snapchat music

A Beginner’s Guide to Snapchat for Musicians

If you’re looking to take advantage of the latest social media trends as a musician, you should take some time to get familiar with the Snapchat app.

Even big brands have started flocking to the platform that has over 100 million daily active users and seven billion daily video views (Buffer).

Does this mean that you should get on Snapchat because everyone else is doing it? No, I don’t believe that the latest is always the greatest, especially when it comes to social media.

But if you can build it into your existing promotion strategy and get results from it, then you might as well take advantage of it.

So if you’re interested in learning more about the platform, read on.

What is Snapchat?

Like me, your smarphone might be from the dinosaur age, meaning you can’t install the app because your device doesn’t support it. It’s obviously time for me to upgrade.

Anyway, Snapchat is a mobile messaging platform. You can used it to share photos, videos, text, and even drawings.

The app is free to use, and in some cases it’s where the young people have started going to escape the clutches of parents and responsible adults making their way over to Instagram. That’s right, kids – Instagram isn’t the wild west anymore.

But perhaps the oddest thing about Snapchat (at least for those who are new to the app) is that the messages are used to create conversations in the moment. “Snaps” have a very short lifespan – typically 10 seconds – and once they have been viewed, they’re gone for good.

So that probably sounds odd to anyone reading this for the first time. But when you think about how we typically converse with each other, it makes sense. A dialogue – at least a good dialogue – is a series of exchanges and not a one-way dispensing of information.

As for sending and receiving messages, the process is a lot like text messaging. You tap to view the message, and it disappears after its time limit has expired. But the details of the sender and the time stamp stay, so connecting with your friends on Snapchat is easy and fun.

Connecting with your friends on Snapchat is easy and fun.Click To Tweet

Quick-Start Guide to Getting Up & Running on Snapchat

So you’ve probably picked up on the fact that you need a relatively new smartphone device if you want to use Snapchat. There’s no getting around that.

But assuming you have a compatible device, it’s just a matter of going into the app store and installing it. Once installed, you’ll need to set up a user account as well.

You should also be aware of the differences between Snaps, Stories, and Chat. Let’s take a look:

  • Snaps: you’ve probably already picked up on the fact that the self-destructing photo and video messages are called “Snaps.” Snaps can last from one second all the way up to 10 seconds, and after it has been viewed, it will disappear.
  • Stories: Stories, unlike Snaps, can be viewed by anyone that’s following you. A Story is a collection of sequential Snaps played one after the other. Stories can last up to 24 hours after they have been posted, and can be viewed by your followers as many times as they want to. You can respond to specific photos or videos by swiping up on your screen.
  • Chat: the Chat feature lets you start a conversation with someone specific. All you need to do is swipe right on their name to start chatting with them. The messages you send will expire just like with Snaps, but it is possible to save important information on the fly.

Without getting too caught up in additional functionality (such as lenses, filters, and geofilters), that’s all you really need to know to get up and running.


Tips for Promoting Your Music with Snapchat

Due to the ephemeral nature of Snaps and Stories, you need to be pretty active on the platform for it work for you. As far as I’m concerned, that’s one of its chief weaknesses.

But if you use it as a communication platform, as it was intended, you will be able to get more value from it. Snapchat is flexible, and that’s its main strength.

Here are several ideas for promoting your music on Snapchat:

  • See if any of your fans are on Snapchat: before getting too carried away on the platform, find out whether or not your fans have any interest in connecting with you on Snapchat. Otherwise you’re just shooting in the dark.
  • Promote your shows: send fun and interesting messages to your friends inviting them to your next show. Snapchat makes it easy to connect with people locally.
  • Share previews of your music videos: create teasers for your upcoming music videos and add them to a Story.
  • Showcase a hook: break out the acoustic guitar and play (and sing) one of the best hooks you’ve got. If it sticks in the minds of those who hear it, they will be compelled to check out your music.
  • Capture a moment from your concert: similar to showcasing a hook, except in a live situation. You might need to enlist the help of a fan to make this work.
  • Share news and announcements: are you about to go on tour? Do you have a new single coming out? Let your fans know about any major announcements you have.
  • Share your life: what are you eating? Where are you going? What concert are you headed to this weekend? Fans want to know. Show some behind-the-scenes footage from your life.

Final Thoughts

Above all, stay safe and don’t do anything stupid. Assume that nothing you ever post to social media is 100% private, because frankly it isn’t. Don’t post anything inappropriate, and don’t be too quick to get involved with people you don’t know or trust.

It is important to use social media platforms as a means to connect with others, but remember what you’re there to do – to promote your music. That should give you some perspective in terms of how to conduct yourself.

Author Bio:

David Andrew Wiebe is the founder of The Music Entrepreneur, and author of The New Music Industry. He is also active onstage and in the studio with bands like Adrenalize and Long Jon Lev. His new solo album is slated for release later this year.

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