WhatsApp is used by over 300 million unique users. Daily.

It's only natural then, that you'd want to leverage its popularity as part of your comms plan. But there has always been an issue with using WhatsApp as a GeckoChat channel; WhatsApp stops business accounts from being able to initiate a conversation, relying instead on the customer sending the first message. To explain, WhatsApp justifies this stance by saying that customers/students should have to opt-in to communications. 

Fortunately, for students who do want to engage with you via WhatsApp, there is a useful tool to begin conversations:

https://api.whatsapp.com/send?phone=(your-phone-number-in-+44-format)&text=Your%20text%20here


The above link can be re-tooled and shared with students as a way of instigating conversations. If I include this link in emails, SMS messages, or even as an anchored link on my website, as a student, clicking the link will open the WhatsApp app on my mobile and send a message through to GeckoChat via the WhatsApp channel.

Getting started

To bend the link to our purpose, there are two elements that we must first edit:

  1. phone= In this section, we must put the telephone number we have been provided for our WhatsApp channel. To find this, log onto your Chat account, click Settings > Channels and click into your WhatsApp channel. Here is where you'll find this information.
  2. text= This section is the text we want to automatically have sent as a result of tapping the link. It might be as basic as "I consent to Gecko University speaking with me" or as complex as you'd like. Either way, this will be the message that is automatically sent via WhatsApp to your GeckoChat account.

Let's put the above into practice. If we know that our WhatsApp business number is +447777777777 and that the message we want to send is "I hereby consent to Gecko University storing my data in adherence with its data protection policy, 2020" then my link that I'd include in emails would look like this:

https://api.whatsapp.com/send?phone=%20447748542513&text=I%20hereby%20consent%20to%20Gecko%20University%20storing%20my%20data%20in%20adherence%20with%20its%20data%20protection%20policy%20,%202020

In the text section of the messages, for any spaces to correctly display, each space must be substituted with:

%20

Interested in procuring your own WhatsApp channel? Be sure to reach out to your Account Manager, or to the Support team!

Any questions? Feel free to start a live chat with a member of our support team or explore the rest of our academy at your leisure.

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