We’ve told you all the reasons why you need to be on Snapchat (like those 100 million daily users?), so now it’s time to focus on how you go about rolling out your account. While it’s true that Snapchat is the most relaxed social media platform out there, this is still your business we’re talking about, so a content strategy plan needs to be in place prior to your debut.

DO: IMPLEMENT GUIDELINES
We know you’re anxious to get started, but before you even choose your Snapchat username, you’ll want to identify what need this account is filling in your overall social marketing plan. “Brands need to create a purpose for why they’re on Snapchat before going live with their feed,” says Laura Knapp, managing director at Social Reality, a digital advertising and marketing company based in Los Angeles. “This will allow them to see the best results and provide value to their audience.”

Despite Snapchat’s entire ethos being on-the-fly and laid back, you still need to identify ahead of time how you want your brand’s account to look and feel. How much access are you going to give your followers into your studio, your classes, your retail areas? Will you, the owner, be the face of the account? Will staffers take over daily, weekly or biweekly? There are no right or wrong answers to these questions, but certainly you’ll want to make the decisions ahead of time, rather than in the moment.

“Once a roadmap is in place, the brand (and all it’s staffers) will have an understanding for how they will present themselves and engage with their customers,” says Knapp. “This doesn’t necessarily mean that every Snap will be perfect every single time—the key is to pay attention to what your followers respond well to and do more of that.”

DON’T: BE RAUNCHY OR RANT
If Instagram is gorgeous and pre-planned, then Snapchat is gritty and spontaneous. But that doesn’t mean that there are no boundaries for brands on the platform. “It’s public—anything you put out on the Internet, even Snapchat, will and can be seen and shared,” advises Knapp, who also sits on the board of directors for Social Media Club LA. “I suggest brands stay away from profanity, nudity and political rants, unless, of course, that is the foundation of their brand, and then that’s a whole different story.”   

That said, brands can still have a whole lot of fun on Snapchat, thanks to the platform’s amazing selfie filters and text and graphic overlays. If Jessica Alba opts for the doggie face while sitting in her Honest headquarters, we think it’s okay for you and your team to do so as well.

Knapp also green lights the geo-targeted filters, which she says are a bonus “if travel or being social (at different events or locations even within one city/state) is part of the brand’s culture and identity.”

DO: USE MY STORY
When posting content on Snapchat, you have the option to add the material to “My Story” or send it directly to one, some or all of your followers. [Note: When sending content directly, you currently have to manually select each direct recipient, as there is no “select all” option.] Knapp recommends brands share their snaps to My Story the majority of the time. “The best reason for a brand to direct message is when they are awarding a contest/giveaway winner or replying to a comment a follower made to them,” she says.

DO: PASS THE MIC
One engaging content strategy to try is having different staffers take over the account a few times a week or month—brands like Soul Cycle, InStyle and yes, ClassPass, are currently doing this. For it to be successful, however, all staffers should be well versed in your content guidelines and have a firm understanding that this isn’t their personal diary, but rather a work assignment, wherein they depict their role in your brand. It’s a good idea to loosely map out what the staffer plans to post—such as a healthy breakfast shot, a pic of them stretching before teaching a class, a quickie video of the class, post workout photo with students, etc.

DO: ENGAGE WITH YOUR USERS
Just like on the other platforms you’re more familiar with (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter), the rule of thumb maintains that you comment back to your commenters. “Brands should just reply to questions, comments and feedback from their social followers as often as possible,” says Knapp. “It will ultimately improve the authenticity of the brand while also strengthening follower loyalty. Of course, depending on the amount of comments coming in, some comments may not require a response. For example, if a follower sends a brand a question through Snapchat’s direct chat message feature, a brand should definitely answer. If the messages are general feedback statements like ‘cool’ or ‘looks great,’ then it’s up to the brand’s social manager to determine what their follower response strategy is.”

Additionally, Knapp recommends posting call-to-action content where brands poll their audience for ideas, feedback, and more. “Similarly to other social channels, Snapchat can be a tool for brands to better understand their customers and online community,” she says. “Incorporating call-to-actions is a smart tactic that will allow the brand to gain insight from their customers—which should then be applied into the brand’s social strategy so that they continue to provide value to their customers.” An example of this, Knapp says, would be an athletic apparel brand giving their Snapchat followers a behind-the-scenes look at the design process, showing the pattern options for a new collection and then asking for feedback, like, “Which pattern/color would you prefer for our next legging + sports bra combo?”

DO: GO #BTS
Behind-the-scenes footage is still king when it comes to Snapchat content—and it’s what will prompt your users to come back again and again. Feel free to tease your followers with a look at how your instructors plan their playlist for class, or your staff prepping the studio before opening. Anything to get your customers pumped to come to class is a “do” in our book.