WhatsApp is one of the fast-growing communication apps and a must for small business owners. If you are a small business owner, you have probably been wondering: How can I use WhatsApp for my business? In this article I’ll show you how to use it for the management of your staff and marketing campaigns.
WhatsApp, the instant messaging service acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $19 billion, has established itself as the “king” of communication channels. Speed, privacy, and widespread use (active users number about 1 billion) are features that have made WhatsApp Messenger an essential tool for small and big companies.
The potential is endless. WhatsApp can be an effective tool to improve your business, even if you are a novice and are just using the app for the first time.
What possibilities and opportunities does WhatsApp offer to my company? How can I do business with WhatsApp?
The answer is twofold. WhatsApp can be used internally for staff management and as an effective communication tool for a marketing strategy.
Let’s explore both cases in more depth.
Whatsapp for Business:
1. Staff Management and Internal Communication
Many companies are already using WhatsApp as an important tool to support staff management. They simply create a group in which to exchange information (messages, photos, and videos) with colleagues, saving a great amount of time.
Leveraging WhatsApp for internal communication can facilitate the coordination and correct distribution of information. Not only that, managers can implement motivational strategies towards their team, which provides them clear objectives with the ability to monitor and comment on the spot and then provide useful advice.
With real-time communication, the team has the opportunity to be constantly updated on the leads generated, the conversion process, and follow-up strategies. Besides, thanks to the weekly-updated group chats, sales managers will have the chance to be updated on all the ongoing negotiations and the ability to monitor the results.
You can do the same by using WhatsApp Web or download the app for Windows/Mac, which will improve your typing speed as well as not holding the phone all the time. From your computer you’re able to use groups for internal communication both one-to-one and one-to-many, which leads to a considerable saving of time and money.
2. Communicate with customers
WhatsApp can be helpful for managing communications with your clients. Here’s a tip suggested by the portal Forketers, the leading experts in restaurant marketing:
If you contact your prospects by WhatsApp rather than with direct phone calls, you will get 40% more response. No one wants to receive calls from unknown numbers, but people are more likely to respond to messages. Since we started using WhatsApp to communicate with the customer, we noticed more answers and a greater commitment.
WhatsApp gives you the opportunity to be informal while being more direct. For example, you sent a quote to your potential customer, but he never called you back. What do you do? Normally you would have sent an e-mail or made a call, taking the risk of annoying your client. However, with WhatsApp, everything becomes easier and faster. In most cases, a short message on WhatsApp will be enough to get a response from your client (and when it comes to an estimate, as you know, time is a major factor).
To communicate with your customers via WhatsApp there are various alternatives. You can use a simple WhatsApp account on a mobile phone and on a PC via WhatsApp web or by downloading the app from the official website.
A brief remark: many people think about using WhatsApp to communicate with customers, but give up when they wonder: How do I manage all these people? I can’t spend the whole day on WhatsApp or “sacrifice” an employee to do just that!
Why not only use WhatsApp for the most important customers (or those who spend more than a certain amount of money) to remain in touch and give them that level of importance. This ensures that the work does not become too costly in terms of time and return on investment.
2.1 Broadcast lists and Groups on WhatsApp
WhatsApp offers several options to chat with your clients. You can write messages to individual contacts, group chats, or broadcast lists. The difference is simple. Groups enable you to chat with a group of people at once, and all messages are shared with all members of the group. In WhatsApp groups, all participants can see all messages from all contacts. However, a broadcast list is a way to send the same message to several contacts without revealing the recipients to one another. The recipients also won’t be able to see if anyone else has received the same message.
To use the broadcast list, open WhatsApp and tap the “Broadcasts” button in the bottom left of the screen. Click on “New List,” type your contacts’ names, and tap “Create.” Then just type and send the message, just as you do in the group chats. Recipients won’t know if someone else has received the same message.You can edit your list at any time, adding or removing people. To do so, click on the (i) button on the list you want to edit and tap “Edit List.”
