8 best instant messaging platforms for your business

April 20, 2022
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If you’re not using instant messaging platforms for your business yet, there’s no better time than the present to make the shift.

Live chat has become the leading digital contact method: 42% of online customers prefer instant messaging for business matters compared to those who prefer email (29%) or social media (16%).

Internally, connected teams are more productiveand happier. More than half of office workers (54%) say their coworkers are their top reason for job satisfaction—which ranks above the work itself (42%) and even salary (40%).

The workplace also continues to expand beyond four walls, with 71% of employees working from home most or all of the time as a result of the pandemic and 25% of all professional jobs expected to remain fully remote by the close of 2022. With our world evolving at record speed, secure instant messaging apps for businesses are on the rise—improving external customer service, internal communication, workflows, and employee retention.

What is business instant messaging software?

Externally, messaging software allows your business to converse with customers by desktop or mobile device. On the business-to-customer side, this makes the best instant messaging apps popular among consumers and able to fully integrate into your internal business systems. However, platforms vary in the degree of message management and chatbot automation.

Internally, corporate instant messaging digitally connects executives to predefined teams and individuals. This internal business instant messaging occurs through software installed on desktop computers and instant messaging apps business employees install on their mobile devices. The best choices are affordable, intuitive, and customizable.

Top instant messaging apps for customers

Connect your business to your customers with the best instant messaging apps. These apps are free to download and get started, but depending on your use, extra costs may arise.

1. WhatsApp

Works with: Android, iOS, macOS, web, Windows

WhatsApp is the most popular communications app on the market, with more than 1.6 billion active users. It comes preinstalled on many smartphones, so your customers likely already use it to:

  • Text
  • Group chat
  • Voice call
  • Video call
  • Share files

As a business user, you can:

  • Set up a public company profile.
  • Create a greeting message.
  • Customize quick replies.
  • Automate away messages.

Plus, WhatsApp’s robust features include:

  • Live chat
  • Contact and conversation labeling
  • Promotional messaging
  • Message delivery reports

One advantage over SMS is that WhatsApp ties directly to your business profile and a single phone number—rather than a string of random digits—so your customers can seamlessly save your contact information and receive your communications.

2. Telegram

Works with: Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, web, Windows

Telegram is another popular consumer app that appeals to over 700 million active monthly users. Its popularity among businesses grew during the pandemic, thanks to optional secure end-to-end encryption for all messages. With Telegram, your business can:

  • Create external channels to market to thousands of customers.
  • Establish organization-wide super groups with up to 200,000 users.
  • Make voice and video calls.
  • Set up secret internal chats.
  • Send files up to 2 GB in size.

Plus, automation is possible with chatbots managing channels and incoming messages.

3. Facebook Messenger

Works with: Android, iOS, web, Windows

Facebook Messenger is popular in nearly every country (excluding China), with more than 1.3 billion users. It’s not just a place for friends and family, either: 67% of users prefer to use Messenger over email to contact a business.

If your business has a Facebook page, enable Messenger automation to ensure you don't miss any communication. Businesses can also:

  • Add a live-chat plug-in.
  • Generate leads with Messenger campaigns.
  • Share scannable codes to initiate conversations.
  • Automate responses with a chatbot.

4. WeChat

Works with: Android, iOS

WeChat, also known as Weixin, has surpassed 1.3 billion users. However, most of them reside in China, where the social media platform reigns supreme. On WeChat, your business will find many ways to engage with customers, such as:

  • Share QR codes.
  • Create content visible in a WeChat search.
  • Launch ad campaigns.
  • Create a mini-program app.
  • Sell directly through a customized e-commerce store.

Plus, as far as messaging goes, the possibilities are plentiful:

  • Send text, voice, and group messages.
  • Broadcast to large audiences.
  • Share photos and videos.
  • Hold live conference calls.
  • Send coupons and files.
  • Integrate chatbots into the public account and mini-program interfaces.

Top instant messaging apps for internal employees

Connect to your internal teams with the best instant messaging apps for coworkers.

5. Microsoft Teams

Works with: Android, iOS, macOS, web, Windows

Microsoft Teams is the king of business instant messaging apps, with 280 million daily users. Among its 200 integrations is Microsoft 365, which allows you to:

  • Collaborate across the entire Microsoft Office toolkit without ever leaving the app.
  • Search the entire company intranet to extract important information with the T-bot and Who-bot.
  • Hold internal team chats in private chats or group rooms.

6. Slack

Works with: Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, web, Windows

Slack is the second most popular business instant messaging app, with 10 million active daily users and over 2,600 integrations. It allows you to create private channels to streamline internal business communications or channels to collaborate with partner companies. With Slack, you get built-in features like:

  • Screen sharing
  • Voice
  • Video
  • Keyword alerts
  • Automated reminders

Slack’s security includes two-factor authentication, data encryption, and enterprise key management.

7. Brosix

Works with: Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, web

Brosix isn’t as well-known as Microsoft Teams and Slack, but its lower price point makes it an attractive option for small but growing businesses. You can integrate it with:

  • Google products
  • Shopify
  • GitHub
  • Dropbox
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Antivirus software

Noteworthy features include:

  • File transfers of unlimited size
  • Voice and video
  • Screen sharing
  • Whiteboard capabilities

Plus, through granular platform management, you can tailor shared chat spaces, contact lists, and security. It’s also possible to delegate live chat responsibilities through the platform.

8. Ryver

Works with: Android, iOS, macOS, web, Windows

Ryver’s messaging software may be your preferred setup for internal business task delegation and communication if you like kanban boards. You can create private groups, one-on-one conversations, and forums for specific audiences. Team members connect and stay on task with:

  • Chat
  • Voice
  • Video conferencing
  • Screen sharing
  • Automated reminder features

Plus, integrations include Dropbox and Google Drive, with others available through Zapier (for a premium).

Message your customers with Twilio WhatsApp integration

With Twilio, you can send messages to customers securely using the WhatsApp integration.

Twilio MessagingX goes above connectivity, with built-in capabilities for:

  • Workflow visualization
  • Analytics
  • Interactive button customization
  • Message template management

Now, you can harness the power of the most popular messaging app in the world to connect with customers and internal teams in new, dynamic ways, no matter the size of your business. Plus, with comprehensive onboarding support throughout the account creation process, you can scale your use case with built-in tools and integrations.

Sign up for a free account to get started.