How to create a WhatsApp Channel [+12 best WhatsApp Channels]

How to create a WhatsApp Channel [+12 best WhatsApp Channels] blog

By Maxine Hess

Writer | WhatsApp marketer | Creative

Posted: March 13, 2024

Updated: April 23, 2024

WhatsApp Channels let brands broadcast news and offers to large numbers of people at the same time. Here's how to create a WhatsApp Channel in easy steps, the 12 best Channels and an explainer of their role compared to the WhatsApp API. 

 

WhatsApp Channels, a fresh addition to the WhatsApp Business toolkit, offers a 1-way broadcast tool so that brands share vital updates and engage with their audience directly.

 

 

Photo of WhatsApp Channels on a phone

WhatsApp Channels was launched by Meta in 150 countries in September 2023 (Image: WhatsApp)

 

 

Let's dive into how you can make the most of this feature for your brand:

 

What is a WhatsApp Channel?

A WhatsApp Channel is a feature of WhatsApp that lets businesses and personalities broadcast updates to an unlimited audience.

 

It's designed for sending out notifications, news, and other 1-way communications​​ and is separate to the main feed of a private WhatsApp Messenger user appearing in the "Updates" tab at the bottom left of the WhatsApp app, not in "Chats." 

 

It's separate from the WhatsApp Business API

 

Channels allows for 1-way communication only. It's more like broadcasts or a Facebook/Instagram channel than the 2-way conversations, with automation, enabled by the API.

 

WhatsApp Business API conversations appear for consumers in the "Chats" tab, second from the right in the WhatsApp private app – beside chats with friends and family.

 

 

WhatsApp Channels: Here's Everything You Need To Know | Meta

WhatsApp Channels appear in the "Updates" tab at the bottom of the WhatsApp private app

 

 

How to create a WhatsApp Channel as a brand

It's quick and easy to set up a WhatsApp Channel either in your private WhatsApp app or the WhatsApp Business app.

 

typie-the-authorGood to know: if you use the WhatsApp Business API through a provider like charles, rather than the app, you'll need a separate phone number.

 

 

4 steps to create a WhatsApp Channel as a brand

First you'll need a phone number and a WhatsApp Business account. If you already use the WhatsApp Business API through a provider like charles, you'll still need to open a separate account and use a different phone number (this may change in future).

 

You'll also need to manage this channel separately (or ask your WhatsApp marketing agency to do it for you): 

 

  1. Open your WhatsApp Business app or WhatsApp Business web and click on the Channels icon
  2. Select Create channel
  3. Follow the onscreen prompts, adding a channel name, description and photo
  4. Click Create channel and there you have it, it's super easy

     

Now you can start broadcasting news and views and fun content to your millions of followers.


Make sure your app is updated to the latest version for access to Channels, and consider enabling 2-step verification for added security​.

 

See "About channels on the WhatsApp Business app" from WhatsApp.

 

While channels might feel familiar to chats, channel updates are 1-way broadcasts rather than a conversation.

 

Customers who follow you can’t reply directly to updates or send messages to channel admins.

 

Instead they can show their interest in a channel’s content by adding emoji reactions to channel updates or voting on polls.WhatsApp Business

 

How to create a personal WhatsApp Channel

Follow the steps above but using your private WhatsApp app. It's simple and easy and takes 2-3 minutes.

 

Here's the process to create a WhatsApp Channel on your phone in screenshots for easy understanding:

 

 

Phone showing WhatsApp updates and channelsTap "Updates" on the bottom left, scroll past "Status" at the top and tap the plus "+" icon at the right of the heading "Channels" – tap "Create Channel

 

 

Phone screenshot showing page to create a WhatsApp channel and continue button

Tap "Continue"

 

 

Phone screenshot showing form to set up WhatsApp channel name, description and photoEnter a channel name (this can be your own name or of a character you want to be) and an engaging description that will invite followers to join you. Add a photo

 

 

Phone screenshot showing WhatsApp channel has been created, now do your first postYou're done. It's that easy. Now share the link on all your socials and post a fun Status update.

 

 

Benefits of WhatsApp Channels for consumer brands

WhatsApp Channels offer significant advantages for brands:

