Jan 2022 edition

Boost your business with WhatsApp

Written by Allison Cooper

WhatsApp is more than a way to keep in touch with people – it can help start-up businesses flourish.

The free-to-download and -use WhatsApp Business app can be used by entrepreneurs and small business owners to engage their customers, boost sales and grow their business.

A recently held online masterclass unpacked the many opportunities presented by this app in a user-friendly way.

The session was presented by Digital Marketing Strategist, Blessing Letsoara, the founder of Strats Connect, and was hosted by Digify Africa and Government Communication and Information System, as part of the VukTalks series.

It covered various topics, from how to download WhatsApp Business and set up a business profile, to best practices when communicating with customers.

WhatsApp Business was specifically built with the small business owner in mind. The app makes it easy to personally connect with customers, highlight products and services, and answer customers’ questions.

“You can even create a catalogue to showcase your products and services and use special tools to automate, sort and quickly respond to messages,” said Letsoara.

Download WhatsApp Business

While most people already use WhatsApp Messenger on their mobile phone, WhatsApp Business is a different app that can be downloaded for free from the Google Play Store or Apple iStore.

WhatsApp Messenger has a telephone icon, while WhatsApp Business has the letter ‘B’ as an icon..

“If you already have WhatsApp Messenger on your phone, you can either download WhatsApp Business and use it for both business and personal messaging, or you can use another sim card with a different telephone number to register for WhatsApp Business,” he said.

To set up WhatsApp Business, follow these steps:

  • Download WhatsApp Business.
  • Open the app and register your mobile number.
  • Complete your WhatsApp Business profile: Input the business name, choose a profile picture, select the business category, write a description, business address, business hours, and add email and website addresses.

WhatsApp Business tools

Letsoara adds that WhatsApp Business can be used to set a company apart from its competitors. It creates digital ‘living rooms’ where business owners can have conversations with customers in a controlled environment. The app offers various business tools to grow your business, namely:

  • Automated messages: Set an away message when you are unable to answer, so your customers know when to expect a response. You can also create a greeting message to introduce your customers to your business.
  • Labels: Organise your contacts or chats with labels, so you can find them easily.
  • Quick replies: Save time by writing answers to frequently asked questions.
  • Short link: Create a link that can be used on Facebook or Instagram, which directs customers to WhatsApp when they click it.
  • Review metrics: Provides statistics for adverts you run from Facebook or Instagram, so you can see if they are successful.

These options can all be found in the settings menu, under business settings in the app.


Best practices to follow

To create a good impression of your business when using the app, there are best practices that you should follow, said Letsoara.These include:

  • Respond to messages: Don’t make people wait too long.
  • Monitor trends: Do some research on how people are communicating online and how they are responding to other businesses, especially your competitors. Look at their comments on Facebook and Instagram and on your company’s social media accounts.
  • Set expectations: When you promise something, deliver.
  • Write the way you speak: Use plain language.

Using Facebook adverts

You can direct customers to WhatsApp Business, from Facebook and Instagram, by inserting your ‘short link’ in an advert or post. You can also use a call-to-action, such as ‘send message’, when you run an advert on Facebook and Instagram.

“When people click on ‘send message’, they can send a message directly to your WhatsApp Business app on your mobile phone,” Letsoara added.

“WhatsApp Business is simple to use, secure and reliable. It ensures that only you and the person you are sending a message to will see the conversation, ensuring that sending details about your business is safe,” Letsoara said.

For more information about WhatsApp Business, visit www.facebookblueprint.com and enter WhatsApp Business in the search bar.

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