It seems there is no avoiding this topic: The line between business communication and personal texting does not seem to exist anymore. So if you're going to use WhatsApp and other messaging apps for your business, try to follow some etiquette.
Here are six tips to make the most of your business messaging.
1. Just because you found someone's number doesn't mean you should WhatsApp them.
Not a single day goes by without some stranger Whatsapp-ing me. Maybe someone gave them my number. Or maybe they emailed me and when I replied, they saw my number in my signature. I've been considering removing it, but it has proven helpful in the past.
When this happens, and I get a message on WhatsApp or any other app from a stranger, I feel like asking that person, "Who gave you my number and what makes you think it's appropriate to use?"
In this scenario, texting someone is just as bad as calling them. Just like it's not OK to call a total stranger out of the blue to have a business discussion, it's not OK to WhatsApp a stranger who never gave you their number. Just because you can doesn't mean you should.
2. Tell me who you are before jumping in to the pitch.
If, for whatever reason, you need to break rule number one, at least do it in an effective way. "Hi Hillel, my name is David and I got your number from Michelle. Apologies for the WhatsApp, but it was an urgent matter. I wanted to ask your opinion on something/someone. Can you tell me what you think?"
Too many people WhatsApp strangers and don't even bother introducing themselves or giving the other side context. They just jump in and assume the other side knows who they are. Don't do that.
3. Only use voice notes when absolutely necessary.
I realize this is a controversial point because a lot of people love voice notes. You know who doesn't love voice notes? The person receiving them. The other day, I was at dinner with a friend and their boss sent them 12 voice notes in a row.
Since we were at dinner, she couldn't play those messages and they were just sitting there giving her anxiety. "What does my boss want so late at night?" Maybe he wants to fire me and it took him 12 messages to explain why."
Voice notes might be easier to send, but like most communication, think of the recipient. It is much easier, in 90 percent of cases, for them to read a message than to listen to one.
There are exceptions to this, the main one being a message too long to type but can be said in a 30-second voice note.
4. Set up your profile with a name and a picture.
This is so basic and so obvious. And yet, so many people don't set it up. If you text me, the first thing I'm doing, assuming you didn't follow rule number two, is looking at your profile to see if I recognize your name or face.
If you're too lazy to set up a profile picture, come back when you're not. Then we can talk about doing business together.
5. When you delete a message, don't make it awkward.
I would have loved to be in the room when the WhatsApp team decided to add a feature that announces that you deleted a message or left a group. So much for subtlety. Anyway, if you must delete a message, remember that the other person sees that you deleted that message. Don't let their imagination go wild. Just tell them why you deleted the message.
6. Don't opt people into your group.
This is true across the board. If you want to add someone to your WhatsApp group, great. Ask them first if they're interested. The same goes for intros. Ask both sides before intro-ing them. Generally speaking, it's a very simple rule to follow. Let others opt in to your group. Don't force them to opt out. That's just obnoxious.
All of these tips can be summarized in one simple rule: Know your audience and think of their needs before your own when communicating.