  • Wider reach: WhatsApp Channels enables you to broadcast messages to an unlimited audience. This feature is particularly useful for reaching a broad spectrum of customers simultaneously without the constraints of group chat limits. With WhatsApp's widespread usage (2.7 billion or so users across the globe), your content can achieve high visibility – allowing for easy sharing of updates, promotions and news directly to your followers' phones (if they see your updates of course).​
  • High engagement: interactive content like polls and the ability to receive emoji reactions from your audience fosters a dynamic engagement model. Even though the interaction is not two-way in the traditional sense, these features allow brands to gauge the popularity and reception of the content they share. This feedback loop can be invaluable for tailoring future communications and understanding consumer preferences
  • Discoverability: potential followers can easily discover your brand through the app's searchable directory or via direct invitation links you share through other channels. This enhanced discoverability, akin to a search feature found in platforms like Telegram, simplifies the process of connecting with new and existing customers who are interested in your brand​
  • Customization and privacy: you can add a unique description and icon to help distinguish your brand and state your channel's purpose to potential followers.
  • Privacy: WhatsApp Channels is designed with privacy in mind; channel admins cannot see followers' personal information such as phone numbers, ensuring a secure environment for users to follow brands they love without compromising their privacy​ (this is a disadvantage for businesses though, without the ability to store and use customer data allowed for by the WhatsApp API).​
  • Real-time updates and direct communication: followers receive the latest information as soon as it's published, keeping them informed and engaged. This direct line of communication enhances customer experience by providing immediate access to relevant content within the familiar interface of WhatsApp, further strengthening the bond between brand and consumer​
  • Effortless forwarding: Forwarding channel updates to chats or groups includes a link back to the channel, facilitating easy sharing and exploration of your content.
  • Content moderation: WhatsApp empowers users and administrators to report problematic content, maintaining a safe and respectful channel environment​

 

 

WhatsApp Netflix channel screenshot

Would be hard to guess, but this is the Netflix WhatsApp Channel: the 3rd most popular Channel in the world with 32.2 million followers

 

 

Key features of WhatsApp Channels

For businesses:

  • Broadcast text, images, videos, stickers, links, audio, and polls
  • Admin controls for content management
  • Metrics on follower engagement and reactions​​

For consumers:

  • Access to updates from favorite brands and organizations
  • Ability to show support through emoji reactions
  • Enhanced privacy with no disclosure of personal information to admins​

 

See more here.

 

Quick tips for a high performing WhatsApp Channel

  1. Keep content relevant: Tailor updates to your audience's interests.
  2. Engage regularly: Maintain a steady flow of updates to keep your channel active.
  3. Add visuals: Incorporate images and videos to boost engagement.
  4. Monitor engagement: Pay attention to follower reactions and adjust your strategy accordingly.
  5. Get interactive: Use the polls feature and, what many brands do, suggest different emoji responses to a post to build engagement and gauge an audience's reaction. 
  6. Promote your channel: Share your channel link on your website and social media​
  7. Dare to be different: Stand out from all the other channels by adding personality, sharing unexpected photos and images, having a fun tone of voice.

 

How a WhatsApp Channel works with the WhatsApp Business API

WhatsApp Channels can enhance a business' presence on WhatsApp. It enables large-scale, one-to-many communication without conversation costs.

 

But it can never replace activities on the WhatsApp API. It can never generate as much revenue and sales as personal 1:1 conversations within a user's private feed.

 

typie-chatWe've written an article about how the benefits and disadvantages of WhatsApp Channels and how it can work with your activities on the WhatsApp API with charles.

 

Best WhatsApp channels [March 2024]

"Best" is subjective of course. What amuses some bores others.

 

It's interesting looking at how organizations and personalities interpret themselves in WhatsApp Channels. It's not the same as traditional social media channels like Facebook and Instagram.

 

There's no place for comments, just emoji reactions, which makes it truly a 1-way blast from businesses/personalities to their audience. This means brands can control their image more easily, with less work moderating. It also means as a user you spend less time scrolling pointlessly through vitriol and silliness and end up with more updates and less anger.

 

On the other side, it also means brands don't learn about customers, they can't personalize communications and customers have no chance to respond. 

 

So without being able to say the "best," here are at least the most popular WhatsApp Channels by follower numbers in Europe and beyond (spoiler: expect a lot of soccer):

 

1. WhatsApp | 131M followers

No surprise here. By far the most followed channel is WhatsApp itself. WhatsApp shows you how it's done, sharing fun, useful posts like seasonal sticker drops, topical polls, custom-made gifs, feature releases and WhatsApp tips.


Phone screenshot showing WhatsApp's WhatsApp ChannelWhatsApp shares topical posts like this poll for International Women's Day

 

 

2. Real Madrid C.F | 46.2M followers

Soccer feed with footballers and footballs.

 
 

Phone screenshot showing Real Madrid's WhatsApp ChannelThere are never enough places to read about football

 

 

3. Netflix | 32.2M followers

Unexpected WhatsApp embodiment of this streaming giant. A great example of doing something different. Netflix posts as "cutie patootie pookie bear" (named by a follower suggestion) and talks a lot of nonsense, with some rubber gloves and Netflix program suggestions thrown. 

 


Phone screenshot showing Netflix's WhatsApp ChannelConsistently unhinged. Consistently brilliant. The Netflix WhatsApp Channel.

 

 

4. FC Barcelona | 29M followers

Soccer updates about soccer.



