Karla Khodanian is my social media superhero.

Last night Karla led a workshop on Snapchat for the women of See Jane Write. I’ve said before that Snapchat is not my jam. For years I resisted even downloading the app because I thought it was just something teens used for sexting and even after I did sign up for an account I never used it because everyone I knew only used it make goofy pictures.


But that’s all about to change.

Karla is an expert on and enthusiast of all things social. Working as a Digital Community Manager at Big Communications, Karla specializes in dissecting brands of all sizes to determine where, when, and how their content marketing should be implemented—and how to use that content to increase and engage the many audiences at their fingertips. Her portfolio includes work with InSinkErator, Birmingham Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, Alabama Construction Recruitment Institute, Protective Life, The Wharf, as well as many other regional and national brands. (You can follow Karla everywhere on social media @KarlaKho.)

After reviewing the basics of how to use the app, Karla then discussed why writers and bloggers should bother using Snapchat in the first place and how to make the most of it.

What really hit home for me was Karla’s reminder that Snapchat is simply another tool that we can use to tell stories. As writers and bloggers, telling stories is what we want to do, so why not take advantage of this innovative way to do so?!

So what story are you going to tell? Karla gave us several idea of ways writers and bloggers can use Snapchat:

  • Behind the scenes
  • Interviews with guests
  • Share current news
  • Offer live coverage of major events
  • Do a content series (such as your daily workouts)
  • Product reviews

I’m going to use Snapchat to give people a behind the scenes look at See Jane Write but also my life in general, which will include covering events I host and attend, sharing my workouts, and reviewing my favorite products. (Be sure to follow me @seejavaciawrite)

In her talk, Karla broke down for us what makes a good story on Snapchat:

  • Talk to your audience.
  • Stories should be 70% video and 30% photos.
  • Add music to your stories using apps like iTunes & Spotify. (Simply play your song of choice on your device as you record your Snap.)
  • Have a consistent theme throughout your stories including font choices, colors, and filters.

Of course, Karla addressed the elephant in the room: Instagram Stories. As I’m sure you know, in August Instagram introduced its own version of Snapchat (after attempts by Facebook, which owns Instagram, to buy Snapchat failed). So if you’re already using Instagram regularly, should you just use Instagram Stories instead of bothering with Snapchat? Or should you use both?

Here are some things to consider:

  • Your audience. Snapchat users still tend to be younger, so if you’re trying to target millennials this may be the way to go.
  • Your bandwidth. Do you have the capacity to be consistent on both platforms? If not, stick with the one you enjoy most and the one your target audience uses.
  • Your content. If you do decide to use both, be sure you’re telling a different story on these two different platforms. Your audience on one medium probably will follow you on the other as well and you don’t want to bore them with duplicate content.

Honestly, I went into last night’s workshop planning to simply apply all of Karla’s Snapchat tips to Instagram Stories because Instagram is an app I already enjoy and use regularly (you can follow me @seejavaciawrite). But then Karla taught us about geofilters.

Geofilters are special overlays that communicate the “where and when” of a Snap in a fun way and in a way that you can use to help boost your brand. In fact, Karla created a geofilter for last night’s event that featured the See Jane Write logo! You should have heard the cheers that erupted in the room when we discovered it.


So Snapchat, you had me at geofilters.

Now that I’m going to get serious about this, it’s time to build my following. Karla gave tips on how to do this, too:

  • Make sure your stories are public.
  • Change your settings so that you can receive snaps from everyone, not just your friends.
  • Tease specialty content such as discount codes and sneak peeks. This tip I definitely plan to use by giving special discount codes to See Jane Write events to my Snapchat followers.

I know it will take some time for me to get good at Snapchat. One of the things I plan to do to get better is study the stories of those who slay at Snapchat. Some of the accounts Karla recommends following are:

  • refinery29
  • mashable
  • psimadethis
  • huffpost
  • buzzfeed
  • thenytimes
  • lacma_museum
  • hannahbgood
  • theashleygraham
  • thewhitehouse

How do you use Snapchat?