WhatsApp Marketing (© Otawa / Fotolia.com)
WhatsApp Marketing refers to the practice of using the free messenger app WhatsApp as an advertising tool. This type of marketing is relatively new, but its popularity is growing increasingly larger, as more marketers and consumers are engaging with WhatsApp. WhatsApp is a messenger app designed for use on smartphones. This app is free to download and is used to send messages, including videos, images, and audio, between users. It is similar to text messaging, but since WhatsApp sends messages and other content over the Internet, the cost of using the app is much less than the cost of using text messaging. Furthermore, unlike text messaging, WhatsApp messenger can be used on desktop devices.
WhatsApp in Marketing
The popularity of WhatsApp is soaring, especially since Facebook acquired the app back in 2014. As of the summer of 2017, there were more than 1 billion active monthly WhatsApp users around the globe. Marketers have taken notice of the rising popularity of this messaging application and have started using it as a way to reach their audiences.
Setting Up a WhatsApp Profile
The WhatsApp application is available for iOS and Andriod devices, as well as the Windows phone and the Nokia S40. Web apps are also available for desktop Macs and Windows PCs; however, you do have to have the application installed on a mobile device before using it on a desktop computer, as every WhatsApp account is directly linked to a phone number.
Once the app is downloaded and installed to a device, the country it is being used in has to be confirmed and a phone number has to be entered. From there, you can start setting up a profile. To set up your profile, you can import your information from Facebook, which can be done with just a single click. Alternatively, you can input a profile name and an image manually.
After creating your profile
, WhatsApp will use the phone numbers that are stored in the contact list of your phone to display a current directory of users that are also connected to the app that you might know. Any person who has your phone number stored in their contact list will automatically be able to see you, too. If you prefer hide your visibility, you can do so by changing your account’s privacy
Communicating on WhatsApp
You can share messages, images, videos, and audio with those you are connected to on WhatsApp. There are three different ways that you can do this:
- One-to-one chat. Just like other messenger programs, you can chat directly with other users that are in the contact list on your phone on WhatsApp. You also have the ability to make and receive video calls or send and receive audio.
- Broadcast lists. You can also send messages to a broadcast list. These messages will be sent to anyone in a broadcast list that has your phone number in the contact list on their phone. The message will appear as a standard message, similarly to how a BCC email message is received. If a user replies, you will receive their response as a one-to-one message and their response will not be displayed for anyone else on the broadcast list to see.
- Groups. With a WhatsApp group chat, you can send messages to as many as 256 people at one time. You can share message, photos, and videos in these messages. Anyone involved in a group chat can respond and see the responses of other people.
WhatsApp Marketing Tips
To date, WhatsApp does not sell advertising space or offer any business-related features. As such, marketing with the app requires some innovation. As with any other type of marketing, you should first start by developing a marketing strategy to use with WhatsApp. Remember that the application does not offer business features, so if you are creating an account for a brand, it’s important to keep in mind that you may face some limitations.
Also, remember that you can only reach up to 256 users at one time, so don’t plan to use it to reach a large audience
at once. However, there are ways that you can reach a larger audience if you know how to use the app to your advantage.
Here’s a look at some strategies that will help you get the most out of marketing on WhatsApp:
- Take advantage of the cross-platform capability. Since WhatsApp is a cross-platform app, you have the ability to reach people that you aren’t currently connected with. Additionally, you can collect insights from traffic analytics and find out with networks are the most popular for your target audience.
- Don’t be afraid to send group chats. Since group chats are shared with everyone who is involved in a group, you can really start up a conversation. Plus, you can gain insights about what your target audience is looking for or find out how your products or services are performing.
- Make use of broadcast lists. Develop lists that are directly related to particular topics. Send messages out that intended to boost engagement, just like you would on Twitter. For instance, you can include links to products or web pages or invitations to events in your messages.
- Offer insights to loyal customers. Send one-to-one messages to your loyal customers about new products that you will be launching, events you will be hosting, etc. Doing so will make loyal customers feel more valuable, which can translate to more conversions.
Benefits of Using WhatsApp for Marketing
There are several reasons why marketers will find WhatsApp beneficial for marketing. Some of the biggest benefits of marketing on this app include:
- It’s completely free.
- You can send out various types of content via messages and videos, including product descriptions, brochures, surveys, invitations, and so on.
- It can be used as a focus group of sorts, allowing you to collect valuable information and insights from those you communicate with.
- You can send out alerts for important events, such as sales or a new product launc.