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Of all the major social media platforms, perhaps the one that gets the least attention from brands and marketers is WhatsApp. That’s because they tend to think of it as purely a communication platform rather than a marketing platform. So if you haven’t launched a new WhatsApp pilot project for your business or brand, now is the time to start. Here are a few ideas for how you can use WhatsApp for business and marketing.
Idea #1: Use WhatsApp for customer support
For small businesses, WhatsApp can be leveraged as a customer support channel. Think about it – what customer wouldn’t want to get a response back within seconds to a problem, issue or concern? With WhatsApp, a response is just a quick text message away. Most people don’t want to deal with a telephone help desk (especially if it means navigating a complex tree of options, none of which will connect you with a live person), and an equally large number of people don’t want to fill out Internet forms and send them out into the ether, or browse through pages and pages of forums or FAQ pages to find an answer.
Idea #2: Use WhatsApp for 1-to-1 marketing
One unique aspect of WhatsApp is the ability to include multimedia within any message. You can send images, audio and short video clips – just as you would with any other marketing promotion – so why not leverage the full power of WhatsApp for 1-to-1 marketing promotions? This is an especially tantalizing idea because WhatsApp messages have such a high open rate. Unlike email messages, which many people now ignore or delete immediately, there is something relevant and time sensitive about a WhatsApp message that makes it extremely compelling. Of course, you have to make sure that you don’t just start spamming people with messages, but you can certainly generate momentum around key events (such as the launch of a new product) with WhatsApp.
Idea #3: Create new WhatsApp services
Here is where things really get interesting. Companies have actually built entirely new services around WhatsApp. The classic example, of course, is a fast food restaurant that enables customers to order food with a simple WhatsApp message. There are also hospitality businesses that use WhatsApp as part of a concierge service to book appointments, meetings or event. Even the medical establishment is getting into the WhatsApp game, enabling patients to get immediate responses to common medical issues. It might not be the same as an old-fashioned house call by your family doctor, but it’s awfully close.
And, of course, if you’re still on the fence about using WhatsApp, don’t be afraid to start small. Instead of making WhatsApp customer service available to all of your customers, roll it out to a small handful of VIP clients first. When developing a new WhatsApp service, start with your “best seller” first, and limit the number of available options, so that it becomes much easier to manage the overall order flow. By starting small and scaling big, you can soon learn how best to leverage WhatsApp for your small business or brand.