So you’re probably utilising Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook and/ or Instagram to drive brand comms – but have you ever thought about using WhatsApp marketing to get your message across? With more than 1.5 billion users worldwide, WhatsApp presents a perfect opportunity for marketers. Despite this, many of us are hesitant to utilise dark social platforms like Whatsapp & Facebook Messenger because 1) it’s an unknown territory and 2) it’s less easy to measure than traditional social media platforms. Dark social is therefore relatively unchartered territory, meaning it’s less competitive for branded content to stand out.

Dark social really isn’t that scary, it’s highly beneficial for brand visibility. Chances are high that your content has been shared on dark social. According to RadiumOne, 84% of social sharing happens via dark social platforms.

It’s best to be part of the conversation by trialling strategies like WhatsApp marketing than have people talk about you but not to you. Businesses in South East Asia have been marketing through WeChat, a similar platform to WhatsApp & Messenger for years and we can certainly learn a thing or two from them. Not only this, with organic reach on traditional social media platforms being so low, it’s time to start thinking differently and trying new methods of reaching our audience.

Advantages of using Messenger Apps as a Marketing Tool

  • No algorithm
  • Messages on Whatsapp receive a high open-rate (around 70% according to DigitalDefynd)
  • Untapped space
  • Free

Ways to use Messenger Apps in your marketing strategy

Facebook Messenger Bot:

When someone clicks on your Facebook page, the messenger app will automatically pop up. Users then opt to begin a conversation with the bot, making it a great customer experience tool.

Messenger app marketing

The great thing about Facebook’s chatbots is that it’s super flexible! Here are just some of the ways you could use them:

  • Provide content or product recommendations
  • Offer support such as placing & editing orders
  • Provide information on product offerings
  • Curate customer feedback

Sephora uses Facebook’s messenger chatbot to provide potential customers with makeup tips and product reviews. This is the perfect example of adding value to the customer’s journey. CNN uses the platform a little differently, providing users with news stories about topics they’re interested in. Then we have Adidas who allows users to book fitness classes through the app.

CNN facebook messenger bot marketing

You could also provide a weekly newsletter through our chatbot or offer personalized recommendations.

Facebook Messenger & WhatsApp Marketing for Customer experience:

Whilst some people prefer to ring customer service hotlines or send an email, many now flock to social media to complain or ask for support. Using WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger is a great way to connect with customers online limiting how publicly available that conversation is to read. In addition, messenger apps can be used in the same way a chat box on a website would be.

WhatsApp recently announced an API for businesses, which allows people to initiate a chat with a brand. You can also send non-promotional notifications such as shipping updates and tickets through the API. We’re living in an age of needy consumers who want real-time engagement and updates, something messengers allow.

Content sharing via Whatsapp broadcast lists

Some brands are using Whatsapp as a method of sharing blogs or news updates. We can promote this content in a similar way to how we would via newsletter or social media. Multi-platform communication helps to reiterate our message, increasing the chances of it sticking.

Whatsapp marketing

Remember to add a UTM code to your links so you can track how much web traffic your efforts have generated. That’s one way of tracking ROI!

How to create a Broadcast List in WhatsApp:

Open WhatsApp. Go to the Chats screen > Menu Button > New broadcast. Tap + or type in contact names to choose recipients from your contact list. Tap Done. Tap Create.

Note, you can only have 256 members per broadcast list. Although, you can send messages to multiple broadcast lists. Mass ‘spray & pray’ style messaging won’t work on Whatsapp. Instead, create segmented broadcast lists to ensure the content you’re pushing out is relevant to your audience. Another thing to be aware of is that you can’t broadcast messages to people who haven’t consented to it. So you’ll have to treat Whatsapp broadcasts similar to a newsletter sign up.

Whatsapp Communities

Many of us have used Facebook groups or Linkedin groups from a marketing perspective, but what about creating a Whatsapp group? Instead of selling your product, connect like-minded individuals with one another and offer support.

You can add up to 256 members per Whatsapp group, so make whatever group you decide very specific! For example, we could create a WhatsApp forum of social media marketers in the blockchain industry. Members could then post their questions or useful resources.

WhatsApp marketing for campaigns

Another way we can use Whatsapp or Messenger is for campaigns themselves. Whilst a relatively new concept, there have been some really successful campaigns through Whatsapp.

Take Absolut as an example, they created an awesome PR campaign where consumers had to interact with a fictional bouncer to convince him to give them access to a party that Absolut was hosting.

Another example comes from the condiment brand Hellmans who set up a campaign using Whatsapp by asking consumers to send a picture of their fridge, in return a chef would send them a recipe. Over 13,000 people signed up for the campaign and spent an average of 65 minutes interacting with the brand. Hellmans also received strong insight into what was in peoples fridges!

This blog was originally published on Meltwater UK on 5th October 2018.