Meta (previously Facebook) launched WhatsApp Channels on September 13, 2023, to enable businesses and creators to send one-way broadcast messages to their audience.
At this moment, I think Meta is gradually becoming the ‘all-in-one’ social media platform. The last update WhatsApp update before now is that you can send video messages just like voice notes, you can even host meetings and share screens.
WhatsApp Channels represent a breakthrough in the world of messaging and marketing, providing creators with a direct channel to their audience. Unlike traditional WhatsApp chats, these channels serve as dedicated platforms for disseminating information, engaging with followers, and boosting reach.
Kindly note that WhatsApp Channel is different from Broadcasting messages on WhatsApp. Channels are not restricted to your friends and family or those you have their contact with, anybody using WhatsApp can come across your channel and decide to join and receive the one-way broadcast from you. The usual message broadcasting is restricted to those on your contact list, and those people can respond.
If you are a business owner or a digital content creator and you’ve been looking for a way to utilize this feature for your business, this blog post will help you with a step-by-step guide on harnessing the full potential of WhatsApp Channels on Android, including creating, managing, and optimizing your channel.
But before we dive into it, let’s talk a little bit about its features;
Key Features of WhatsApp Channels
- Dedicated Tab: WhatsApp Channels boast a dedicated “Updates” tab, separating business communication from personal messages, ensuring a clutter-free experience.
- One-Way Broadcast: While you can share text, images, videos, stickers, and links, it’s essential to note that channel updates are one-way broadcasts. Followers cannot directly respond but can express their interest through emojis and polls.
- Privacy Considerations: WhatsApp Channels do not offer end-to-end encryption. Updates are public and visible to followers and non-followers, subject to WhatsApp’s content guidelines.
Some people ask if the WhatsApp Channel is restricted to businesses and content creators only. The answer is no, anybody using WhatsApp can create his or her channel. But just like many other social media platforms, reputable businesses and creators will carry the verified badge.
Here is how to create your own channel;
How to Create a WhatsApp Channel on Android
1: Ensure WhatsApp is Up to Date
Before September 13, you may have to join the waitlist but now, you don’t need to. Simply head over to the Google Play Store to update your WhatsApp. Kindly note that if your WhatsApp is not updated, you will not be able to create or join any channel.
2: Creating Your Channels
Launch WhatsApp on your Android device and navigate to the “Updates” tab.
Instead of the ‘Status’ tab, you will now have ‘Updates’ where you will see your friends’ WhatsApp statuses in a row, and below the row, you will the list of available Channels to join.
To create a channel, do the following:
- Tap the “+” icon in the bottom right corner.
- Choose “New channel” from the options.
- Follow the prompts to give your channel a unique name. Customize it further by adding a description and an icon.
- Finalize the process by tapping “Create channel.”
As of the time of writing this, NOT everyone can create a WhatsApp channel now as the feature is gradually rolling out to people. My friend is able to create his own while I am not able to do it. So be patient and ensure that your app is up to date until you see the plus sign at the bottom right corner under the Updates tab.
After creating your channel, you can start sharing with people to join so that you can start sending them broadcast messages. To get your WhatsApp Channel’s shareable link, click the three dots at the top-right corner to launch your channel settings, then copy the link and start sharing.
Now that you have a channel, and some followers, the next thing is to start engaging them by sharing ‘updates’ with them. An update could be a photo, video, audio, or text.
How to Send Updates to Your Channel
1: Open Your Channel
- Launch WhatsApp on your Android device.
- Visit the “Updates” tab.
2: Compose an Update
- To share an update, tap your channel to open it.
- Compose your update, including text, images, videos, stickers, or links.
- Enhance your update with formatting, emojis, and links as needed.
3: Share Your Update
Once your update is ready, tap the send button, often represented as a paper plane icon.
How to Delete Whatsapp Channel Updates
1: Open Your Channel
- Open WhatsApp on your Android device.
- Navigate to the “Updates” tab.
2: Delete the Update
- To delete a specific update, tap and hold the update in question.
- A menu will appear; select “Delete > Delete for everyone.”
Note: Updates can be deleted up to 30 days after being sent. Deleted updates will not be visible to your followers.
Optimizing Your WhatsApp Channel
WhatsApp Channel can be a good source of traffic to your business and you can easily convert a lot of your followers to customers. Because most people today spend most of their time on WhatsApp, even people who are not tech-savvy know how to use it.
Here is how to optimize your channel to engage your followers;
- Share relevant and timely content.
- Have a schedule on when and at which time to send an update, also be consistent with your schedule.
- Keep written updates concise, focused, and informative.
- Provide valuable information, tips, and the latest how-to guides.
- Experiment with various types of content, such as text, images, videos, stickers, and links.
- Ask for feedback from them by asking them to react to your update with a particular set of emojis that represent ‘positive’ or ‘negative’
- Work on the feedback and keep engaging them.
How to Avoid Your WhatsApp Channel Being Banned
The only way is to ensure you don’t violate WhatsApp’s guidelines.
- Regularly review your channel’s content for safety and appropriateness.
- Familiarize yourself with WhatsApp’s channel guidelines here
Sometimes, you get tired of social media or you no longer have the spare time to update your channel and focus, so you need to delete it. Here is how to do that;
How to Delete Your WhatsApp Channel
1: Open Your Channel
- Open WhatsApp on your Android device.
- Locate and tap your channel within the “Updates” tab.
2: Delete Your Channel
- Tap your channel’s name to access its settings.
- Choose “Delete channel.”
- Confirm by entering your phone number.
- To finalize, tap “Delete.“
Note: Deleting your WhatsApp channel is irreversible, and you won’t regain the ability to make updates from it. Maybe future updates will introduce how to deactivate and activate WhatsApp channels but for now, think twice before you delete, otherwise, it’s gone for life.
How to Join WhatsApp Channels
There are two ways to join a channel as explained below;
Joining by Searching
If the channel is owned by a popular company or individuals like celebrities, you can simply navigate to your ‘Updates’ tab, and scroll down to see some suggested channels you can join. If the channel you wish to join is not there, click “Find Channels” where you can filter and search for the brand or celebrities’ names.
Joining through a Link
- If you’ve been invited to join a channel, the channel admin will send you an invite link.
- Simply click on the invite link, and it will open within your WhatsApp application.
- Upon clicking the link, you’ll receive a prompt to join the channel.
- To become a follower, tap “Join.”
Advanced Tips for WhatsApp Channels
- Stay Informed: Keep an eye on WhatsApp’s updates and new features, as WhatsApp Channels continue to evolve.
- Channel Promotion: Promote your channel through external links, in-app sharing, and by creating engaging content that encourages your followers to share.
- Analytics: Monitor channel metrics such as the number of followers, view counts, and emoji reactions to refine your content strategy.
By following this detailed guide, you can harness the full potential of WhatsApp Channels on your Android device. Whether you’re a business seeking to expand your reach or a content creator looking to engage with a broader audience, WhatsApp Channels provides an effective and efficient platform to achieve your goals. Explore the possibilities, optimize your channel, and maximize its potential. Unlock the power of WhatsApp Channels today!