What is willu?
Glad you asked. willu is a messaging service that utilizes hashtags to let you engage with your audience in a personal way. We’re all about #messaging with a purpose.
What is a hashtag?
Typically, a hashtag or # symbol, is a way for identifying specific topics, ideas, people or places. People often use hashtags on social media as a way of filtering specific posts from other users.
Here’s an example: “Here’s a sneak preview of our concert lineup for Saturday night. Who’s coming? #concertsatTheGreen #summerconcerts #countrymusic”
Tell me you’re not trying to sell what I can get for free. What’s next…can I buy a star?
Actually, yes you can.
Hear us out – hashtags are free…if you’re using them to supplement your Twitter or Instagram conversations. But we provide something social media platforms don’t. We give you a unique way to harness these hashtags to build your brand and own a conversation. Sort of like a website domain, but way cheaper and easier to set up.
We’d love to give you this service for free, but then we wouldn’t be in business for much longer. That being said, we’ve worked around the clock to figure out a way of charging you the least amount of money possible for something like this. So without further ado….
Break it down for me.
Requesting a hashtag is free. Exploring the app is free. In-app messages? Also free.
You’ll be charged $1.00/day per hashtag, once your hashtag is published. Sending/receiving messages via SMS will cost an additional 1¢ per message.
We’ll charge the card on file every 7 days. So, if you use your hashtag on Monday, you’ll be billed on the following Monday.
Depending on your carrier, additional SMS service charges may apply.
How do I justify the cost of buying a hashtag?
Every message sent from the willu app is delivered via SMS or in-app to followers. This means your message could potentially own prime real estate in every back pocket, purse, murse or backpack belonging to anyone who’s following your hashtag, whether it’s 5 people or 5 million.
The numbers don’t lie – SMS messages have a 98% open rate. That’s a pretty impressive reach, #amirite?
We created this service to help you stand out and give you value. And that’s exactly what we hope you’ll find. Every SMS or in-app message you send is essentially a dedicated line to your audience. Your message won’t be thrown into a polluted sphere of ads, seemingly endless cat videos, and notifications from people that aren’t you. You (and your brand) will walk your marketing, ideas, rants, offers, and insights right through the front door and into an underutilized frontier - SMS-based messaging.
And if that hasn’t convinced you, here’s an added incentive: once you purchase a hashtag, no one else will be able to claim it.
Why should I use willu if I already have social media profiles?
Social media is great – after all, you can use it to bolster your willu presence. But there is one thing willu has that social media lacks: a noise-free environment. We don’t play ads, interrupt content with videos, or use algorithms to suggest content you may or may not want to see. The wonderful thing about willu is that is gives you and your fans the freedom to choose what kind of conversation they want to have.
Because willu is so personal, you have the opportunity to build meaningful relationships with an audience that supports you and actually wants to hear what you have to say. In this day and age, that’s pretty tough to come by.
Ok, I’ll bite. How do I get started?
1. Download the app (it’s free - just visit the Apple App Store on your phone and search for willu).
2. Request a hashtag.
3. Get verified. The hashtag verification process is two-fold. First off, we want to make sure you’re an actual person. Second, we need to know that you’ll be using your hashtag in a way that preserves its purpose and creates value for both you and your audience. Think of it as user quality control.
4. Publish your hashtag (aka go live!)
5. Share your hashtag with potential followers to start engaging.
Tell me more about this verification process.
Gladly! First, we’ll ask you some basic information that lets us know you aren’t a robot. You’ll get a verification code via SMS which you’ll need to plug in when prompted. The second step is on us. We make sure you and your brand are who you say you are and that your hashtag is unique enough so your audience can find you. After a little recon on our end, we’ll approve your hashtag.
What if I don’t have social media accounts? Can I still request a hashtag?
Absolutely. However, it may make the verification process a tad bit tricky on our end. We need all the help we can get verifying your identity, so we suggest quickly putting together a social media profile before the approval process begins for a better experience. You may also want to have a social media profile when it comes to promoting your hashtag – you can do this seamlessly through the willu app!
My code never arrived. What now?
Try it one more time. And if that doesn’t work, contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get on it right away.
My category isn’t listed.
Discovering our user’s interests helps us expand our categories list. If your category isn’t listed, please get in touch at email@example.com.
What happens after approval?
Once you’re approved, you’ll need to add your credit card information and publish your hashtag using the willu web-app at www.willu.com.
Note: You can only publish your hashtag through the web-app.
What happens after that is pretty exciting. Explore the app, request more hashtags, follow other hashtags or promote your hashtag to get talking!
Sharing your hashtag across your social media profiles, through email or SMS is a crucial step in building out your fanbase. You can share your hashtag directly through the willu app by clicking on your hashtag.
Can you help me think of a hashtag?
Your hashtag is essentially your brand, whether personal or business. You’ll want to choose something that aligns with either the conversation you want to have, an event you want to promote, your brand name, and other recognizable terms.
Here’s an example:
Bill, from Bulbs of Bushwick, owns a successful flower shop in Brooklyn. He wants to share upcoming news about events with his regular customers and maybe even attract some new ones. He chose the hashtag, “EventsbyBulbsofBushwick”. This hashtag is identifiable, it’s memorable and it aligns with the conversation he wants to have.
