Private messaging services such as WhatsApp, KIK and SnapChat are popular tools for people who want to communicate with friends and family. These apps are easy to use, and facilitate fast and convenient communications that are also private. Now, many people want to harness all of these features and communicate with the brands they patronize just as easily.
Facebook and WhatsApp
In 2014 Facebook acquired a mobile messaging tool known as WhatsApp for 19 billion dollars. For the unfamiliar, WhatsApp is a very popular app used for instant messaging from mobile devices. The total number of active users of WhatsApp is approaching 1 billion. Out of all the mobile web users in the UK, over ⅓ use WhatsApp on their mobile devices.
The Benefits of WhatsApp For Small Business
If you are the proprietor of a small business, you may already be using SMS to send and receive messages with your customers. After all, it’s quick, convenient, and allows you to broadcast important updates quickly while also being able to receive questions, comments, and concerns in a timely manner. Unfortunately, in order to do this, you may be paying some hefty SMS fees. Because WhatsApp makes use of your company’s Wi-Fi mobile network, you can send and receive messages without worrying about those additional fees. The lack of fees, opens up WhatsApp as not only a communication tool, but also a marketing tool that can be used to target your customer base. It also makes it much less expensive to communicate with customers on the global stage.
How Can The Owner of a Small Business Put WhatsApp to Use?
To begin, it is important to point out that it is specifically prohibited in WhatsApp’s TOS to use the app for advertising. In spite of this directive, it is still possible to create engagement with your target customers. It just cannot be used for direct sales. Here are just a few of the possible uses for WhatsApp in the small business world.
Organizing And Managing Events
One of the features of WhatsApp is that you can create groups as means separating your customers and other clients into meaningful groups. One of these groups could be people who are invitees to or confirmed attendees of events. If you are putting together an event for your business, you can use WhatsApp to share necessary information leading up to the event. During the event, you can use WhatsApp for real time engagement and to pass on up to the minute updates. Once the event is over, you can distribute pictures and videos to those who attended.
Customer Service And Support
Twitter has become more and more popular as a customer support venue. However, not everybody wants to use it for those purposes. Some feels as if that impacts that platforms usefulness as a promotional tool. If you would prefer not to use Twitter, but like the idea of real time and personal interaction with customers who are having issues, WhatsApp could be a serviceable option for you. In fact, if you would like a more robust customer service option, you could even try WhatsApp for the desktop.
Facilitating Communications With Customers
One of the most appealing things about messaging is that it happens in real time. Because of this, people tend to read and respond much more quickly than they do when it comes to emails. That’s not just useful in the area of customer service. You can also use WhatsApp to send out information about your products and services, company news, and to link to blogs or other content that relates to your business. You can even use WhatsApp to generate engagement and get customer feedback by broadcasting surveys or simply asking folks to send you their thoughts.
As a Tool For Placing Orders For Products And Services
If customers can reach you through WhatsApp, they can contact you to place orders, which you can then pass on to the proper people for fulfillment. One example of this could be a gift basket company who could receive orders for specific gift baskets via WhatsApp from customers, fill those orders, and then turn around and send a notification that the order was ready for pickup. Delivery companies can make use of location information to arrange pickups and deliveries of packages.
For Promotional And Marketing Purposes
WhatsApp isn’t just a tool for sending text messages. It has multimedia capabilities that mean you can send audio files, pictures, and video clips. This means that instead of waiting for consumers to go to your website or blog, you can send the content you create directly to them via WhatsApp message. It is best to use WhatsApp to reach out to customers with whom you have already done business or who specifically contact you and ask to receive promotional material. This will help you to stay on the good side of the policy banning direct advertising.
If you want your customers to learn more about a particular product or service, you can use the apps ability to send out images and high quality videos so that they can see these things being demonstrated. If you are a manufacturer, for example, you could use the app to send out pictures of a new product line to your distributors along with some educational information.
WhatsApp is a powerful communications app that has the potential to help you keep your customers engaged and happy enough to continue doing business with you. The tool requires no exceptional skills to install and setup and you will incur no additional costs after you have everything in place.
Many companies, including diamond ring manufacturer, Rare Pink are already using this app as a tool for developing good relationships with their customers. They have certainly been impressed with the results. Will you take advantage of this great messaging app and do the same? It will be interesting to see how use of this utility changes the small business landscape over the next few quarters.