Do you love following the business news? Reading about updates like the new updated Facebook messenger, or the release of the new iPhone, or how Vishal Sikka has infamously resigned as the CEO of Infosys. Yes? Then you would have read about how Facebook is now launching WhatsApp for business. But, how is it relevant to you as a marketer or as a salesperson?
Why WhatsApp for Business:
Let me paint a picture. It could very well be a familiar picture, but let me paint it just the same. Remember when SMS was all the deal a few years back and how many, many businesses rode the wave that it caused. Imagine that on a much larger scale but with better insights and precise targeting. That is what WhatsApp offers you.
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With a tool that has such a reach, how can you not get excited? This is one major marketing platform that you should quickly add to your marketing repertoire.
How does it work?
WhatsApp has largely been a free platform. Despite the large user base, this new venture is their first attempt at monetization. This new app that they call ‘WhatsApp for business”, will allow businesses to talk to their clientele directly. I, however, was a little skeptical about this (past tense, to be noted). An unwanted intrusion on a platform that is purely for personal communication, may not be welcome. In that case, how would it work?
Simple. A business cannot send you a message to your WhatsApp until and unless you give them explicit permission to do so. So, if you like a business and want to interact with them, you can connect on WhatsApp with them and either leave a good word or a complaint. Your choice. No intrusion. Pretty cool, no?
And if a company is being annoying, which we marketers can become sometimes, then the user can simply block the company from sending any more messages.
How it is different from regular WhatsApp:
GadgetsNow, the popular platform for technology releases, has recently talked about all the new features that WhatsApp for business comes packed with. While it looks very similar to the regular chatting app, there are some key differences within the business version. I’ll walk you through all the new features of the new app:
1. Changed logo:
Though the apps belong to the same company, the new business app had a different logo with the phone icon being replaced by a ‘B for business’. The logo is easily recognizable to frequent users, yet capable of differentiating between the two apps.
2. Register landline numbers:
The new WhatsApp allows businesses to use their landline numbers to register for the app. This is an improvement over the regular chat tool, as it allows only mobile number holders to register for the app. You can also include the type of business you are, a family owned or corporate business, while you register.
3. Automated replies:
You can now set up automated responses using WhatsApp. If an inquiry comes in for a product or about your business, you set up automatic replies. This way, you can connect with your customers even if you are unavailable to chat at that particular moment. For example, if someone
For example, if someone messages after closing hours, you can send a message saying, “Sorry, we are closed at the moment. We will get back to you first thing in the morning.”
4. Verified businesses:
You can reduce the risk of fraudulent companies messaging your users. WhatsApp now gives business a green tick (shown below) as proof of their authenticity. This is one way that users will know that they are not being scammed and are interacting with actual businesses.
5. Message statistics:
Any tool that is being used for businesses needs to be measured. Therefore, WhatsApp also provides you with options to see data for the number of messages sent and received. This way you can keep a track of how well the app works for you.
Ways you can use WhatsApp for business:
We now know that WhatsApp is big for companies. But how exactly can marketers make use of this platform? The use cases are many and if done right can bridge the gap between you and your consumer to a great extent. Let’s take a look:
For marketing promotion:
Of course, this is the first thing I am going to talk about. I don’t think any marketer can ever resist promoting their products on any platform. You can send them offers, new product releases, promo codes and more. Since this is a one on one communication with your clients, make sure that the message is worth their time.
However, I must warn you to not overdo it with offers every day. This might just make them choose the dreaded block option. Relevant promotions based on their website behavior could work wonders for you.
For updating order status:
BookMyShow is one of the very first companies in India who has begun using WhatsApp for business. They show us an example of how you can use it to send tickets to those who book movies through the platform. You can send order status, order tracking links etc on WhatsApp to keep the user updated on their transaction. Here is a screenshot of a legit message sent my BookMyShow.
Notice, how they provide them an option to stop the messages as well. You can check out BookMyShow’s experience with WhatsApp in this article by YourStory.
To send reminders:
Millenials and even Gen Y folks have becoming used to checking WhatsApp on a daily basis much like (or maybe much less than) a newspaper. Which means that if they have a policy that needs renewing or a flight that needs to be boarded the next day, you can send a message reminding them of it. This way you can also reduce the risk of them missing out on important deadlines.
KLM travels in the video above has talked about how they do this using WhatsApp.
For customer support:
Having a dissatisfied customer is an ill omen, but having one who has no proper place to complain can become a disaster. They might resort to posting on social media about their experience resulting in negative publicity for you. But, using a trusted platform like WhatsApp where they can reach out personally can help improve your relationship with them
Additionally, having a one on one platform will increase their feeling of entitlement and push them to buy from you more. Of course, exceptional support cannot hurt 😊.
For product Demos:
Since WhatsApp is a platform that extensively supports video content, you can even send over product videos. If someone leaves a demo request, you can send over videos to his WhatsApp directly. This is a good use case, especially for businesses that have products that require assistance.
To get reviews and ratings:
You can get your customers to review your product or service. Give them links or options to reply to a survey. WhatsApp being a go-to platform for communication can actually motivate your customers to give you more accurate feedback. Give them innovative ways to give feedback and they will actually interact with you.
These are just some use cases off the top of my head. But you, I am sure can think of much more and put WhatsApp to good use. Well, I am very excited and looking forward to the new release. Are you? Let me know!