How can “WhatsApp for Business” help your business?

We are not going to start by telling how awesome WhatsApp is, how people are choosing it over SMS or how it has a better reach and blah. You probably already know that by now. When WhatsApp announced its “WhatsApp for Business” feature, a lot of us opportunist marketers lost their marbles thinking of how they use it to add value to their brands. There were also some agency kids who weren’t particularly thrilled about it.

Although, a few months have passed since the introduction of WhatsApp for Business, and we know how great a medium it is, most of us are not sure of how exactly we can make the most of this new communication channel. There are two broad uses of WhatsApp that you can think of. One is for customer support and another is for marketing.

Customer support

The first obvious use of WhatsApp for Business is the boost it can give to customer support. WhatsApp is more direct, personal and faster compared than other mediums. Most brands that are using the app for communication already are using it for the same purpose. You can automate your responses such as for order confirmation, payment failure etc, send away messages and send links to the payment gateway. WhatsApp is soon going to add payments feature to the app which will make sending and receiving money easier. This can be another useful feature for those using the app for business purposes. There, however, is one catch though. Since the app is linked to one’s mobile number, it can be installed and used on one device only.

Bulk messages

Now although WhatsApp has to a great extent replaced SMS, one thing we need to keep in mind is that this app should not be used to replace bulk spam messages. It’s true that WhatsApp makes it easier to send broadcast messages to many users at once. However, if it is easier to send messages, it is also easier to block your number, preventing any future communication. That doesn’t mean we are suggesting you don’t send promotional messages at all. What we are saying is that it should be sparingly used. Also, identify the tastes and preferences of your audience, segregate and send relevant offers or information to the relevant users. To give you an example- you would not want Netflix to keep sending you messages about the shows you don’t watch or would not be interested in.

Get creative

This has been the biggest challenge for marketers with respect to the app. Customer support and broadcast messages are a no-brainer. The question most of us have been pondering upon is- How do we leverage this app further? Can you run contests? Can you have tutorials? That’s out for debate, discussion and, trial and error. It all depends on what your product is and how open is your audience to receiving and responding to WhatsApp messages from a brand.

Key takeaways?

  • WhatsApp is a personal space for communicating with friends and family. Even if the makers have made it easy for the brands to reach out to their customers, think why they have always kept it ad-free.
  • We can expect newer, better features on the app but right now customer support is the best bet. It is convenient and after all, one of the major objectives of a marketer is to make things easy and convenient.
  • Don’t spam. Refer to the first point
  • Get creative but think of what your audience will like or dislike. Again, refer to point no.1
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