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With over 38 million South African users and 1.8 billion global users, WhatsApp has become the go-to platform to reach and connect with any audience.

The app is used by 90% of internet users within SA and works on both smartphones and feature phones, making it accessible no matter your LSM.  

In January 2018 WhatsApp launched their revolutionary WhatsApp Business app. A downloadable app that gives small organisations a simple, free and effective way to interact with customers at scale.

But what about WhatsApp Business API? 

You may have heard of WhatsApp API and are confused about how the two differ. 

In short, the WhatsApp API is a paid-for tool that is usually used by larger organisations who have high messenger volumes. The API version allows for multiple people to manage message responses at the same time whereas the business app is limited to one individual managing all responses using one device. The API also offers more advanced automation functions facilitating artificial intelligence (AI) powered conversations at scale. 

Watch this short video to understand the difference between the WhatsApp Business app and the API: 

So why is the WhatsApp Business app such a game-changer? 

Aside from being free to use (except for data/wifi costs) and only requiring a sim card and cellphone to set up; the simple and effective messaging and management features offer game-changing value to any organisation. Making it run more efficiently and reach more people. 

In this blog we focus on the 3 major benefits that the app offers to any small organisation: 

COMMUNICATE AT SCALE

WhatsApp Business allows you to send as many messages as you want of any type of content. Send text messages, videos, images and voice notes at scale without any obstacles to the format or WhatsApp approvals required. 

You can send a WhatsApp message en masse (known as a business broadcast) to up to 256 contacts at once. The game-changing factor is that there is no limit to the number of broadcast messages you can send, therefore no restriction to the number of people you can reach.  

One of the best examples of this is In Zimbabwe, where WhatsApp has become one of the primary news channels for citizens. 

Local news distributors, Kukurigo news and 263Chat, use WhatsApp to deliver daily news updates to over 20 000 subscribers. On a daily basis, they manage over 1000 broadcast groups to facilitate the distribution of their news messages. This type of volume the management process will take time but it does give you an idea of the potential reach of the platform. 

STREAMLINE YOUR OPERATIONS

Managing multiple customer queries and conversations at once is difficult, time-consuming and can often go wrong. With WhatsApp Business, you can set up automatic responses, group and label contacts as well as use already created quick replies to save you time when responding to messages. These functions make managing multiple contacts easy and help you run a more professional service. 

The automatic responses can allow for messages such as “Thank-you for your message, how can we help you?” or “We are only open between 8 and 5 pm, please leave us a message and we will get back to you.” 

The quick replies function is for anyone tired of responding to the same questions over and over again. You can create up to 50 quick replies for commonly asked questions that you can easily and efficiently respond with.

An online bakery in Brazil started using WhatsApp Business to manage their growing number of orders and queries. They now receive over 60% of their orders via the platform and it has become an instrumental part of how they operate. They are no longer overwhelmed by a bombardment of queries and can easily tag and label orders using the app to manage the increased volume. 

In India, a startup that sells e-bikes now has over 50% of its sales come through their WhatsApp business account. To date they have connected with over 21 000 customers and believe the app helps to build trust in their product. The variety of management features offered by the app has helped them streamline their sales process. They now group and label orders using the app to maintain an efficient sales pipeline. 

Watch their case study video to find out more: 

ENGAGE LIKE NEVER BEFORE

WhatsApp Business can create extraordinary one-on-one personal engagement that you don’t often see on communication platforms. It’s personal, private and immediate, communicating with users when they want or need it most. This opens up a whole new world of customer engagement and 2 way conversation. 

In India, a new Active Slimming Nutri-Shake (Saffola) created a marketing campaign inviting users to WhatsApp them when they need help to lose weight and beat their cravings.  Users would immediately receive voice note messages in the form of musical jingles, comedy skits and helpful advice to help them beat the crave when they needed it most. 

Their campaign had over 6000 subscribers and saw over 950 000 craves beaten.

Watch the below video to understand the success of the campaign.

Another great example of game-changing engagement is from Hellman’s mayonnaise in Brazil. 

The mayonnaise manufacturer wanted more people to try their product and learn how versatile it can be for home cooking. 

Leveraging WhatsApp they invited customers to share a photo of the ingredients they had leftover in their fridge and a bottle of Hellmans. In real-time chefs responded to each message with innovative recipes and helpful tips to make a delicious meal with their leftovers. 

13 000 people ended up joining the campaign and spending on average 65 minutes interacting with the chefs and creating their meals. A remarkable amount of time spent engaging with anyone via WhatsApp never mind a brand. 

These examples highlight the opportunity for organisations to use WhatsApp to engage in relevant and meaningful ways that support users and add value to their lives. 

Convinced the WhatsApp Business app may be for you? 

Here’s some more resources to help you get started: 

What is WhatsApp Business, more information about the various functions and how they work. 

Download the WhatsApp Business app here.

Learn more about WhatsApp Business API and the app from this webinar.