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Ever wonder how you could connect with hundreds of customers at a time? If you could give your unique human touch to everyone you encounter, you’re bringing your customer service game to another level. For that, you might have already heard of WhatsApp Business accounts, but how about WhatsApp Business API? How are they different, and, most importantly, which one is better for your business? Let us guide you through this article. 

whatsapp on a smartphone

Photo by Torsten Dettlaff from Pexels

What is WhatsApp Business API?

Imagine a WhatsApp Business account, but a more complete version. WhatsApp Business API lets medium and large companies connect with customers at a large scale with thousands of agents and bots. It also allows advanced business functions like mass message broadcast, linkage to websites via QR codes, and so on. It can be integrated with numerous backend systems, like marketing platforms and databases, to suit your business needs. Want to send the mass seasons promo to your customers? Now is the time!

In need of a quick read? Check out this 3-minute guide for WhatsApp Business API.

Let’s also go through some of the cool things WhatsApp Business API can do for you:

Legitimacy

WhatsApp business account - Change WhatsApp to business

A business verified on WhatsApp Business API can convey legitimacy to customers. Verified accounts contain key business information such as company name, business type, brand description, business hours, company address, company website, and company email. Also, with your WhatsApp account authenticated, customers can see your business name instead of an unknown phone number even if they did not save your contact. This can significantly boost customers’ trust and confidence in your brand.

Multiple logins

SleekFlow omnichannel interface enables multiple logins on whatsapp

WhatsApp Business API lets you and your team members log in through the same registered mobile number. Multiple people can manage incoming WhatsApp messages at the same time. This is perfect if you have team members working across locations and time zones or if you need to provide customer service around the clock. 

Message broadcast

WhatsApp Broadcast message template

You can now blast a personalized text to more than 256 WhatsApp users on your database at a time. As long as you’ve saved and categorized your customers’ contacts, you’re set. Blast away!

Learn how to send WhatsApp message broadcasts with our complete guide here.

Auto messages

SleekFlow automated message

You can also send automated WhatsApp messages to customers based on scenarios. For example, you can send confirmation messages via Whatsapp Business API after a successful purchase, signup, or even onboarding. Interactions start right when you collect customers’ mobile numbers.

WhatsApp Business App vs WhatsApp Business API

Product catalog

Product catalog in chat

Customers can now explore your products right on WhatsApp and make inquiries without switching apps all the time. They can simply reply to the product that they're interested in and place the order with your sales agent instantly.

Payment link

WhatsApp menu and payment

Generate a payment link to get paid instantly in the chat! On the WhatsApp Business API, merchants can now curate the frictionless, comprehensive top-quality shopping experience all within WhatsApp and bring a happy smile to customers' faces. Maximizing ease and convenience is the secret to improving sales quickly and effectively.

How to apply for WhatsApp Business API? 

To use WhatsApp Business API, you'll need a Business Solution Provider (BSP) as assigned officially by WhatsApp. There are many providers approved and available, and a few of them include 360dialog and Twilio.

Take a look at a comparison between 360dialog and Twilio to choose the best WhatsApp Business API provider for your business.

Alternatively, you may apply directly through Meta, but the tedious process may take more time and effort to complete.

Third-party BSPDirect approach
Hosted a by third-partyBusiness directly approach Meta
Handled by the official providerCan be held on the business’ own server (On-Premises API) or a cloud platform (Cloud API)
Billed for services and WhatsApp conversationsBilled for just the WhatsApp conversations
Able to submit Official Business Verification requestsAble to sign up directly for API access, and resell the API solution to other companiesAble to apply for an Official Business Account
Chosen by most companiesUser retains more control, but requires more time and effort

Need help applying for WhatsApp Business API? Get a consultation and onboarding session for free.

WhatsApp Business API application checklist

Here are some of the prerequisites needed before you begin the application:

  • A Facebook Business Manager account

  • A business phone number

  • Credit billing details

If you haven’t verified your business on Meta yet, now is also the time to do so. You can go to the Security Center, complete the steps required, and turn on 2-factor authentication.

Still need to learn more about WhatsApp Business API? Explore our ultimate guide here.

8 easy steps to apply for WhatsApp Business API through SleekFlow

Step 1: Navigating to channel settings

Go to channels, and click the "Add" button on WhatsApp.

Adding WhatsApp channel

Step 2: Connect to an Official WhatsApp Business account

Connect WhatsApp Business on your own

Next, you can book a free consultation for our sales team to walk you through the process or connect to it on your own by selecting "Connect Now".

