WhatsApp is a global messaging app that many people already have – in fact over 2 billion people.* By getting started and using WhatsApp, you connect with customers where they already are. Furthermore, WhatsApp allows you to have two-way conversations privately and securely with their end-to-end encryption.
Curious about how opt-ins work for WhatsApp? Check out our how to guide!
More and more businesses want to be a part of this new communication channel. But where do you begin with WhatsApp Business API? We’ve put together a step-by-step guide on how to get started.
Let’s break it down. The WhatsApp ecosystem is comprised of three parts:
WhatsApp recommends that the best way to access the Business API is to work with one of their “Business Solution Providers” (BSPs). Today there are approximately 60 BSPs, and LINK Mobility is one of them. If you’re a small business, consider running your customer dialogue through an app on your phone using WhatsApp for Business (App).
When it comes to industries, WhatsApp has specific policies for which ones they will approve. According to their Commerce Policy, the following industries are not supported:
Meanwhile, other industries are welcomed and will be more successful in getting approved for the API integration through a BSP.
Follow these four steps to apply for the WhatsApp Business API integration.
1. Sign up with a Business Solution Provider (BSP)
WhatsApp encourages businesses to use a Business Solution Provider. This means less work for your business and shorter time to market. They have developers to set up and maintain the API and a virtual server to host the communications.
Did you know? LINK Mobility is one of WhatsApp’s approved BSPs. We can help you get started today!
2. Provide basic information
In the second step, you will submit general information about your business and how you intend to use WhatsApp Business API. This includes:
The application process takes about 2-3 weeks, after which you will be notified of your approval status.
If you are interested in learning more about WhatsApp Business API, you can find more information here.
3. Activate your number
Next, you need to set up a phone number, provide your number to your BSP, and answer some additional questions:
Upon activation, messages will be hosted on a virtual server instead of your phone. Now your number can be used with the WhatsApp Business API.
It’s possible to use more than one phone number, but for each number you’ll need an additional virtual server. Reach out to your BSP to add more numbers.
You can read more on phone numbers here.
4. Set up message templates
You can create your own highly structured messages (HSM) template that will need to be approved by WhatsApp before use. These messages can be sent to the end user after 24 hours from your last contact, only if they’ve been preapproved and you have the opt-in from the customer. If the customer reaches out to your company first, you are not limited to the templates and you don’t need the opt-in within the 24-hour window.
Learn more about templates, as well as WhatsApp messaging types and guidelines.
There are strict standards for the templates:
Once you’ve completed these steps, you have the possibility to get the green check mark next to your company name to show that you’re an official verified business on WhatsApp. This applies if you’re a well-known international brand and send over 500 messages a day. The green tick is a great feature – customers know they can trust you!