Starting A Snapchat Public Profile: A How To Guide

By default, all the media you post on a Snapchat account will only be seen by people on your Friends list. It's a lot like WhatsApp in that regard — you can determine who gets to see your updates. But if you're looking to reach a wider audience outside your Friends circle, you should open a public profile on Snapchat. 

It'll work like a public Instagram or YouTube account: other users can subscribe to the account, and you'll be able to include details like a bio and description. There'll also be a Highlights tab where you can showcase your favorite or most important stories, and a Lenses tab containing lenses you created using Lens Studio. You can also add a website link, and you'll be able to see account analytics, including stats about the reach of your content, and the demographics of your audience.

With a public Snapchat profile, your Stories may pop up in others' Discover or Spotlight tab, which is a lot like Instagram's Explore Page, and is a great way to increase visibility. If you run a business or want to build an audience on Snapchat, a public profile is the first step toward getting your account noticed. Here's how to go about creating one.

Requirements for creating a public profile on Snapchat

There aren't too many hoops to jump before you can own a public Snap profile. Here's what you need:

  1. You have to be 18 years or older.
  2. You should have at least one friend who follows you back.
  3. Your account must also be older than 24 hours — newly-created accounts cannot go public.
  4. You must have no previous record of violating Snapchat's Community Guidelines — which are mostly rules against hateful or offensive language, pornographic material, misleading information, and privacy breaches.

If your account checks all of those boxes, you should be able to make your Snapchat profile available to the public. However, Public Profiles are not yet available in all regions, so if you find that you cannot create a public Snap profile despite meeting the eligibility criteria, you might live in an unsupported region. There's no way around it, but one way to increase reach even with a standard Snapchat account is to submit video Snaps to Spotlight — which is a lot like TikTok's For You page. Spotlight posts must be video Snaps between five and 60 seconds. Text-only snaps or still images cannot be featured on Spotlight.

How to create a public Snapchat profile

The process of creating a public Snap profile differs slightly depending on whether you're on iOS or Android.

On an iPhone:

  1. Open Snapchat and tap on your Bitmoji at the top-left of the screen to see your profile.

  2. Scroll down to Public Profile and tap Create Public Profile.

  3. Next, tap Get Started and follow the prompts. You'll see a disclaimer that gives you a heads-up about what changes to expect when you open your Snap profile to the public — other users can see your name on any posts or Lenses you upload, and access your account from there.

  4. Tap Create to continue, and you should find yourself back at the Profile page where it should now say My Public Profile under Public Profile.

On an Android,

  1. Open Snapchat and open your profile by tapping on your Bitmoji.

  2. Scroll down to Spotlight & Snap Map, then tap the three dots icon next to Add to Spotlight.

  3. Next, select Create Public Profile from the pop-up menu and follow the prompts.

Whenever you want to post to your Public Profile, tap Send and select My Public Story under the Stories tab. You'll still be able to share private content with your private friends list without making it visible to public subscribers. To do that, just send a story to My Story (Friends Only) from the Stories tab.

How to improve the reach of a public Snapchat profile

When you're done setting up, there are a few things you can do to optimize your new profile and increase your chances of reaching as many Snapchatters as possible.

  1.  Add a profile picture. It'll humanize the page and catch people's attention. To do this, tap on My Public Profile and select Edit, then add a picture. You can also add a cover photo to make the page more visually inviting.
  2. Make the most of Saved Stories. The key to growing any social media account is consistently posting new content, but Saved Stories are a great way to maximize the posts you've already created. You can feature public Snaps you previously posted or add media from your Camera roll. That way, you can always have new stuff to share even when you don't have a live public story. To use the feature, go to the Stories tab on the Profile page, then select Save a Story to Your Profile. Next, choose from previous Snaps, or swipe to the Camera Roll tab to upload media from your device. You can add 100 Snaps or 5 minutes total of video content to your Saved Stories.
  3. Enable Quick Add. If you enable the Quick Add feature, you'll pop up in other users' suggestions if they follow similar accounts or you share mutual friends. To use it, open Settings and select See Me in Quick Add under Privacy Controls, then toggle on the switch.

Marketing guru, Neil Patel, shares some other creative strategies for gaining followers on Snapchat that you can also employ in increasing your account's reach.

How to delete a public Snapchat profile

If you ever change your mind about running a public Snapchat profile, you can delete it and go back to using a standard profile. Keep in mind that you'll lose access to all the features that come with a public profile — the analytics, bio and description, and of course, the larger audience. But if you decide to delete your public Snapchat profile, for privacy (Snapchat might not be as safe as you think) or for any other reasons, here's how to do it:

  1. Open Snapchat and tap on the Bitmoji icon to open your profile.

  2. Scroll down and select My Public Profile.

  3. Tap on the three horizontal dots in the top right to open the Account Settings page.

  4. Next, scroll to the bottom of the page and tap Delete Public Profile.

All your posts and followers will be permanently deleted — not archived. There is no restore option for this action. However, this will not affect your standard Snapchat account, and the friends in your list will remain. Snapchat accounts you added as friends while you ran a public profile would also remain on your list.