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Why Using WhatsApp Can Benefit Your Real Estate Business

WhatsApp is a messenger-type app which currently belongs to Facebook. It was acquired by the social network inFebruary 2014 for approximately US$19.3 billion and is now part of the Facebook suite of apps with the largest adoption worldwide. Although initially conceived as a voice call and text messaging up, it was enhanced to make use of the camera and is now advanced enough to allow users to make video calls, to send images, videos, documents, audio files, voice notes, and much more. It pays to be accessible on multiple modern channels and WhatsApp is among the most powerful of them. Simply add your WhatsApp handle on a visible place on your website if you want your real estate business to reap the benefits.

Marketers have been using WhatsApp to drive sales for years already. Particularly hotel chains reported success in using the app to communicate with guests for pricing information and booking inquiries, lost property inquiries, billing inquiries, as well as travel information inquiries, among other services.

Likewise, real estate brokers use WhatsApp to live chat with buyers, to exchange information with other professionals, to answer questions in real time, to send reminders to property related inquiries received in chat messages, and more. International media outlets are already reporting that luxury proprety buyers are using WhatsApp to interact with agents, but the app is not usually ranked among the best tools in a realtor's arsenal, although it is more effective than other, more hyped, apps. And it has features galore, some of which are mostly ignored, or "hidden." Besides, WhatsApp can be easily used on a desktop PC, but you still need to have the app installed on your phone. CNET provides full instructions here.

WhatsApp is a free smartphone app and a great marketing tool, one that Facebook is constantly improving, adding new tools to enhance its functionality and benefits for users. The company also plans to move WhatsApp from IBM’s SoftLayer into Facebook’s own data centers. IBM is costing Facebook about $2 million a month and the company believes that by hosting WhatsApp on its own servers it would cut costs and offer a better, more reliable service to users. If things continue to evolve like this, you can expect WhatsApp to integrate with Facebook pretty much like Instagram - for example, allowing business pages to push Facebook ads and promotions on WhatsApp too.

Sure, WhatsApp has its alternatives, however, none as powerful when it comes to a potential for networking and sales. The only other app that comes close is WeChat in China. WeChat has already been reported to help users buy homes safely in China while WhatsApp is under scrutiny for a variety of hoax messages. This is one of the several issues most likely to be addressed by Facebook in the near future, and if you are not using WhatsApp for your real estate business yet, it is probably the right time for you to try it own and to grow your network.

Although somewhat limited in its current stage, with add-ons like Bag A Chat real estate agents can already achieve more with WhatsApp and other supported messaging platforms. For instance, Bag A Chat allows real estate agents to provide customer service via IM using #hashtag commands. Among other interesting features, Bag A Chat delivers analytics on incoming messages, which helps realtors understand customer behaviors and build and manage lead phone number database. This add-on is offered with a monthly subscription. Alternatives, like WhatsATool, exist, however, none offered as a free service. You can invest in these add-ons till Facebook implements the features you need directly into the app - and you can expect a quick evolution.

Lili Steffens

A PR and marketing professional with extensive SEO expertise, a former contributor to Search Engine Journal, Liliana Steffens covers online marketing tips, mobile, social media, and SEO for RealtyBizNews.

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