Russell Barnard of Snappd talks to us about everlasting Stories and personal branding

Tell us about yourself

I’m Russell, co-founder of Snappd and a self-taught web developer from Essex. I moved to Edinburgh around four years ago and began my career as a PHP developer working on a number of different websites for a company based in the city. Ever since I started learning to code I had always been working on different side projects but the first one that I really decided to make the jump into full-time, was Webfolio. I wrote a little about my experience here.

Whilst working on Webfolio I still wanted to explore some more side projects and to also expand my skills as app development was becoming much more prominent. I decided to learn Swift for iOS development, making small apps and eventually, this led me to create Snappd.

Tell us about Snappd

“Snappd has to be the most exciting and challenging project I have worked on so far.”

Snappd is primarily an iOS app for people to enjoy discovering and watching stories from Instagram or Snapchat at their leisure with no 24 hour limits. The easiest way to describe what we hope to achieve is to become the ‘Youtube of Snapchat and Instagram stories.’ We want to be the place where viewers can discover great storytellers as well as a platform for creators to showcase their content and grow their audience.


Tell us how you came up with the idea for Snappd

The idea came about in an organic fashion really. I had recently learned how to code iOS apps in Swift and started to make short stories on Snapchat giving some quick tips on how to start making apps and general coding advice.

After a few weeks I noticed that as I gained new followers more people would ask if it was possible to watch the old tips or even rewatch certain stories. As I was quite early at using Snapchat, in this way I had the chance to network with other creators and found that many agreed that the ability to create a catalog or profile of their past stories would be something that could be very useful for them and very importantly, for their audience.

From there, myself and my co-founder began working out an MVP of Snappd which would allow creators to upload their stories so that they could be shared and repurposed but we also wanted each story to be indexed so that people could discover great storytellers easily.



Our audience is predominantly Marketers in Social Media and Digital. Do you have any suggestions or examples of how they can leverage Snappd in their day to day?

Snappd is a great way for marketers to maximise their Snapchat or Instagram stories. Instead of creating a story and just letting it expire after 24 hours Snappd allows stories to be uploaded, rewatched and even shared across social media.

Creators, brands and marketers can see how their story performs after 24 hours and can therefore determine which platforms are best to repurpose these videos be that Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc. All stories saved on Snappd can also be embedded into a website or blog post to further boost the reach of their stories.



What is Snappd’s current strategy?

Part of our current marketing strategy is based on trying to hit the target market again and again with similar content told in different formats such as video vlogs, stories and blog posts. From experimenting with these different channels we aim to add as much value as possible which will ultimately drive traffic.

It is vital for us to stay up to date with latest news and trends across social and video apps such as Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. We want to be ‘in the know’ so that our audience can hear our thoughts or tips on big features and updates across these different platforms that may ultimately help with how they make and use stories.


What is Snappd’s marketing workflow?

For us collaboration is throughout the whole process from initial brainstorming ideas for pieces of content to who will create the content to where and how it is to be distributed. Some of the main tools we use regularly include Buffer, Quu and Medium. We also have a stand alone blog that will be launching soon to have more control over the traffic we can bring in, rather than relying on third party blogging platform.



You’re about to set up a podcast on Storytelling. Why is Storytelling so important and relevant?

With the amount of content anyone can access these days it is really important to have a strong story with your content. The aim of the podcast is to discover from influencers and creators what makes an engaging story and why it is important.

Today is all about digital storytelling and in particular through mobile video. Mobile-first vertical videos pioneered by Snapchat with the ‘Stories’ feature has made it very easy for anyone with little or no film making skills to create content and tell their story straight from their smartphone. These vertical video stories designed specifically for mobile are immersive, easily consumed and add a much more personal vibe as they are mostly filmed with the front-facing camera.

Anyone can take advantage of this new form of content creation whether that is marketers, brands, businesses, influencers or if you are looking to grow your personal brand. It is important however that your story has a structure particularly with marketing. It’s all about giving value in some form whether that is tips or advice on certain topics, sharing views or simply being entertaining. It’s not about sell, sell, sell – if you keep your followers/viewers entertained and interested you can start to build loyalty with your audience.



What makes for strong storytelling? Do you think effective storytelling is more about the people than the brand?

It’s really down to the person or brand as to how what they wish to portray their message, whether that is a structured theme or topic or showing behind the scenes glimpses. It’s good to have a mix of both – adding value and also being entertaining in some way as that will have the audience coming back.

I would also say that it is important to be consistent, to almost have a certain schedule for stories and decide if you are to do daily stories or set days for certain types of content so that your audience will get to know the structure. I think it’s great to see a mix of not just the brand’s messages but seeing the people behind the brand really does make an impact and is a great way of building connections with people. The audience can really get to know the personality of the brand and its people by telling their stories in a unique way and not just as a faceless company.


Snappd is available in App Store and is featured on Product Hunt.



Russell Barnard, Snappd