Phone screenshot showing FC Barcelona's WhatsApp Channel

Soccer, popcorn, video games, soccer

 
 

5. Man City | 27.4M followers

Soccer, live game commentary (this actually works very well), competitions, soccer. 

 

6. Katrina Kaif | 22.5M followers

First actual person on the list. Katrina is a British actress who works on Hindi-language films and is hugely popular in India.

 

Remarkable followership considering she's only posted 4 times.

 

7. Liverpool Football Club | 19.4M followers

⚽️⚽️⚽️

 

 

8. BAD BUNNY | 18.7M followers

Puerto Rican rapper and singer. He has only posted on one day about a new song, with each short text post getting around 200K emoji reactions. Proving it's not about quantity in Channels.

 

 

Phone screenshot showing Bad Bunny's WhatsApp ChannelIt's a good idea to talk in Channels like it's a private WhatsApp.

Keep it simple, lo-fi and personal, and you get a lot of engagement. For very little work. 


9. Mark Zuckerberg | 17.1M followers

Just makes the top 10 😅 Mark posts (rarely) about himself and his Meta empire. 

 

 

Phone screenshot showing Mark Zuckerberg's WhatsApp Channel

Mark's making a play for the huge Indian WhatsApp audience

 

 

Phone screenshot showing Mark Zuckerberg's WhatsApp Channel

Mark posts about his portfolio, this one sharing news about new WhatsApp formatting options

 

 

10. Akshay Kumar | 13.1M

WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business are huge in India. So when a Bollywood celebrity gets a WhatsApp Channel, it gets followed in big numbers. Akshay shares music videos and inspiring posts.

 

 

Phone screenshot showing Akshay Kumar's WhatsApp Channel

Akshay's Channel is a positive dreamy space

 

 

11. WWE | 11.3M

The first non-soccer sporting feed. Expect tight muscles, faux-angry faces, event updates and words like RAW and SLAM. 

 

 

No picture here. Your imagination can fill this in for you.

 

 

12. Manchester United | 11.1M followers

No. We're back with football (interesting that City is ahead of United 🫣)

 

 

After this come a few more personalities (Olivia Rodrigo, Shakira, but not many more high up), and news outlets, charities, games and apps topping the pops.

 

We asked the charles team and they recommended: Tageschau and Der Postillion as good Channels to follow. 

 

What we would say is that WhatsApp Channels could be an interesting way to run a low-maintenance feed and build a fanbase if you do something creative and fun. Netflix is a great example. It posts like it's a WhatsApp conversation from your funnest, weirdest friend and is totally compelling as a result.

 

Obviously none of these Channels can ever replace being in "Chats" next to friends and family, with the chance for 2-ways conversations, high open rates, automated flows, data collection, relationship building and revenue generation.

 

But, if you have the capacity, they're a fun add-on and a chance to push news out there quickly (if it gets seen). 

 

 

How to get verified on a WhatsApp Channel

Verification (getting a green tick) on a WhatsApp Channel is important for trust and to signal authenticity and that you're worth following.

 

The process of exactly how to get your WhatsApp Channel verified is still unknown, however, we imagine the usual rules apply: large number of followers, high engagement, regular posts. 

 

 

Phone screenshot showing list of top WhatsApp Channels and green tick verification

There's nothing like one of these ticks to increase trust and build your followership fast

 

 

 

Troubleshooting common WhatsApp Channel problems

Problem: can't create Channel 

Scenario: You're trying to create a WhatsApp Channel, but the option isn't available, or the process doesn't complete as expected.

 

Solution:

  • Update your WhatsApp: Ensure that your WhatsApp or WhatsApp Business app is updated to the latest version. Channel features might not be supported in older versions.
  • Check availability: WhatsApp Channels is being rolled out gradually. If it's not available in your region yet, joining the waitlist or checking the official WhatsApp Channels information page for updates can keep you in the loop.

Problem: engagement metrics not appearing

Scenario: You've launched your channel and started broadcasting updates, but you're not seeing any engagement metrics.

 

Solution:

  • App updates: First, make sure your app is up to date. New features and fixes are regularly added to the app, which could resolve your issue.
  • Contact support: If updating doesn’t help, reaching out to WhatsApp support can provide more direct assistance. There might be a glitch or a need for account-specific adjustments.
  • Check internet connection: Sometimes, a poor internet connection can hinder the syncing of data, including engagement metrics. Ensure you have a stable connection.

Problem: broadcast limitations

Scenario: You find yourself restricted from sending broadcasts or your content isn't reaching your audience as expected.

