All You Need To Know About WhatsApp Broadcast

Megaphone sending a WhatsApp Broadcast
Megaphone sending a WhatsApp Broadcast

For any social media marketing strategy, there is a message that needs to be sent across to the audience. Whether the message is about useful information on the brand or a new product launch, there are so many ways that marketers can get their message across. 

WhatsApp represents a relatively new method that marketers can leverage to reach consumers. And one of the benefits for marketers eager to test out this new communications tool is that the app is free for people to download and use. Plus, messages sent within the app are encrypted thus giving it an added layer of security and privacy for its users. Given the growing concerns around user privacy these days, this extra layer of security gives WhatsApp users a greater sense of privacy. Both the fact that the app is free to download and messages sent via WhatsApp are encrypted has helped the app build a userbase of over 1 billion people.

But this app isn't only for peer-to-peer communications, brands can also use the app to send messages to customers. (Check out this blog on how brands are using WhatsApp as a marketing tool to see examples of WhatsApp marketing campaigns from brands like Absolut).

So, how do can you send a message on WhatsApp as a brand? Read on to find out how you can benefit from a new and customer-centric way of disseminating information about your brand through WhatsApp Broadcast. 

Table of Contents:

What is WhatsApp Broadcast function?

WhatsApp Broadcast is a function within the messaging platform that gives the brand a dedicated channel to broadcast a message to a specific audience. According to WhatsApp, a broadcast list is defined as a "feature that allows you to send a message or media to several contacts at once."

This function is different from the WhatsApp Group chat function. Unlike a group chat, the contacts within the same broadcast list cannot see one another. Additionally, WhatsApp Broadcast delivers a message unilaterally and it is a one-way communication method whereas the WhatsApp Group chat hosts a discussion and there is multi-user communication.

WhatsApp Broadcast works similarly to a no-reply automated messaging function but with a personal touch. This is great for brands because they can use WhatsApp Broadcast as a new form of press release which is directly sent to their clients or customers.

Each broadcast list can have a maximum of 256 members, just like a WhatsApp Group. You can also create as many broadcast lists as you want, so you don't need to limit your communication to a finite group of people. In fact, this limit can be beneficial to marketers because customers in the broadcast list can be compartmentalized and grouped into their industries or sectors. 

Note: Only the people on your broadcast list that have added your phone number to their address book will receive your message.

WhatsApp is available on both major mobile operating systems, Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS, so using this new functionality should not be a problem.

Robot listening to tin can phone

How to Set Up WhatsApp Broadcast

After the initial setup of downloading and configuring your personal details as well as registering your phone number with the app, the user has to import the phone numbers and contacts into the WhatsApp system. 

Setting up a WhatsApp Broadcast is relatively simple, and can be completed in a few short steps.

Steps:

  1. Open WhatsApp on your phone
  2. Tap the Options button on the top of your screen
  3. Select New Broadcast
  4. Select contacts for the list
  5. Tap on Create

1. Open WhatsApp on your phone

The first step is to open the app. There you will see the main chat interface and a log of all of your active chats.

A screenshot of the home screen within WhatsApp that displays all of your active conversations.

2. Tap the Options button at the top of your screen

From the main chat interface, tap on the More Options button. The More Options button is represented by three vertical dots and it is likely located at the top right corner of the screen, depending on the operating system.

3. Select New Broadcast

Then proceed to select the New Broadcast option from the drop-down list.

WhatsApp Broadcast option onscreen

4. Select contacts for the list

To begin building your broadcast list, search or select the contacts that you want to be included in the list. Remember, just like a WhatsApp Group chat, only 256 contacts can be added to the WhatsApp Broadcast list.

5. Tap on Create

After you have added all of the contacts, press the checkmark to confirm the WhatsApp Broadcast list.

As mentioned earlier, WhatsApp is a messaging platform that is primarily used for either one-on-one conversation or Group chats that involve multiple people in the conversation. Broadcasts lists offer marketers the ability to send out the same message to a large group of people in a way that appears as personalized text. And that is why WhatsApp Broadcast is an advantage for marketers to publish their newsletters or launch a press release.

There is an important difference between a WhatsApp Broadcast List and a WhatsApp Group Chat: In a WhatsApp Group chat, participants are visible to each other: however, a recent update allowed administrators to restrict two-way communication in a WhatsApp Group thus mimicking a WhatsApp Broadcast.

This highlights another benefit of WhatsApp Broadcast: The function does not allow recipients to see each other’s phone numbers or know that they are on the same list. This protects the privacy of the customer and enhances the personalization of the message. 

Points to Note About WhatsApp Broadcast

Contacts limit

A limit on the number of WhatsApp contacts in a broadcast list should not deter brands from setting up one for their marketing strategy. Brands can broadcast messages to specific groups in each WhatsApp Broadcast list, highlighting the importance of messaging to key clients or customers. This level of audience segmentation gives the customers the experience of personalization, although WhatsApp Broadcast is only one-way communication. Consumers are demanding a greater level of personalization from brands, so having to divide your broadcast lists into smaller groups should be viewed as a benefit to both marketers and consumers.

Must be in recipient’s address book

The contact that you have added will only receive your message when that contact has added you into their phone’s address book. You need to make sure that people are actively adding your number to their phones, otherwise, your message will not be delivered.

Messages cannot be deleted

Another key point to note is that unlike the other communication modes in WhatsApp, messages sent through WhatsApp Broadcast cannot be retrieved. So brands have to be careful in what they publish to their broadcast list. Various media files such as PDFs, documents, videos, images as well as website links can also be shared unilaterally.

A white exclamation point on blue background

Useful Tips for WhatsApp Broadcast

If you are interested in using WhatsApp marketing as a way to complement your comprehensive marketing strategy, there are a few points you should be aware of if you want to maximize the potential of your WhatsApp Broadcast strategy and not anger your contacts. Here are some tips to follow before sending out your first message.

Even though this form of communication of WhatsApp Broadcast is the most direct and effective way of getting the customer’s attention, you shouldn't spam them with information. When there is too much information or you are messaging your audience too frequently, it becomes bothersome to the audience. 

Marketers need to plan when and how often they should reach out to customers through WhatsApp Broadcast.

White heart in red WhatsApp logo

Furthermore, marketers need to think about what they plan on sharing. Sending out large media files could clog up the customer’s memory space or use up a contact's data allowance, which is just as bad as spamming your audience too frequently.

A good measure would be to only share information when there is a product launch or redirecting them to certain links to monitor their interest in your product or service. Some companies offer weekly newsletters to their customers on product updates and this might be a good timeframe without being irksome.

In summary, failing to consider when you are sending messages, how frequently you will be sharing content, and what type of content you will be sending could lead your contacts to block your updates.

Hopefully, now your brand has the confidence and the know-how to embark on creating a personalized campaign through WhatsApp Broadcast. Given the ease of use and simplicity of WhatsApp Broadcast, brands can surely leverage this marketing tool in several different ways!