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64% of people covering all ages – not just the kiddos – would rather message you than call you. Have a business and hate messaging? It’s time to take a teaspoon of cement and harden up, sunshine. They’re leaving you behind. 

The world has gone message crazy. The 2 billion people on WhatsApp and the 1.3 billion people on Facebook Messenger, and even the other 800 million on WeChat don’t care what your attitude is about texting instead of talking, they’ve already voted with their dollars and started using your competitors that ARE using text messaging to communicate with customers. Want to get on board the messaging revolution? Here’s what to do. 

WhatsApp isn’t used as much in Australia but is a very big deal overseas (Canva)

1.Start with your Facebook Page 

This is the most basic place to start. Your customers are on there, you should be too. By pointing customers to your Page’s Inbox you can give them a place to enquire about what you’re selling, what your pricing is, whether you’re open or closed at certain times, or if you’re actually still open at all. If that sounds like a headache, then automate the most basic questions. You can use automated replies to the most common questions such as trading hours, directions, menus and product lists. In fact, you can go a lot further and plug-in tools like ActiveChat and ManyChat to add even more smarts to answering the questions that people ask without you having to be there at the time. 

2.Activate Messaging on Google My Business 

You might not have realised that there is a messaging feature that works with Google My Business. You need to activate it within your Google My Business profile through the Google My Business app. What this does is allow someone to send you a message via your profile on Google and answer it via your mobile phone. You can answer those messages with text, send links and even add in a photo if you need to. But you do have to make sure that you answer those messages within 2 hours otherwise the feature will be taken away from you. So if you’re a bit slack on replying to people, this could be a way to train yourself into being more responsive.  

Messaging apps are becoming the vehicle for future payments and eCommerce (Canva)

3.Give WhatsApp a try 

While it’s not the primary messaging app that people are using in Australia, it’s growing pretty fast here. It’s also the messaging app with the most active daily users. Over 2 billion people use it each and every day. That’s a staggering number. If your business is in the business of dealing with customers overseas, especially in Asia, India, Europe, Africa or South America, WhatsApp is the app you should be working with. Even if your customers are mostly in Australia, New Zealand, America, the UK or Japan, where Facebook Messenger is dominant, it makes sense to add the WhatsApp option anyway as people in these countries become more privacy-oriented and new features like shopping, ads and payments start to be rolled out in Australia in the future. 

4.What about the other messaging apps?

While you might have heard of other apps like Signal, Telegram, Viber and Kik, they are very niche and not used by enough people to be worth you dedicating resources to in your small business. If you head towards where people overwhelmingly are, you’ll pick up users of those apps anyway, as they will also be using Messenger, WhatsApp and Google in addition to their more niche apps that they tend to use for more private communications with friends and some of the more shady segments of the population.

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Dante St James is a digital marketer in Darwin, Australia. He is the founder of Clickstarter, a Facebook Blueprint Lead Trainer and podcaster on digital marketing in Australia.