Facebook released WhatsApp Business in the UK earlier this year and will be rolling it out to the rest of the world in the coming weeks.

With over 1.5 billion active WhatsApp users sending over 50 billion messages every day, the opportunity for small business is absolutely enormous.

In this blog we explain; what it is, why take it seriously and how to set it up for your business.

What is WhatsApp Business?

WhatsApp Business is a free app to download. The app makes interacting with customers easy and is intended to work just like WhatsApp Messenger – the app we all know and love. You can use it to do everything that you’re used to doing on WhatsApp Messenger, from messaging to sending photos.

Facebook says that “the WhatsApp Business app was built with the small business owner in mind. With the free-to-download app, businesses can interact with customers easily by using tools to automate and quickly respond to messages”.

Unsurprisingly, Facebook has not neglected larger businesses: “Medium and large businesses access messaging solutions through the WhatsApp Business API. The API allows businesses to use tools to communicate with customers on WhatsApp.”

This comes at a cost which is varying depending on your response rate. You will need to register with WhatsApp as a Business to be able to get more details.

From what we have discovered, it only costs when a business responds to clients’ messages beyond 24 hours. All messages that were responded to, within 24 hours period are free. Beyond that, they would cost anywhere between 5 cents to 90 cents for sending response messages.

10 reasons to take WhatsApp Business seriously

There are some very good reasons to pay serious attention to marketing through a messenger app:

1. SCALE

Messenger services are popular across multiple demographics. With 1.5 billion active users per month, and an average of more than 50 billion messages sent every day WhatsApp is enormous, followed by Facebook Messenger.

2. VISIBLE

WhatsApp Business has an open rate of around 80%. This is more than double the open rate for email marketing (just 35%). Just like WhatsApp Messenger, WhatsApp Business enables you to send video, image and audio as well as text. This gives marketers to get creative with content.

Also, as Messengers don’t currently have spam filters, unlike email marketing you won’t be prevented from reaching your intended audience.

3. SIMPLE

Messenger Apps, like WhatsApp are designed to be simple and easy to use. For marketers this means contact with potential customers quickly, at any time and from anywhere in the world. You can set up the desktop WhatsApp Web application and access your account via any PC.

4. PERSONAL TOUCH

Because WhatsApp is mainly used to communicate with friends, family, and acquaintances, communication is personal. Even when messaging with a company or a chatbot the style is relaxed and informal.

5. ACCESSIBLE

The platform is more accessible than email and far less intrusive than a phone call. And more likely to be successful in connecting with your customer. General communications, such as confirming purchases, sending details of offers, sales and new products, or asking for feedback are the obvious ways to utilise WhatsApp Messenger.

6. TARGETED

WhatsApp Business also allows businesses to send blanket messages to all users via “Broadcast Lists”. This is Battenhall are doing in the example below. This means when a customer responds it is only visible to you and the responder, not the entire group. Alternatively, you can segment their user base using “labels” to target specific people with specific announcements relevant to them.

Default labels include; “Prospect”, “New Order”, “Pending Payment”, “Paid” and “Order Complete” referencing a typical sales cycle. But you can customise your own labels which more closely align to your intended customer journey.

7. PROFESSIONAL

Just like Facebook Pages, you can set up a profile with an image, description, location, URL and contact details.

8. AUTOMATED

WhatsApp Business also allows you to automate “greeting messages” and “away messages” as well as “quick replies” to frequently asked questions. Quick replies allow you to create shortcut messages for frequently used messages.

For example, if someone has completed an order, you can create a / thank you shortcut that, when sent, will read “Thank you for your order. We hope to see you again soon!”

9. COST

It’s free! For now at least… Facebook has not announced any paid-for features yet, but it’s highly likely that they won’t take too long to introduce some.

10. MEASUREMENT

Analytics for WhatsApp Business is rudimentary at the moment, but knowing Facebook, further development will be high on their agenda this year. You can track the number of messages sent, delivered, received and read.

Who’s using WHATSAPP BUSINESS?

KLM are one of the early adopters of Messenger and WhatsApp to connect with their customers. They wanted to be “where the customer is” and set up social servicing to fulfil this objective. Currently more than 80% of their social servicing volume is handled through these channels.

Since 2015 Battenhall have published a daily roundup of everything you need to know about marketing and PR in the world of social, digital and mobile, written by the Battenhall team. This is a great way to stay connected to their customer base and demonstrate their position as a market leader.

Booking.com is using WhatsApp to send automatic details once a customer has made a reservation and opted-in to the service. The details include the hotel address, phone number and your confirmation code.

How to set it up

WhatsApp Business has several sign-up options. You can sign up using a mobile number. This has to be a unique mobile number to your personal WhatsApp account. Two WhatsApp accounts cannot be used from the same number. You can, however, move all of your personal chats over to your new business account if you wish to get rid of your personal account.

It’s also easy to sign up using a business landline, which means you can keep your existing personal WhatsApp account, and run a WhatsApp Business account on the same device.

Once you’ve set up your WhatsApp Business account, you don’t need to be tied to mobile device to be able to message contacts. You can use WhatsApp Web ongoing from any computer.

The next thing to do is share and promote it with your customers. This is simple with the Short Link URL provided in Business Settings.

And that’s it! We hope you’ve found this blog useful. We’d love to hear about your experiences using WhatsApp Business, so please do share them in the Avocado Social Hub Facebook Group.

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