How to use WhatsApp Business for schools
Education is no longer confined to the four walls of a classroom. With the rise of online education and digital platforms, it has become a thriving business that's changing how students access and obtain education. Hence, having a well-crafted business strategy is essential to capitalize on these opportunities that allow students from diverse backgrounds and locations to access high-quality educational content and user experience.
With that being said, WhatsApp Business has become a valuable communication tool for schools looking to stay connected with students, parents, and staff members effectively. Other than its global reach and real-time capabilities, WhatsApp for education has proven to be effective when it comes to improving administrative workflows.
What is WhatsApp for education
WhatsApp for education refers to using WhatsApp Business API to facilitate interactions in educational institutions, no matter if it’s for teaching, or marketing for recruitment and providing support to prospective students.
WhatsApp makes communication between educators or admins and students or parents easier by enabling teachers to share educational materials and homework assignments. Whenever there are new announcements like class cancellations, the administrative department can also reach out to students or parents easily.
Educational institutions can use WhatsApp to efficiently distribute important information and provide immediate assistance to prospective students or parents. WhatsApp for education promotes inclusivity and accessibility, and bridges gaps in traditional education by reaching a wider audience and improving the overall educational experience.
Why use WhatsApp Business for schools
WhatsApp has over 2.78 billion active users globally and utilizing this tool allows you to communicate with potential clients worldwide. After integrating into the WhatsApp Business API through an official WhatsApp Business Solution Provider, you will be able to access a myriad of features that can improve the recruitment process and upgrade the user experience when interacting with your institution.
Display names of admissions officers using an official WhatsApp Business account
Imagine chatting with an unknown number or an unknown person. You would probably be cautious of the information that you share, right? With the WhatsApp Business API, you can rest assured that this won’t be a problem when communicating with a prospective student as it is possible for you to show the name of the admin in charge of the chatroom. By displaying the name of the admin, parents and students would be more comfortable interacting with your institution and trust the information that is shared on the platform.
Attach course brochures to WhatsApp messages
WhatsApp supports a wide range of multimedia formats, including texts, images, videos, and documents such as PDFs and slideshows. You can use these features to provide a rich and engaging communication experience. You can also choose to use the WhatsApp catalog feature to showcase the courses available for the year.
These features come in handy when a prospective student contacts your institution and would like to find out more about the available courses. In an instant, you would be able to attach the related course brochures which allows the student to review the documents on the phone.
WhatsApp solutions allow schools to build quick, in-depth connections with students
WhatsApp's real-time messaging capabilities allow schools to establish immediate connections with their students. WhatsApp ensures that information is transmitted promptly, whether it's delivering important updates, sending reminders, or addressing urgent concerns. You can send customized messages to individual students or specific groups for a more relevant and meaningful interaction. The ability to tailor messages helps students feel valued and understood which is a critical factor in building strong and lasting connections between the school and its student body.
Higher engagement with WhatsApp for students
Beyond one-way communication, you can use WhatsApp to do interactive engagement with your students. Schools can use features like polls, surveys, and quizzes to make communication more interesting and engaging. WhatsApp messages have a high open rate of 98%, which means the chances of students replying to messages from your school are higher than other forms of communication such as email, with an open rate of 19.7%. Email Direct Marketing (eDM) may be effective for other industries, but the success rate is usually based on the target audience. In the educational field, the target audience mainly consists of students from the younger generations with social messaging apps as their preferred communication tools.
Ronald, the founder of Afterschool, a successful Hong kong EdTech company shared, “We tried to use email at first but we’ve found out most students didn’t read it. They might therefore miss some important notice such as schedule change.”
We use WhatsApp to contact our students, but it should not be regarded as merely an announcement board or customer service chatroom. We treat our students as friends, and that’s how we make the students trust AfterSchool. Speak their language.
Read the full success story of Afterschool and see how they used WhatsApp Business for schools to drive engagement.
Reliable business profile for student inquiries
Creating an official WhatsApp Business account for your school allows you to add your school’s name, details, contact number, and address. When students or parents interact with an official account, it gives them a sense of security and authenticity. It would be an added bonus if your account has the green tick badge next to your institution’s name to show potential clients that your account has been verified and is not a fake account.
Using WhatsApp for education: marketing and recruitment
WhatsApp QR code to collect leads from education fairs
Education fairs and events present an excellent opportunity for educational institutions to collect leads effortlessly using WhatsApp. At these gatherings, your institution can prominently display QR codes linked to your official WhatsApp account or group. Attendees can then readily scan these QR codes and connect instantly with your institution. This simplifies the lead collection process, as attendees express their interest by opting into the WhatsApp group or initiating a conversation. After the event has ended, institutions can continue to nurture these leads by providing them with relevant information and updates.
Discover other ways to obtain WhatsApp opt-ins before you send messages to your contacts.
Besides, once these prospective students scan your WhatsApp QR code and initiate a conversation with your brand, you will get a free-entry point conversation in which the window is open for 72 hours. You can then save costs for your WhatsApp conversations and get a higher ROI in return.
