In the era of ever-evolving technology, new updates come through every day. Every platform provides new updates to its users. Something similar has happened with WhatsApp. WhatsApp has launched its new Channels feature in over 150 countries.
According to WhatsApp, the main goal of introducing Channels is to build the most private broadcast service. They have invited organizations, sports people, artists, and influencers from all over the world to create a private space for their followers by using the new feature.
Channels is a private way of following your favorite personalities and staying up to date with the information that matters to them. You can also follow people in your contact list and follow any updates they provide right within WhatsApp.
The personal information of the admin as well as followers is protected and safe with WhatsApp's privacy
Channels is a one-way broadcasting tool that can be used to send photos, videos, polls, texts and stickers. It can be found in the tab that used to be the status tab. Here you will find the status as well as the channels that you wish to follow. This will be separate from your chats so that you do not get confused.
Now that we have understood what WhatsApp channels are, let's take a look at how it could be used to improve your social media presence.
Many businesses use WhatsApp business as a tool to communicate with their customers. WhatsApp Channels has been the latest update for both WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business.
Channels could be used to enhance communication with your customers. Earlier there used to be a chatbot that would reply to the queries made by customers. It was obvious to the customer that there is no human intervention in between. Although there is an option for business owners to reply to the conversations, it is not treated as a valid option.
Business owners also tend to take the support of chatbots to handle a huge number of queries. It is very difficult to maintain because every individual customer has their own separate conversations. But now, with the introduction of channels, all the customers can join in and get updates from a single source. Although there is no mechanism for starting a conversation, it somehow increases the positives of WhatsApp business.
Earlier, every customer was sent a separate message if a business had a new product, but now all you need to do is take a photo and send it on your Channel. You might think that this could be done easily on status. However, status is fine if you want to update your customers about one single product. There are options to share multiple statuses as well, but it is there only 24 hours. Moreover, people tend to not take an interest in the statuses of any business.
WhatsApp Channels turn out to be a very useful alternative if you need to inform all your customers at once about any new product or service that you offer. It will all be organized. Moreover, your customers can scroll down to get an overview of the variety of products you offer. If they want to know about any certain product you can simply put your contact information in the description where they can send in their queries. This will remove the interference of chatbots and give out a more authentic experience.
WhatsApp channels is a one-way broadcasting app. It is being marketed as a new form of social media. It is obvious that many celebrities and influencers are going to use it to connect more personally with their fans. Certain celebrities like Diljeet Dosanjh, Akshay Kumar and Katreena kaif have already started socializing on WhatsApp Channels.
Now the question arises, how can it help in connecting more with your fans?
The interface of WhatsApp Channels is the same as that of any normal WhatsApp conversation. You can simply open your channel and add photos or videos just like when you send these graphics to a conversation. Your followers will get push notifications about the update, and they can open it and see the visuals.
Now you might be thinking, how it is helpful. WhatsApp is a part of our lives. If we use a smartphone, we might not have Twitter, or Instagram but we will definitely have WhatsApp. It provides a sense of personal communication. When influencers and celebrities use their WhatsApp to share daily updates, they make the bond with their fans even stronger.
When the fans have a sense of involvement in your day-to-day lives, they tend to be more loyal towards you. They can react to your visuals which enhances the sense of affection that you share with your fans. They feel like you are making them a part of your life. This improves your connection with the fans, and they will start loving you more.
This is the space where you will find channels to follow that are filtered based on your country. You will also be able to find channels that are new, popular, and the most active.
You can express your reactions using emojis to provide feedback. You can also see the count of total reactions. How you react will be kept private from the followers.
Whenever you send an update to chats or groups, it will contain a link that will bring the people to your channel so that they can find out more.
Now that we have understood what a WhatsApp Channel is, you might be wondering how to create one.
If you want to add people to your channel, you can simply send them your channel link and they can follow you from there. Other than that, you can also select to follow people who are popular in your region. They will be visible to you in the Updates tab. Users can also look for people depending on their interests. For example, you can type in a certain hobby of yours and you will find channels that are meant for your hobby.
WhatsApp has now evolved from a messenger app to a social media app. As we understand that social media should be used at discretion, some people might try to misuse it. That is why here are some guidelines that should be kept in mind when maintaining a WhatsApp Channel.
Illegal content includes content that might not be appropriate for some people. These include sexual exploitation of children, terrorist activities, hate crimes, propaganda, or fake news. You should also keep in mind that you do not post any images or videos of intellectual property that is not owned by you.
Any content that could pose a threat to people’s safety or could cause social disturbance should not be posted. Channels should not promote the exploitation of humans including trafficking, or share such content that promotes, sexual violence, assault, or exploitation.
No channel should indulge in activities that may deceive, impersonate, misrepresent or defraud WhatsApp or any of its users.
Any WhatsApp channel should not include violence or graphics that contain sexually explicit content. It should not be used as a medium to distribute pornography or to facilitate commercial sexual services. No restricted goods should be promoted and distributed through the medium.
WhatsApp secures the right to take action against channels that do not follow the guidelines. The users will also have the facility to report any content that they feel is inappropriate. If WhatsApp notices the violation they can warn, suspend, or remove the content from the channel. If any channel still does not follow the guidelines, they will be banned from using WhatsApp and legal action could also be taken.
WhatsApp Channels is a great step towards making the community more connected and secure with each other. However, it has some minimal limitations too, that one should know about. Let’s take a look at that.
These are a few limitations of WhatsApp Channels. However, it is very much possible that WhatsApp addresses these issues in the future to make it more user-friendly.
WhatsApp Channels is going to be a medium through which admins can update their followers about their current situations, future events and even do promotions. This will all be done under the privacy that WhatsApp offers. The protection of the content will totally be dependent upon the admin. They can restrict screenshots and forwarding rights for their content. The content will not be available forever. It will only be there for 30 days. The admins can decide who can follow them and if they want their channel to be discoverable in the directory or not.
All in all, this new update will serve best for maintaining a social presence with your loved ones as well as your fans.