Solution:

  • Stick to content guidelines: WhatsApp has specific guidelines for content broadcasted through channels to ensure a safe and respectful environment. Review these guidelines and ensure your content complies to avoid restrictions.
  • Reassess broadcast frequency: Sending too many updates in a short period can overwhelm followers, leading to reports and restrictions. Consider pacing your broadcasts more strategically.
  • Review blocked links or keywords: Sometimes, specific links or keywords might be flagged by WhatsApp's system. Review your content for anything that might be considered spammy or inappropriate and adjust accordingly.

Problem: don't have admin rights and control

Scenario: You or your co-admins are having trouble accessing certain administrative features within the channel.

 

Solution:

  • Review admin rights: Make sure that all admins have been correctly assigned their roles and that no one's admin rights have been accidentally revoked.
  • Consult WhatsApp help: The WhatsApp Business Help Center has specific sections addressing admin roles and permissions. Review these resources for guidance.

 

Problem: difficulty following Channels

Scenario: Potential followers report trouble finding or following your channel.

 

Solution:

  • Share direct links: Make sure you're sharing a direct link to your channel through your website, social media, or other communication platforms.
  • Promote channel widely: Increase visibility by promoting your channel's existence across all your marketing materials and platforms.

 

 

How to hide Channels on WhatsApp

WhatsApp users often ask how to remove Channels on WhatsApp. The "Updates" tab turns blue when there's a new status update from a friend or new post on a Channel you follow, which can be annoying if you just want to use WhatsApp for its "Chats" feed.

 

Unfortunately you can't hide Channels from your WhatsApp app right now (Android users could go back to an old version of WhatsApp, but few people want to do that).

 

We expect an update in future. WABetaInfo is a good place to stay up with WhatsApp updates before anyone else hears about them.

 

 

Screenshot of tabs at the bottom of WhatsApp app on phone, with blue Updates tab

In a world in which we have so many notifications, this blue "Updates" tabs irritates some people, calling attention and forcing them to engage with yet another feed

 

 

 

How to remove Channels from WhatsApp Status

WhatsApp Channels and Status are separate features. Channels don't appear in or need to be removed from WhatsApp Status​​.

 

However, they both appear beside each other in your "Updates" tab of your WhatsApp app. Right now, as mentioned, these are a permanent fixture in your WhatsApp app. 

 

For more details and updates, always check the official WhatsApp Channels FAQ and WhatsApp Blog.

 

 

Talk to us about charles x WhatsApp Channels

We’re excited by WhatsApp Channels as they give an extra boost for brands in addition to the API, conversation-based foundation.

 

Channels is not for everyone. It's best for companies with a strong personality, that have a human embodiment or have regular news to share. Or, like Netflix, find a totally different way to use Channels and gain followers just for the fun factor.

 

It's incredibly quick to create a WhatsApp Channel: you just go to your app (on your phone or desktop), tap "Create Channel" and add a photo and description. Posts are also easy: you can add text, images and polls. You don't even have to moderate comments because there aren't any, just emoji reactions of which the top 4 show up on each post in your feed.

 

But Channels are of course totally different from using the WhatsApp Business API to keep customers with you in the long-term with ongoing, 2-way, automated conversations.

 

They can never be a replacement. They can't generate the revenue of being in a customer's "Chats" feed, you can't collect data about customers for future personalization and you can't guarantee that anyone will see your update because there are no notifications (compared to 90% open rates in the normal WhatsApp feed). 

 

So Channels can complement your WhatsApp strategy but can never be as big a part of your retention strategy as WhatsApp Business with charles' platform.

 

If you have questions about how charles with WhatsApp Channels could boost your sales and customer relationship, talk to usour team of experts are ready to help you make the best out of both channels.

 

So you know: Channels is not connected to the WhatsApp API and can't be set up within the charles platform or any other WhatsApp software. You will need a separate phone number and person to manage the Channel.

 

FAQs about WhatsApp Channels

Is WhatsApp Channels now available for my business?

Yes, it is, freshly launched globally after initial testing from META in Columbia and Singapore. Yet it is still early and it remains unclear how it will develop and what it will cost going forward, currently it is for free and continuously rolled out to WhatsApp user base.

Should I use WhatsApp Channels?

It depends. Ultimately WhatsApp Channels lacks capabilities to be constantly optimized towards revenue ad data collection as an orchestrated channel within your CRM tech stack & activity. Still there are use cases that we consider interesting based on the fact that channel updates are currently free to send.

 

As an example, if you find that Instagram Broadcast Channels worked well for you, WhatsApp Channels might too.

What business use cases is WhatsApp Channels for?

Here are 6 we've identified:

1. Community/brand content that doesn't have to “perform” or that is not connected to revenue. (e.g. soccer clubs updating their fans with news)

2. Collecting community feedback based on emoji reactions

3. Creating hype for an upcoming release or campaign that you are about to send out via private inbox notifications

4. Using channel as an opt-in collector for private inbox opt-ins

5. Big public promotion codes next to private sendout when you want to maximize reach (although you won't be able to track)


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