WhatsApp, one of the world’s largest consumer messaging platforms, has recently launched WhatsApp for Business in Asia, Latin America, the US and UK. In addition to standard messaging features, the business app will add tools and services for customer service and support, as well as marketing, sales and advertising. We wrote last time about the growing popularity of WhatsApp for social marketing, now its importance to businesses is even more crucial to understand.
WhatsApp is one of the world’s most popular and fastest growing communications tools – an instant messenger service used by more than a billion active users around the world. WhatsApp’s exponential growth has been fueled primarily by users in emerging markets, where a free internet messaging app that works on low-cost mobile devices connected to the Internet is a revolutionary shift from traditional SMS: the app has moved millions of users off paid text messaging and disrupted the mobile communications market. WhatsApp is now on a similar scale as Facebook, which acquired WhatsApp in 2014 for $19B.
WhatsApp has grown particularly fast among business communities in Latin America and Asia, in part due to its free international messaging and end-to-end encryption, but also for its ease of use and utility in maintaining continuous dialog with customers via text.
WhatsApp has invested much of its energy lately in developing features for SMB and B2B. What’s App for Business is a natural expansion into markets where they already have a large and stable user base including millions of small and even micro businesses that rely on mobile messaging. Indonesia and Mexico are early launch points for the WhatsApp for Business app, following the launch in India early this week.
WhatsApp for Business App has a similar interface to the personal version, with a few minor tweaks. Users can create Business Profiles and register a phone number that would represent their business. WhatsApp also plans to roll out verified business services, whereby business owners can verify phone numbers associated with their businesses on WhatsApp – a verification service akin to the verified accounts or blue tick marks we see next to prominent Twitter handles.
Along with providing basic tools like creating business profiles, web apps and looking at message stats, users will also be able to access a feature called Messaging Tools, which will enable them in order to provide quick customer service to their customers. Businesses can also use WhatsApp for Business either for internal team communication, promotions and offers, or to provide consultation services. The multitude of uses will only expand and grow as more users of the business version of the app come on board.
The ability to share content via WhatsApp is already available in the Social Media Center. As seen in the screenshot below, any post you want to share includes sharing widgets in the bottom of the box. Depending on where you are in the world, WhatsApp may be a primary widget in view at all times, or a secondary widget accessed by clicking the “+” button. Please click the WhatsApp widget to share your content on WhatsApp.