Have you been thinking about WhatsApp Groups but didn’t know where to start? Or do you have questions about WhatsApp Groups and how to make them work for your church or ministry? Then stay tuned, because that’s exactly what we talking about. And I’m giving you five practical tips for WhatsApp Groups.
5 Things to Think About Before Using WhatsApp Groups for Your Ministry
I absolutely love this topic and love talking about WhatsApp. Anything to do with private messaging, WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram DM, Telegram, and all that kind of stuff. Because that is the future of media. Especially as ministries, and nonprofits, and churches, it’s important for us to understand that people are moving towards these private media platforms and we as a ministry need to move there because we need to be where the people are. Right? So I love these questions. I’ve got 5 tips for you. Five things that you can do to prepare your WhatsApp Groups.
Understand WhatsApp Groups vs Broadcast List
This question is specifically about Groups – how to set up WhatsApp groups and run it effectively for your ministry. So let’s get started.
Lists vs Groups. You need to understand what is WhatsApp Broadcast List versus WhatsApp Groups. The reason I’m saying that this is the very first thing you need to do is because many times you think you need WhatsApp Groups, but maybe what you really need is WhatsApp Broadcast List. Do you want to reach people on WhatsApp? Do you want to send them a message? If that’s all you need to do, you don’t have to put them in a group. You can create a list and send it to them one-on-one.
At one time you can send it to 256 people and they will receive the message one-on-one from you. So maybe most ministry needs will be met by WhatsApp Broadcast List. And you don’t even need a group. That is the first thing you need to decide. Do you need a group? Or do you need a WhatsApp Broadcast List? I have written a blog post differentiating these two. I will link to it in the show notes. Do check it out. Or go to my website and look for WhatsApp. Just search for the term ‘WhatsApp’ and you will find that article there – the difference between WhatsApp Broadcast List and WhatsApp Groups. Understand that, and that’s the very first thing.
Define the Purpose of your Groups
The purpose of your group. Understand why you are creating a group. Suppose you decide, “yes, I need only groups, not list”. That’s good. That’s great, because groups is also a very powerful tool. Now you need to understand why you’re doing it. You need to be very clear. Are you doing this for helping people in a particular way? Or do you want to spread your message? Or distribute content? Or do you want to keep it for just announcements? Maybe you’re a church and you just want to make announcements.
What is your purpose? You need to decide what your purpose is. Because the way you structure your group will be according to that purpose. If you’re going to use it for small group ministry, then you structure in a particular way. If you’re going to use it for announcements, then you structure it in a particular way. And the next point is actually related to this. All the three that are following are related to this, because the purpose decides everything.
Set Rules and Regulations for Your Groups
Create group rules. Create rules before you even set up the groups, because then you are moderating the conversations, you are telling people what to do, what not to do, what are some of the ground rules. Rules are not negative things. The moment you say ‘rules’ and you’re like, “Oh, we are a ministry brother. We can put rules for people”. Well, you can. You can just lay the boundaries and “do certain things, don’t do certain things”. It’s important for you to think about rules. And rules will depend on the purpose. Today, WhatsApp is highly regulated in many nations. You can’t just have any kind of group and do whatever you want. Creating groups and communities is a powerful thing to spread ideas.
You need to make sure that it is done in the right way. So admins are liable if something like a group is used for wrong purpose. Group admins are liable in some form. Do check out the law wherever you are listening to me from, and make sure that you are in line with what the government and the authorities want in your country. So just make sure that you set those rules.
Create a Content Plan for Your Groups
Your content plan. Once you set your groups, you’ve got rules in place, you’ve got the purpose. Now you need to think, how are you going to either distribute content to your group, or enable conversations in your group, or make people create content that is useful for your group. See, make it useful. Don’t just create a group for a group’s sake, and just wait, watch and hope that something is going to happen.
No! If you’re setting up small groups, create an agenda, create a calendar, put a content plan in place. I mean, that content would be as simple as “today we are talking about faith… Or we are talking about finances,,,, or you are talking about family”. Some topic, something, a basic thing. But at least you have a plan for each month, each quarter, each half-yearly plan. So that you can try to accomplish what you want to accomplish. And you can measure it at the end of the period and see whether something worked or not. Try to have that content plan and measurement metrics in place before you start.
Have a moderation plan?
Moderation. Very important because unlike broadcast lists, groups are full of people. And they are all there and having conversations, and anybody can post, and the post can go to other people. If you set up a group in that format, people will be able to receive messages from others.
What is your moderation plan? How are you going to moderate this group? Very important question. Think about that. Are you going to have volunteers? Are you going to have staff? You want to do it? How long will you spend? How many groups are there? And how many volunteers are there? Because moderation is important for people to feel safe. Only when the group is well moderated, people will feel safe, the word will spread, more people will join and it will be meaningful, it will be meaningful, safe relationships that are being built in a safe environment, and people start trusting each other and good conversations happen. Ministry is enabled when you have good moderation. So moderation, that is the 5th point. There you have it. You’ve got all those five tips for me.
If you have any questions related to this to let me know, I’ll be very happy to answer them. If you have any other questions related to digital or social media, send it to me. I’ll be very happy to answer it on 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.