Connect with Customers Quickly with WhatsApp Business Platform
May 19, 2022
Connecting with customers, increasing engagement, and building stronger, longer-lasting relationships are all potentially easier when you meet your customers where they are. And with 75% of adults surveyed in 2020 saying they want to connect to businesses through messaging ¹, not meeting them there means you’re leaving money on the table.
But implementing a conversational business solution can be a complex process. It often requires buy-in across departments and finding a third party provider you trust – not to mention securing budget approval, getting on your dev team’s roadmap, and clearing legal hurdles. Make a misstep along the way and you can limit your ability to scale or lock yourself into a tool that doesn’t quite meet your needs.
On the other hand, you could literally meet your customers where they are by using an app that’s already part of their everyday lives. With over 2 billion global users as of February 2020 ², many people use WhatsApp everyday to stay in touch with family and friends. And now, with the release of the WhatsApp Business Platform, you can engage your customers there too. Best of all? You can do it at scale, connected to your current workflows.
Getting Started with WhatsApp Business Platform
The WhatsApp Business Platform uses a cloud-based API – helping reduce both the time to deploy as well as the need for ongoing dev resources. In fact, sign up is quick and easy – allowing you to receive and respond to user-initiated messages immediately through the dashboard. This enables you to start engaging with customers who click through from your site, help center, ads, and more, right away. These interactive and contextual conversations help you provide a better customer experience and potentially drive conversions.
But there’s more to the WhatsApp Business Platform. With 1,000 free marketing messages each month, you can start building and testing full customer journeys from multiple entry points. Once you’ve created paths that connect and convert, you’ll be able to scale up and roll out more broadly with our paid tiers.
Meet Your WhatsApp Account Page
If the thought of utilizing “dev resources to deploy a cloud API solution,” caused some anxiety about how your team would use WhatsApp Business Platform, there’s good news: Managing your messages, templates, and accessing your analytics is handled inside the Facebook Business Manager. The WhatsApp dashboard is an intuitive way to manage your conversational business on WhatsApp.
Your main dashboard page gives you a quick glimpse of your WhatsApp accounts, current account limits, and recent product news. In the left-hand column you’ll see four main account tools: Insights, Message Templates, Phone Numbers, and Catalog. We won’t cover all of these in detail here – if you want to dive deeper make sure to check out our documentation.
This page will show the phone numbers associated with your various WhatsApp Business Platform instances, their display names, and current statuses. You’ll also be able to download the certificates for all approved names needed by your devs to finalize deployments.
Your Insights page will provide up-to-date analytics for your WhatsApp usage. Under All conversations you’ll see metrics related to your conversations, including:
All conversations, both user- and business-initiated
Free conversations including both free tier and free entry point conversations
Choosing All messages will show you any messages received, delivered, or sent in the last 24 hours.
If you’re just getting started, you won’t see much here, but as your usage increases, Insights will be an invaluable page for you.
Message Templates is where the magic happens. Here you can set up structured messages and templated automation, which we call Message Templates, and are used any time you initiate contact with a customer.
Consider your entry points
It’s important to know how and why your customers will connect with you on WhatsApp. Are they looking for product support? Are you reaching out to them with promotions or offers? Are they clicking to WhatsApp from ads or other properties? Each of these entry points will influence how you interact with your customers over time.
Create your first template
To create your first template, click Create Message Template to select a category, name your template, and choose which languages this message will be sent in. Click Continue to include samples, add header, body, and footer copy, and choose call-to-action or quick reply buttons to include. Then click Submit and it will be sent off for review. Once approved, you can work with your developers to finalize setup.
Testing WhatsApp Business Platform
Now that you’ve got an account, an approved message template or two, and your devs have had a chance to get you all set up – it’s time to start testing.
Start by sending a message to your WhatsApp Business Platform number from a phone running a consumer WhatsApp account. Once you respond to this message, you kick off a 24-hour response window. During this time, you can send freeform messages including text, media, contacts, and locations. You can also test your message templates to ensure they work as expected.
And You’re Off to the Races
As long as your 24-hour window initiated correctly and your message templates worked as designed, you’re likely ready to kick off your conversational business efforts on WhatsApp Business Platform. The market for conversational business is only going to keep growing. Leveraging the power of the WhatsApp Business Platform can empower you to tap into the power of messaging. If you’re still not ready to sign up, we’ve got in-depth developer documentation and a business help center to help answer your questions.
¹ Business Messaging Research Study (Facebook Commissioned study of 8,214 adults ages 18 and older in U.S., Germany, the UK, India, Mexico, Brazil and Indonesia), September 2020
² WhatsApp Blog. Two billion users—connecting the world privately. WhatsApp. (2020, February 12)