Welcome to the Whatsupp with WhatsApp series!  This is part 2 of the series.  

WhatsApp has had great wins since it was acquired by Facebook in February 2014. It is now a popular alternative to SMS in 109 countries. Internationally, over 1 billion people use WhatsApp to exchange messages, videos, and more – with the number increasing rapidly. Virtually free, easy to use – is the value proposition that makes WhatsApp so popular. But how does it fare as a driver of online traffic?

Incredibly, users of messaging apps like WhatsApp are open to engaging with businesses. Nielsen’s Facebook Messaging Survey found that 67 percent of mobile messaging app users expect to communicate more with businesses via chat app. What’s more, 84 percent of online sharing takes place on private channels like WhatsApp chat, so it makes good sense to include WhatsApp in your online marketing toolkit.

Check out these 3 tips on how to use WhatsApp to drive more traffic to your blog or website.

1. Create A WhatsApp Group for Your Readers

A WhatsApp group dedicated to your readers can help you build and foster a community. Since WhatsApp allows its users to have a maximum of 256 people per group, you can create multiple groups and then split them into categories. For instance, a news publisher can have separate groups for technology addicts and sports enthusiasts. Analyze your site’s categories to get an idea for your WhatsApp groups.

Next, send out an open invitation to your site visitors, newsletter subscribers, and social media followers, informing them about the different WhatsApp groups that they can join according to their interests. Once you have a sizable audience, start sharing interesting content from your website for the group members to check out and engage with – this will increase your website traffic as members get redirected from the WhatsApp group to the different pages on your site.

2. Use WhatsApp Share Button

Once you add a WhatsApp share button to your site, your readers will be able to share things from your webpages with their friends and family on WhatsApp, as well as in WhatsApp groups. When they do, you’ll gain new visitors as your readers’ contacts come across the shared content.

Our data shows that WhatsApp sharing has huge potential; WhatsApp shares, as a percentage of overall mobile shares in the ShareThis network, increased from below 1% in 2015 to above 6% in April, 2017. With social being the leading source of referral traffic, placing WhatsApp share on your site could potentially increase your overall traffic.

ShareThis offers an intuitive WhatsApp share button that allows your visitors to share any of your content. With our visual design editor, you can easily customize your WhatsApp button in just a few clicks.

Just navigate through the range of our social media buttons, select the WhatsApp share button for your website, and start generating website traffic. The WhatsApp share button is free of clutter and optimized for mobile, so readers can easily share your content.

3. Get Feedback to Hone Your WhatsApp Content Strategy

It’s crucial to get as much information about your WhatsApp audience as you can in order to understand what they love, like and dislike about your content. The best way to do that is to go straight to the source. Talk directly to your readers to learn what type of content resonates with them. Use surveys to know if readers see your content as a trusted resource for valuable content, or a brand-centric propaganda. Stick to closed questions, like matching or multiple choice questions, to get structured results.

Financial Times used a similar strategy to drive traffic through WhatsApp. When the number of WhatsApp users following its account plateaued, the publisher put the account on hold for a few months and surveyed its WhatsApp audience. A quarter of the respondents said they wanted more content on financial markets. Readers also wanted more tech-related stories. The insight allowed FT to fine-tune its WhatsApp content strategy to include more market-related stories – each WhatsApp post drives a comparable amount of traffic as a post on FT’s main Twitter account, which has 5.7 million followers.

WhatsApp has the potential to bring a ton of targeted traffic. And a good percentage of that traffic would love to subscribe to your newsletter and become loyal readers…if only they knew about your website. With the help of these three key tips, you’ll be able to build a WhatsApp audience whom you can trust to visit your website and spread the word about your content.