In this article, we show you what the instant messaging platforms of Google My Business and WhatsApp Business consist of, what their differences are and how they can help your business.
How WhatsApp Business works
With the spread of WhatsApp among users around the world, the Facebook company has studied some solutions that allow companies to have a business number they can use to communicate with their customers, in a more professional way.
In particular, companies can create a corporate WhatsApp number in two ways:
1) WhatsApp Business app: is the free solution that allows you to create a company number where you can enter company information, a product catalog, a welcome message and even tag users.
The WhatsApp Business app is designed for small businesses that do not have large volumes of chats and its main function is to allow companies to communicate individually with customers through the famous instant messaging app.
2) The WhatsApp Business API: it’s the solution designed for medium and large companies, that generate numerous chats and that typically have a team dedicated to replying via WhatsApp.
To take advantage of the WhatsApp Business API, you must use an external platform, such as Callbell, which integrates WhatsApp within a CRM that allows you to manage conversations in a structured and organized way.
If you have a business you can use WhatsApp for a multitude of purposes::
1) Sales: WhatsApp is ideal for e-commerce looking for new sales channels. You will simply have to inform your target audience that it is possible to contact you via WhatsApp to attract new leads;
2) Assistance: allow your customers to contact you on WhatsApp to request support and you will create a relationship of greater trust with them. Knowing where to contact you at any time will reassure them and your brand will gain in terms of reputation;
3) Collect feedback or reviews: ask your users what they think about your business, your products/services or about their particular experience with the company throughout the purchase phase;
4) Create polls: create questions for your users and send them out in order to gain useful insights to improve the processes of your business. For this purpose you can use tools like Outside Voice.
How Google my Business works
Google My Business is Google’s free tool that allows you to manage the online presence of your local businesses on Google, including the Search and Maps sections. It is designed for all local businesses that want to serve customers in a specific location or offer their services in a specific area covered by the service.
Google My Business is a solution that helps people find businesses within a geographic region based on particular variables. Businesses verified on Google are twice as likely to be trusted by consumers.
Google is slowing trying to offer answers to users’ questions directly on the search pages, without them necessarily having to visit a particular website.
The aim is to speed up the process of acquiring information from users. It is therefore very important to be well indexed by Google so that you can appear among the top positions, and thus earn valuable leads.
The factors that affect indexing are:
1) Relevance: this falls within the field of interest of the business and how close it is to the user’s request. Relevance is established during registration and account verification and on the basis of SEO data;
2) Distance: the physical distance from the user at the time of the activity in which he/she is searching on Google, in this case the geolocation data will be used;
3)Authority: this parameter includes the number of reviews of the business within Google My Business and their score. It is essential to provide good service to collect good reviews and attract new customers.
For example. Marco is in Turin and needs a mechanic for his bicycle. His Google search query “bicycle mechanic” will first show companies registered as bicycle mechanics in the area where he is located and with a high score.
If you own a local business and want to be found more easily by your target audience, Google My Business allows you to take advantage of three types of benefits:
1) Show accurate information about your business: you can enter all the information necessary to ensure that potential customers can contact you. You will be able to show timetables, website link, telephone number, office address, and service area coverage;
2)Interact with customers: within the Google My Business page, both you and your customers can post photos about your business or the products and services offered, collect and respond to reviews;
3) Attract new customers: with an adequate search engine indexing, users will be the ones to contact you independently. Alternatively, you can also activate Google’s smart campaigns, to be found more quickly.
Google’s new challenge: conquering the instant messaging market for businesses
Given the growing trend of messaging apps in recent years, which have increasingly allowed companies to communicate with their customers, since February 2021 Google has launched its own instant messaging platform: Google Business Messages.
This is a function that allows users to contact the company directly from the Google My Business card, via instant messaging. This radically changes the way we communicate within Google.
Users engaged in a Google search or on Google Maps will be able to contact the business that appears in the results in one click and start a chat to get the information they need.
For example: Marco is looking for a restaurant in Rome on Google Maps and Antonio’s restaurant appears among the first results. Marco seems interested in Antonio’s restaurant, but he wants more information on the type of cuisine. In an instant Marco clicks on the restaurant’s Google My Business tab and clicks on “Send message”, where he will find Antonio ready to answer all his questions.
A huge difference compared to the old use of text messages (SMS) by Google since 2017, since it makes the interaction between company and users much faster, ensuring a much more satisfying experience within the Google platform.
Google My Business messages: here’s how to activate them
Here are 2 step-by-step methods to activate Google My Business messages, the first via desktop and the second via mobile.
Note: to activate the messages of Google My Business wait for the verification of your business which is carried out through a code that will be sent to you by post.
2) Create an account (if you haven’t done so already)
3)Click on the “Messages” tab on the left side of the dashboard
4)Click on “Settings” and then on “Enable messages”
2) Enter the customers section and then the Messages tab
3) Enable messaging from Google My Business
At this point, if you have correctly followed the short steps indicated here, you can edit your welcome message and start chatting immediately with your potential customers through Google messaging.
You can view customer messages from both desktop and mobile, so you can have constant control of interactions with your target audience.
WhatsApp Business and Google My Business compared
The battle between the two giants of the digital world is officially open, and both are trying to gain market shares with messages.
On the one hand, we have an already consolidated giant like WhatsApp which has more than 2 billion active users on the platform and which is already used every day by companies to communicate with their customers.
On the other hand, we have a fierce competitor like Google that is trying not to let users leave its platform to contact companies, and thus speed up the acquisition of information by users.
The use of the two platforms differs mainly in the geographical location of the companies to which the conversations are intended: Google My Business is designed to communicate instantly with local businesses, while WhatsApp Business for companies without any geographical limit.
The way to start a conversation is also different, for Google messaging the user must open the Google My Business tab on the search page or on Maps. Alternatively, it can be redirected to the chat through a QR code or a link such as g.page/companyname. Starting a chat on WhatsApp typically takes place through social pages where the number is shared, or a chat widget on the website or via a link such as wa.me/companynumber.
Although the two messaging channels differ, their purpose remains the same: to make users interact quickly and rapidly with companies, helping them generate new customers and increase their revenue.
Moreover, the two channels are not mutually exclusive: using them both can be an excellent strategy to not to miss any business opportunity. It is also possible to connect WhatsApp to the Google My Business card so that the user can contact you via his favorite channel, find out how in this article.
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About the author: Hello! I am Alan and I am the marketing manager at Callbell, the first communication platform designed to help sales and support teams to collaborate and communicate with customers through direct messaging applications such as WhatsApp, Messenger, Telegram and (soon) Instagram Direct