Johannesburg- Entrepreneurs have been urged to use WhatsApp for Business as a tool to grow their small businesses and communicate directly with their customers.
Experts from Digify Africa and the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) hosted a masterclass on Wednesday to equip small business and media entrepreneurs with the skills they need to thrive in the digital economy.
The learning outcomes from the masterclass included how to create a catalogue to showcase products and services; ways to integrate WhatsApp into ads and how to craft a messaging strategy and tools to automate, sort and quickly respond to messages.
Digital Marketing Strategist, Blessing Letsoara, addressed small business owners and media entrepreneurs on how they can use WhatsApp for Business to their advantage and grow their businesses and customer base while at it.
Letsoara said WhatsApp is powerful for businesses when used intentionally and messaging has become an indispensable part of modern communication.
He said expectations for businesses have changed as people will choose messaging over picking up their phone and making a call to enquire about a product from a certain business.
He said according to research, 89% of respondents expect a brand to respond to them within 24 hours and this can be made possible if a business is utilising WhatsApp for Business.
Taking the class through steps on how to use the app to their advantage, he said: “When you download the app, you have to use a different number from your personal one.
“Insert a new sim and download WhatsApp for Business and that’s the number you will use with the app. You can have both your personal WhatsApp with your personal number and the business one with a different number on the same mobile cell phone. It is also possible to change your personal number to a business WhatsApp.
“Once the app is downloaded, you have to create a business profile where you will put in the details of the business and what you can offer to your clients. Create an automated greeting message for when your customers send an enquiry. You can also set up quick replies for frequently asked questions,” he said.
Letsoara said it is important to set up an “away” message, which can be switched on and off. This can be set up for when the business is closed so that customers receive the message when the business is not available to answer immediately.
“Another important aspect that will get you more customers is putting up a status on your business account. It is important and efficient when you have a sale or any new products you are selling. It makes communication easy for your customers. I encourage you to start using the WhatsApp business app.”
Letsoara also taught the class some of the best practices for responding to messages on WhatsApp. He said business owners must be responsive, monitor trends, set expectations and know how to answer sensitive questions.
“Another important thing, you must write the way you speak, don’t be robotic, write the way you would normally communicate with people,” he said.
Letsoara urged entrepreneurs to also craft a WhatApp strategy that will help take their businesses to greater heights, and also help in understating their target audience.
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