Social media campaigns and click to WhatsApp ads to attract students
Educational institutions can leverage social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to attract students. The marketing team can set up auto replies for comments and chats for all the Facebook and Instagram posts, so that all users with high interest are attended to immediately. For example, you can create a Facebook post with an ending CTA that says, “Comment DM if you’re interested in knowing more!”. Then, you can automate a keyword-triggered reply for that post, and instantly send a direct message to the user’s inbox to follow up. In this case, you can ensure that the leads are attended to while they are still warm and increase the conversion rate in the long run.
You can also create click to WhatsApp ads that feature a clickable button, so that the prospective students will be redirected to a WhatsApp chat with your brand when clicked. These ads are an effective means of reaching a broader audience and directing traffic to your WhatsApp Business accounts. WhatsApp's direct and personal communication channel differentiates it from traditional advertising, making it a favorable choice for student outreach.
Interactive WhatsApp messages for student engagement
Interactive messages equipped with WhatsApp chat buttons allow your institution to easily collect information and provide students with a convenient way to access specific information or services. For instance, before the fair, you can send a message to gauge the interest of students visiting your booth at a specific education fair with simple “Yes” and “No” buttons. After or during the fair, you can send a message with buttons like "Course Schedule," "Admissions Information," and "Campus Events" to your students. They can simply click on the relevant button to retrieve the information they need without typing out queries. This self-service approach saves time and encourages students to explore available resources.
Send WhatsApp bulk messages to students for timely updates
WhatsApp's bulk messaging feature is indispensable for institutions when disseminating critical information to a large group of students simultaneously. Imagine this, your institution is facing some technical difficulties and teachers are unable to conduct classes online. How would you inform all students of the sudden cancellation? Copying and pasting the same message and sending it individually to each student is time-consuming. This is where WhatsApp Broadcast comes in.
WhatsApp Broadcast can be used to send out bulk messages about timely updates, announcements, exam schedules, or even safety alerts to a list of recipients in one go. When you broadcast messages, each recipient will receive the text in an individual chat. Hence, you can customize the text by setting variables to create a more personal touch to your messages.
Taking the example from before, assuming that your institution will be attending an event, you can send a WhatsApp message in bulk with personalized criteria:
Hi [student name]! We’re excited for the 2023 education fair and we hope you are too 🤗
We’d like to invite you to visit our booth at [booth number] and claim your free student pack from us! Are you interested?
Using WhatsApp for education: service and support for students
Automated answers to students’ FAQs
Educational institutions can implement automated chatbots on WhatsApp Business to provide quick answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs). Students can access information about registration, course details, deadlines, and other essential matters at any time. This automation reduces the burden on support staff, ensures consistent responses, and allows students to get the information they need without delay.
Omnichannel live chat to offer 24/7 support for students
Institutions can utilize an omnichannel live chat to provide round-the-clock assistance to students. This ensures that students have access to support whenever they require it, irrespective of the time zone or their schedules. This strategy involves integrating various communication channels, such as WhatsApp, Instagram DM, Facebook Messenger, and more, into a unified platform.
Live chat through WhatsApp Business for schools provides a more interactive and immediate support experience for students compared to email or phone calls. Moreover, it enables institutions to maintain a centralized record of student interactions, facilitating better tracking and follow-up on student inquiries and concerns which ultimately would lead to improved student satisfaction and retention.
With SleekFlow, we've made communicating with applicants easier, more convenient, and highly efficient. We no longer need to juggle a multitude of inquiries at once, particularly during DSE results period, when we are flooded with queries via WhatsApp, email, and phone.
Using WhatsApp for education: seamless operations
Integrate WhatsApp for schools with existing CRM systems
Integrating WhatsApp with existing CRM systems such as Salesforce and HubSpot allows a seamless exchange of data that enables schools to manage inquiries, admissions, and student interactions more effectively. This integration also provides a centralized platform for tracking interactions and maintaining a comprehensive record of communications. You can then use labels to segment your contacts in your CRM system to differentiate the different concerns or queries customers have.
In addition, labels can help automate responses and workflows within the CRM system. For example, when a student inquiry is labeled as "Admissions," you can schedule regular follow-up WhatsApp messages with relevant information using a flow builder. This not only saves time but also ensures that students receive timely and accurate responses.
Integrate the official website to sell school merchandise on WhatsApp
Educational institutions can also integrate their official websites with WhatsApp for selling school merchandise to expand revenue streams and provide added convenience to students and parents. Since WhatsApp has many business features such as the WhatsApp catalog, shopping carts, in-chat payment links, and more that can help boost sales, it would be easier for students to browse, select, and purchase school-branded products directly through WhatsApp.
SleekFlow bridges the gap between the customer and Tutor Circle by providing a full range of tools for promoting, supporting, and selling online. It is one of the best CRM solutions for the education industry.
Founder of Tutor Circle
Discover the success story of Tutor Circle, an online tutoring agency that integrates with SleekFlow to manage up to 30,000 contacts.