What Does SFS Mean on Snapchat? An In-Depth Guide for Small Businesses

As a consultant who assists small and medium-sized businesses with their social media marketing, I often get asked about the latest Snapchat trends. One term that frequently comes up is “SFS.”

But what exactly does SFS mean, and should your business be leveraging it on Snapchat?

In this in-depth guide, I’ll break down everything small business owners need to know about SFS on Snapchat from a strategic marketing perspective.

What Does SFS Stand For?

SFS is an acronym that stands for:

  • Snap for Snap
  • Shoutout for Shoutout
  • Spam for Spam

It refers to a reciprocal exchange or promotion between Snapchat users to gain more visibility and engagement.

Below I’ll explain the meaning and purpose behind each SFS type:

Snap for Snap

A “snap for snap” exchange involves two users sending snaps back and forth to each other consistently.

For example, User A sends User B a snap video showcasing their product. User B then responds by sending User A a snap video promoting their own product.

This cross-promotion helps both parties gain more exposure and views. According to Snapchat, the more snaps you send and receive, the higher you appear in the Stories feed.

Frequent snapping between users also maintains “Snapstreaks” – the number of days in a row you‘ve snapped with someone. Snapstreaks have become a status symbol on the platform.

Shoutout for Shoutout

A “shoutout for shoutout” exchange involves users promoting each other’s Snapchat accounts to their own followers.

For example, Fitness Influencer A might post a story saying “Go follow @FashionShopB for cute clothes!” in exchange for Fashion Shop B posting “Go follow @FitnessInfluencerA for awesome workout tips!”

Shoutouts help Snapchat users quickly gain more followers by accessing each other’s existing audiences. This is an effective collaboration technique influencers often leverage.

Spam for Spam

“Spam for spam” involves users constantly viewing, commenting on, and interacting with each other‘s content to boost engagement analytics.

For example, User A and User B might repeatedly watch all of each other‘s stories, send chat messages back and forth, and screenshot each other‘s content.

This hyper-engagement looks good on Snapchat analytics. However, taken too far, it could be perceived as disingenuous.

The Benefits and Risks of SFS for Businesses

SFS can be an effective Snapchat marketing strategy if leveraged correctly. Here are some potential benefits for businesses:

  • Increased Brand Awareness – Shoutouts and partnerships expose you to new audiences. According to Snapchat, the average user engages with 10-20 different creators per week.
  • More Followers – Cross-promotions with the right accounts can help you gain followers rapidly. More followers means more views on your content.
  • Improved Engagement – Strategic exchanges boost comments, shares, screenshots, and other metrics that reflect higher engagement.

However, there are also risks that come with SFS marketing:

  • Time Investment – SFS exchanges require consistent interactions – posting shoutouts, sending snaps back and forth, etc. This takes time away from creating content.
  • Low Relevance – Shoutouts from accounts with unrelated audiences won‘t convert followers for your business. Relevance is key.
  • Inorganic Growth – While SFS may rapidly grow your follower count, the quality of followers may be low if partnerships aren‘t strategic. Prioritize organic growth.
  • Spam Perceptions – Repeated interactions that appear spammy or disingenuous could turn followers off from your brand. Avoid this by keeping exchanges meaningful.

Best Practices for Businesses Using SFS

Based on my consulting experience, here are some best practices businesses should follow if participating in SFS marketing:

  • Research Partners Thoroughly – Prioritize partnerships with accounts that share a similar target audience and content style as your business. Relevance is key.
  • Offer Value to Partners – Make sure collaborations are mutually beneficial – don’t just take shoutouts without giving anything in return. Reciprocation is expected with SFS.
  • Mix SFS With Other Tactics – Use SFS as a supplement to a broader organic growth strategy, not the sole focus. Relying solely on partnerships is unsustainable.
  • Track Performance – Analyze data and metrics to identify SFS exchanges that are successfully driving meaningful growth for your business vs. those that aren’t.
  • Set a Time Limit – To avoid spam perceptions, limit SFS interactions to a short timeframe, like 1-2 weeks. Draw out collaborations for too long and they may appear disingenuous.

Alternatives to SFS for Organic Snapchat Growth

While SFS can be effective, focus on organic growth tactics:

  • Leverage Niches & Hashtags– Cater content to specific niches and utilize relevant hashtags. Snapchat makes content discoverable this way.
  • Geofilters– Sponsor custom geofilters in your local area to get on viewers’ radar. Geofilters have a swipe-through rate of over 60%.
  • Utilize Snap Ads– Run video and collection ads to find new audiences. Snapchat ads average 9x higher swipe up rates compared to Instagram and Facebook.
  • Influencer Marketing– Partner with nano or microinfluencers in your industry to tap into their engaged niche audiences. Don’t just focus on major celebs.
  • Retargeting– Remarket to visitors who have engaged with your brand’s website or ads. Retargeting boosts ad performance by up to 400%.

The key is diversifying your Snapchat strategy, rather than over-relying on SFS exchanges. Focus on providing value to your audience in an authentic way.


SFS can accelerate growth quickly if leveraged strategically. However, sustainable Snapchat marketing requires an organic approach focused on value.

As a small business consultant, I recommend starting with organic tactics first. Then assess if and how SFS fits into your overall strategy. Be selective with partnerships, track performance diligently, and don’t lose sight of your core audience.

With the right Snapchat marketing mix, you can unlock new levels of brand awareness, engagement, and sales. Reach out if you need any help crafting an effective, customized Snapchat strategy for your small business!