Confession time: I’m a Snapchat convert. I hated on it for a while there, thinking it was going to be ANOTHER site I needed to be present on and wondering what was in it for me from a blogger/brand perspective and then I had a dabble and got hooked.
Firstly, I’ve converted to Snapchat because it’s fun. You can natter away, completely unfiltered in videos, scribble on photos and enjoy random banter without the worry of invoking comments from trolls. (At least for now.)
Secondly, I think it does have value for me as a blogger. I’m able to show the audience different sides to my work/life and they can connect with me on a personal level. I follow a lot of travel bloggers on Snapchat and the ones who are nailing it make feel even more connected to their content now. I’m eager to see the blog post that I saw in the making in their snaps.
But, I’m going to be brutal here, it’s not like that with everyone. I’m already seeing a difference between those who snap like a boss and those who snap just for banter. It’s totally cool if you fall into that second camp (to be honest, I think I’m somewhere in the middle) but if you are in group two this post is not for you.
This post is purely for travel bloggers who are dabbling with Snapchat and want to know how they can use it to work in conjunction with their blogging in a way that’s natural but on message.
Before we start I’ll quickly go over some of the basics. For those that are uninitiated you can share photos and videos of are up to 10 seconds (so keep it snappy – groan) in a single snap. You swipe right on your snap to add geo-filters and effects and can add text and stickers via the icons in the top right hand corner. You can send your snaps to selected friends or add it your story for anyone who is following you to view. All snaps die after 24 hours though so if someone hasn’t checked in with you for a while they will only see your latest stories.
Snap Tip: You can hold the volume down button to take snaps on your iPhone instead of using the circle on the screen
Something handy to know is that you can save your snaps – either individually or as a whole story – so this is particularly handy for bloggers who might want to use the content on other channels.
You can also screenshot other people’s content. This is great if a follower wants to remember the restaurant or hotel you’re reviewing but also means that technically your snaps don’t disappear forever if someone else has saved it.
Snap Tip: You can see who has screenshot your snap as a green icon appears on the snap and will list the names of those who saved it
Best Practise For Bloggers
What To Snap
Much like any other social media channel it’s important not to go too heavy on the snapping. I personally only check in once, sometimes twice, a day for Snapchat so I don’t have time to watch hours of stories. Be selective about what you share.
Snap Tip: Wait a second before speaking on a video – the first word tends to get cut off
As a blogger this is a great opportunity to share something different about yourself that people won’t see on other channels. I tend to show the behind-the-scenes of travel blogging – from the less glamorous aspects of flying (you know, sitting on the floor in airport lounges) to running to client meetings – so readers can get a glimpse of what goes into blogging aside from what they see on the web. I’ve discovered through Adventurous Kate’s snaps (@adventurouskate) that she’s pretty good at cooking. She does a lot of food segments in-between snapping New York City and this is something different to what you see on her travel blog.
As you’ll pick up new followers along the way (more on that later) it’s good to introduce yourself to them periodically. Let them know what you do and where they’ll find you on the interwebs but keep the self-promotion to a minimum – no one wants to feel sold to.
How To Snap
Speed up the photo display – You can select how long your image appears on the screen – from 1 to 10 seconds. If you’re going to snap several photos in a row I recommend changing this to 5 seconds or below so they images flash up faster. This is also handy if you plan to download your story at the end of the day as it makes a good slideshow/video reel.
Snap Tip: Try not to start each snap with ‘so’ or ‘erm’ – it’s harder than you think!
Portrait or landscape – I get that some scenes just don’t fit into a portrait layout but personally it bugs me if I have to turn my screen to the side half way through a story. It also doesn’t look so good if you download the story to share elsewhere and it changes orientation half way through – worth considering whether you want to keep things consistent or not.
Show your face – Personally the snappers I enjoy watching are those who put themselves on the screen a few times a day. It’s also good to add a voice commentary over your location videos and add your hands or fingers into the picture pointing things out – it gives a nice personal touch.
Add text – A lot of people might scroll through your snaps without the sound on so have some text on your video or image particularly when you arrive someone new. Think of them like subtitles for the people who might be watching your snaps silently on a bus. (Not just me?)
Snap Tip: You can add music to your snaps by playing a song on your phone when recording
Show other faces/voices – Get local guides or experts to make a guest appearance in your snaps and show the audience a destination from their perspective.
Snapping in Galicia
On Building A Following
Give shout outs to fellow snappers – My following saw its biggest jump when another snapper gave me a shout out on their profile (thanks @EatLikeAGirl!). Pay it forward by giving a shout out to those you like following.
Snapchat Takeovers – Team up with another travel blogger and take over each other’s accounts to give your followers a taste of another destination whilst introducing yourself to a new audience. Let your followers know in advance what is happening and share a screenshot of the account they’ll find you.
Share your social channels – let new followers know where else they can find you and periodically do a little about me intro so that new followers know what you’re about. Ask them to send you feedback on other social channels for a little cross-pollination.
Get interactive – Consider hosting Q&A segments either at a fixed time of at random so followers can snap you questions and get immediate interaction.
Travel bloggers Who Are Ace At Snapchat
@VickyFlipFlop – manages to be both a bit bonkers and informative at the same time. So much fun to follow.
@EatLikeAGirl – warning: Niamh will make you very hungry with her cooking and jealous of all the excellent eateries she sniffs out around the world.
@TheBlondeAbroad – bubbly Kiersten is a fantastic host, you’ll often find her taking over travel brand accounts too.
@HandLuggageOnly – expect lots of stunning imagery from dynamic duo Yaya and Lloyd.
@GettingStamped – these guys are ace at the Snapchat takeover. Really enjoyed their recent collab with Will from The Broke Backpacker (@WTHatton).
@MisterWeekender – ‘Nature Froth’ in action.
@Kirsten.Alana – my travel photography inspiration, expect lots of creative imagery from this Instagram pro
@jayneytravels – shares stylish travel with a mix of social media and blogging tips. Likes cake, dislikes her British teeth. Won’t bite though so come say hi 🙂
Further reading: How to avoid getting injured whilst taking selfies – my latest tongue-in-cheek piece for Skyscanner totally applies to Snapchat too!
Are you a travel blogger on Snapchat? Let me know your username in the comments below so we can connect.