As a business owner or manager, you should be looking for more innovative ways to meaningfully engage with your customers.

For some, that means figuring out how to leverage SMS (text messaging) for that special connection. For others, it means harnessing the power of social media to be the great equalizer between small businesses and enterprises. WhatsApp continues to build bridges between both.

1. WhatsApp Has Reach

According to Statista, WhatsApp has over 1.2 billion active users globally — just behind Facebook and eclipsing both Instagram and Twitter combined (they have 150 million and 319 million users respectively).

It may be difficult to make the case for a U.S.-only business because only about 8% of mobile internet users access WhatsApp, but nearly 67% of users in Mexico use the service. The number is nearly 70% in India and over 75% in Malyasia and South Africa.

These numbers continue to grow and are not limited by generation or platform. Adoption by Baby Boomers grew by 60% in 2014, with more than 30% growth by both Gen Xers and Millennials in the same period. Add that to the 70% open rate of over 64 billion messages sent on WhatsApp there is a lot of reach to be had.

2. WhatsApp Has Marketing Potential

Group messaging has so much marketing potential when used creatively. Group messaging in WhatsApp are instant VIP clubs. Each group can have up to 256 users included, but you can have an unlimited number of groups. They can be used for special invitation only sales or exclusive sneak peeks at upcoming products.

Instead of sending emails or having your customers signup for user forums, start a group where they can share instant feedback to you. Then the rest of the group can comment on the feedback so you can decide if it is something you can implement with future products or changes to current ones.

If group messaging is not a feature you can use, try executing a limited run sale or event using a WhatsApp Status. A Status is a photo, video, or GIF that is posted to your user profile and only stays visible for 24 hours. Even more exclusive is they are only visible to contacts that you have saved in your address book; think about how important that can make your customers feel to know they are in YOUR list.

3. WhatsApp Can Provide Customer Service

While WhatsApp may not have the same one-to-many reach as a Facebook post or tweet, it does have the cache of being intimate. Your customers connect with you as individuals and you can reply the same way to help resolve their service concerns.

There are the simple text communications that almost all social media networks have, but there is also the ability to provide voice notes and video. WhatsApp’s video options allow for peer-to-peer video conversations, regardless of platform, unlike Apple’s Facetime that requires both users to have iPhones or connected iPads. Using video a company’s support team can see exactly what the user is doing so they can give spot corrections or they can show the user how to use the product in real-time.

4. WhatsApp Has Good Security

WhatsApp touts its platform to be so secured (when both users have the most updated version of the app) that even they cannot see the contents of messages being sent. This security makes the app easier for sensitive messages, pictures, even documents, to be sent over the internet which is a boon for many industries.

While it is not marketed as explicitly HIPAA compliant, it is used by many physicians outside of the U.S and could potentially meet privacy requirements, something few other social media networks can match. Even if not HIPAA compliant, it certainly can be used confidently by many other industries that are sensitive to privacy but need the ability to communicate with customers in real-time while not in the same office.

It’s important for any business to choose the methods of communicating with their customers carefully. There are many reasons to be considered, especially whether or not customers are willing to use the platform. These four reasons for using WhatsApp are great conversation starters for internal teams.

As a social media focused digital agency, SocialPath Solutions helps your business determine which social media networks are best suited to be used during our proprietary #Path2Social on-boarding process. Also available is a standalone consulting option for businesses of all sizes.