What is WhatsApp?
WhatsApp Messenger, or simply WhatsApp, is a freeware, cross-platform messaging and Voice over IP (VoIP) service owned by Facebook, Inc. It allows users to send text messages and voice messages, make voice and video calls, and share images, documents, user locations, and other media. WhatsApp’s client application runs on mobile devices but is also accessible from desktop computers, as long as the user’s mobile device remains connected to the Internet while they use the desktop app.
The service requires users to provide a standard cellular mobile number for registering with the service.
In January 2018, WhatsApp released a standalone business app targeted at small business owners, called WhatsApp Business, to allow companies to communicate with customers who use the standard WhatsApp client.
It became the world’s most popular messaging application by 2015, and has over 2 billion users worldwide as of February 2020.
From a TechPoint Africa Report, Nigeria’s has 24 million active social media users. 85% of them are on WhatsApp. This 20.4 million. This is huge.
Communicate with Teachers and other Members of Staff
Apart from sending direct messages, WhatsApp allows users to form groups. As a school owner, you can open a group for all your Teachers. This group can be used to communicate important and urgent information. WhatApp has a feature that lets the sender of a message to a group see how many members of the group have read the message.
WhatsApp has replaced the the traditional practice of using a Notice Board to summon all Teachers to a meeting.
Communicate with Parents
WhatsApp can also be used to chat directly with Parents. As a school owner, if issues arise, Parents can contact you directly to resolve the issue instead of coming down to your office.
With their consent, you can add Parents to a group. You can communicate important and urgent information with them directly. Information can be such as Exam Timetable, School Calendar, briefing them you have sent the School Fees Bill through their Kids, and so on.
Communicate with other Stakeholders
As a school owner, you would normally belong to a community of school owners. An example could be a local branch of National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS). You can form or join a WhatsApp group for it. You can share ideas, information and even hold lectures. Yes, we now have people holding lectures on WhatsApp.
Some educational regulators have now adopted opening WhatsApp groups to communicate easily with school owners under their jurisdiction. You can join such group.
Imagine the Local Education District Regulators coming to pay a visit to your school and you are not aware. Maybe the letter wasn’t delivered to you, and you don’t belong to any WhatsApp group for fellow school owners in the area or for regulators/school owner.
Market to Potential Parents
As a school owner, you can use WhatsApp to market to potential parents whose phone numbers you must have saved on your phone. WhatsApp has a feature called status updates. You can post school adverts on your status so potential parents can see it. You can also send broadcast messages to them
Do’s of WhatsApp
- Join educational groups for fellow School Owners and for Regulators.
- On your school’s Student Registration or Information Update Form, ask Parents to fill their WhatsApp number. Ask if you can add them to a WhatsApp group.
- Ensure your Teachers have WhatsApp on their phone. Form a WhatsApp group for them.
- Please use the WhatsApp for business and not the WhatsApp for personal use. Let this be the WhatsApp number you give Teachers and Parents.
- On your WhatsApp for business, ensure you post only school related information.
- Always visit places where you would see prospective parents and exchange phone numbers with them or give them a school flyer and indicate your WhatsApp number on it. Ask for their WhatsApp number and if they decline, ask them to send you a message on WhatsApp later.
- When a prospective parent chats you up, save their numbers. Also add an indicator before saving it, like “Mrs. Fola (Prospective Parent)”, so you can know her by name when next she calls you. Clients like it when you show you have interest in them by calling them by name under a short time of meeting them.
- Study and understand all the features of WhatApp.
- Always cross check your spelling before you send a message or post an update.
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