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IM for Business

Communication is an essential part of a workplace, and tools such as Instant Messaging have made communication more efficient than ever. It has replaced email in many ways when it comes to sales talks, business development and client engagement — it’s simply faster, more interactive, convenient and personalised.

Moreover, there is no surprise that business is now using instant messaging for having conversations with each other, project collaboration and improved customer support. Nowadays, businesses have been using the latest Instant Messaging tools to be ahead of the competition and be on the top.

In this article, we’ll review the best Instant Messaging tools for business.

  • Top 7 Instant Messaging Apps for Business: External Communications
  • Top 5 Instant Messaging Apps for Business: Internal Communications

Before going further, let’s give you a brief overview of how Instant Messaging can actually improve your business.


What is Instant Messaging for Business?

Instant messaging (IM) is a real-time text and rich-content communication tool among people through a software application. Business uses Instant Messaging to enable quick problem-solving with accelerated team workflow while sharing important information and updates with customers at scale interactively.

Basically, it’s a primary source of communication in this mobile era and has gain tractions since replacing emails in most scenarios.

Why should I use instant messaging for business?

Instant messaging is more immediate, shoot from the lip, and collaborative with multiple parties. Many sales agents use instant messaging apps like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp to reach customers and build a more personalised relationship, and over 77% of customers prefer chats when seeking prompt customer service. It boasts 6x more open rates and 8x more click rates compared to traditional Email marketing, with 2.5x customer engagement with the brands. Instant messaging is a clear winner when you are targeting millennials.

Now that you have a basic idea, let’s find out which instant messaging apps should your business be investing in for both internal and external use cases to stay within the loop!


Top 7 Instant Messaging Apps for Business: External

The main reasons for a business to use Instant Messaging is for effective communication, customer engagement, support and lead generation. We have separate blogs focusing on different use cases.


1. Facebook Messenger

 

Instant Messaging For Business: Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger, considered to be one of the most popular instant messaging apps for businesses all around the world. The latest statistics show that Facebook Messenger has 1.3 billion users from all around the world, except China. It is ranked number one in more than 30 countries and is by far one of the best platforms to use for business.

Facebook Messenger allows lead generation through using links & messaging codes, advertising and customer matching. Messenger has helped various businesses in generating thousands of leads. Messenger even allows creating scannable QR codes which help businesses in bringing users from offline to online and directly in conversation with the business.

Another feature which Facebook Messenger contains is the Facebook Customer Chat Plugin, which converts facebook visitors into leads. The users can browse as well as send you a message due to this feature. Facebook Messenger Web Plugins is also another feature helping in generating leads. It consists of three variations: Message Us, Send to Messenger & Checkbox Plugin.

Lastly, Facebook Messenger has a free Facebook web chat which is a great and powerful conversational tool. Facebook contains Lightspeed Messenger App which is designed to make Facebook Messenger quick, fast and light improving consumer market share.


2. WhatsApp (Business)

 

Instant Messaging For Business: WhatsApp

It is recent that WhatsApp has entered the market of instant messaging apps for businesses, however, it has great potential when it comes to customer and conversational support and marketing.

Often teams face communication problems with its customers, hence, it is necessary for businesses to use the instant messaging apps that the customers prefer to make their work easier. One such app is WhatsApp.

WhatsApp consists of two variations: 1) WhatsApp Business, for small business owners in mind and, 2) WhatsApp Business API for enterprise instant messaging. You could read more about our detailed guide here: WhatsApp Business: All You Need To Know.

WhatsApp has about 1.5 billion users in 180 countries making it the most popular messaging app in the world — 0.2 billion more than its competitor Facebook Messenger. Moreover, there are more than three million users of WhatsApp Business.

WhatsApp Business is Free to download and has the potential to create a catalogue to showcase products and services. Connect with customers by easily using tools to automate, sort and responsive to messages. It will provide you with a platform to directly chat with your business.

For a medium and large business, WhatsApp Business API is one of the best Instant Messaging tools. It powers you with communication with customers all over the world and you can connect with them through a simple, secure and reliable way.


