Snapchat isn’t just for silly selfies anymore. It’s a great storytelling tool. Many celebrities are using this rising social media platform to share behind-the-scenes footage, mini movies of their everyday moments, and funny videos for one very good reason. Sixty percent of millennials are on Snapchat. Yes, 60 percent If you’re 18–34, on a TV show, or in a movie with a millennial audience, Snapchat is the perfect tool to build your fan base and connect with them on a personal level by telling your unique story one snap at a time!
Whether you want to watch or take part, you should do these three things:
1. Grab your username. Even if you’re not going to use it right away, choose a name that’s consistent with your other platforms.
2. Create your own Snapchat selfie so friends and fans know it’s you! Make sure it represents you and your brand.
3. Add your phone number so you can connect with friends and contacts right away!
4. Add your username to my new Snapchat Directory to connect with other artists in the industry.
Now that you’re set up, here are five ways for actors to use Snapchat:
1. Create your own work! Movies aren’t just for YouTube anymore. “Snapchat stories” post in sequential order. You can make your “story” into a mini film with a beginning, middle, and end. Your story is only live for 24 hours, but you can save it to your camera roll and share it wherever you like. Creating Snapchat movies is so popular that the Tribeca Film Festival held a Tribeca Snapchat Shorts contest with the winning films screened at the festival! Need inspiration? Check out Crypt TV or filmmaker and YouTube star Casey Neistat to see how they’re utilizing the platform. If you’re using Snapchat to create films, save your “snapsterpieces” in a playlist on YouTube. You can even set up a page on your website with the embedded playlist and your snap code (like this one) so people can friend you easily.
2. Give your fans an exclusive preview. If you have a podcast, why not preview a sound bite on Snapchat? Do you release an episode of your web series every week? Try previewing the first scene in snaps to build a community around the excitement of seeing that episode before anyone else! On a larger scale (and bigger budget), “Pretty Little Liars” has done an amazing job offering its fans exclusive looks at episodes before they air and have reaped the benefits with an amazing community of fans.
3. Use Snapchat for networking. If you’re at an event with lots of millennials, there’s a good chance 60 percent of them are on Snapchat. After making a connection with someone it’s easier to ask to connect on social media than asking for a phone number or email. If you meet someone in the business and they’re on Snapchat, add them to your friends by username or try using the “Add nearby” function under “Add friends.” Then organize your “friends” so you remember where you met and you see the important people at the top of your story list (I show you how in the video below).
4. Behind the scenes snaps. You can use Instagram, Twitter, and live video on Periscope and Facebook to show behind the scenes, but Snapchat, with its use of photo, video, and text, provides a more personal and customizable behind-the-scenes experience. If you’re in a show right now, encourage fans to meet you at the stage door for a snap! Save the pictures and post them on your social media channels.
5. Create a geofilter for your show or theatre company! Snapchat has some simple guidelines to get you started. Encourage attendees to take photos at intermission, add your geofilter, and share them on social media using #YourShowsHashtag for discounts! This spreads the word about your show and spreads goodwill too!
If you’re thinking, Oh no, not another social network for me to figure out! The good news is, once you learn the basics, Snapchat is more user-friendly than other platforms. Since snaps disappear after 24 hours, there’s also less pressure for high-quality images and videos. Keep in mind that while these messages do disappear, someone can record or capture them with a camera to save forever.
Want to dive even deeper? Watch my video below to learn five awesome Snapchat tricks!
Like this advice? Check out more from our Backstage Experts!
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