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Written by
Katy Ratican
18 Oct 2021
4 minutes
WhatsApp Business: The complete guide
Everything that a local business owner or freelancer needs to know about WhatsApp Business
Guide to WhatsApp Business

Messaging platforms have become the default mode of communication over the last few years, with the most popular being WhatsApp. While it’s predominantly used for personal communication, as a small or local business owner, a WhatsApp Business number can elevate your customer relationship management.

What is WhatsApp Business?

Rolled out in 2018, WhatsApp Business is targeted at small and medium-sized businesses. To begin with, it allows you to get your business verified to build credibility. You can give a description of your business, its office hours and add your website or email.

You can use it to instantly notify your customers and reply to their queries. Plus, it’s free to download.

What is the difference between WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business?

To put it simply, WhatsApp lets you connect with your family, friends and colleagues whereas WhatsApp Business allows you to interact with customers. WhatsApp is a social media application while WhatsApp Business is a business-focused tool.

How to set up a WhatsApp Business profile

Setting up a WhatsApp Business profile is easy. You don’t need any advanced technical know-how. To set-up a WhatsApp Business profile, you simply have to follow these steps:

  1. Download the WhatsApp Business app

  2. Verify your phone number

  3. Set up a business name

  4. Build your profile by clicking on ‘More options’ then ‘Settings’

Advantages of WhatsApp Business

Magnifies business visibility

Over two billion users now have access to your business. With a simple message, a customer can get in touch with a business while small businesses can broadcast to their contacts. For example, imagine you are a tour operator in the Midlands – users from over 100 countries can now easily get in touch with you.

Improves response time for customers

Customers want an immediate resolution to their problems or responses to their queries. As we all know, email responses take time and not everyone would be able to call you. With a WhatsApp Business number, you can give instantaneous responses, which will improve your customer service.

Verified conversations

When interacting with a WhatsApp Business number, customers know that they’re talking to the right business. It also allows you to establish your brand identity by using your website URL, phone numbers, location and even promotional offers.

Multimedia content

As a small business, you can share text messages, documents, images and videos with customers. This adds versatility to your brand interactions and offers you the opportunity to customise your content according to your brand identity.

Two-way communication

Other platforms don’t empower customers and businesses to enter into two-way communication. If a business posts something on social media and customers respond, they may not always get a relevant reply. But WhatsApp Business allows users to individually communicate with businesses.

Chat organisation

With WhatsApp Business, you can ensure that all your customer interactions are organised and in one place. You can use labels or colours to assign them by departments, which will make it easier to retrieve them later.

Broadcast lists

Once customers start interacting with your business profile, you can send them notifications about new products, promotional offers or limited-time sales. This is an excellent opportunity for small businesses to market their services in a cost-effective manner to a large group of interested people. By studying the success of your offers by the number of interested customers, you’ll be able to tweak your products or services.

Enhanced privacy and security

WhatsApp Business is designed to protect the privacy of its users. Businesses can engage with customers only after they opt-in to receive messages. All communication on the platform has two-factor authentication and is end-to-end encrypted.

Pre-written templates

Need to send an appointment reminder? Or an update about a delivery? You can use any of the message templates for these routine tasks and save time. You can also automate replies to enhance customer experiences.

How much does WhatsApp Business cost?

WhatsApp Business is primarily aimed at small businesses and is free to use. However, Facebook has started charging WhatsApp Business API users if they don’t respond to messages within 24 hours. The charges are expected to be between £0.35 and £0.65 per message.

Can WhatsApp Business be used for personal use?

Yes, you can but you wouldn’t need the features of WhatsApp Business for personal communication. You don’t need pre-written templates, broadcast lists or quick replies for communicating with your friends and family.

Using a second number with WhatsApp Business

One of the conditions for using both WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business is that the phone number cannot be the same. That’s why small business owners should consider using a second-line app to get a second number for work.

Now, all your calls and SMS can go through this second-line app and you’ll be able to use that number for WhatsApp Business. With a second-line app, you don’t have to buy a new device and will be able to separate your business and work lives.

In short

With WhatsApp Business, it’s exceptionally easy for businesses to interact with customers. If you’ve never considered using a second-line app for WhatsApp Business, now is the time to start for your small business.

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