“Is Whatsapp and instant messaging in smartphones a threat to social networks?”
“Many people do not communicate anymore via Facebook, but through Whatsapp”
These are titles of news I read recently in the press and it is true that usage of Whatsapp and instant messaging is growing very rapidly.
According to Internet trend analyst, Mary Meeker, in the future people will prefer to communicate with small groups using WhatsApp or similar applications, instead of sending messages to friends through Facebook and Twitter. This is one of the reasons why I firmly believe that Whatsapp is a great communication tool for many companies.
Lately, Whatsapp has become the primary means of communication for many people because of the great possibility to quickly share text, photos, videos and audio messages. Many of us communicate with our family and friends via Whatsapp because it is the quickest and most effective way to share information.
Personally I’ve been using Whatsapp for the last 4 years, not only to communicate with my family, but also to stay in touch with colleagues, customers and friends around the world.
In recent months, several entrepreneurs and business owners have told me they have started using Whatsapp to communicate with their customers and suppliers and getting great results. In this article I share some reasons why Whatsapp is so suitable for many businesses and I also share examples of interesting cases of success.
In this list you can see some interesting facts about the growth of Whatsapp and some reasons why I think Whatsapp is going to be one of the most important communication tools:
- It currently has over 500 million users and a large number of them use it daily.
- Whatsapp works with all mobile operating systems and that’s why it’s so popular.
- Facebook paid 19 billion USD when it bought Whatsapp in February 2014
- In many countries people no longer use SMS text messages (which require payment), but rather communicate throughWhatsapp because they can send messages for free (WhatsApp is free for the first year and then it costs 0.99 cents per year) . I Particularly think that SMS text messaging will remain in use in the future, but only for very specific purposes, such as for authenticating your mobile number for example when you register as a bank customer.
- Whatsapp is the leading mobile instant messaging application.
- Some people check their Whatsapp over 100 times a day.
- Whatsapp is very easy and quick to use.
Interestingly, there is much talk about Whatsapp being a threat to social networks, as people use it more frequently and prefer to communicate with Whatsapp instead of sending messages through Facebook, for example. These are just some of the many reasons why more and more people are starting to use Whatsapp as a communication channel.
Whatsapp’s Benefits for Companies
Today virtually all types of companies need to improve their communication with existing customers or potential future customers. Most of these companies are struggling to capture the attention of consumers because there is a lot of information and a lot of competition today. Additionally, more mobile phones and tablets are being used, so companies need to establish a method of mobile communication with their customers.
Why is Whatsapp so effective as a communication channel?
Whatsapp offers a wide variety of benefits for businesses
- Speed: Whatsapp is one of the fastest and most interesting ways to communicate.
- Opening ratio: Whatsapps messages have a very high opening ratio while emails have a relatively low ratio.
- Frequency of use: As I mentioned before, Whatsapp users check messages often during the day. According to experts, more than 100 times a day.
- Quality of communication: Many companies I am currently consulting on Whatsapp marketing confirm that inquiries coming from Whatsapp are often of better quality than inquiries coming via email.
- Preferred channel by consumers: From the point of view of customers, it is much simpler and easier to send a message via Whatsapp to a company, rather than call or send them an email.
Whatsapp Usage in Society and Everyday life
In this list you can see some interesting Whatsapp uses in different organizations:
- Rescue teams used Whatsapp in mountains in Madrid – Read more here
- In Asturias, Spain “a Whatsapp phone number was enabled so that deaf people can create announcements through written messages” read more here ( in Spanish)
- In India the police is using Whatsapp to better communicate with citizens – Delhi Police launches a new helpline on Whatsapp Chat messenger. This is something that I personally think is going to happen in Europe, USA and Latin American countries in the future. Read more here.
Which are the local companies that are already actively using marketing through Whatsapp?
At the moment, Whatsapp is being more widely used in Latin America and Asia than in the USA and Europe, maybe for that reason you haven’t yet seen that many examples of “Whatsapp Marketing”, but in this article I will share several creative ways to use Whatsapp to promote your business.
