Using Snapchat and WhatsApp for doing business

Whether you’re starting up a brand new venture or looking to reinvent your marketing strategies, it’s time to get down with the kids and take a closer look at what the millennials are doing. Look into the very near future and you will see visual messaging and real time chat climbing to the top of the advertising ranks, which is why you should be downloading Snapchat and WhatsApp right now.

You don’t need us to tell you that strong online brand visibility is vital for the success of any business, big or small (but especially small). Websites, blogs and social media platforms need to be up to scratch for Google to take your business seriously in the search ranks and for customers to keep your brand top of mind. There are lots of great methods of seriously effective but super low-cost advertising that you should be taking advantage of but Snapchat and WhatsApp are high up there with the best of them.

WTF is Snapchat?

The once-definite lines between the business world and one’s private life has been increasingly blurred with the constant advancements in digital technology. Social media is allowing brands to communicate with their audiences more directly than ever before and perhaps one of the best examples of this is Snapchat. With millions of users across the world active every day, it’s no wonder big brands have been testing the waters. Audi generated more than 5,500 followers when they teamed with Snapchat to cover The Super Bowl, which was one of the biggest spikes the app has ever seen.

Snapchat started out life a free to use, image sharing app whereby users could send their followers an image (a ‘snap’) which is automatically deleted after the recipient has viewed it. Of course, this image could be immortalised with the good old screenshot function but the sender will be informed should try and bend the laws of Snapchat etiquette. Still free to use but more matured, Snapchat now offers Snapchat Stories which are broadcast to your entire contact list and remain viewable for 24 hours. The app now also supports real-time text and video messaging but how can this short-term visual message service help your business?

  • Use your Snapchat Story like a slideshow to promote your services.
  • Use it to offer exclusive insight into new products and offers.
  • Run competitions that encourage customer interaction. Ask them to follow you via other social channels then when they do, offer a discount code or voucher via photograph then you have expanded your potential reach for future promo material.
  • Use it to find new staff from a pool of people who are clearly already interested in your brand/business.
  • The viewing time limit creates a sense of urgency meaning customers are more likely to respond to your call to action right away.

And WTF is WhatsApp?

What is WhatsApp? Well, with over 800 million users worldwide, WhatsApp is a nifty marketing tool that needs to be added to your kit. Free to use as well, this popular instant messaging app can offer much more than just a way to tell your mum you’re still alive and swap pictures of your Sunday brunch with friends.

This cross-platform mobile messaging app means businesses can modernise the way they deliver their messages and reinvent usability as users can respond instantly. This breaks down the barrier between business and customers meaning they can now offer a much more personalised service. Acquired by Facebook last year for $19billion, WhatsApp is currently the fastest growing communication app and unlike iMessage, supports Android too.

WhatsApp offers real time chat, supports multimedia and enables voice messaging and group broadcasting, as well as breaking the restrictive 140-character limits of certain social media sites. Research shows that text messages are read within an average of 90 seconds while emails lag behind at 90 minutes, meaning delivering information about your brand has never been quicker.

Oh right, cool!

So we’ve given you a brief outline of what each of these new-fangled services are and their individual advantages for business promotion and engagement. Now let’s look at a few more generic reasons as to why you should be including apps like these in your marketing plans before we send you on your merry modern way.

  • They don’t cost a bean – Did we mention that they’re free to use? The cost of advertising rates can be crippling for a small business so taking advantage of free marketing is a no brainer.
  • They makes your customers feel all fuzzy inside – Apps like Snapchat and WhatsApp can offer a more personal interaction between you and them making them feel more valued than a mass email would. Users are often on their own, eyes glued to their device so making them feel like they’re the only person in the world to you goes a long way to maintaining audience consumer loyalty.
  • They save you valuable time – When it comes to instant messaging, it’s all in the name. It’s instant. Fashion designer Roberto Revilla revealed that his business saved 320 hours over a 12 month period, which is equivalent to at least £80,000 in revenue. Time is of the essence, especially when it comes to business, so capitalise on anything that can save you precious minutes.

Don’t overkill it though! Hard sell is actually forbidden by WhatsApp with its legal documents stating that “your use of this service as permitted is solely for your personal use”. Sharing images, blog posts and interacting with customers is permitted but invading customers’ personal space and ticking them off will only prove counterproductive to your attempts. Use these apps to chase up or follow up a more formal conversation, don’t see them as a replacement for your usual vehicles of communication.

You might also be interested in our blog post on the rise of Emoji and how it is changing the business landscape. You can catch that right here. But remember, innovative marketing techniques such as these may not be for everybody. It’s important to stay on brand and in line with your industry because a business that projects a confused identity is worse than a business that doesn’t present themselves at all.


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