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This topic has also been covered in a strategic webinar, you can access the recording of that here. 

Whatsapp is the world’s most popular messaging platform, so it’s an important to include in your organising efforts, especially when considering the importance of meeting people where they’re at.

While Whatsapp do not allow users to send broadcast messages from outside of Whatsapp or via an API in the same way an individual could send mass emails or texts from a third party system like NationBuilder; there are a number of WhatsApp features that can be used effectively alongside NationBuilder. This guide takes you through those. 


Whatsapp Channels & Broadcast Links

Since 2023, Whatsapp allows you to create Channels. This is effectively a broadcast channel that any supporters can 'follow' and you can send updates and broadcast messages to all followers, it's different to broadcast lists as you can send to a significantly larger group of people than the 256 limit for broadcast lists. This makes it a great way to update supporters and 'meet them where they're at'. 

Again, it's not possible to send these messages through any 3rd party platforms like NationBuilder, but you can set up your 'click to subscribe' links within your NationBuilder website or emails. In order to grab your channel link, just click into your channel via the Whatsapp app and click 'share channel link'. You can then use this URL in email buttons, on website pages and in website auto response. And you can even grab the Whatsapp brand assets directly from here.

You could also create a signup page within your NationBuilder website to encourage people to 'opt in' to updates, remind them to save the relevant number in their contacts and share the subscribe link via the landing page or email autoresponse. This way you will be able to keep a record of who has signed up within your nation. You can see an example of that in the signup page below. 


Whatsapp Groups: ‘Click to join’ links

Given that much of the organising and interactions on WhatsApp happens within Whatsapp groups it’s ideal for organisation and collaboration and a great way to encourage distributed leadership. You can make it easier for your supporters to join groups by sharing ‘click to join’ links within your website pages such as pages that only certain people can access, email blasts (using buttons) and in auto response emails (ie. after someone signs up/RSVPs etc). 

Setting up 'click to join' links is easy. You just set up the Whatsapp group and navigate to the ‘invite to group via link’ option, you can then share that URL wherever you need to, for example as below on a landing page after a signup page (left) or in an autoresponse message (right).

 


‘Click to share’ links

It is possible to set up URLs so your users can just click a button and have a pre-written message populate within their WhatsApp app. When used in conjunction with recruiter links, this can be a really valuable feature for distributing leadership and getting your supporters to share your message. 

Here are the basic steps for creating and using a WhatsApp Social Share link for your supporters to be able to easily share your content and drive more activity back to your action pages. 

1. Draft Message: Draft the pre-written message that you’d like to share. I suggest that you always include a link to a NationBuilder page so you can track engagement.

I’ve just signed this petition and I think you should too! The link is here—sign up and let me know what you think!  

https://oliverjwells.nationbuilder.com/make_national_dog_day_a_holiday

Note that supporters will be able to edit this message before they send on to friends and family.

2. Encode Message: Next, you need to encode that message into ‘URL encoded text’. To do this, copy and paste the text into the top form on this encoder website, scroll down and click >ENCODE<. 

You will then receive encoded text that looks like this:

3. Create URL: Copy and paste all of the encoded text to appear after this URL: https://api.whatsapp.com/send?text=

So for our demo text that would look like this:

This will create a pre-populated message for people to send in WhatsApp which will work with people clicking the link on their phone, and anyone on a computer with WhatsApp for Mac/Windows installed. Note - if you use a URL it will include a web preview.

4. Share the URL: You can use this URL in a button on an email broadcast, SMS text, webpage, or in a WhatsApp message itself. For example, in the email below I use the WhatsApp green for the call to action button so people are more likely to associate the message with that platform. 

5. Use a recruiter link: If you’re sending your link out via an email blast, you can also use a recruiter link to help you keep track of who is recruiting who. Later, you can then reward the people who become your best recruiters via a leaderboard or otherwise. 

To include the recruiter link, all you need to do is include the liquid variable “{{recipient.recruiter_code}}” immediately after the URL in the encoded message you’ve made above. So for example, I would use the following as my URL link for my email button.

https://api.whatsapp.com/send?text=I%E2%80%99ve%20just%20signed%20this%20petition%20and%20I%20think%20you%20should%20too%21%20The%20link%20is%20here%2C%20sign%20up%20and%20let%20me%20know%20what%20you%20think%21%20%20%0Ahttps%3A%2F%2Foliverjwells.nationbuilder.com%2Fmake_national_dog_day_a_holiday{{recipient.recruiter_code}}

6. Steal my template: In fact, if you’re building an email, you can steal my basic template (see below) by copying and pasting the following code into the source code (by clicking the “<>” button in your email content view). This will give you a basic template for a recruiting email with buttons for different social media platforms. You’ll need to update the content and some of the links using the process above but it should be enough to get you started. The source code to use can be accessed here. 

Top Tip - If you want to use buttons in an auto response email,  you can build your own email with buttons as a normal email blast and then copy and paste over the source code into the autoresponse.

For more information on creating WhatsApp ‘Click to Chat’ links, click here. 


Recruiter Pages

It’s now possible to encourage supporters to share on WhatsApp using recruiter pages. Recruiter pages are linked to action pages (e.g. events, volunteer, sign up, petition, donate) and are a handy one stop shop to direct your most engaged volunteers towards to get them to share content with their own networks. You can see more about how they work here. 

*If you are using a custom theme and do not have the WhatsApp button yet, feel free to follow this guide.


Social Share Prompt

And we’ve also added a Whatsapp button to our popular social share prompt. Meaning that when users submit an action they are offered a simple one click solution to share on their favourite social media platform (including WhatsApp!)

*If you are using a custom theme and do not have the WhatsApp button yet, feel free to follow this guide.


Create WhatsApp Notifications via Zapier

Zapier have added a 'Whatsapp Notification' feature, meaning you can get messages sent to your Whatsapp when actions take place in your nation. For example you could set it up so anyone taking action on a specific page triggers a WhatsApp notification, which a Whatsapp Group admin could then respond to by adding that person to a Whatsapp Group. See more here. 

 

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