I do content creation for a client and one of the topics I worked on recently was WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business. I learned a lot of interesting things about the app and played around with it for quite some time. So I thought I would write up my own review.
While I was working on the articles, I kept thinking about how I could use this for my virtual assistant business or a direct sales business. Other small businesses kept coming to mind with how they could use it.
What is WhatsApp?
First of all, what is WhatsApp? It’s an instant messaging app. And it’s FREE. Worldwide, it’s actually more popular than any other messaging app. Yep, more than twice as popular as Facebook Messenger. Pow!
WhatsApp vs WhatsApp Business
Standard WhatsApp is the personal account you might have, whereas WhatsApp Business has features that would help small businesses have better communications with their customers.
When I first started playing around with WhatsApp, I simply installed the regular WhatsApp app. I used my phone number. As it turns out, I was able to receive a message from someone in another country (another work thing). I gave them my phone number and received their text via WhatsApp. So just in that instance, I totally can see why, worldwide, it’s the most popular instant messaging app.
Then while I was working on this latest project, I installed WhatsApp Business. It has a whole slew of features that are awesome for a business.
WhatsApp Business with one or two phone numbers
It’s important to note that you can use WhatsApp Business with your personal phone number. But you can only have one WhatsApp account. So if you want to have a separate account for personal use, you would need to use a different phone number for WhatsApp Business.
As I mentioned, I used my personal phone number for the WhatsApp account. When I installed WhatsApp Business, I decided to get a free Google Voice number and use that for the business account. It’s so cool!
Using my phone number and the Google Voice number, I had two separate WhatsApp accounts. Then I decided to un-link the Google number and merge my WhatsApp accounts. When you do this, you essentially lose some stuff, unless you back it up. So I recommend thinking that through before you spend time setting things up on WhatsApp Business.
WhatsApp Business features
There are a lot of features. I am only focusing on the features that I think would be especially beneficial to a small business. Here goes!
- Catalog – that’s right, you can add a catalog of your products or services. They allow you to add up to 500 items.
- Greeting message – this is an automatic message that you can set up to send to new customers who weren’t already on your contact list.
- Away message – this is an auto-reply you can set up for times when you’re not available, such as vacation, or illness. But you can use this anytime. If you’re a solopreneur, you probably spend a lot of your time creating your product or providing your service. You can’t always respond immediately, but you can have automatic responses set up so that people always receive a prompt response from you.
- Quick replies – these are messages you create that help you quickly respond to an FAQ. If people always ask the same question, you can save yourself a lot of time, and reduce errors, by setting up quick replies.
- Labels – labels allow you to organize your customers and messages. Adding labels to customer messages also allows you to send targeted promos to specific customers.
- Status – much like a status update on social media, when you update your status, all of your contacts will see that. This could be a powerful tool for someone who provides a service. For example, a personal trainer, massage therapist, or beautician; say you have a cancellation. You can update your status so that you might fill that time slot on short notice.
- Starred messages – you can “star” any message that you want. Then you can filter to look at the starred messages. This could be used as a to-do list of sorts.
- New broadcast – you can send a broadcast to anyone in your contact list that has your number also in their contact list. This is another awesome sales tool for contacting a large group.
- Convenient – you can log into WhatsApp from up to 4 different devices. So you can work from your desktop, phone, or tablet.
- WhatsApp API – as your business grows, they have resources that some larger businesses need.
WhatsApp Business is like a mini CRM. You can organize your clients and messages in a variety of different ways. Labels can help push customers through a sales funnel. I think it’s an incredibly useful messaging app.