WhatsApp Business is the latest addition to a number of tools for businesses that incorporate social media and instant messaging, and it could be available for users in South Africa very soon.

The instant messaging service WhatsApp recently launched WhatsApp Business for Android in the US, the UK, Mexico, Indonesia and Italy. The app is free to download on Android devices and is also compatible with WhatsApp web.

WhatsApp Business allows small businesses to connect with customers and provide useful information like the business’ email and retail outlet addresses, its website, and the description of the business. In addition, the app allows businesses to quickly reply to frequently asked questions.

Greeting messages introduce the business to potential clients, and a company can notify customers that it can’t respond immediately by using “away” messages. Businesses will need to provide information that confirms their contact details in order to get Confirmed Accounts on the platform.

WhatsApp Business gives businesses access to simple metrics that will give them valuable insight into the effectiveness of content in their messages, by showing the number of messages that have been read.

Current WhatsApp users don’t need to download an additional app to gain access to businesses via WhatsApp Business, but will still be able to block numbers and messages and report spam, including messages from businesses.

If you consider that WhatsApp currently has around 1.3 billion users worldwide, this new addition to its service offering may very well be one that business owners should look at incorporating into their avenues of communication with current and potential clients and customers.

WhatsApp Business has not been launched in South Africa yet, but keep an eye on Smartcom’s blog and Facebook page for additional information, as soon as it is available.

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