Cassie is an up-and-coming lifestyle blogger with a passion for traveling. She has a growing fan base on Instagram and wants to share highlights from her recent trip to California with her closest followers. She chose the hashtag, “CassiegoesWest”. In this case, she didn’t use her blog name but she did use a topic that her followers could identify and resonate with.
How many hashtags can I have?
As many as you want. Have one for your brand, one for each of your products, one for each day of the week – the sky is the limit.
I just requested a hashtag but I don’t want it anymore.
No worries. If you request a hashtag and it’s approved, you will only be billed once it’s published. You can either create a new hashtag with another name, or you can leave your hashtag inactive and we’ll release it to someone else.
Can I just cancel my account?
Once an account is created, it can never be deleted or canceled. Your account will simply become inactive – so feel free to come back and request a new hashtag if you ever change your mind. We don't charge inactive accounts, but we may have to release your hashtag.
What are the messaging options?
Since variety is the spice of life, as they say, we thought you might want to switch up the way you talk to your followers.
Send a notification when you simply want to make a statement, ““Giving away free passes to Saturday’s wine festival. Stop by the studio anytime between 1-4 pm today.”
Ask for a star rating when you want to compare products or ideas, “On a scale of 1 to 5, how was our performance at the halftime show last night?”
A time-tested thumb up or down is sometimes all you need, “What do you think of our fall menu?”
Lastly, ask for an emoji response for your more visual audience, “How are you feeling after Sunday’s workout?”
Is this thing safe?
If by safe you mean secure, then yes. We deal in text-based communication, but your phone number will never be released or disclosed, whether you’re a follower or a hashtag holder.
Who can use willu?
Everyone and their mother. Literally. Real estate agents, car dealers, musicians, bloggers, café owners, and even vintage clock collectors can all benefit from some one-on-one time with their followers.
Here are some ways to use willu:
Real Estate Agent Karen, #dreamhomesbykaren
Karen is a successful real estate agent who wants to share new listings with her contacts. She could use email, but there’s no guarantee that her message is opened. She could also use social media, but her message has the potential to get lost among a sea of other ads.
To be efficient and expand her reach, she sends a notification message to all of her followers using the willu app. They immediately receive an SMS message or an in-app message from her hashtag containing a link to the property.
Using the same hashtag, Karen can also keep in touch with potential buyers and notify them of any new properties on the market. Because she can create a personal connection with people who are genuinely interested in her messages, she can provide stellar customer service while finding her customer’s dream homes.
Musician Mark, #southsidejazz
Mark is a talented jazz musician who has steadily built up a solid reputation over the years. Although he has a dedicated fanbase who come to most of his shows, he wants to start playing at larger venues and attract a bigger audience.
Since Mark doesn’t have much time for social media or email marketing, he uses willu to engage with his loyal fans, announce tour dates and build anticipation for pop-up shows. To target more fans with similar interests, he runs free ticket giveaways from the willu app to encourage his fans to share his music with others.
Mark also uses the willu app to connect with fellow jazz musicians, venue managers, and marketers in the music industry. Since he is able to message them in-app at no costs, he can build his network and start using his connections to grow.
Makeup Artist Alicia, #newlookbeauty
Alicia runs a popular YouTube channel called New Look Beauty. She also blogs regularly and shares her looks of the day on Instagram. She is noticing that her messages aren’t reaching as many people as before, so she is exploring other ways of getting her message to her fans.
Alicia uses willu to send beauty tips and how-to tutorials to her many followers. She also uses willu as a way to get feedback on her latest videos and looks. With the many messaging options available, she can get a simple thumb up or down, or she can get feedback in the form of comments or a star rating.
This insight helps Alicia to build more content that her followers want to see. Instant feedback also helps her tailor her content on the fly. And since her fans consider her an influencer and friend, she is able to personally communicate with them regularly using SMS.
Small Business Owner Sam, #verdefoods
Sam is passionate about fresh food and nutrition and operates a small restaurant in downtown Philadelphia. He used to share recipes and healthy tips with his fans on social media, but now he uses willu because it gives more people the opportunity to interact with him and his brand.
Willu doesn’t run ads or algorithms that pollute his connection with fans, that’s why Sam feels confident about sending messages he knows people will read. Since willu also allows Sam to send private messages, he can share new recipes and updates about seasonal menus to an exclusive group of followers.
In addition to his branded hashtag, he also has a hashtag he uses specifically to engage with his employees. With the push of a button, he can send blast messages to staff about menu changes, shift changes, and upcoming events. He can also get instant feedback about his business by using willu’s messaging options.
Speaking of promotion, I need help growing my brand.
We all want a Branson-level fan base, and with a little creativity, you can get a little closer to that goal. Share your willu hashtag across your social media pages, put in your store window, add it to your website footer or slap it across your front bumper. Give your (potential) audience all the tools and information they need to find you. Message them and do it often.
Keep in mind, since you’re communicating with them in such a personal way, ensure you’re sending them messages that’ll make them look forward to hearing from you. Successful marketing is all about trial and error. Harnessing willu to build your brand will require you to learn as much as you can from your audience, in the most strategic way possible.
I need help! How can I contact you?
Get in touch through email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by clicking Contact Us in the app. We’re also available on: