How Brands Can Use WhatsApp As A Channel Of User Engagement

how brands use whatsapp channel engagement customers

When marketers think of channels to engage ideal customers, they usually think of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, as well as email. But marketers should do better than to dismiss platforms such as WhatsApp. 

The messaging platform, together with Facebook Messenger, accounts for over 79% of the entire messaging market. Keeping this in mind, it’s clear why you need to include WhatsApp in your marketing mix, especially if you’re trying to establish yourself as a disruptor in your industry

In this guide to mobile app marketing, we'll look at the core ways brands can use WhatsApp as a channel to engage users. Let’s get started. 

How To Setup Your WhatsApp Business Account 

Before you begin, you should know that there are different versions of WhatsApp. The two most widely used are the standard version and WhatsApp Business. WhatsApp Business is specially designed for marketing campaigns, which means this is what you should download for business purposes. 

Here are only some of the added things you can do with WhatsApp Business:

Create Business Profiles - These profiles include your business name and description, business address, website, and email address. Your registered telephone number can be a landline, too. 

Make Quick Replies - WhatsApp Business’ has a feature that allows you to save template messages. If you have a question that is frequently asked by customers, you can set up automatic responses. 

Send Automated Messages - You can send automatic welcome messages to introduce potential customers to your business. You can also send automated messages to those asking about your products. 

Get Message Stats - WhatsApp Business gives you access to metrics such as how many of your messages sent were read. 

Create Labels - Labels make it easier for you to organize your contacts or chats. 

WhatsApp Business is available in both Android and IOS. It looks very much like the WhatsApp logo, but it is named “WA Business” instead. This is what the app looks like on an Android phone. 

Whatsapp business mobile app logo

Once you’ve downloaded the app, you need to add a phone number. Although you can insert your mobile number, it might be more professional to add a landline number. Once that’s done, you can create your business profile. 

how to create whatsapp business profile

Write down your business name, and in the second field, the type of business you’re engaged in. Write a short description of your business on the third line and your business address on the fourth. 

Include a picture of your business, too. I suggest you upload your logo instead, for better brand recognition. 

Once that’s done, you can start reaching out to your target audiences. 

How To Reach Your Target Audience On WhatsApp

You have to understand that when you use WhatsApp Business as a marketing platform, you should already have a level of intimacy with your potential customers. WhatsApp, after all, is a more personal marketing channel than email. 

You can start building a WhatsApp list in a couple of different ways. An easy start point is putting a button on your website so people can start a conversation with you. 

Below is an example from Afterschool, a Malaysia-based firm that advises customers on educational courses. 

afterschool customer site

Another way to build a list is to offer something of value in exchange for their phone number. You can do this through a landing page where you generate leads. This can be a promotion or a freebie. 

But just like in email marketing where you have to verify emails that you get through, say, a contact form on your website. With WhatsApp, you would have to do the same. 

Once you get those contact numbers from your third-party channel, make sure to verify those phone numbers belong to a valid WhatsApp account. You can use the contacts node to do this. Your potential users should have also opted in to receive your messages through WhatsApp. 

An opt-in message from a third-party channel can look like this: 

whatsapp opt-in message

Notice how the opt-in clause is stated in direct and specific terms. In fact, if a customer reaches out to WhatsApp for customer support, that doesn’t count as an opt-in. Make sure the person you’re sending notifications to really wants to receive them. Once your customers opt in, you can use the automated messages function to send promo offers to your potential customers so you can start developing those relationships. 

It’s important that you do this. If you start sending notifications to people who don’t want them in the first place, you can be blocked. 

How To Segment Your WhatsApp Business Contacts 

So let's say you already have a contacts list. At this stage, your goal should be to segment your list to make your messaging more effective. This can include both better personalization and enhanced targeting of different types of customers. 

You can assign labels to your contacts on WhatsApp. Here are some default labels: 

whatsapp business contact segmentation

Of course, you can also create your own custom labels as well. 

Another way to segment your contacts is by creating either a group or a broadcast list. Although both can have a maximum of 256 members, there are stark differences between the two. 

Groups are much like Facebook communities or group chats, where each member can interact with other members. 

With WhatsApp groups then, you can help create a sense of community among members. All of the people in the group can interact with each other. This means you would have to inform them of the guidelines for posting messages. 

WhatsApp groups are great for online courses and ecommerce. 

Broadcast lists are different. You send and receive messages on an individual basis. It’s a two way conversation, much like you would have with a friend. 

Broadcast lists are ideal for sending customized messages to a specific group of people. For example, you can use different broadcast groups that align with different topics and interests. 

What You Can Do With WhatsApp 

At this point, we know we can send content and notifications to potential customers with WhatsApp. But how exactly will that help your business? 

Here’s a list of some of the things you can do with WhatsApp. 

Provide Customer Support 

It can be expensive to establish a customer support desk for your business. WhatsApp is cheap. All you need is a WhatsApp widget on your website and a business account. 

To take customer support inquiries from your website you’ll need a suitable integration for your website. With this in place, you can send automatic messages to users with common queries and more. Afterschool, tehfor example, gives its visitors both the email and WhatsApp option to reach them if they have questions: 

whatsapp website customer service business chat

The good thing about WhatsApp is that it supports all sorts of media. If you want to use audio or video  to provide customer support, you can do so. You can even call. 

Get Feedback 

The thing about WhatsApp is that you can also get feedback from people on your brand. You can do this by creating a survey for example. Don’t overwhelm your members with too many questions, though. Just make sure to pace yourself, so you don’t get yourself blocked. 

The members of your group are more likely to give you the feedback that you need. Ultimately, they will be the ones to benefit if you do decide to implement their suggestions. To further ensure that you get the feedback that you need, you can give them incentives. 

For example, you can offer a freebie to the first hundred people who finish a short questionnaire. 

With WhatsApp, you can involve people in the process of improving existing products, and even in the process of creating new ones. 

Send Reminders 

It’s pretty much effortless to send reminders to your customers via WhatsApp. For one thing, WhatsApp is user-friendly for both the sender and recipient of the messages. For another, the sending and receipt of the messages are also free. 

KLM has taken advantage of this. The Dutch airline has a verified WhatsApp account where customers can receive their booking confirmation, check-in notifications, boarding passes, and other flight information. 

klm airlines whatsapp messenger

Send Engaging Content 

With WhatsApp, you can also get creative and send content that will result in increased engagement. For example, you can send a creative video of the launch of your new product. Or a video of how work is in your company. 

To elicit reactions, you can also send your promos and coupons via WhatsApp. This way, you can get the benefits of push notifications without needing to create an app of your own. 

How To Engage Users With WhatApp 

In this article, we explored why you should include WhatsApp in your marketing mix. Apart from the fact that sending and receiving messages are free on WhatsApp, WhatsApp also has users you can’t discount. Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp actually account for over 79% of the entire messaging market. 

With WhatsApp, you can do multiple things. You can segment your contacts so you can personalize messages to them. You can also use WhatsApp to send engaging content and reminders, get feedback, and provide customer support

The main takeaway is this: Dismiss WhatsApp at your own risk. It can do more for you than what you can imagine. 

Owen Baker is a content marketer for Right Inbox, an email scheduling tool, and Voila Norbert. He has spent most of the last decade working online for a range of marketing companies. When he’s not busy writing, you can find him in the kitchen mastering new dishes.

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