Let’s go over setting up WhatsApp. First, you need to log into your Twilio console. Under “programmable messaging” there’s a link labelled “Building with WhatsApp? Get started here”.
If that option isn’t visible, you can also go to “Senders” on the bottom left before clicking on the WhatsApp option.
Getting Your Number
Before you can do anything else, let’s talk about getting phone numbers in there. This is tricky. WhatsApp works well for getting numbers in a country that Twilio supports. But if you’re in a country like India, Paraguay, or Papua New Guniea, you aren’t able to easily get WhatsApp integration working.
There’s an option to bring your own number, but you need to meet certain requirements in order to qualify. The main requirement is that you have to already be sending 10,000 messages per week, which is only an option for very large businesses.
Once you’ve either bought your number or brought your own, it’s time to set up Facebook business verification (Facebook owns WhatsApp). Do this by going to business.facebook.com. You’ll have to upload some documents to prove that you’re a real business. This includes a certificate of incorporation and some other info. Once you’ve done the business verification, you can fill out the remaining information using your Twilio account.
You’ll be able to add contact information as well as a logo.
Template Creation & Messaging
Finally, you’ll create some templates. It’s important to note that “freeform” (i.e. non templated) messages aren’t allowed unless you’ve got an active conversation going with the recipient. The general philosophy Whatsapp has is that they don’t really want it used for marketing because that tends to lead to whatsapp users getting spammed. The templates that they’ll approve are mainly customer service or notification use cases. Here’s an example template:
From there, you can submit it. Twilio has to do some work to set you up with WhatsApp, and WhatsApp has to do some work to approve it. Once it’s all approved (perhaps 2 weeks), it’s quite easy to use it within the extension.
At this point, you need to set up the “from” number in your CRM. Go to the “Twilio From” section. Here’s an example of our section:
Try going into a contact you’d like to message. In the top right, you’ll see a dropdown box on the top right:
Select “Send Smooth Message”. You’ll be shown the following screen:
Here you can choose WhatsApp for the sender. Click “Send” at the bottom, and you’re good to go.
- Get a number you can use with WhatsApp and Twilio, the easiest being to use an existing Twilio number that you can buy. If you’re in a country where you can’t buy one, there is the second option for larger marketing situations (10,000+ messages per week).
- Complete the business verification on Facebook and link the account to Twilio.
- Once Twilio and WhatsApp approve this, set up the number in the “Twilio From Numbers” module of Zoho CRM.
- Send messages, which can be free-form if you’ve gotten a reply within 24 hours.