WhatsApp Broadcast: What do you need to know?
You’ve likely heard of (and perhaps even using) WhatsApp, a popular messaging app that allows you to you easily communicate with people. It’s a free app that works in a similar way to Instant Messenger. You can chat with friends, clients, business partners - and even create ‘groups’ so you can message multiple people at once. All you need is a mobile device or tablet with an internet connection and you’re golden!
With mobile tech, we have so many tools readily available at our fingertips to connect with people all over the world.
Even though you may use WhatsApp all the time, you may not be aware that you can create something called a WhatsApp Broadcast. And before we begin, this does not have to be a message sent to all of your contacts that starts of with, “If you don’t pass this on it will bring you 7 years bad luck” 🙄
WhatsApp Broadcasts are lists of recipients you can send regular (broadcast) messages to. While this may seem similar to a WhatsApp Group, the major difference is that people cannot see other people in the same Broadcast List (making it far more private and secure).
With 1 billion people around the world using the messenger app every day, with 55 Billion messages sent daily, there is a huge demographic that can be marketed to. Utilising the platform now, especially with WhatsApp Business on its way (we’ll report more on this when it lands), is a fantastic idea for any school marketing team.
It is time to incorporate WhatsApp, as another far-reaching platform, into your own marketing strategies; making great use of this 1-1 communication to create a more personalised user experience.
How can we use WhatsApp Broadcast in schools?
It is highly likely that this messaging tool is used by parents, so why not utilise this and create a list of the pupils’ parents - sorted perhaps by year group - and send important updates to everyone at once? This can be anything from reminders about homework; unexpected closures or snow days; upcoming events like school fetes or concerts, and where you can buy tickets; school news filtered by year group and relevance; and many, many other things. Whatever you decide to broadcast, you are always ensuring that the communication between school and parents is seamless, and delivered quickly and effectively.
Since broadcast messages act a bit like a BCC (blind carbon copy) on an email, you can safely choose which group of contacts to send a message to and not worry about other members of that group seeing someone else’s contact information. These details are not shared.
FYI: Only contacts that have your phone number in their address book will receive your message, so it may be worth including that in your newsletter to ensure no-one misses out!
Using WhatsApp Broadcast for pupils
You can help keep pupils on track and/or informed using WhatsApp Broadcast in a similar way. Create Broadcast Lists for each year group, or sporting team, or extra-curricular club, or any other area that could benefit from this.
Upcoming exam information? Perfect, send out info as a WhatsApp Broadcast!
Latest school sports team result just come in? Get it sent out to pupils!
Your boarding houses are arranging a water balloon fight in the next 30 mins? Sounds like a job for WhatsApp Broadcast - no needs to miss out!
Technology has an important part to play in schools, and we see the #FutureSchool as a reality that is already happening. We should never be scared to try new things - we just have to consider always the value behind it. Technology is an incredible tool in aiding and promoting a child’s development, and right now this is how children communicate and retain the most information. Perhaps then, it is time to meet them halfway and communicate in an easy and more efficient way?
This option can be particularly helpful for A-level students who may need a bit more prompting in regards to research/motivation, resources and videos can be shared alongside additional support is there to better understand a given subject.
This sounds useful! How do I do it?
Open WhatsApp messenger on your device
Go to the options button in the top right-corner of the screen and select New Broadcast List
Type in the names of the people that you want to include in the message
You can add up to 256 contacts
Press the create button
Compose your message
WhatsApp should not be feared but embraced. It is very cost effective and will likely be used by a huge portion of your school community, including parents, pupils, staff and even prospectives (so there is room to tailor marketing there as well).
All you need to get started is a smartphone device and a mobile number. There are even desktop versions of WhatsApp (which will connect to your mobile’s version so longing as it is on the same WiFi), making things even easier.
Give it a go, you may just find this is a new way for you to market major events, open days and really help the students to better communicate with staff, education materials and assignments. As ever, we would love to hear your thoughts and experiences. Please do comment below. Cheers!