It seems the time of writing about changes on different platforms. This time I want to write something about WhatsApp. If you are a frequent user you may have noticed that they have changed their security. They started to use end to end encryption. This means that it is not possible for third parties to read or listen to the things you share there. I am not sure this is good news, because what about the past conversations? Well.. let’s look ahead.

As you probably have read in the blog on telegram there are some features in that app that are very useful for different organisations. But different people approached me with the feedback that the majority of people use WhatsApp and it is difficult to have people change platforms. ‘Can you please write something on using WhatsApp in our ministry?’. Although changing the security is a big step forward in my opinion, the biggest problem of this messaging app is that you have to reveal your identity, or at least your number (although some blogs provide a detour). Not all aid organisations will think that is a comforting idea. Said that, here are some of the benefits.

I think the biggest favor of this platform is that it makes it very easy to connect since everyone (ok… almost everyone) has access to this platform. You are in everyone’s pocket and opening a conversation is felt like very easy. Dropping a line in this app is very easy and feels very natural. Probably more natural than sending an email, especially for the younger ones in your target audience.

Mobile first
Especially in an age where more and more people approach social through their mobile and if they want to search for something they probably search while they are sitting at home on a couch, standing in line at the grocery shop or heading towards work in the metro. Most of the insights of Facebook that I have seen last year shows over 80% of the people being on that platform through their mobile, statistics show the same trend. Sites that are responsive or adaptive to mobile show better results than sites that still lean on desktop only structures. Regarding to this it is also a logic step to connect for questions through a mobile app. Responding as an organisation is made more easy with the webversion of the app in which you can use your desktop to connect back.

People probably expect 24/7 response on their questions if you don’t manage their expectations.

Manage expectations
Since I promised to talk about the benefits I will put this next point in a positive way. In the status line if your profile you are able to manage the expectation of your WhatsApp service. People probably expect 24/7 response on their questions if you don’t manage their expectations. Or they start to ask anything if you are not clear about the topics you want to address on this hotline. So use this line to bring clarification. ‘We love to answer your parenting questions daily between 9am and 6pm.’ This is also the place where you can give some clarity on of you are available for voice calls.

Add voice
Talking about that: Although you can add voice messages on telegram, one of the biggest benefits of WhatsApp is that you can add actual voice calls. Especially when a culture is more oral focused, it really adds value to your service. Talking allows you to hear better between the lines and gives immediately the possibility of digging deeper into a question when things are not clear. It is wise to set some boarders when, who and why you want to call.

Legal limits
There is probably more to say about using WhatsApp in your organisation. Think about the possibility of hosting groups for instance or sending push notifications to a bigger group at once. Two last remarks from my side: Although I think that people are responsible for their own security, it is good to consider this aspect into the decision making process weather you want to use this app or not. The second remark has to do with legal rights. In some countries it is forbidden to give a medical consult through this app for instance because this can violate privacy. So make sure you know the legal limits in your region as well.

Last benefit! It is free to use.

Image WhatsApp by Hernán Piñera on (common creative)