One key aspect of digital marketing is staying up-to-date on new developments in digital marketing platforms. It seems like every week there are new programs being launched, or changes being made to existing programs, that affect the way your business’s online marketing functions. Technology sure likes to keep us on our toes, doesn’t it?
One new online platform that’s proving to be a game-changer for small businesses is the popular messaging app, WhatsApp. WhatsApp has over 1 billion active users every day—which equates to thousands of potential clients for your business.
Let’s take a quick look at WhatsApp, and how you can (and should) use it to boost your business’s visibility.
WhatsApp is an app that can be downloaded to your mobile device or computer. It’s available for Android, iPhone, Windows Phone, and Mac or Windows PC.
WhatsApp can be used to send messages as an alternative to SMS or text messages. The app uses internet connection or data to send messages instantly.
Many people find it preferable to text messaging because it’s more private and secure, can be used without cellular service, and has additional features such as the ability to delete a message after it’s been sent.
You can also use WhatsApp to make voice phone calls or video calls. This may be preferable to calling with your cellular service to make a long distance call such as overseas (to avoid extra charges), if you’re in a location without cellular service, or if you prefer to call or video chat using your laptop or desktop computer.
WhatsApp is also a platform where users can find profiles for local businesses, and message or call those businesses directly from the app.
There’s a version of WhatsApp, called “WhatsApp Business,” that’s designed specifically for business use. This app is completely free, and is the tool that business owners use to establish and edit their WhatsApp business profile. A WhatsApp profile has many benefits for small businesses:
The more signposts that point to your business, the better. These may be physical signposts, such as in phone books or billboard ads, or online signposts, such as profiles on local listing websites or a Facebook business page.
WhatsApp is just another platform where potential clients can search for, and easily find, your business.
Your WhatsApp profile will include a description of your business, its physical address and email address, and a link to its website (see example below).
Increased visibility is always a good thing for a business—especially when it’s free.
WhatsApp is first and foremost a communication tool, so it definitely comes in handy in helping customers get in touch with you, and vice versa.
Once viewers find your business’s profile, they can conveniently contact you directly from their mobile device through a message (known as a “chat”) or by calling.
You can set up an automatic chat response that will go out to the customer immediately, giving them a time frame of when to expect a personalized response. This improves your response time rating and also gives an impression of responsiveness and approachability.
You can then easily respond with a custom message within the set time frame.
WhatsApp also provides the option to save “quick replies,” which are messages or phrases that you find yourself typing to clients often. You can label these (for example, “return policy,” or “order received”), access them quickly, and send them easily.
Another helpful feature of WhatsApp for business use is the ability to save and organize all the messages you receive.
As soon as you receive a message, you can label it into a certain custom category (new order, potential client, question to answer, etc.) to help you keep track of your messages in the future.
There’s also a handy tool to organize your contacts in WhatsApp. Once someone contacts your business, you can save him or her in your WhatsApp contacts under certain categories to help you keep track of your incoming or returning customers.
Customers can also place product orders directly through WhatsApp, and the app has tools to help keep your orders organized in different categories (new orders, paid, shipped, received).
All successful business owners know that keeping careful records is a crucial part of owning a business.
Recording statistics and data over time, and reviewing them regularly, helps us know what is and isn’t working for our business.
WhatsApp can help in this effort by doing some data recording for you. The app keeps track of how well your business is doing in reading and responding to client messages.
You can access your business’s WhatsApp statistics by going to Menu, Settings, Business Settings, then Statistics.
This will show you how many messages were sent, delivered, read, and replied to by your business.
The statistics kept by WhatsApp are designed to help you better understand the experience of those who engage with your business, and make improvements to your customer service if needed.
If you already have a successful Facebook profile for your business, then you know how effective Facebook ads can be at reaching your target audience and inviting engagement with your business.
One of the best ways to turn Facebook ad viewers into actual customers is to include a “call to action” in your ad that helps viewers follow through to make a purchase or contact your business.
One great way to achieve this follow-through is by connecting your Facebook ad to your WhatsApp business profile.
We’ll share more about how and why to do this below.
A simple system to proactively collect and use feedback from all of your customers.- Activate happy customers to share the good word where it matters - Reach unhappy customers before they bad-mouth your business - Give your team the time and intel to turn a negative customer experience around
Since WhatsApp is owned by Facebook, there are many ways in which they’re designed to work together for optimal results. Connecting your WhatsApp profile to your Facebook business page is a great way to get the most out of both platforms.
For example, Facebook has started a new ad unit that works seamlessly with WhatsApp. Here’s how to connect a Facebook ad to WhatsApp:
This will cause the call-to-action button on your Facebook ad to link users directly to sending a message to your business through WhatsApp.
The button on your ad will display the WhatsApp logo, so users expect to message using WhatsApp.
The benefit of connecting ads to WhatsApp is that the messages you receive will be easier to read, respond to, and organize than messages in Facebook Messenger or direct phone calls.
One downside of this is that ad viewers who don’t already have WhatsApp will be prompted to download the app before they’re able to send a message to your business.
So you should weigh the pros and cons carefully, and analyze the target audience of your Facebook ad to decide if the majority of them are likely to be familiar with WhatsApp.
Digital marketing today is so much more than websites. If you’re feeling “behind the times” and need help or guidance in updating your business’s online presence, contact Visibly Connected for a personalized consultation. We can help you utilize every available tool, including WhatsApp, to take your business’s online visibility and accessibility to the next level.
*Pictures from socialmediaexaminer.com