Hello and welcome to the #AskNatchi show! I’m Natchi Lazarus. Today we have a question about using WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger for small groups. The question is from a ministry that is already using Facebook groups. So they ask, “We are using Facebook groups for online ministry. Should we also use WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger? If so, how do we go about doing that?” Now, I just want to congratulate you guys because you’re thinking about new tools.

You are thinking about mobile, you’re thinking about messenger platforms. Some of my favorite topics and some of the things that I really advocate and I really impress upon church leaders to think about using, for their ministry. So here are my 5 tips for you to use Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp for your small groups ministry.

Use WhatsApp or Messenger along with your FB Group, not separately

No.1 – Use it along with your Facebook Group. Don’t think of having this apart from the Facebook Group, or doing this as a separate activity from what you do on your Facebook Group. But actually combine it. The real power is in merging these tools. Because, first of all, Facebook Groups, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, whichever you choose, or even both, they’re all from Facebook. And Facebook has been talking about interoperability and so on. So it’s good for you to start thinking about using them together.

So maybe you can use your Facebook Group as a hub for larger communication or communicating to all the audience at the same time, or having videos and heavy (and long) content being placed in one place. And you can use the WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger option to quickly connect with people, have short conversations, do announcements related to the group, and also lead people to the hub in many ways. So think of using this together, not separately.

Have a Structured Communication Approach

No.2 – Structure your communication, when you use WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, because WhatsApp already has this WhatsApp Groups, many people are part of many groups, lots of messages coming in, even in Messenger, their friends are messaging them, other people are messaging them. So I’m sure it’s already crowded. And in the days to come, it’s only going to get even more crowded. So try to keep your structure very clear, when you communicate with your people on the groups.

Say, this is the time in which I’m going to communicate, these are the days in which I want to communicate, this is the message I’m going to use, and have a dedicated leader or a team in your ministry who will exclusively think about this, and apply the ministry learnings into this to know what your audience prefers, and give them exactly what they want. Have a structured communication approach for your WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.

Make it a safe place for conversation

No.3 – Make it a safer place for people to have a conversation. It’s already safe from a technical point of view, because both WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are encrypted. So people feel fine. But when you put them in a Group, especially using their mobile in the messenger group, apart from Facebook Groups… which is well moderated, so people might feel a little more safer there… but when you bring in bring them to a WhatsApp group or a Facebook messenger group, make sure people feel safe. Have all the regulations in place.

Let people know that this is a safe place and make sure there are no out-of-bound kind of conversations that are happening. Moderate it well and make it a safer place. More safer you make it, the more conversations you will have within these groups.

Give People a Reason to Come Back by having Unique Content

No.4 – Give people a reason to come back to your WhatsApp or your Facebook Messenger groups. Because in your Facebook Group, you are already sharing content. People are looking at that. Don’t take that again and share it here. That’s not exclusive content.

You’re not giving people enough reason to go visit the WhatsApp group. But if you make it a complimentary thing, you share a content here, but you give like maybe extra tips or you give some worksheets or you give some PDF or something extra, or you trigger a conversation in a new way using WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, then it gives people a good reason to continue to stay in your WhatsApp group or your Facebook messenger, constantly check it and be active and be engaged. So give people a good reason to engage with you on WhatsApp or your Facebook messenger groups add-on along with your Facebook Group content. Think about that.

Don’t overdo it

No.5 – Don’t overdo it. Because WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, like I already said, is already a crowded place. Family is messaging, other groups are messaging on Facebook Messenger, people are even sending ads. So it’s already a crowded place. Don’t make it too much that people start to ignore your message. At one point you become blind to a particular message, have you seen that? Because you see it too many times and you think, “oh, this keeps coming up.

I don’t want to engage with it”. But if you keep it in the right interval, I’m not saying keep it less, but keep it in the right interval, then people will start engaging with you and they will look forward to it. So have a schedule, know your audience, have the right frequency. Just don’t overdo it in any way, depending on what your audience threshold is. So that’s my final tip of the day.

Thank you for joining me. If you’d like to ask any questions related to digital social media, do send it to me. I’ll try to answer it in this show. I’ll see you next week with another answer to another question. Until then you stay connected, stay blessed and stay very safe. God bless you. Bye.

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