Social media networks and messaging apps have changed the way we communicate, and for businesses it means adopting these technologies to reach their audiences. As the largest messaging application, WhatsApp has more than 1.2 billion users globally and businesses have been using it as part of their communications solutions.
However, with the official invitation of businesses by the company last year, it is being used for more than just internal communications. And with the addition of Snapchat-like functionalities with the new Status feature just last week, WhatsApp can now be used by businesses to interact with their customers even more.
How to Use Whatsapp for Business
Here are 10 ways your small business can use WhatsApp and the new Status feature to market your products and services, and better engage with your customers.
Real-time Customer Service
Let’s face it, providing real-time customer service is a luxury small businesses cannot afford, but with WhatsApp you and your small staff can answer any questions your customers might have quickly. And because the app supports rich media, you can use text, audio or video to provide a personal customer service experience.
Small businesses provide a multitude of services, and whether you are an electrician, carpenter or repair computers, you can create video presentations for your customers. These can be easy how-tos of tasks they can perform on their own that don’t require a professional or something else.
The customer support can also extend to live-video help or tutorials to fix something or provide guidance. This will make your company a reliable resource customers can count on, and when they need extended services, you will be well positioned to be the one they call first.
The open rate for WhatsApp messages is 70 percent. So instead of calling customers for feedback, you can create questions for your group that will deliver answers that are relevant to your business. This is marketing research at its best, and it is free.
With the feedback you receive from your customers, you can respond to their requests and improve the products and services you provide. By developing creative and entertaining questionnaires, you can interact with your customers in a way that is not intrusive. And their input can be of great value, which can be rewarded with special offers and coupons to encourage future engagement, brand loyalty and long term customer retention.
As your WhatsApp group continues to grow, you can personalize the interaction with your customers using one-on-one communication. This is especially important for small businesses, because you can have a direct relationship, where customers can message you if they need a particular product, have a question or need support.
WhatsApp can be accessed on your smartphone, tablet or PC, so you will be able to talk to your customers anytime if you choose to make yourself available.
Creating and Targeting Groups
Your small business probably specializes in a particular product or service, and by creating or targeting groups in WhatsApp that are interested in related topics, you can increase your customer base.
If you have created video content and provide live-support, members will share it with contacts that are outside of the group. This can lead to more users consuming the content, joining the group and eventually even becoming customers.
Share Promotional Codes, Flash Sales
With the new Status feature, you can create special promotional codes your customers can share to redeem at your business. Using the instant photo and location feature, Status can let everyone in your group know about the promotions you are running. This could include a two hour flash sale or a one day special to drive in traffic and create buzz.
Based on interaction levels, you can expand the promotion with WhatsApp-Status exclusive coupons or promotions.
The instant interaction capability of Status means you can provide special access to events you are holding and send a live feed. If you have a special guest chef in your restaurant, a musician in your music store or a renowned architect in your firm, you can share this news with your audience.
Demo Your Product
Whether you make your own products or just sell them as a retailer, you can demo them on Status and let your group know when you have a new item in your inventory.
Even if the customer doesn’t need this particular product now, knowing it is available, what it does, and how to use it will keep the product — and your business — top of mind when the time comes to buy.
You can have weekly, monthly or even daily giveaways to bring foot traffic to your store, or visitors to your website. Since WhatsApp and Status are free, the only cost of such promotions are the promotional products or services you give away. This considerably lowers the overhead of any marketing venture.
Collaborate With Businesses and Partner with Influencers
By collaborating with nearby businesses and partnering with influencers, you are increasing the number of groups to which you belong. They don’t have to be in the same industry. But with Status, you can become part of all these conversations.
Even if members of the other groups aren’t interested in your product or services, they might mention you in conversations on WhatsApp or other social media platforms.
WhatsApp, as a communication tool, continues to evolve and add more features — like Status — with more likely in the future. It is a versatile platform that lets you send files, images, and short video clips about your products and services.
But the key to using WhatsApp effectively is to avoid abusing the relationships you build with your audience these. Measure your interactions so each message you send has value. Don’t make every conversation about making a sale. Remember other users have the power to delete your message with a single click.
With the new Status feature, WhatsApp is now more valuable than ever for businesses. Use the existing features to provide valuable engagement with your audience as a way of spreading the word about your brand and learning more about your customers’ needs.
WhatsApp Photo via Shutterstock