Snapchat—in all it’s glory—is super addicting. From the amazing filters to the hilarious stories, there are so many things to love about the platform, but one thing remains a huge mystery: How the heck are you supposed to grow your following? Unlike Instagram, it’s kinda hard to drum up new friends on Snap. There are people who have hundreds of thousands of Snapchat friends—so we know it’s possible, but how do they pull it off?
There aren’t hashtags, retweets, or the ability to tag friends on Snapchat, so becoming “big” on the app can seem like a tall order.
To find out exactly how to lift your Snapchat game, we spoke with expert Gregory Littley. (He’s littleylittley on the app if you want to add him!) Greg is the director of strategy at digital marketing agency Iced Media, where he works with influencers and global Fortune 500 brands to elevate their digital presence—so you know this guy gets social media.
Here, Gregory’s four main tips for becoming Snapchat pro.
1. Test Snapchat before adding friends. (Read: Don’t make a fool of yourself.)
Are you one of the few left who are still a Snapchat virgin? Whenever you’re entering into a new platform, it’s a good idea to test the waters before you start broadcasting to the world that you’re on it. Think back to your first Instagram photo, and make a pact not to recreate that amateur moment. Greg suggests after downloading Snapchat that you give yourself time to “play around, develop a style, and work out what you want to say” before adding tons of friends.
2. Use other platforms to tease your Snapchat activity
Give a preview of some exciting thing you’re doing, and then ask your followers to head to Snapchat to see how the day unfolds. Perhaps you’re going overseas, or to a fun event. Either way, posting a teaser to your Instagram followers and caption to follow you on Snapchat for the rest of the details can be very successful in upping your Snapchat count.
This strategy has been incredibly useful for Snapchat influencers, with some Instagram stars now seeing a higher fan count on Snapchat than any other social network: “Influencers with a huge following on Snapchat like Josh Peck and Logan Paul are now using Snapchat to ask followers to also follow them Instagram, because they have so many more followers on Snapchat,” Greg explained.
3. Be creative in how you use Snapchat
Like Instagram, Twitter, and basically every other social media platform, Snapchat is inherently personal, and the people who do well are creative and authentic. Greg suggests using Snapchat to capture the unique point of view you have on interesting parts of your daily routine. “The way you experience something is very different to how someone else experiences it,” he explained.
Popular Snapchat users post a combination of two things: Random, singular events, as well as a series of events throughout the day that create a kind of novel/story in their “my story” feature. Play around with both types of content, and use video and still photos to find your style.
4. Lots of friends on Snapchat can lead to lots of money
Just like big bloggers get paid to feature product on their Instagram accounts, Snapchat influencers are getting hired by brands. “Creators are getting hired by companies and brands to illustrated and showcase their very specific style,” Greg said, listing companies like Walt Disney who are tapping influencers to leverage their brand storage on Snapchat.
Originally published March 2015. Updated July 2017.