the spectrum to your desired hue.

16:  Emojis
Adjust emoji sizes independent of your text.  Emojis can be typed and resized independent of text, by using the folded-paper-square icon next to the “T.” Resize them to your liking using the same pinch method.

17:  Add music

You can add music to your video snaps by playing tunes from your preferred music app in the background while you shoot. Snapchat allows audio to play behind it so your microphone will pick up high-quality sound on whatever track you're playing.

18: Set the time limit on your Snaps

You can choose how long you want your recipient to view your snap for — up to 10 seconds. To adjust the time limit, tap the stopwatch icon at the bottom-left corner.

19: Save your images

To save your image or video before sending it, tap the downward-pointing arrow at the bottom of the screen. Snapchat must have access to your photo album in order to save an image.  Keep in mind that you cannot save a snap after you send it.

20:  Send your snap

When you're ready to send your masterpiece, tap the arrow in the bottom right-hand corner. Your contact list will appear, and you can select who to send it to. There is no limit as to how many people you can send a snap to — choose all the recipients you want, and hit send by tapping the arrow on the bottom-right corner.

Once your recipient has opened your snap, the triangle (for photos) or square (for videos) icon next to your friend's name will not be filled in. A filled-in icon means your snap has been sent, but hasn't been open yet.

So, what happens to your snap after it's sent? Snapchat's privacy policy states, "once all recipients have viewed a snap, we automatically delete the snap from our servers and our services are programmed to delete the snap from the Snapchat app on the recipients' devices."

21: View received snaps

Your contacts can send you snaps too. To open these, go to the camera screen and you'll see a number on the bottom-left corner of the screen. This number shows how many unopened snaps you have.

If there is a filled-in icon next to the user's name, you haven't opened that snap yet. An empty square or triangle means you already viewed the snap.

Tap the snap you want to look at.

You'll see the timer in the top-right corner, which shows how long you can view the snap. When the timer ends, the snap is gone permanently (unless you use the replay feature, explained above).

22:  Create and send Stories

Like a snap, Stories can be photos and videos. The difference is that you can post a story to your feed, which can be seen by you and your friends. Stories were designed to show your friends what you've been up to in the last day. They exist for 24 hours and can be replayed as many times as you want.

To create a Story, take a photo or video and then tap the rectangle icon with a plus sign located on the bottom of your screen. Tap "Add to Your Story." Once you've pressed this, it will exist on your feed for 24 hours.

To delete the snap from your Story, go to your "My Friends" page and tap on the gear icon next to your Story. Tap "Delete."

Another way to create a Story is to take the photo or video and proceed to the "Send to..." tab. Check off the circle next to "My Story." You also have the option to choose which friends you want to receive your Story individually.

23: View Stories

To view Stories, go to your "My Friends" page. Tap your username at the top to see your own Stories. You can tap the gear icon next to the Story to save it to your phone's photo album.

To view your friends' Stories, tap their usernames, and a drop-down menu of their published Stories will appear.

24:  You can Message/Chat with people too!

Snapchat isn't just for sending snaps and Stories. You can also have real-time conversations. To start a chat, visit your Snapchat inbox and swipe right on a friend's name.

To attach a photo or video, tap the yellow camera button.

Once you leave the chat screen, all messages between you and your friend will be cleared. If you want to save your message, you can either take screenshots of it or tap the conversation to save it. When you tap on the messages, the font will change and will be highlighted in gray, which means that you have saved the conversation.



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