3. WeChat (Official Account)

 

Instant Messaging For Business: WeChat

WeChat Official Accounts are drawing a lot of interest these days, as WeChat has risen to dominate the Chinese social media space (Chinese users spend ⅓ of their smartphone time on WeChat).

WeChat Official Accounts are the WeChat equivalent of a Facebook page: they are an interface a brand can use to:

  • Gather followers
  • Send push notifications
  • Redirect them to a website/e-commerce

Most WeChat Official Accounts appear in the “Chat” section of WeChat. This is the section of WeChat which is most similar to WhatsApp/ Facebook Messenger. Upon sending notifications, WeChat Official Accounts are brought to the top (we’ll see nuances about this topic in the section regarding different types of accounts)

Users can then open the account to access a conversation interface where they can either click on push notifications or access information through the bottom menu interface.

 

Instant Messaging For Business: WeChat Screens

WeChat Official Accounts can be found either by social timeline, scanning a QR code, name card sharing, offline payment, ads or direct search with name.

There are 4 different types of WeChat Official Accounts:

  • WeChat Subscription accounts (订阅号): can send up to 1 push message per day to their followers and are grouped together in a dedicated folder appearing alongside your friends in the “chat” section of WeChat. Subscription accounts can be created either with a Chinese ID (in which case their features would be limited, especially access to the WeChat API) or with a local Chinese business license.
  • WeChat Service accounts (服务号): appear as friends in the “chat” section of WeChat. They are extremely visible and have additional features compared to subscription account (in particular WeChat login, WeChat payment and geo-localization). However, they can only post 4 messages per month.
  • Enterprise accounts (企业号): are meant for internal management of companies. They require both the account and the follower to approve each-other. Their content can’t be shared with unauthorized users. They are perfect for a company wanting to spread an internal newsletter.
  • WeChat mini-programs (微信小程序): is a new type of accounts launched in January 2017 by Tencent. They are mostly used for offline applications when users only meant to use the APP once. They can’t send push notifications. As of March 2017, WeChat mini-programs seem to struggle to get significant traction.

If you are dealing with Chinese shoppers, you should start creating your official account here as it requires a certain time for verifications.


4. Line

 

Instant Messaging For Business: Line

The Line app is a messaging app created in Japan for Japanese people. has about 200 million monthly active users. Although that may seem small globally, in Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, and Thailand, Line is huge. If you’re looking to tackle any of these markets you should give Line some thought.

To get started with Line, you’ll need to create a Line Official Account.

 


 5. Telegram

 

Instant Messaging For Business: Telegram

Telegram only has about 200 million monthly active users, so usually, it might not be the first choice among businesses and owners to use it over its contenders.

Telegram is most famous in Ethiopia, Iran and Uzbekistan. Moreover, it is a popular IM app in the cryptocurrency community. Telegram Bots provide the users with the information they requested and help to notify about the prices.

Telegram has also been useful in generating leads using App Search, Links & Scan Codes etc.

Altogether, we can say that Telegram has been a useful app in the cryptocurrency industry as well as a marketing tool for some businesses.


6. Viber

 

Instant Messaging For Business: Viber

Viber is another messaging app that is growing globally with 1 billion users worldwide. It is extremely popular in Eastern Europe, but unlike Facebook and WhatsApp, it is not that strong within the business sphere.

However, Viber has features of connecting diverse users from all around the world, a consumer-first platform making marketing easier for brands and personal brand to consumer connections.

Currently, the easiest way for a company to make an account is to set up a Viber Public Account or a Viber Bot.


7. Linkedln

 

Image result for linkedin

With 562 million users, LinkedIn is all about building networks and connections. The ability to tap into existing connections and grow your brand through word of mouth is the real power of Linkedln. It is also the top-rated social media for lead generation.

It is the perfect place to raise brand awareness, network, promote career opportunities and educate consumers about your products and services.

