Staying in touch with your community can be a very tricky business with traditional methods like phone calls and texts being quite time-consuming and costly.
Thankfully, two guys that used to work for Yahoo!, Brian Acton and Jan Koum, created an app that makes it much easier for people to stay in touch; that app is called WhatsApp.
WhatsApp is a mobile messaging app that allows you to exchange messages through the same internet data plan that you use for email and web browsing so it's completely free!
You can use it on any kind of device, such as iPhone, Blackberry, Android, Windows Phone and Nokia. You don’t have to send messages to a device that’s the same as yours either; it’s multi-platform!
It has over 600 million users worldwide and is a powerful tool for keeping in touch with your community.
Using WhatsApp to keep your community informed
If you have some pressing information for your community, or you’re organising a community event, then you’ll find WhatsApp very useful!
You can use the group discussion feature to debate important issues within your community group so everyone can be involved and have a say, and because you can use the app on the move you can chat with anyone from any location.
Likewise, when you're organising an event it can be difficult to find a time when everyone is available, but in a group conversation everyone is involved and can see what’s going on so it’s much easier to find a time that’s convenient.
This leads us to…
If you have a lot of volunteers in your community it can be hard to keep them all in the loop. WhatsApp is perfect for managing volunteers as it allows you to conveniently stay in touch with large numbers of people.
You can use it to:
- Keep everyone informed about events
- Brainstorm ideas
- Create enthusiasm amongst your volunteers
- Share photographs and videos of events
Speaking of photographs and videos...
Sharing cool stuff with your community
If you’ve used WhatsApp to arrange a community event you may have taken some pictures and videos. Unfortunately some people don’t have Facebook or Twitter so it can be difficult to share this information with them.
Luckily, WhatsApp is available for you to send pictures and videos for free! You can send as many as you like to as many people as you like, and what’s more, other people can share their videos and photographs with you as well so no one is left out!
Putting a voice to a face
If you've been messaging your community on WhatsApp it might be nice to send voice messages for a more personal touch.
Also, if you have any visually-impaired people in your community this is a valuable tool for communicating with them.
Again, it’s free to send voice messages so you don’t have to worry about any costly bills.
Think WhatsApp could benefit you?
Got any great examples where you have used WhatsApp within your community? Let us know in the comments box below.