What is WhatsApp business?

 

Over the past few months you may have noticed more and more people discussing, reviewing and using WhatsApp for business and wondered what it is. Essentially, WhatsApp for business has been launched as a separate feature to their app, aimed at businesses. On their website, WhatsApp states that it has been “built with small business owners in mind”, helping them to connect with customers easily and respond quickly, creating a stronger network between the two, providing an improved reputation for the business.

How does it work?

Since hearing about this this new platform, I’ve tried it out myself, putting it to the test and allowing me to explain further how exactly it works.

To put it simply, you can either use WhatsApp Messenger (which I’m sure you already do) or WhatsApp Business, but you can only use one or the other. If you switch your existing account to a WhatsApp Business account, a notification will be pushed to your existing contacts, that you have previous conversations with, stating that you are reaching them on what is now a WhatsApp for business account. It is easy to use, and it allows you to switch back to your normal WhatsApp profile at any time, by going back to the WhatsApp app and logging in again as normal to your standard messenger account.

It works in a very similar way to the ordinary WhatsApp but consists of a few additional features that can enhance communication for small business owners. For example, account details can be viewed (referred to as business profile) so customers can view useful information, and smart messaging tools have been implemented such as quick replies and away messages.

What are the benefits of a WhatsApp for business account?

The official WhatsApp website outlines some of the general advantages of this as a platform, including the role of…

1) Business profile

This allows you to create a business profile with helpful information for your customers, including your address, business description, email address, and website. This helps clients to find out everything they need to know before asking, saving both yours and their time.

2) Quick replies

Quick replies let you save and reuse messages you frequently send so you can easily answer common questions in no time. Using this also allows you to respond to clients and customers quickly as you can be notified as soon as they show interest then responding quickly and appropriately.  For small business owners, this means you can quickly build rapport with customers, ensuring that they return again. There is also a function where you can set an away message when you are unable to answer so your customers know when to expect a response as well as creating a greeting message to introduce your customers to your business. Again, much like the idea behind business profile, this is designed to save your time, allowing you to get on with all the other tasks involved in running your own business.

3) You can use it on multiple devices

It can be used on both smartphones and on your desktop, meaning that you can access your messages in whatever your preferred way. You may choose not to do business from your personal phone, and WhatsApp business allows you to do this. Another advantage is that you have a few registration options meaning you are able to have an account entirely separate from your personal one. You are instead able to sign up using a landline or other number, separating the accounts but still migrating your personal chats over to your business one if necessary.

4) It's where your customers are

Statistics state that there are 1 billion active users on WhatsApp every day, meaning that it is likely that your customers use it too. In the UK, WhatsApp is the leading messaging app and is just second to Facebook messenger in the USA. Also, it is free to use! This means that you can put yourself in a prime marketing spot, for various customers to access and allowing you to reach up to 256 people at a time without any additional marketing costs; if you choose not to use it you may be missing out significantly.

The future of business on WhatsApp

WhatsApp, much like Facebook, has been free for users in all of its existence, but we are under no illusion that they operate without making profits. Although there is currently no option to advertise on WhatsApp, we predict that it’s on its way, particularly after the introduction of WhatsApp for business. We can presume this is the first step to introducing official advertising to the platform to further enhance business.

Nowadays, the world of marketing is fast moving and dynamic meaning there are always new things to keep and eye. However, one thing always remains certain; whenever Facebook moves, the rest of the marketing world listens.

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