WhatsApp has become widely popular due to its simplicity as a personal communication app. It boasts 900million daily active users.
Even though the founders say they have no intention of making the app to be business-friendly, you can use it for your business in various ways. In fact, people have built new businesses using WhatsApp as a platform and some are using it to grow their business in a cost effective manner. On the surface, when you compare it with WeChat’s features and integrations, it might appear not to be business-friendly, but this could be deceiving.
This picture, courtesy of ShutterStock wraps up the business case for WhatsApp.
In fact, here’s a list of great examples to get you inspired on using WhatsApp for business.
1..WhatsApp for customer support and engagement
One of the ways you can use WhatsApp in your business is for delivering customer service. Not convinced yet?
Let this tweet do the explanations
— Vijay Vadlamani (@VJV87) December 3, 2014
The combination of its SMS feature with the ability to send media and audio makes it a perfect tool for customer service. This can also be used to engage customers leading to sales. For example, a store owner in India, Prakriti Herbals claimed that he was able to convert the business leads he got from Facebook to turn to a lot of repeat orders simply by using WhatsApp as a follow up tool. In another example, a subscription-based company can share updates about renewal reminders which is a better option to offer your customers to receive updates rather than email.
2.. Promotions and Advertising using WhatsApp
WhatsApp is a good tool to promote your new products or discount offers. Starting with your profile updates, you can use your status messages and display picture to promote your products and services.
If you are creative, you can send out your attractive e-brochures, images of a product or video containing directions regarding the use of the product to individuals or targeted groups on WhatsApp.
At the same time, you can solicit responses to adverts. For example, Colgate invited people to send “selfies” of their smile via WhatsApp to a phone number displayed on the toothpaste pack to win a chance to be styled by a renowned stylist.
3.. Market Survey with WhatsApp
You can use WhatsApp to get real-time suggestions and feedback from your customers about your products and services. Just ask them to reply to your messages.
4.. Team building
While this may not be as sophisticated like Slack, Asana or other collaboration tools, you can form groups to share instant messages for which an email is not necessary. For example, a team manager using the audio function to communicate with his team because recording a voice message rather than sending a written message can be clearer and saves time.
5.. Social sharing tool for publishers and bloggers
WhatsApp is also earning its place as a social sharing tool along with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.
There are case studies showing that WhatsApp has potential for publishers to share their content. Given that it has 900 million users globally, that is a big deal. There are early reports from Recode and DigiDay that publishers like BuzzFeed, a popular viral news site, music app Shazam and Aviary, a photo editing tool are recording increase in engagement by including WhatsApp as a sharing tool on their websites.
Adding WhatsApp share button to your site can be simple, especially if your site is built on popular content management system like WordPress that officially supports a mobile share bar plugin
6.. Commercial services and business transactions
I recently wrote about potential partnerships that WeChat can explore to improve its adoption in Nigeria, and WhatsApp too can “fit in” to some of those use cases. While there may be no “official support” for some third-party integration yet, you can still make creative uses of WhatsApp for businesses. Here are three examples.
a. Concierge Service: There is an Indian-based errand-running service called Russsh that is using the app as a booking platform.
b. Food Ordering Using WhatsApp: Do you know you can use WhatsApp to run your restaurant services too? Take for example this post on Quora about how a restaurant allows customers to communicate their preference instantly.
c. Medical Consultation: While this cannot replace an in-person visit; you can always text your doctor and ask about common medical queries so that you can get immediate consultation on WhatsApp.
How To Turn WhatsApp To A Business Tool (Some Features And “Tricks”)
In order to maximize your regular WhatsApp account as a business tool, below are some tricks you have to be conversant with.
7.. How to create groups on WhatsApp
On WhatsApp, a group is like a Forum where the members can all contribute to discussions. The creator of the group is automatically the Admin of the group and also has capacity to appoint other group members as co-admins. Groups can be useful for anything from brainstorming, advertising and collaboration.
Creating a group is easy; here is a pictorial guide to get you started. You can even know the engagement level of each of the group members with your posts. So, if you are curious to know if someone has read your messages and other tricks, you will find this resource useful.
8.. How to create a Broadcast List on WhatsApp
This cool feature looks a lot like the Blackberry broadcast message or the blind-copy (“bcc”) feature of email messages. After you have created your broadcast list, you can send messages to them and it will be delivered to individual’s chat history with you. The contacts in this list cannot interact with each other; and this is cool, especially if most of your messages are promotional. Mobilateria blog published a guide that explains the difference between broadcast and groups and how to create a broadcast list.
Personally, I use this feature to broadcast a daily devotional message to contacts on my phone. As part of my daily routine, I simply send the same message to the 200-membered broadcast list at once. Each person on the list is not aware of other recipients, so it has a “personal” feel.
9.. How to make WhatsApp Calls
Using this feature alone will save you money on phone calls. Imagine the cost savings on roaming charges when you are able to do long distance calls on WhatsApp. While the call quality may not be superb yet, it offers a good alternative.
On the new interface, it is easy to see a display of your call summary. To call someone on your contact, there is nothing to setup; simply click the “telephone” button to make calls.
On Quora, there is an analysis of how much data a WhatsApp call consume. Compared to other app, the data usage is high but it is not as costly as a regular bill for cellular calls. If you still worry about exhausting your data, there is a way you can reduce the amount of data used for each calls. You can use this guide to set it up
10. How To Use Same WhatsApp Number On Multiple Devices (Phones And On PC)
Technically, your WhatsApp number can only work on one device at the same time; so if you have two phones, you cannot use the same number on them. Take for example; if your company provides customer support on WhatsApp, you will be limited to having only one support staff to manage all the customer enquiries directed to that number.
What if you want to assign multiple customer reps to the same number?
There is a way around that now with the new version that supports web access. With the web app, you can access a WhatsApp account on multiple devices. This is an excellent tool to improve your productivity, especially at work, where you can now access your WhatsApp account on your desktop.
To set up WhatsApp on multiple devices is straightforward – go to web.whatsapp.com on the second device you want to use to access WhatsApp and scan the barcode of your current account. This tutorial will guide you.
11. How To Set Up Advanced Automations And Third-Party Tools For WhatsApp
These deserve a separate category as they are third-party applications built on WhatsApp’s API. Some are free while others are paid tools. I am not sure if their terms of services fully support this in the long term as other similar platforms have shut down as a result of several cease and desist calls from Facebook; its new owners.
A). CRM and full-fledged Support Service: Turn WhatsApp to a full-fledged CRM tool with Wazapper . Wazaaper provides tools & API to setup customer support system using WhatsApp
B). Evaluate Customer Engagement with your brand: You can use WhatStat, an android app to gauge the engagement level of your contacts with your business and reward them, especially, if you have a loyalty programme that requires customers to check in on your WhatsApp number.
C). Surveillance: Do you need to monitor another WhatsApp account? For example, a supervisor can be interested in monitoring conversations on the dedicated customer support numbers. If yes, you can try these surveillance tools
D). Protect Your Conversations: On the other hand, you will like Kibo if you need to send sensitive documents or transaction details over WhatsApp. Also adult stores (lingerie, sex toys etc.) that want to protect the product information they are sending can also use this app to protect conversations and even send secret messages.
These are just are few of third-party apps that amplifies the use of WhatsApp as a business tool.
Don’t let the simplicity of WhatsApp deceive you. It is a business tool. So, how are you going to put WhatsApp to use in your business today?