Is WhatsApp for Business a necessary marketing tool?

When Facebook purchased WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion many people raised an eyebrow and a few even thought that Mark Zuckerberg had lost the plot.
After all it was one of the biggest start-up acquisitions for the tech industry ever and for many the massive cost paid just didn’t add up.
But the move has certainly paid off as today WhatsApp is virtually as big as Facebook itself, having tripled in size since Facebook purchased them, with 53 billion messages being sent every single day globally.
So, what did Facebook see that others didn’t? Well they predicted that people were changing how they communicate, and that people globally would use personal messaging more and more to build meaningful connections faster.
Today how we all expect to instantly communicate with each other is challenging how we all do business and how our customers expect to communicate with us.
For more and more consumers having a direct and virtually instant means of communicating with a brand is vitally important therefore messaging apps such as WhatsApp have launched a business version.
Today more and more businesses are using messaging apps as an integral part of their marketing communications strategy to build stronger connections with their customers and ultimately grow brand loyalty and engagement.
WhatsApp for Business is a separate version to the personal app, but it does work in a very similar way connecting businesses with their customers instead of connecting people with their family and friends.
Users can create a business profile and can include details such as location, contact details and their web address. They can use the app to communicate with their customers quickly by messaging them and answering questions on matters such as delivery.
When initially launched there were security issues after a fake version of the app was made available to download on the Google Play store. However, since then WhatsApp has made it easier to verify if who you are talking to is indeed the authentic brand:

  • Business accounts with a green checkmark badge in its profile have been verified as “an authentic brand” by WhatsApp.
  • Business accounts with a grey checkmark badge in its profile have been confirmed to be using a phone number that matches the phone number of the business it claims to be owned and operated by.
  • A Business account with a grey question mark badge in its profile, however, indicates that the account hasn’t been confirmed or verified by WhatsApp.

But, does a business really need to use a messaging app?
The answer has to be yes, as consumers increasingly demand instant and personalised answers to their questions and this is hard to provide without using a messaging app.
A recent survey asked why users message businesses and over 64% of people surveyed said it’s because they’re “always messaging anyway.” And over 61% said that messaging is the easiest and most convenient way to contact a business.
And it is the speed, responsiveness and convenience that is making WhatsApp for Business so powerful compared to more traditional communication channels as those surveyed who message businesses say that it provides them with the following:

  • Faster response times – over 59%
  • Better advice and care – over 50%
  • More truthful responses – over 49%

Plus, they are more confident that they’ll get a response or more confident that their issue will be resolved, over 58% of people surveyed felt more confident messaging a business than calling them on the phone. Over 58% felt more confident messaging than filling in a form on a website and over 55% felt more confident messaging than emailing a business.
Messaging clearly draws people and businesses into an ongoing conversation and creates a sense of connection through better customer experiences that can lead to loyalty now and in the future and any business who chooses to ignore it will miss out in the future.

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