Linkedln is considered to be a #1 platform where B2B marketers use to distribute content — being around 94%.

Incorporating Linkedln ads is one of the best strategies for social media marketing. Linkedln offers various self-advertising solutions like sponsored content, text ads and sponsored InMail.

Businesses, time for you to Link quickly!


Top 5 Instant Messaging Apps for Business: Internal

1. Slack

 

Instant Messaging For Business: Slack

“Where work happens”

This tag line perfectly describes this great instant messaging app for businesses, especially if its an SME. Around 12 million people actively use Slack every day.

Slack puts collaboration at your fingertips through one on one and group chat functions. It organises conversations, shares files and documents, integrates other tools and even archive up to 10,000 messages.

This app has more to offer, it centralises all the information from the software being used, cuts downtime spent switching between windows and smoothes out stilted processes.

Slack Enterprise Grid provides unlimited workspaces given to every group to organise their work while centralised controls give administrators a single point of visibility for the organisation. Besides, it has a Slack Bot tool which reminds of messages on all your devices.

Pro tip: Having a Mac for this software provides you with the interface which gives the best user experience!


2. Microsoft Teams

 

Instant Messaging For Business: Microsoft Teams

This app is considered to be one of the best “collaborative apps” for a business. It gets teams on the same page with group chat, online meetings, calling and even web conferencing reducing the communication gap among teams as well as with the superiors.

It provides additional features like collaborating on Excel, Word or PowerPoint files. Its seamless integration with Microsoft apps and third-party services makes the processes fast and efficient.

Microsoft Teams recently overtook Slack with 13 million daily users and 500,000 organisations have been using it.


3. Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts is a communication channel built by Google for users to initiate and engage in communication through texts, voice & video call.

It is a known and appreciated app in the corporate world. Employees of a company get to communicate through a platform which is reminiscent of social networks and share information due to its security and protection measures.

Hangouts has a feature called Google Hangouts on Air, which enables Google+ users to stream video calls live via YouTube. Hangouts on Air has proven to be an efficient and inexpensive way for business to conduct online seminars and talk shows. Being a Google product, Hangouts has no trouble integrating with popular business applications like Slack, Zendesk Sprint etc.

This app integrates other Google apps like Google Talk and Google Voice. Through the use of Google Voice, Hangouts users have a feature to call domestic phone numbers through their computing devices.

Google Hangouts is one very good option for businesses as it features other Google apps plus has the brand name, Google, which never really goes wrong!


 4. Flock

Instant Messaging For Business: FlockFlock, again, is a team collaboration, management and communication app. Flock’s features are quite similar to that of Slack, with group conversations, integrated apps, adding reminders etc. But what sets Flock apart from Slack is its great security measures as well as the fact that it is cheaper than Slack.

5. SleekFlow

Instant Messaging For Business: SleekFlow

Different from a traditional Instant Messaging app, SleekFlow is a sales, marketing and service software for all messaging apps. Handling each of the platforms like WhatsAppFacebook MessengerWeChat and even live chat can be quite hectic at times.

And that’s where SleekFlow knocks it out of the park.

Introducing SleekFlow, “Sales, Marketing & Service AutomationSoftware For All Messaging Apps.”

With SleekFlow, it’s now possible for businesses to manage conversation as well as accelerate the team workflow on all of the messaging platforms altogether. Not only does SleekFlow integrate with WhatsApp, but it also works perfectly with FacebookWeChatLine with an integrated growth chat widget.

The “Team Inbox” feature allows multi-agent access. Teams can respond and automate chats across multiple messaging platforms in a single place, thereby allowing you to interact with your prospects and customers without any hassle easily. Our powerful business modules with advertising capabilities will definitely help your company boost customer engagement and reach more leads.


Choose the right tool for your company

To wrap this up, the above tools are mostly economical solutions suitable for companies of all sizes. But do keep this in mind, when considering which instant messaging tools best fits your company, you might want to take your target audience into consideration. Last but not least, we encourage all companies to invest in instant messaging strategies.

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