A great way to stay connected

Employee communications channels

Messaging Apps

Purpose Typical audience Pros Cons Can you do it yourself? Thinking points
Apps like WhatsApp and Wechat are a super-fast way to stay connected to your audience  Smaller groups of DSM colleagues (provided they have the app of course) Free (if using WiFi) and easy to use and share information – including video Not DSM-secure and not ideal for sending long or detailed messages Yes Set ground rules on when it’s ok to send messages, especially outside work hours

What is this channel?

There are many messaging apps out there that that enable you to make video and voice calls and send text messages using a Wi-Fi connection. The most popular channels vary per region, but WhatsApp and WeChat (in China) are the current favorites.

These apps are simple and free to use. They’re also a great way to stay connected with friends, family and, yes, colleagues - provided you don’t share sensitive information and you respect private time.

What and when is it typically used?

Think about your audience; can you share your messages properly and reach them via this channel? Check out the comparison notes below and weigh the pros versus cons. This will help you decide how to spend your time/ money for the best result.

Benefits

  1. Free if sent from a private account via Wi-Fi.
  2. Most recipients will have the app on their phone.
  3. Easy-to-use.
  4. A good way to stay connected as a team.
  5. Share self-recorded business videos (large size) and other rich media.
  6. Many other fun options.

Challenges

  1. Sending or receiving work-related messages after-hours can be intrusive.
  2. This is not a DSM-secure network: be careful with sensitive information.
  3. Not ideal for sending long or detailed messages.
  4. The recipient needs a smartphone.
  5. And of course don't forget to ask your intended group members to supply you with their phone numbers!

How to use this channel

  • Do you have a clear purpose for using this channel?
  • Check if your audience uses the respective messaging app: If not, check if there is an appetite to use it.
  • Ask everyone to download the app on their phones and invite them to the group you created.
  • Agree on some basic ground rules.
  • Get started!

Things to keep in mind

  • This is not a DSM-supported channel and so isn’t secure. So, beware of what you share! Check out our Security tips.
  • Agree some basic rules with your team before setting up a WhatsApp group. For example: are we allowed to send messages after hours?

KPIs for this channel

How will you know ‘what success looks like’? Measuring the response to this channel /tool could give you a better understanding of whether you’ve reached your communication objective. KPIs can be qualitative or quantitative. Here are some ideas:

  • The flow and number of relevant posts in the app will give you an idea of the engagement level.
  • Check to see if there is a good variety of people posting. If just ‘usual suspects’, maybe you need to reconsider your channel… 

Final thoughts

If this a stand-alone initiative, then go ahead! However, if this is part of a wider initiative, you might want to take a step back and look at the broader communications perspective. A good starting point is our 9-step approach to creating your communication plan - which includes an overview of all the internal channels and tools.

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