Welcome to my life, where more than 15 thousand people from around the world are tuning in to my daily travels on Snapchat (@drewbinsky).
I'm essentially hosting my own travel show on my iPhone, and Snapchat has proven to be the most exciting way to connect with my global audience.
How did I get here? Let's rewind time for a second...
About 2.5 years ago, when I moved to Korea to teach English, I started a travel blog and fully committed myself to grow a big following from day one. But at the time, Snapchat was still evolving, and the concept of having external followers did not exist.
It wasn't until I was on a backpacking trip around India last year when the light bulb went off in my head. I realized that I could grow my audience on Snapchat by having random people follow me, as opposed to just sending snaps to my close friends.
Immediately after I noticed this opportunity, I've been heavily focused on growing my account and it's paid off already.
Right now, as I write this, I am in Vanuatu - my 77th country since 2012. I am not only working as a travel blogger to fund my travels, but now I am a full-time Snapchatter (meaning I make a living from it), as I'm using the app to share my adventures with the world.
How do I use Snapchat?
It's very simple - anytime I see something cool, interesting or entertaining on my travels, I capture it and upload it to "My Story." It's pure entertainment in my hands.
Snapchat allows me to give my viewers a look behind the scenes as a full-time traveler, as I dive into foreign places and have unique cultural exchanges.
I aim to post 15-20 snaps per day, which add up to 2-3 minutes when played together in a short narrative.
I focus on being creative by drawing pictures with the in-app marker, using emojis, and taking advantage of Snapchat's amazing geo-filters -- which exist in almost all big cities and in global events (festivals, sporting events, concerts, etc).
I often play games and encourage people to snap me back - it's a great way to keep people interested.
The ultimate goal is to keep it fun and make people want to come back for more.
How is Snapchat different than FB, TW, IG, and PIN?
Snapchat is different than any other social media because of three things - privacy, higher engagement, and it's actually fun to use.
The privacy aspect is due to the fact that there isn't any liking, commenting, sharing or re-posting. Therefore, whatever the viewer sees is only seen by him/her, and then it remains in their thoughts.
The higher engagement comes because the viewer chooses to watch your content by clicking on your name (as opposed to your content randomly showing up in a newsfeed). I can be certain that the viewer's eyeballs are on the screen, and they are retaining what I am sharing.
And lastly, it's fun because each snap is like opening up a surprise. It enables me to have a voice through live videos and photos of my daily adventures, where people can instantly connect with my humor and personality. It's addicting, and it's a platform that I actually enjoy using.
How is Snapchat my most engaged social media?
Over the last few months, I have been averaging 50-100 new followers per day - more than any other social media.
Although Snapchat doesn't (yet) provide substantial analytics, you are allowed to see how many eyeballs are viewing each snap, and how many people are taking screenshots. Therefore, I know which content people are most interested to see.
Every morning, I wake up with a smile on my face when I see about 30 new snaps from people telling me how I've inspired them, or asking for travel advice, or just saying hello. The connection is real.
I also play fun games with my audience, encouraging them to send me snaps and sometimes I give out free postcards. This puts the people in charge and gives them more of an incentive to follow me.
I frequently play a game called "Where in the world are you?" - where I'll ask people to send me a snap using a geo-tag of their location and I share them on My Story.
The last time I did this, the results were overwhelming.
Within 2 hours, I received more than 700 snaps from people in more than 100 countries -- from Eritrea to Uruguay to Suriname to Fiji.
To put this engagement into perspective -- I played the same game on Twitter (to 37K followers) and I only got 23 responses.
On Facebook, I asked people where they are from and I got 32 comments.
Why has Snapchat been so effective for me?
Snap is effective because people can tune in ANYTIME directly on their mobile device. And in today's world, everyone has their phone on them 24/7.
It's almost like people are carrying me around with them in their pocket, whether they are sitting on the toilet, waiting in line at the supermarket, or just laying in bed, they can tune in to see what I'm doing.
I see enormous potential for Snapchat's growth in the coming years. It was already the fastest growing application in 2014, and today, there are over 300 million active users sending 1.5 billion snaps every day.
So, I'm going to keep snapping away as I plan to visit 50 more new countries in the next 3 years. The world is coming with me.
Please Join Me!
Thanks for reading my story, and come join the fun @drewbinsky! Simply screenshot my Snapcode below, open up Snapchat, go to "add friend by Snapcode" and it'll automatically add me. Also, feel free to snap me your travel questions and I will respond!