Many companies are already using WhatsApp as a communication channel. These are micro enterprises and freelancers who usually have to use their mobile phone quite enough. These are some of the businesses already using WhatsApp daily:
- Plumbers, carpenters, mechanics etc…
- Taxi drivers
- Delivery and courier services
What are the companies that are now starting to implement more Whatsapp Marketing?
I personally believe that in the fall of 2014 and during 2015 many companies will start using WhatsApp as a communication channel, primarily because consumers prefer contact by Whatsapp instead of making a call or sending an email.
In this list I share some of the sectors where Whatsapp is already being used. With each example there is link for further information.
- Using Whatsapp in the banking sector: According to one survey “18-30 year olds demand WhatsApp-style customer service messaging from their banks“. Openbank in Spain (part of Santander Bank) is the first bank to allow their customers to contact them via Whatsapp. In Kazakhstan banks have opened a Whatsapp call-centers.
- Using Whatsapp in the tourism sector: The Barceló Illetas Albatros Hotel in Mallorca, Spain provides an exclusive service for its guests where they can contact the hotel staff via Whatsapp instantly during their stay at the hotel. This is an excellent example of how to differentiate and offer something totally unique for your customers. Travel agency Thomas Cook has also started ‘Connected’ in-resort service using Whatsapp.
- Using Whatsapp in the media: The media has to innovate and find new ways to capture the attention of consumers. An example of good use of Whatsapp marketing is “Intereconomia Radio” in Spain which has a broadcast list through Whatsapp to keep abreast of financial news. In the UK Huffington Post uses WhatsApp Sharing Makes It Even Easier To Share Your Favourite Stories
- Using Whatsapp for online stores and E-commerce: Since there are many online stores that advertise on their site that the client can place their order through Whatsapp. This option gives confidence to the client and it is easier to keep in touch after the purchase.
- Using Whatsapp for SMEs: All types of SMEs are beginning to use Whatsapp as a channel of communication with their customers and also e-commerce websites are starting to use WhatsApp as a means of quick and instant communication for customers. Personally I think Whatsapp is a secret weapon for many SMEs who want to be continually innovating and differentiating themselves from their competition.
Additionally, many companies that operate I the B2B environment often use Whatsapp to facilitate communication among their employees. These are only some of the examples of using Whatsapp inside companies, there are obviously more uses that all kinds of businesses can profit from Whatsapp Marketing. Even companies that sell to other businesses (B2B) will be a great opportunity to get benefits from Whatsapp when used correctly.
However, my main recommendation is that companies should completely avoid the use of WhatsApp to send spam or unwanted messages. For that reason, I advice companies to start to use Whatsapp with their current customers, in order to start practicing and gradually expand the usage to general public.
Whatsapp Marketing Success Stories
Additionally, there is a great business opportunity in advising and educating businesses about the proper use of Whatsapp marketing. Obviously, companies are going to make many mistakes when implementing Whatsapp marketing and so there is a real demand for trainers for companies. Some of the most common mistakes I see are:
- Misuse of Whatsapp groups
- Misuse and spam messages via Whatsapp
- Not having a clear plan on how to establish communication using Whatsapp
- Being impulsive or impolite when sending Whatsapp messages
Here you can see a comments from some of my clients who are already uses WhatsApp to communicate with their customers and also from some business consultants that advise companies to implement marketing with Whatsapp:
- “80% of our business communication is conducted via Whatsapp and it helps us to retain our customers and offer good personal service, provided by Whasapp. We could not keep our business activities without Whatsapp and I highly recommend it to all SMEs that want to increase their customer’s database” Montse Suarez, Mallorca, Spain -. psicologiacanina.org
- “I currently use Whatsapp Marketing techniques for one of my clients that has an online wine shop, and now receives orders via Whatsapp and find it to be a very effective resource for his business. Personally I think Whatsapp is the fastest and most efficient system in the world and now I am applying it with my clients to promote events, since for that purpose it works much better than Facebook and helps me to differentiate myself as a consultant.” Albert Hatero, Barcelona, Spain
The market opportunity to work with Whatsapp marketing right now is extraordinary and you have a perfect opportunity to claim your share in this boom being experienced from marketing with Whatsapp instant messaging.