I’m sure you’ve used WhatsApp before – it is the most popular messaging app in the world with 1.5 billion users – but you probably haven’t tried out WhatsApp Business. We’re here to get you on board with one of the next big platforms that businesses can use to create value.
What is WhatsApp Business?
WhatsApp Business was introduced in early 2018 as an Android app dedicated to small and medium business owners. There have been rumours about an iOS version launching for months now, but we checked the App Store today and still nada, so keep hanging in there Apple users!
WhatsApp Business makes it easy for businesses to connect with their customers and build up loyalty, something so important these days. It’s a lot like the WhatsApp you already know and love, just with a few extra features to make it compatible with doing business.
- Instead of a personal profile, you have a verifiable Business profile, complete with the company address, email, and website link.
- You can also view stats that measure message open/read rates and use tools that make it simpler to respond to customers.
Why use it?
The numbers are there. There’s a lot of talk about Facebook Messenger Marketing, but WhatsApp is bigger than Facebook Messenger. It’s a way to tap into the 1.5 billion users – 1 billion daily actives – who use WhatsApp!
A recent study by B&A found that 64% of people in Ireland use instant messaging apps daily (this includes WhatsApp ), up from 48% in 2018. We fully expect that this number is only going to keep rising.
Check out the map below that shows the dominant messaging platform per region:
Rise of Dark Social
People are increasingly concerned about the privacy of their personal information and are turning to dark social as a secure space. Messaging apps like WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business fit in perfectly to meet this need.
Like the Facebook policy already in place, WhatsApp Business only allows businesses to message users that have provided their phone number and agreed to be contacted. This, along with the fact that businesses have contact profiles, creates a feeling of genuineness.
WhatsApp Business Use Cases
There are lots of different ways to use WhatsApp Business, here are a few of our top suggestions. It’s new and evolving, so please share with us any that you might have tried.
1. WhatsApp Stories
Use the WhatsApp Status feature to post updates that vanish after 24 hours, mimicking Snapchat and Instagram Stories. There are already 450 million people using WhatsApp Status which is more than are active on Snapchat.
We love stories for posting more personal videos like ‘behind-the-scenes’ and ‘meet the team’ to establish a personable identity. One caveat though – you’ve got to build up an audience first. There’s no point posting a story if you have no contacts to view it!
Stories may well grow on WhatsApp; while only 35% of daily users post stories currently, there’s no reason why this doesn’t rise once more people realise that you actually can!
2. WhatsApp Business – An Extension Of Your Customer Support
Establish a few hours a week when you will be available on the app and put those those hours out on your other social platforms and website. Encourage customers to reach you using WhatsApp and you can give real-time support.
The downside of this is that the support can only be managed by a single person, because you can only have one phone number associated with the WhatsApp Business account. A good way to overcome this is to make yourself available only for certain hours and set an ‘Away’ message for the other times.
When starting out on WhatsApp Business, it’s best used to communicate with your loyal customers rather than trying to put together a huge list of customer contacts. Because you don’t want to come off as spammy, try to focus your messaging on your already-established and interested customers. They’ll be more open to receiving messages and engaging in informal chats than new or cold customers. Plus, you’re likely to know some of the preferences of your loyal customers, making it easy to reach out to them.
Maybe you’re restocking a product line and know of some customers that have bought or shown interest in the line before. Send them a casual message on WhatsApp. Because it’s a personal message, as opposed to a mass email, it won’t come off as intrusive.
To start building up your WhatsApp contacts you really need to spread the word to your audience. Link to your WhatsApp Business profile on all of your social platforms, put it in your emails, feature it on your website – whatever you need to do to get the word out. Because customers need to contact you first, you need to lead them to you.
Below are a few examples provided by WhatsApp to show how the app might be used in practice.
WhatsApp Business v WhatsApp Business API
Many of the more highly publicised, large scale examples of businesses using WhatsApp don’t actually happen on WhatsApp Business; they happen on the WhatsApp Business API.
- WhatsApp Business is specifically for small and medium businesses and it’s completely free for businesses and customers.
- WhatsApp Business API is for enterprise who need greater capabilities out of the app. It’s being rolled out slowly, with only a few select businesses being handpicked to trial it – the likes of Uber and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.
If there’s one thing for certain, you can expect to see more and more businesses integrating WhatsApp into their communications starting from 2019. Ads are coming. Businesses need to be there. It’s kind of like 2007 and Facebook Marketing. If you missed out on that, be sure not to do that again!
Follow our instructions on how to get started.
How To Set Up WhatsApp Business
To start, download the WhatsApp Business app from the Google Play Store if you’re an Android user, or the App Store if you have an iPhone.
Next, verify the phone number that you want to use.
Each WhatsApp account needs to have its own, unique phone number associated with it. Unfortunately, this means that you can’t have both a regular WhatsApp account and WhatsApp Business account under the same number. You can transfer your conversations from WhatsApp over to the business platform but you won’t be able to switch them back again, so be aware of that.
Then, follow the prompts to add the name of your business, your business category and a profile picture – we recommend using your logo.
Once you’ve completed these steps, your business profile should be good to go!
Just remember, in order to be GDPR compliant, you must have the user’s permission before you message them – in other words, only message people who have messaged you first or have specifically submitted their number and permission to be contacted.
Now go forth and try out a new form of social messaging and be one of the first movers to use WhatsApp Business.
If you’re looking for some guidance on how to leverage WhatsApp Business for your company, contact us (on WhatsApp if it is during normal working hours), or drop us an email or give us a call. We’ll always get back to you within one business day.