Using WhatsApp properly for companies: What needs to be taken into account when sending WhatsApp messages to customers or readers – with respect to the law and to the content? How you as a company can use WhatsApp properly without infringing the usage policies and without scaring away your subscribers is explained in this article.
WhatsApp for companies: a world of possibilities
Worldwide over 1 billion people use WhatsApp. More than every second smartphone user in Austria and Germany is registered with the popular instant messenger. WhatsApp is now even preferred to Facebook for communication. This naturally makes WhatsApp an attractive platform for companies to reach customers in person and above all to address a mobile and young target group.
So it’s no surprise that the app has recently been utilized increasingly in the business sector. Pioneers here are newspapers and online media which use the messenger service to extend their regular range, to inform readers quickly and thus to establish a stronger tie between the readers and the publication. But the potential of WhatsApp is by no means limited to the media sector. Depending on the communication behavior of the customers, practically every company or organization can become a WhatsApp user.
WhatsApp can be employed in several ways as an information channel:
- As a newsletter
Regularly or occasionally (e.g. discounts, events)
- As a service and support channel
For questions, complaints or other problems
- As a group chat platform
For prize competitions (e.g. chat with a celebrity)
Using a WhatsApp newsletter correctly
The biggest benefit of WhatsApp for companies is that they can reach their target group within a few minutes. That is not always possible with other communication systems. Almost all WhatsApp messages are opened, generally, just seconds after they have been received. Recipients who are interested are immediately made aware of current topics, and the tie to the user is strengthened significantly. At the same time, the user senses a human being behind the message, which makes the application considerably more personal and can lead to a dialogue.
However, as WhatsApp still remains a very private medium, a few rules must be observed when sending WhatsApp newsletters, otherwise, the hard-won users will quickly be lost again!
7 useful tips for companies on WhatsApp
To avoid overtaxing or scaring away customers, it is essential that they are addressed sensitively and above all in a personal manner for WhatsApp newsletters to succeed. These eight tips ensure that nothing can really go wrong for companies on WhatsApp:
1. Obtain the recipient’s consent
A WhatsApp newsletter, just like an email newsletter, is electronic mail. It is subject to the same European legislation: the recipient must consent to the dispatch of messages. This is generally done by the subscriber saving a company’s number in his or her own contacts and by sending an opt-in message to the company (e.g. “Start”) by means of a WhatsApp message or an online form. It is best to save these registrations as screenshots.
The right of withdrawal must also be pointed out: the user must be informed, at least when registering and ideally with every WhatsApp newsletter, that they can cancel their subscription at any time – by means of an unsubscribe message (e.g. “Stop”) and by deleting a company’s number from their own contacts.
2. Short and sweet
It is important to keep the content of your WhatsApp messages as short and simple as possible. The subscribers don’t want to read through texts on the smartphone which are many lines long – WhatsApp is the wrong medium for that. It’s best to package the information to be transferred in a concise format with a couple of web links, e.g.:
- Introductory sentence
- Headlines and associated links
- Concluding sentence
Offer the users titbits, and only serve the “main meal” via the links you send. Feel free to use emojis as well.
3. Ensure optimum frequency
Customers respond particularly sensitively on WhatsApp to the number of messages they are sent. The following therefore applies: don’t overdo things! It’s important that your customers aren’t flooded with countless messages because too many messages will soon get on their nerves and become bothersome. There is a high probability that this will lead to your customers canceling their subscription to your service.
Providers who send two to three messages a day have the lowest subscription cancellation rates, largely below 10% with this ideal number of messages. As the frequency increases so too do the number of canceled subscriptions. Once the ideal rhythm is found, the click rate also increases. Here, too, the following applies: the lower the number of messages, the higher the click rates. In tests, the highest number of clicks was achieved when two to three messages were sent per day. Naturally, you must ascertain the optimal frequency for your company and your target group yourself.
4. Package advertising on WhatsApp skilfully
Basically, every provider of a WhatsApp service must bear the responsibility for the content of their messages themselves. The usage guidelines of WhatsApp allow commercial use by companies. In the original wording: “We will allow you and third parties, like businesses, to communicate with each other using WhatsApp, such as through order, transaction, and appointment information, delivery and shipping notifications, product and service updates, and marketing.”
Now it is no secret that the consumers of pure advertising messages feel increasingly annoyed. A “STOP” message on WhatsApp is enough – and the user has already been removed from your service. We, therefore, recommend using WhatsApp primarily as an information and service channel rather than as an advertising channel! For example, do not just link to new products, but instead, for example, to a blog article about these products or to use additional information.
5. Select the right topics
When using WhatsApp services, you should always only send relevant messages to which the recipient has really subscribed. Here it is particularly important that the topic of the message also corresponds to the topic which the user expects. If, for example, a customer subscribes to the ticker of a sporting event, you should definitely not pester them with messages from the field of politics.
Otherwise, your customer will soon cancel their subscription to the WhatsApp service and possibly obtain an unfavorable impression of your company. It’s best if you show users what messages they can expect by providing examples before they begin their subscription. A useful way of doing this is a brief FAQ on the subscription page.
6. Use topic channels
Tip: Companies which offer a number of topics, sectors or products should definitely specify a separate channel for each one which can also be subscribed to separately. This enables each user to decide for themselves whether and which news channel they want to obtain from you (e.g. sport, politics, business, weather, etc.).
7. Is your WhatsApp newsletter really helpful?
Bear in mind what the benefits of using WhatsApp are for your company. Is it helpful? Will my company profit from it? Will my customers profit from it? Is it at all worthwhile, and do we have the necessary resources for another information and service channel?
After all, using WhatsApp services is not appropriate for every industry and every company. The motive for using them is also important: Are you using WhatsApp because it makes sense or because you are following a new trend? These are questions which every company must answer for itself.