WhatsApp Business 101: What You Need to Know to Get Started

2018/09/12 08:00

whatsapp business

Thinking about using WhatsApp Business to enhance your customer experience? This is what you need to know.

There are currently over 1.5 billion people using WhatsApp and over 60 billion messages are being sent every day. There’s definitely no denying that this is one of the most popular apps in the world, which is why it only makes sense for businesses to use it to reach out to their customers too.

More and more marketers are discovering how beneficial messaging apps are for providing customers with a more personalized experience and are choosing to embrace opportunities like WhatsApp Business to enhance their customer journey.

A report by Pew Research Center showed that messaging apps boast high engagement rates and a survey by Nielsen showed that the majority of messaging app users are more likely to make a purchase at a business they can message directly.

What about social media?

Many brands are still debating whether they should rather stick to social media instead of adding messaging apps to their daily online marketing efforts.  

The reality is that with so many recent scandals surrounding social media, online users are more aware of privacy issues and laws and are opting to use messaging apps to communicate online instead of using social media.  

While this is not to say that social media shouldn’t still be a part of your digital marketing strategy, businesses who want to make sure that their customers have more options available to communicate with them should definitely consider including messaging apps in their future strategies.

WhatsApp Business options

There are two different options for businesses looking to use WhatsApp Business.

Small Businesses

By downloading the WhatsApp Business app, small businesses can easily interact with customers by sorting and responding to messages in a quick and efficient way.

Small businesses will be able to create a business profile that will provide customers with the most important details about their business. Profiles will include a business description, physical address, email address and a website URL.

Once customers start contacting you via WhatsApp, messages can be sorted into different categories using labels, making it easier to attend to different customer requests and queries. Businesses will also have the option to create quick replies that they can use to respond to similar messages, saving them time in the long run.

Since your business won’t always be able to immediately respond to a WhatsApp message, there is also the option to create automated messages that are automatically sent out when you can’t respond.  

And finally, all businesses should be tracking their sales and marketing efforts, which is why WhatsApp Business also provides you with messaging statistics.

Medium to Large Businesses

For businesses that are slightly larger, there is the WhatsApp Business API, which allows businesses to securely engage with more customers on a global scale.

The WhatsApp Business API allows you to create a detailed profile that will give customers more information on what you do and where they can find you.

In terms of interacting with customers, the API takes messaging to a whole new level by sending customers the information they’re expecting, where they want to receive it. The API also serves as an effective customer support platform for businesses that have a larger customer base.

Setting up and using the API is slightly more complex though and will require some technical knowledge.  

As an added bonus, click-to-WhatsApp buttons are also coming to Facebook ads to make it even easier for customers to get in touch and engage with businesses.

Tips for using WhatsApp Business

whatsapp business tips

Below are some key considerations and tips for using WhatsApp Business.

Create awareness about your WhatsApp presence

While WhatsApp business is a great way to enhance your customer experience and encourage customer loyalty, it’s important to remember that your customers may not be aware of the fact that they can interact with businesses over WhatsApp. Promote the fact that your business is on WhatsApp and tell customers how they can get in touch.

Cold messaging is a no-no

The only time that a business is able to contact a customer via WhatsApp is if the customer has willingly provided them with their phone number and has agreed to be contacted. The aim of using WhatsApp Business is to strengthen your relationships with your customers, and using the platform as a cold calling tool will only achieve the opposite.

This is not to say that you can’t use the platform to send your customers more information on your business or upcoming sales, it simply means that it should be done strategically using a more personalized approach.

Don’t forget to update your status

The WhatsApp status feature is a great tool for updating your customers in a more subtle way.

You can use this feature in the same that you would use Instagram Stories. Give customers a sneak preview of what’s happening behind the scenes or bring their attention to an upcoming special or sale. Incorporating WhatsApp statuses into your overall marketing strategy will give your brand that added boost on an additional platform.

Get clear on how you want to use the platform

It’s important to be realistic and to have a plan in place for WhatsApp Business.

Start by making your customers aware of your WhatsApp availability so that they know you’re not going to be available to answer their questions and respond to their requests 24/7. Deciding on your availability will, of course, depend on your own availability or your marketing and customer support resources.

Overall, messaging apps are proving to be a highly effective way to reach your customers and are here to stay. Will you be trying WhatsApp Business in 2018?