WhatsApp groups – what are you waiting for?

WhatsApp groups – what are you waiting for?

18th September 2017 3 By Rachael Stray

Is your team working in different offices or from home? If yes, are you using a WhatsApp group as another great way of quick communication?
If you’re not – then you should be.
In the busy world of communications/PR I’ve found that it’s crucial keep in touch with your team to make sure you have all bases covered. However, I also use WhatsApp groups in a personal capacity too – keeping in touch with friends and family and sharing pictures and video so quickly and easily.
I think it’s safe to say our email inboxes are often bursting at the seams and I’ve found WhatsApp team groups to be invaluable.
When I was working for a busy NHS Trust, the WhatsApp group for the comms and engagement team was pivotal to our day-to-day smooth running.
We were often working across four hospital sites or working from home so a WhatsApp group meant we could quickly keep in touch without clogging up inboxes.
Our C&E WhatsApp group paid dividends in times of crisis – which I have to say seemed to happen every week!
We were able to quickly share not only key messages with updates but also images, videos, web links and much more to the whole team.
This was particularly useful during the cyber-attack which hit the NHS in a massive way earlier this year.
My team were right in the thick of it.
All of our IT systems went down and our (working) phones were ringing off the hook.
No email, limited telephones and no access to records.
We had to go old school – pen and paper and finding a photocopier not linked to the network.
We used everything we had at our disposal.
To make sure key updates from the various gold and silver command meetings were properly communicated and new updates were promoted across social media we shared updates to each other via our WhatsApp group.
We posted key messages for staff in a closed Facebook group via our personal mobiles as the Trust phones were disabled. We walked the length and breadth of our hospitals to keep staff in the loop. Patients and the public were kept informed with posts on our social media channels.
Local and national media were all over it and I lost count of the calls from journalists asking for statements via email. We had no IT, so they were directed to our Facebook page.
We shared video interviews with updates which had thousands of views and we answered thousands of messages and queries on Facebook and Twitter.
If one of us was struggling to juggle work outside of office hours with mummy duties, or if we had limited 4G and needed an update posted on social media, we were able to ask for help via the WhatsApp Group.
Over the few days the cyber-attack hit, the WhatsApp group provided us a platform to keep in touch, share key updates, say thank you to each other and share our post-cyber-attack treats (very large glasses of wine)!
It really was our saviour.
So if your team doesn’t have a WhatsApp group – what are you waiting for?

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Other useful posts for comms teams:

If you’d like to create some infographics or images with text check out this blog post 5 free websites to create infographics
If your stock photo library is a little bare here’s 5 free sites for stock images
Looking to create more videos then check out these 5 video editing apps for mobile and if you’d like some expert training check out my thoughts on bringing videos back in house with comms2point0 training
Make sure your Twitter feed is ticking over with these 5 free Twitter scheduling tools
Keep track of your stories featured in the media with these 5 free media monitoring alerts
If you’re not sure how much time your team spends on tasks then these 5 free time tracking tools will come in very handy

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