Recently, Snapchat updated its platform with a fresh new look and advanced messaging features. Now available to all iOS and Android users, the newly updated app now allows users to have conversations, rather than just sending individual photos and video messages.

The app also aesthetically improved by redesigning many of the buttons and icons as well as user interface. Fonts are smaller, and menu swipes are cleaner and quicker. According to Mashable, there may have been some improvement in the camera itself, which appears to be generating higher-quality photos.

According to Snapchat’s blog, “Until today, we felt that Snapchat was missing an important part of conversation: presence. There’s nothing like knowing you have the full attention of your friend while you’re chatting.”

Isn’t this also the truth for customers with the brands they’re consuming? We want to know that if for some reason we want to reach out to them, that they’re able to hear us (or see), and we’re important enough to illicit some sort of response.

With Snapchat’s newly advanced messaging features, users and brands alike can reach one another directly, and privately. How’s that for good customer service?

Here’s how it works:

Text Messaging

Users can now have private, full-fledged conversations through the Snapchat app. Just one right swipe over a contact’s name and you can begin typing away! The catch to this, is that in order to start a conversation, you need to have had previous exchanges with this contact. You cannot send or receive a text message without first sending a photo or video message. Once you have done so, you are also able to send photos in the text message window. This is where the users are now able to send a photo from their camera roll! Unless the individual taps on the screen to save the conversation, the conversation will disappear as soon as both users navigate away from the message.

Video Chatting

Live video chatting can only occur when both users have the Snapchat app open and are in the same conversation. Users can then hold down the yellow capture button and the app begins to record video that immediately appears on the other user’s screen. Although, it is important to note that quality is not great on this feature.

Here’s how brands can make it work for them:

Text Messaging

For brands, the previous version of Snapchat may have been a one-way street. Brands like Taco Bell could send photos of new products (breakfast menu), company events, and secret promo codes and sales, but only 45 characters of text could accompany that photo. Now with text messaging capability, Brands can have lengthy conversations with customers in a direct, private messaging style.

Video Chatting

Have you ever tried to explain an issue to a customer service rep over the phone and they just don’t understand? This is an opportunity for brands to utilize the video chatting option to connect with users for face-to-face exchange. For example, an unsatisfied customer may want to connect with a customer service representative via video chatting to get some visual help with something that may be different to explain over the phone.

Although we’re unsure of whether or not brands will use these new Snapchat capabilities to connect more directly with customers, we certainly encourage them to do so, as well as encourage consumers to reach out to brands they’re connecting with.

Tell us how else you think brands can utilize these new Snapchat capabilities in their social media marketing campaigns, and as Snapchat concludes, “Happy Snapping!”

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