WHATS APP IS COMING FOR SMALL BUSINESS
We all love #WhatsApp right? And we all use it personally from day to day to communicate with friend’s, family, and our varied social groups. Not surprisingly WhatsApp now has over 1.3 billion users thanks to the messaging apps expanded features which include audio and video calling and the ability to send documents, location, and more.
Today, #WhatsApp is used in over 180 countries, and users send more than 50 million messages on the app every day. Its Snapchat-like stories on WhatsApp Status now has 250 million daily users, and hosts vertical video ads between friends’ content the way Instagram does. So It could also insert display ads into the inbox like #facebookmessenger.
In a nutshell WhatsApp is basically a kick ass version of instant Messenger, primarily based on phone numbers rather than emails and usernames. And if you didn’t know WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook in 2014 in a pricey deal valued at about $19 billion, having only 450 million monthly active users at the time. With such a significant and fast-growing user base, it’s no wonder Facebook is exploring ways to monetize the service and Facebooks CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he wants to focus on opportunities in communication between users and businesses. Can someone say new audiences? RESULT! Zuckerberg explains that
“ GIVING BUSINESSES THE OPPORTUNITY TO CONNECT IN WHATSAPP AN REACH THE PEOPLE THAT THEY WANT AND EVENTuALLY HAVE INCREASINGLY - HOPEFULLY TRANSACTIONAL INTERACTIONS - I THINK WILL BE A REALLY USEFUL THING ON THAT PLATFORM AS WELL ”
WhatsApp is set to charge large enterprise businesses for tools to better communicate with customers, BUT will also offer a free app to small-to-medium sized businesses, though it hasn’t outlined the specific functionality of the app. Excited yet? Think of all the new leads.The platform will allow global companies to provide customers with useful notifications like follow ups, delivery confirmations, after sales and a whole host of other updates. WhatsApp states it wants to facilitate
“ A CUSTOMER PLACING AN ORDER WITH SAY A LOCAL BAKERY OR LOOKING AT NEW STYLES FROM A CLOTHING STORE ”
“ SHOPKEEPERS WHO USE WHATSAPP TO STAY IN TOUCH WITH HUNDREDS OF CUSTOMERS FROM A SINGLE SMARTPHONE”
Plus offer “an easier way to respond to messages.” Perhaps WhatsApp will charge the larger enterprises like “airlines, e-commerce sites, and banks” to have multiple representatives sending high volumes of messages or managing accounts. WhatsApp has also officially announced a closed pilot program for verifying business accounts with a green checkmark to distinguish them from personal accounts and fakes and they began testing this weeks ago.
The Conversations with businesses are encrypted and they can be blocked, meaning if a business isn’t already in a customer’s phone number contacts, its name will appear as whatever they register themselves as instead of their number. Most likely WhatsApp will create a business search engine with sponsored results at a cost, or let businesses cold-message people. However, businesses will only be able to contact people who have provided their phone number and agreed to be contacted by the business over WhatsApp.
Whilst the platform isn’t here just yet here are some Pretty Vicious Ideas on how your brand could use WhatsApp:
USING WHATSAPP FOR CUSTOMER COMMUNICATION
Test your follow-ups on WhatsApp instead of direct phone calls; you’ll most likely get a larger response because no one appreciates phone calls from unknown numbers but they are more likely to respond to personal messages. You can also be a little informal. For example, if you have sent a quotation to your potential customer but haven’t heard from back you could just send a short message on WhatsApp asking about the status, and you might get a quicker response.
USING WHATSAPP FOR CUSTOMER SUPPORT
WhatsApp will also be a great tool for making customer support simple, because of its wider reach. Your customers would always prefer to send you a message over WhatsApp rather than calling or raising a ticket. There are a few new businesses like Wazapper that provide tools & API to setup customer support system using WhatsApp. Note: offering customer support via WhatsApp may not be a good option for all types of businesses and may not be practical if get hundreds of customer calls daily.
USING WHATSAPP FOR MARKETING & PROMOTION
WhatsApp will be a very strong marketing tool. It’s the 2nd best one-to-one platform for direct communication with your customers. You can use WhatsApp to send images, audio files, short video clips of your products and text messages to users across the world. Remember last week when we discussed why video is the future of content marketing? WhatsApp will be the perfect platform to promote videos. Unlike SMS or Email, there are less restriction on the format and delivery chances are higher. Note: Don’t spam customers use WhatsApp to connect with customers.Whilst we keep on top of the latest developments in this area and keep you updated you can always contact us to discuss how your brand can incorporate WhatsApp into its #marketingstrategies by getting in touch with one of our experts. You can also sign up to our newsletter to get cost effective marketing tips and stay on top of industry trends affecting your brand.
Until next time...