3. WhatsApp and marketing: new communication strategies
Using WhatsApp to sell a product or a service like you can do with other social media platforms is not the best solution. I recommend focusing your WhatsApp marketing campaign on “humanizing the brand.” Through WhatsApp you have the ability to give a voice to your company, placing a real human in front of your customer providing that one-to-one interaction.
One of the first WhatsApp social media marketing campaigns was launched by Absolut Vodka in 2013, with The Absolut Unique Access. The concept was simple. Absolut organized a super-exclusive party for the launch of their new brand of vodka. But to be invited to the party, people had to overcome the virtual doorman Sven, convincing him to be included on the guest list.
Three hectic days with the virtual doorman on WhatsApp generated 600 contacts and more than 1,000 unique images, video, and audio messages created by the people who participated in the campaign. By involving people, Absolut got exactly what they wanted. In addition, they created a virtual queue in advance before the event. Obviously, this enabled Absolut to strengthen their brand image among young people who were enthusiastic about the initiative. This is only one testimony of successful marketing strategy via WhatsApp. The ideal aim, however, is always to design an integrated communication strategy that makes the application interact with other social networks like Facebook and Instagram.
A good example of integration between Facebook and WhatsApp is a campaign by Israeli chocolate Klik. Supported by an advertising agency, Klik created a real “game” in which users could participate by saving the WhatsApp number of the company that was on the official Facebook page. By doing so, users got messages from the company that asked them to perform a series of actions, such as sending pictures in funny situations or taking selfies with sad faces after hurtful situations.
The result? As reported by the company, more than 2,000 young people took part and more than 90% of these had completed the game. Facebook received more than 1 million views and the level of involvement of users grew by 51%.
4. WhatsApp and marketing: universal principles
The cases listed above are examples, but it’s always prudent to build a unique and original WhatsApp business strategy. The possibilities are endless and yet to be discovered.
Try coming up with communicating offers and initiatives designed solely for your influencers and try and trigger your own viral mechanism of spreading. You could also create groups with specific offers or plan a contest that communicates via WhatsApp to the lucky ones who have won. Well … creativity, creativity, creativity! Think outside the box.
In any case, whatever type of promotion that you decide to deploy using WhatsApp, you should follow certain “rules.”
Here are tips from the reliable portal Thestartupvideo.com:
4.1 What to do
- Share your WhatsApp contact details on your website and other social media platforms.
- Use WhatsApp only when you have a strong relationship with customers.
- Although WhatsApp is an informal platform, always maintain a certain decorum when talking with a client.
- Answer questions immediately. Prompt communication is essential for any company.
- Insert images and videos. The visual messages have a greater impact.
- Include some fun elements in the messages.
- If you are not always available, indicate the time at which you can be contacted via WhatsApp.
- Posting an offer of products on Facebook and doing a follow-up on WhatsApp is the key to any targeted communication.
4.2 What not to do
- Don’t send messages to all mobile numbers. If you unreasonably text your customers, you could end up being blocked.
- Don’t send messages too frequently. An overdose of information is not healthy for your image.
- Don’t ignore customer feedback, otherwise they may lose interest in your brand.
- Keeping your profile inactive can be seen as a signal that you are not interested in promoting your brand. Update your profile regularly.
- Avoid creating groups with people that don’t have anything to do with each other. A group must have something in common, which may be the location, place of work, school or interest.
The world of WhatsApp marketing is still unexplored. Imagine, create, and test your strategy. Once you have read this entire article, you’ll understand that WhatsApp can become an important tool for your business. You just have to find the form that best suits your individual need. The ongoing digital evolution requires companies the ability to adapt and have a vision for the future.
By continuing to ignore a tool like Whatsapp and other IM applications such Telegram, Viber, and WeChat, in the long run, can cause severe disadvantages compared to competitors, losing you customers and the advantage of being on top. The development of “authentic” and real time interactions allows companies to stand out from other market players and reach a prominent position in the business community, ensuring the best engagement rates and, consequently, an increase in the return on marketing investment marketing.