You will then be directed to a listing of features for the Official WhatsApp Business API.

  • Fast and reliable connection

  • Green tick badge verification (*subject to WhatsApp approval)

  • Requires the purchase of a new virtual phone number

  • Requires approval from WhatsApp: 2-3 weeks of verification & application period

  • Up to 100,000 messages per day with a registered template message without the risk of getting blocked

  • The monthly fee of USD 12.50 (HKD 95) with 360dialog, the official Business Solution Provider (BSP), or the pay-as-you-go fees charged based on the number of messages sent with Twilio (USD 0.005 /message)

WhatsApp Official API features

Click on 'Connect' to continue.

Step 3: Create a 360dialog account

While existing Twilio account holders can choose to connect to Twilio, new users are encouraged to connect to 360dialog as they offer prices with no markup.

Furthermore, creating a new 360dialog account under SleekFlow will allow you to get a special price of only USD 12.50 per month, as compared to the original monthly fee of USD 50 to 65.

*Some WhatsApp Business API providers mark up their prices with extra service fees. Choose wisely.

Getting started with WhatsApp Business API to build a chatbot

Step 4: Connect using a new or existing phone number

Starting new WhatsApp Official account

To create a new account on 360dialog, set up with the new phone number you purchased for your business. You may also use an existing phone number, but a new number is recommended. A Skype number can be purchased for this purpose.

Before you proceed to the following step, it is important that you complete the verification for your Facebook Business account.

In some cases, the Facebook Business verification icon can be greyed out, but the process can be enabled by linking your account to Facebook for Developers.

Set up WhatsApp Business API

After completing the Facebook Business verification, click on 'Sign up at 360dialog'.

Step 5: Fill in the application form

Official WhatsApp Business application form

Simply fill in the information accordingly and click on "Accept Terms".

FieldNote
Company emailEmail that your company used for the application
Full nameFull name of company representative making the application
Company nameFull name of your company or business
PasswordYour password must contain at least 8 characters consisting at least 1 upper case letter and one digit or one special character (must not contain email information)
Credit card informationName of the owner, the credit card number, and the expiry data

Step 6: Connect your Facebook Business account

Connect Facebook to WhatsApp Business

After that, you will need to connect this new account to your Facebook Business account. You may follow through the steps by creating a new Facebook Business account or connecting to an existing one.

Step 7: Verify phone number

Fill in the phone number that you want to use for your WhatsApp Business account.

Verification for Official WhatsApp Business

You will be prompted to fill in the 6-digit verification code received on the phone number.

Step 8: Generate an API key

Connect official WhatsApp to SleekFlow

Lastly, generate an API key on the screen, then copy and paste it on SleekFlow to connect.

Congratulations! You now have an Official WhatsApp Business API account that can be connected to all of the other channels on your platform.

Happy WhatsApp-ing!

If you have any issues with completing the procedures above, you may contact our Customer Support team here.

What SleekFlow can do for your WhatsApp Business strategy

SleekFlow is here to help you sell, support, and convert better on social. Not only can you connect your WhatsApp Business account to SleekFlow, but also other accounts on various social messaging platforms such as Messenger, Instagram, WeChat, LINE, and more so that you can manage all conversations in one place.

Our all-in-one inbox allows you to collaborate with your team members seamlessly. With SleekFlow, you assign conversations to colleagues manually or automatically, add collaborators to conversations, and tag a specific member using internal notes for communication.

sleekflow homepage inbox

If you want to upgrade your chat strategy, you can make good use of the campaign and the automation function. You can put your contacts into groups based on your needs and then launch your campaign to send out targeted, personalized messages. Chatbots can also be built on SleekFlow to ask qualifying questions and answer frequently asked questions, which help to significantly reduce the response time.

I think the best feature of SleekFlow is the automated assignment of conversation and automatic replies. We tried other platforms but there were too many restrictions. With SleekFlow, we can configure the settings on our own such as whom to assign the conversation and when to send out the out-of-office message.

Alvin Lee

General Manager

Want to transit from traditional email marketing to chat marketing? Read How alfred24, a green delivery solution provider, creates a stable and effective communication channel with SleekFlow.

The magic does not stop here. SleekFlow allows businesses to connect their account to their Shopify store so that they can have purchase history and order status shown alongside the chat room. Besides that, businesses can set automated rules to send out abandoned cart reminders and order status updates.

All these features mentioned above are just the beginning. As more new features are on their way, SleekFlow will be the door to numerous possibilities, curating the perfect path and rising to the social commerce trend. Equip your business with the best tools. Grow with SleekFlow.

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