Snapchat followers can be tricky to find, but they’re not hard to come by. More than 186 million people on average use Snapchat everyday.
Without suggested user lists or the more robust discovery features you find on sites like Instagram or Twitter, Snapchat friends have to connect in different ways.
While that means you won’t be able to completely replicate your Instagram follower tactics, all is not lost. With a little Insta-inspiration, a few old-fashioned tricks, and mastery of Snapchat’s special features, there’s plenty you can do to increase your Snapchat following.
From cracking Snapcodes to creating snappy content, these 15 strategies will show you how to get more Snapchat followers in a snap.
Bonus: Download a free guide that reveals the steps to create custom Snapchat geofilters and lenses, plus tips on how to use them to promote your business.
How to get more Snapchat Friends: 15 tips that really work
1. Have a clear Snapchat strategy
Efforts to grow your Snapchat following may fall short if they’re not supported by a comprehensive social media marketing strategy.
Your Snapchat marketing strategy should include:
- Marketing objectives. Discovering how to get more Snapchat followers will be one of your marketing objectives. But maybe you have other goals, like web conversions, sales, or video views. A good strategy will encompass all of these goals with simple solutions.
- Target audience. It’s important to know who your prospective Snapchat friends are and what they’re interested in.
- Brand story. What branded story do you want to share? Any given campaign should have a cohesive concept or storyline for Snappers to follow.
- Brand look. Along the same lines, your marketing campaign should be unified aesthetically. Choose appropriate themes, imagery, typefaces, and colors to complement your brand story.
2. Make your Snapchat account more discoverable
Since it’s harder to be discovered in the Snapchat app, it’s important to share your Snapchat presence in other places.
Where to promote your Snapchat presence:
- Website. Typically icons are used on a website’s header, sidebar, or footer to promote their brand’s social media accounts. If you have a contact page, you could add it there, too.
- Blog post sign offs. Chances are, if someone’s reading your blog post, they’d also be interested in your Snapchat content. Use an applicable CTA, like: Follow me on Snapchat for a behind-the-scenes look at this story…
- Email signature. It’s pretty standard to share links to your social profiles in your email footer. Make sure Snapchat is one of them. And if it makes sense, put the icon or link first in order.
- Newsletter. If your brand has a newsletter it should definitely include call-outs to for Snapchat follows. Announce your presence on Snapchat or preview special content. For a more subtle approach, add an icon or Snapcode in the email’s header or footer.
- Business cards. This may seem old-fashioned, but if you hand out business cards then it’s worth considering. Snapcodes
- Merchandise. Include Snapcodes anywhere you think prospective followers will come into contact with them, from receipts, to packaging, to price tags.
- Advertisements. Print ads, posters, flyers—even jumbotron screens—are all fair game for a Snapcode. Find more inspiration here.
- Events. If your brand attends trade shows or conferences, make sure your Snapcode is somewhere visitors can scan it. See if you can have it added to the program, your lanyard, or displayed on your booth.
- Be creative. Snapcodes can be placed and scanned on pretty much anything.
3. Promote your Snapchat profile on other social media platforms
There’s a good chance your followers on other social sites will want to follow you on Snapchat, too. If your brand is on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, or any other site, add you Snapchat handle to your profile page of the about section.
To reach new social followers, you may even consider using mobile Facebook ads to send traffic to your to Snapchat profile.
4. Tell great stories
Good content travels fast. Make sure your stories are compelling so that they’ll end up in the “For You” tab or be shared by your followers.
Consider these formats and ideas crafting your next story:
- Have a hook. Grab attention with a good headline.
- Storyboard. Your story should payoff on what the hook promises.
- Keep it brief. Attention spans are short, especially among Snapchat’s main demo.
- Geofilters. Geo-tags should be used sparingly, but can be useful in a high-traffic area.
- Music. Add music or sounds to build your narrative and add interest.
- Caption videos. Make your stories accessible for all users, including those watching with sound off.
- Lingo. Stay up-to-date to the slang and phrases your audience uses, so you can talk their language, as appropriate.
- Quiz or Poll. Apps like Breeze and PollsGo can be used to create engaging quizzes and polls.
- Pick up more Snapchat Story tricks here.
Here’s an example of a recent story from the NBA’s official Snapchat account.
Rather than just Snap a play-by-play of Lakers playing the Cavaliers, they created a narrative around LeBron James’ return to his former turf. The use of captions, trending phrases like “weird flex, but ok,” and clear plot points, made this story a compelling narrative.
5. Share quality content
You may have a great story, but if the quality lags, Snappers may lose interest.
If photography, videography, or graphic design are not your forte, don’t be afraid to call on the pros or leverage quality stock images.
Here are a few key Snapchat specifications:
- File size. Maximum 5MB image and 32 MB video.
- File format. Image .jpg or .png. Video: .mp4, .mov, and H.264 encoded).
- Full screen canvas. 1080 x 1920 px. 9:16 aspect ratio.
