So unless you’re living in the stone age you would have noticed that WhatsApp’s latest version includes new status updates which look eerily similar to Snapchat or Instastories. Now I have no intention of discussing the strategy of the move, however I am more curious to look at its adoption and overall use to marketers as a potential new social media channel.
- Viewability / Privacy
The first aspect to note is that WhatsApp updates can only be seen by your WhatsApp contacts (with the option of turning on privacy) in comparison to Instastories or Snapchat which open to all your followers, therefore WhatsApp updates has a much smaller and niece audience when compared to other channels which operates on a larger more public domain.
I have been following how many of my whatsapp contacts have been posting status updates lately and overall the rate of adoption seems to be a lot less compared to when Instastories was launched. This could be because of several reasons, firstly how many channels are people expected to update? Secondly these updates are so similar to other channels it does not offer a unique advantage to cause a change in posting behavior, third the audience has some overlap as most people’s friends are already on Instagram and are familiar with the way it works. But in saying that, WhatsApp is one of the most popular apps for communication so watch this space, as overall adoption may increase.
So as marketers what can we do to maximize the use of this feature?
- WhatsApp in Marketing
WhatsApp on its own is not a new channel for marketers. They have used it to message their most loyal customers, create groups based on personas, or send broadcasts to multiple marketing lists. But usually each of these methods has limitations in the number of people that can be messaged, the level of engagement and the risk of spamming your customers. The new status updates provide a good solution where the updates can be viewed voluntarily so there’s high engagement, and reduces the risk of spam. All your contacts can also view the message so there is no limit on the number of views.
- Status Content
As the people who will be viewing the updates will most likely be loyal customers, the type of content used in will not be mass market or for general brand awareness, instead content can be used to encourage or reward loyalty through special offers, sneak peaks at new products or send invites to exclusive events. Content will also depend on the brand objective. As messages will be more targeted and personalised, WhatsApp status updates can be used to assist with direct sales objectives as well as brand engagement and loyalty.
Status Updates can also be used as part of overall PR strategy. It can be used to invite media to exclusive events and product launches, provide sneak peaks at new product developments, and encourage and excite media about new brand developments. This would assist with media engagement as well as overall brand coverage.
Overall WhatsApp Status Updates are fairly new and will surely develop over time. I would watch this space to look out for further developments especially if there will be any analytics attached to it. This would certainly be a game changer resulting in more marketers using this as a potential advertising channel.
Do you have any other ideas on how WhatsApp Status updates can be used?