Snapchat Etiquette and How Not To Embarrass Yourself

A Snapchat Etiquette Guide for Gen Xers and Boomers, by Millennials Snapchat Etiquette From Its Main Users – Those Millennials

Snapchat is probably the most popular social network for teens and Millennials since Facebook. Sure Instagram is all the rage these days with that same demographic but do not dismiss Snapchat, the feisty upstart without a big brother that Instagram has in Facebook. Snapchat Etiquette has become an important discussion based on the nature of the service.

MTV says that Instagram feeds, just like its big brother Facebook’s News Feeds have been “infiltrated by parents and grandparents” while a new kid on the block, Snapchat, “is still largely Millennial territory.”

Apparently, many of us Gen Xers and some of you Baby Boomers need help trying to work Snapchat, or so says @MTVinsights. If help is not needed with regards how to use the social platform, help with Snapchat etiquette most certainly is.

Snapchat: The Future of Communication

This Snapchat app must have been specifically designed for the Millennial generation. It seeming provides a certain new level of familiarity while still providing a sense of separation, and dare I say, anonymity, if the Snaps are sent strategically.

If you really think about it, Snapchat, in the Millennials eyes, bridges the gap between a traditional in person conversation and the conversations they’re having daily in their own respective social media timelines.

In this way, Snapchat is forever changing the way Millennials communicate with each other and with us everyday.


how do you snap? how do you use snapchat?How Not To Embarrass Yourself on Snapchat

Let’s start by understanding exactly what Snapchat is and then get into some Snapchat etiquette from the perspective of Millennials.

After all, they know it best, they’ve created the etiquette. As much as it pains me to say, we just may have something to learn from these kids today.

Snapchat Etiquette 101

1. You snap a photo or a short video.

2. You choose which friend or friends you send it to.

3. As soon as they open it, it “dissolves” in a matter of a few seconds. Apparently gone forever and never to be seen again. Yeah right.

4. Remember that taking a screen shot on your mobile phone takes just seconds and not more than pressing two buttons at the same time. Anyway, that’s another story.

Snapchat Stories

You may recall that Snapchat rolled out a new feature called “stories” and this new tool allows users to publish a daily feed of snaps that will last a full on day – 24 hours – for all your friends and enemies to creep and stalk.

MTV says there are two schools of though with the Snapchat Stories feature: “Some users are in love with it, some are already annoyed. As Hayley, 19 notes, “‘My Stories’ has become kind of annoying, like Facebook, where people post everything like ‘I just went to the nail salon.’” Some also feel this function is more polished and planned than regular Snapchat, with people “trying too hard to show they are having fun at a party.”


Gen Xers use Snapchat TooThe Gen X and Boomer Guide to Snapchat

Here’s how to not embarrass yourself when using Snapchat. Created by the Millennials at MTV, Snapchat Etiquette is actually known as The “Snapchat-iquette”:

1. Snapchat your crush first, text later. A group Snapchat is often an ice-breaker to one-on-one Snapchats, which are icebreakers to texting (where more “real” conversation happens). “It’s kind-of weird to text someone random, but you can Snapchat someone random and it’s seen as friendly,” Ellen, 19, explained.

2. Don’t overdo selfies to people who aren’t your best friends.

3. Selfies are best if they are raw, funny and awkward … unless to your crush. Millennials tell us about adjusting lighting, hair and makeup. Kayla, 17, says she used to spend eight minutes getting ready for a Snapchat to her now-boyfriend.

4. Don’t send too many Snaps in a day, especially to a crush. You’ll look stalkerish. One panelist capped it at “5 per day.”

5. Be careful when you open videos in public. You have no idea what they contain.

6. Don’t open a Snapchat immediately – again, this depends on the desired relationship you are looking to cultivate. N/A if it’s your best friend. Definitely important if it’s your crush.

7. Snapchat can offer a great opp to get status updates on exes, crushes and exes’ crushes. One college student notes, “I see my exes watching ‘My Story,’ which creeps me out, but is also flattering.”

8. If you are out with other friends and Snapchatting, make sure not to send to an uninvited friend.


Why Do Millennials Love Snapchat?

There are likely many reasons why Snapchat is working so well, some of which have been discussed above. A major reason has to be the personal form of communication provided by the service.

“Millennials are looking for more intimate, “face-to-face” interaction in a world that’s increasingly virtual. The intimate, impromptu selfies make you “feel like you are just talking to someone.” But, Millennials also tell us that it simultaneously provides a bit of welcomed distance.

Snapchat also offers authentic, unpolished glimpses into someone’s life (or at least the impression of this… as noted above, sometimes shots are staged).”


How brands and businesses use SnapchatHow Do Top Brands Use Snapchat

A good question to ask digital marketers is: if brands come to Snapchat, which many already are, will the users stay? Remember, the Millennials may feel this is their network – away from Facebook and Instagram where “everyone else” is. Not to mention the fact that if brands don’t follow the generally accepted Snapchat etiquette, the user base of mostly Millennials will revolt!

Regardless, a few brands have taken advantage of Snapchat and have rocked some kick ass digital marketing campaigns within the network. Some examples include:

1. 16 Handles, a New York based frozen yogurt chain asked fans to snap a selfie at one of its retail locations. By doing so, 16 Handles then sends each user a snap with a promotional coupon for 16%, 50%, or 100% off. Wicked!

2. Taco Bell was one of Snapchat’s earliest brands and used Snapchat to promote that the Beefy Crunch Burrito will return to the menu.

3. I really liked this use of Snapchat and Snapchat Stories by the New Orleans Saints. Their social marketing team does some great work for this NFL franchise. In October 2013, they created a Snapchat account for the sole purpose of using the Snapchat Stories feature. They let fans know that they will be posting regular behind the scenes footage, images of new merch, and a peak into what uniform the team will be wearing.


The Wrap

I’d love to hear about your experiences with Snapchat. Do you currently use the app in your marketing? If so, what are you doing to drive engagement, website traffic, and ROI? Have you had any issues with Snapchat etiquette?

What about Snapchat Stories? Is that an annoying feature or a useful feature for brand marketing if used effectively?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.