6. Master lesser-known features to make your content shine
Having a few tricks up your sleeve will definitely prospective Snapchat friends.
Check out Hootsuite’s Snapchat hack cheat sheet for tips like how to:
- Apply up to three filters on a single Snap
- Use characters to frame your Snaps
- Change the colors of words and letters
- Pin an emoji on a moving target
- Switch between front and rear camera while recording
- Give your Snap a soundtrack
- Find out if another Snapper follows you back
- Add links to Snaps
- And more!
7. Create lenses and filters
Branded lenses and filters are a fun way to promote your company’s presence in the app.
The better they are, the more likely your followers will use and share them with their Snapchat friends.
8. Run contests
Contests are a great way to gain Snapchat followers.
Follow-to-enter contests can have a leapfrog effect, especially with the right prize. Following up with quality content that will keep new followers on board.
Don’t be deterred if your budget is small. A free product or modest monetary prize are often enough. (Remember HQ?) Or, see if you can obtain a prize from a partner company.
GrubHub’s #SnapHunt contest asked Snappers to respond to a week’s worth of daily challenges with Snaps of their own for a chance to win $50 in free takeout. The mobile food-ordering company saw a 20 percent lift in followers during the contest.
For more contest ideas, read up on 12 advanced Snapchat tactics to stay ahead of the game.
9. Host a Snapchat takeover
Remember Buffy dropping in on Angel? Or the Cheers ganging popping in on Frasier? In TV-World parlance, takeovers are known as crossovers, but they have the same goal: To bring new, like-minded audiences to your content. The Chicago Franchise, CSI, and Law and Order have the TV crossover down to an art.
A Snapchat takeover can go one of two ways: Host a guest on your channel, or be a featured guest on another channel.
In both scenarios, the bigger the partner’s audience, the better. But keep affinity in mind, too. Kayne West may have a huge following, but is he a good fit for you brand? Does his audience match your target demo?
In addition to celeb or influencer takeovers, you could also host an employee or customer takeover—though the first two options are more likely to increase your follower count.
Don’t forget to promote Snapchat takeovers, too. During the Tony Awards, the official @TheTonyAwards account usually hosts takeover coverage from Broadway stars. To get as many viewers as possible, they leverage Twitter, hashtags, and Snapcodes.
— The Tony Awards (@TheTonyAwards) March 26, 2016
10. Partner with publishers
Earlier this year, Snapchat gave the go-ahead for Discover Publishers like Buzzfeed or NBC Universal to create branded content.
Much like a takeover, a partnership with a publisher can put your brand in front of a new Snapchat crowd. Since these publishers feature heavily in the Discover channel, higher exposure is much more likely.
An added perk is that these publishers typically know how to tell a good story.
To reach US millennials, Bud Light partnered with the NFL on Snapchat for a season. The branded teamwork more than paid off, earning Bud a reach of 24 million Snapchatters and more than 265 million impressions.
11. Post consistently and at the right time
Contests, takeovers, and partnerships will come off as stunts if you don’t post regularly enough to keep followers engaged and attract new ones.
Snapchatters spend an average of 30 minutes on the app, and check in more than 20 times a day. Figure out when your audience’s peak times are, and create enough content to keep them coming back for more.
Publishers like Refinery29 publish up to 14 pieces of original content on their website on a daily basis, but your audience may have different needs.
12. Tap trending topics
Every month Snapchat publishes trends on its blog. Each post covers hot topics worldwide and in the US, trending entertainment, popular emojis, top celebrities, and frequently used slang.
13. Create for context
“Creative that plays to users’ context at the time wins,” advises an article on the Snapchat blog. That can mean anything from tapping the popularity of Drake’s In My Feelings to creating festive Christmas Snaps.
If you’re Goop, maybe your Snapchat followers are into tracking Mercury Retrograde cycles. The NFL has the Super Bowl, but they keep things relevant all year with Snaps stories like “The Best Thanksgiving Moments in NFL History.”
People also spend more time on Snapchat over the holidays or during important cultural events. Snapchat has the highest number of sessions during the holiday season. Over the holidays last year in the United States, people spent an additional 280 million hours on Snapchat.
14. Try Snapchat ads
Snapchat ads are snaps and stories that are inserted into other Snappers’ snaps and stories. Make sure to target based on your audience’s interests.
For example, if like Bud Light, your audience is into football, then the NFL and NFL team audiences are likely a good match.
Make sure to include a direct call-to-action to follow, if that’s what you’re after. And as with most social video, keep it tight. According to Snapchat, 0:03 – 0:05 is the sweet spot for Snap Ad length to drive action.
15. Learn from Snapchat Insights
Snapchat analytics will help you track how successful you are at accomplishing your goals. Learn about your audience, story view times, content reach, and other metrics, and use these findings to benchmark and evaluate your approach.
Of course, you’re going to want to keep an eye on your follower count, too. Make sure to record how many followers you have and average acquisition rates before launching a new campaign or strategy.
Learn how to use Snapchat Insights and other analytics tools here.