How to create a WhatsApp Business account?
Instant messaging apps, and in particular, WhatsApp has become today’s primary network for almost every internet user. According to Statista, WhatsApp is ranked top among the most used mobile messenger platforms, surpassing Facebook Messenger and WeChat.
Obviously, if your business aims to better connect with your customers, priority should be given to establishing an official presence on WhatsApp. Previously, we have summarized the features of the free WhatsApp Business App, as well as shared some great features of WhatsApp Business API and hacks to unlock its multi-user function. This time, we will get back to basics and provide you with a step-by-step guide to setting up your own WhatsApp Business account.
Let’s get started!
Looking to set up a WhatsApp Business API account instead? Check out the guide here.
Types of WhatsApp Business accounts
There are three types of WhatsApp Business accounts:
1. Free WhatsApp Business App
Most sellers are already aware of this option. Designed for SMEs, the free WhatsApp Business App account provides basic features like a simple business profile showing the business name, operating hours, and product catalogs while offering basic features such as limited quick replies.
2. Official WhatsApp Business API /WhatsApp Business Platform
The official WhatsApp Business API or WhatsApp Business platform, as a paid solution, has a wide range of useful and highly functional features that can help businesses scale quickly and efficiently using the WhatsApp Official Business Account (OBA). Its countless benefits include:
Free 1000 conversations per WABA (WhatsApp Business account) per month
Business name displayed instead of the phone number even if the customer did not save your contact
Green tick verification for reliability
Broadcast WhatsApp messages without the fear of being blocked
Interactive buttons on chat messages
Multiple logins for different teammates to manage conversations simultaneously
Chatbots and automation
Payment link in WhatsApp chat
There are so many more customized settings for you to explore!
Further reading: a quick read of WhatsApp Business API's advantages
WhatsApp Official Business Accounts (OBA)
For WhatsApp Official Business Accounts (OBA), there are two options: WhatsApp on-premise API and WhatsApp Cloud API. The features are similar, but the differences lie in their backend settings:
For either of the options above, you can choose a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (BSP) officially assigned by Meta or use your own in-house developer resources.
Third-party WhatsApp Business API*
Third-party WhatsApp Business API is one of the cheaper options if you are looking for a more budget-friendly commitment. Nonetheless, there are often issues with the connectivity as it requires for the phone to be connected to the WIFI at all times. If not, your business might suffer from missing customer messages or failed to send messages when the connection is unstable.
Furthermore, broadcasting messages using third-party WhatsApp Business API has a high possibility of being blocked by customers. As WhatsApp bans your account, you may lose access to your WhatsApp Business account and phone number if the appeal to unblock is unsuccessful.
*Chat API is no longer in service since June 2022 due to Meta's policy change. Learn how to apply for WhatsApp Business API below.
How can I use the WhatsApp Business App?
To register a WhatsApp Business account for your own business, you will need to do the following:
1. Download the WhatsApp Business App on Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
2. Click the WhatsApp Business icon on your home screen to launch the app.
3. Confirm your understanding and acceptance of the WhatsApp Business Terms of Service, tap “Agree”.
4. Select your region and fill in your phone number in the international phone number format.
5. Choose to verify your number through SMS or phone call, then enter the 6-digit registration code.
6. Enable access to your contacts and photos. Contacts from your phone’s address book will then be automatically synced.
7. Enter your business name, business category, and profile picture to create an account.
8. Go to “Explore” > “Business Profile”. Fill in important business information such as your business address, website, description, and opening hours.
9. Done! You can now start sending messages.
How to get started with the official WhatsApp Business API?
1. Fill in the request form
Go to https://app.sleekflow.io/request-whatsapp and fill in the request form, you can refer to the table below on how to retrieve some essential information:
SleekFlow will start processing your application immediately and your application for approval. The entire process should take between 2 to 3 weeks.
2. Use SleekFlow with the WhatsApp Business API
Once approved, your team can start using the SleekFlow Web and Mobile app to run WhatsApp simultaneously.
Wanna apply for it on your own instead? Check out the detailed guide here.
How to get started with the third-party WhatsApp Business API*
If time is of the essence to you, you can consider using a third-party solution. However, do note that the trade-off would be reduced stability in terms of customer engagement. That being said, the set-up is super simple!
Simply scan the QR code on SleekFlow, and you can quickly link your Business WhatsApp account to the platform and begin in no time.
*Chat API (third-party WhatsApp Business API) is no longer in service since June 2022 due to Meta's policy change. Learn how to apply for WhatsApp Business API in the above section.
1. Connect WhatsApp account to SleekFlow
To get started, you will first need to install the WhatsApp or WhatsApp Business App on your phone.
For the integration to function properly, please be reminded that:
The device should be connected to Wi-Fi and charged
Avoid using Desktop/ Web WhatsApp
Keep WhatsApp App running in the background to maintain stable connectivity
Launch WhatsApp and go to “Settings” > “WhatsApp Web/ Desktop”. Click “Log out from all devices”.
Head over to “SleekFlow Platform – Channel”. Add WhatsApp to SleekFlow by pressing the WhatsApp icon under “Add Channels”.
Scan the QR code with your WhatsApp app, then click “I have already scanned the QR code” to continue.
Type in Channel Name (e.g. Sales Team, Customer Service, Operations Team) for this specific WhatsApp Integration.
The channel will be shown as “Connected” in about 60 minutes, you can then start sending and receiving messages. Otherwise, please refer to the troubleshooting guide.
2. Synchronize contacts and conversation history
Go to the 3 dots of your “Connected” WhatsApp Channel and click “Sync History”. You are recommended to sync history at midnight so as to not interfere with sending and receiving of messages.
If the process goes smoothly, the status will be updated to a success banner.
Or else, the “Sync Failed” banner will pop up. Try “Sync History” again.
3. Add a second WhatsApp Number
To integrate with more than one third-party WhatsApp Business API, you need to pay a subscription fee of $29 USD /month for each additional number.
Your credit card will be immediately charged the full sum.
WhatsApp is the leading messaging app being used today. It surpasses Facebook Messenger and WeChat on the matter. Thus, it is no wonder that using WhatsApp for your business communication can contribute well to your progress, especially for small or startup businesses. Learning how to create a WhatsApp business account is the initial step every business owner must take to be able to utilize the endless possibilities the app has to offer.
Here at SleekFlow, we want to help every company in building their personalized messaging platform through WhatsApp for business. We offer guides on how to create a WhatsApp business account as well as the actual product and after-sales services.
Need help applying for WhatsApp Business API? Get a consultation and onboarding session for free.