Here’s What You Should Know Before Using WhatsApp Business
Having direct communication with your customer base is becoming extremely important, and reaching out to customers on messaging apps is a growing strategy among marketers.
According to Pew Research Center, messaging apps boast high engagement rates and are popular among young consumers. Furthermore, in Nielsen’s Facebook Messaging Survey, the majority of mobile messaging app users explained that they are more likely to spend at a business they can message directly.
Exploring The WhatsApp Business Application
Like the original version of WhatsApp, the business application allows you to interact with customers in the form of a chat. However, unlike the normal chat, small business owners are offered a number of tools to help organize, automate and speed up the communication process.
WhatsApp Business allows you to create a public profile for your business with basic information, including an address, website and other helpful information. Different chats can be labeled for organization, such as new customers, returning customers or orders completed. Small business owners are also able to set away messages and create quick replies to frequently asked questions. And just like the normal WhatsApp, conversations are always encrypted, and businesses can be blocked just like individual contacts.
Not All Consumers Use WhatsApp — You Must Encourage Them
WhatsApp Business allows you to create a more seamless customer service experience for your customers as well as strengthen their bond and loyalty to your business. However, companies must consider the fact that their customer base may not be active on the messaging platform yet. While it is important to raise general awareness about your presence on WhatsApp, you will not be able to reap the benefits of a deeper connection with your customers unless they download it.
To help encourage use, businesses can create Facebook ads that bring attention to the WhatsApp messaging service by adding a “send WhatsApp message” button to their ads. Engagement should be the main focus here.
Strengthen Customer-Brand Relationships — No Cold Messaging
Businesses are only able to contact users who have provided their phone numbers and have agreed to be contacted by that specific business over WhatsApp. This mirrors Facebook’s policy, which requires a business to be contacted by an individual user before being able to start a conversation. So, WhatsApp should be considered a new platform to help strengthen bonds between your standing customer base instead of a tool for cold calling.
Based on my experience, the platform is primarily suited for businesses with a very familiar or regular customer base. If you are located in a touristy area with few regular customers, for example, the app may not be the best for you. After all, the main goal should be to deepen bonds with your customers and develop brand loyalty, which is extremely difficult to do over a short period of time. However, you can still utilize the app to communicate with customers and give them more information about your business. They may return to the area or recommend you to friends who visit in the future.
Share Social Statuses With Your Customers
We have found WhatsApp Business to provide a lot of opportunities for online and mobile marketing, especially for small businesses. WhatsApp allows users to post statuses, much like Snapchat Stories. In the future, these status updates can be used the same way as Instagram Stories to give sneak peek previews, bring attention to upcoming live streams or just give customers a look behind the scenes of their favorite business.
Currently, all of our focus is going toward lead generation and follow-up on WhatsApp. We have found that a personalized message sent to a lead shortly after the initial contact with one of our clients on Facebook positively affects conversion rates. As WhatsApp use becomes more widespread, we plan to develop specific social media marketing strategies for WhatsApp messaging as well as status updates.
WhatsApp Business can only be associated with one phone number per business, making it a one-person job. So, remember to remain realistic when creating a content plan for WhatsApp statuses as well as general availability. Share your WhatsApp availability — starting at a few hours per week — with your customers so they know when to get in touch. It is unrealistic to be available 24/7, so it is important to communicate to your customers when you will be online.
Especially following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, social media users are becoming increasingly aware of privacy issues online. More and more users are turning to dark social like messaging apps and platforms for a higher degree of security and information privacy. As algorithms continue to develop, audience targeting will become more general and less effective. However, algorithm changes are not the only reason digital marketers should be on the lookout for new social media platforms.
Although the majority of internet users likely have Facebook or Instagram accounts, they may not be extremely active on the platforms. Following trends and researching which apps or websites your customers are using on a daily basis are the only ways to determine which platform is most suitable for outreach.
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