A communication tool as effective as WhatsApp simply cannot be left out of your business. Here 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 the communication channels. Speed, privacy and widespread use (active users number about 1 billion) are features that have made WhatsApp Messenger – even if it is not an essential tool yet – something that all companies must consider. The potential is endless, and WhatsApp can be a serious tool to improve your business, even if your knowledge of it is scarce.
How? 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 both 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
Many companies have already used WhatsApp as an important tool to support staff management. They create a group in which exchanging all information (messages, photos and videos) with colleagues can be done, saving a great amount of time. Well, it is certainly a great evolution, but when the company’s structure is more complex WhatsApp alone won’t be enough to accomplish the goal.
We try to get into the problem (and find the solution) from a real case reported by a WhatsApp Lab reader:
I’m the CTO (Chief Technology Officer) of an Italian company and I’m looking for a way to use a WhatsApp company number that can be used by the sales agents. The following is how it should work:
1. An agent sends a message to the company, and the colleagues can see the message on multiple PCs (web management interface) and reply.
2. The company can send WhatsApp messages to an agent.
3. The company can send messages to a group of agents.
4. The company and agents must be able to share pictures.
As you can imagine, running any kind of internal communication using the standard application is impossible especially regarding point 1, as WhatsApp does not allow for the management of multi-user accounts.
Certainly you can use groups for internal communication both one-to-one and one-to-many (which leads to a considerable saving of time and therefore money), but it can do more.
This “more” is possible thanks to an application compliant with WhatsApp, created precisely to meet the needs of managers who need a channel with more features but don’t want to drop WhatsApp.
We are talking about Ongair, an innovative communication service that can be used not only to manage an effective customer service via WhatsApp, but even for internal communications.
Thanks to an intuitive management panel that can be used with a PC, Ongair lets you create groups or single chats that are managed by more than one user both from mobile phones and computers. It requires an Android phone with WhatsApp installed, and you will able to meet all needs raised in the points above.
The product is extremely helpful. All specifications are described on the official website of Ongair.
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 get calls from unknown numbers, but people are more likely to respond to messages. Forketers stated: “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 and 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 bothering your client. However, with WhatsApp everything becomes easier and faster. In fact, 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 you can use Ongair, which we mentioned above (highly recommended when you have to deal with a large number of customers).
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!
Perhaps the investment would not be vain, but we can still think of an alternative: use WhatsApp only for the most important customers (or those who spend more than a certain amount of money) to coddle them and make them feel unique. This way the work will not become too expensive in terms of time and return on investment has high growth potential.
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.
Therefore, 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 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, and 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 may 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 to give a voice to your company, placing in front of your customer a person with whom to build a social relationship.
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 the 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 which asked them to perform a series of actions, such as sending pictures in funny situations or taking selfies with sad faces when they finished their chocolate.
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. On Facebook they have 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 can be taken as an example, but it’s always good to try to build a unique and original WhatsApp business strategy. The possibilities are endless and yet to be discovered.
You might think of communicating offers and initiatives only to your influencers, so that these may trigger a 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!
In any case, whatever the 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
1. Share your WhatsApp contact details on your website and other social media platforms.
2. Use WhatsApp only when you have a strong relationship with customers.
3. Although WhatsApp is an informal platform, always maintain a certain decorum when talking with a client.
4. Answer questions immediately. Prompt communication is essential for any company.
5. Insert images and videos. The visual messages have a greater impact.
6. Include some fun elements in the messages.
7. If you are not always available, indicate the time when you can be contacted via WhatsApp.
8. 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
1. Don’t send messages to all mobile numbers. If you unreasonably text your customers, you could end up being blocked.
2. Don’t send messages too frequently. An overdose of information is not healthy for your image.
3. Don’t ignore customer feedback, otherwise they may lose interest in your brand.
4. Keeping your profile inactive can be seen as a signal that you are not interested in promoting your brand. Update your profile regularly.
5. 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. If you 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 what you do.