With over 2 billion monthly active users and 100 billion messages being sent every day, WhatsApp is the leading messaging platform on the market today.
WhatsApp even beat Facebook Messenger on the list of most popular chat apps, and has also earned the title of the 3rd most-used social media network in the world. That’s right – it is even used as part of social media strategy.
In 2023, WhatsApp launched a new community-building feature making it a great place to reach your community members – simply called, Communities.
Once you’ve created a community, you have access to a one-way broadcast channel for admin announcements and can also create multiple groups for member interaction or information.
So, how do you actually start a community on WhatsApp? And then, importantly, how do you sustain and even make money from WhatsApp? This ultimate guide to managing a WhatsApp community is what you need to get started today.
Already set up your WhatsApp Community? Integrate with Nas.io and increase engagement with our free WhatsApp features.
This article will cover:
- What are WhatsApp Communities
- How to set up your WhatsApp community
How to make money from WhatsApp Communities
- The role of a community manager on WhatsApp
- WhatsApp vs. community platforms
- The pros & cons of WhatsApp
- Best practices for managing your WhatsApp community
- Must-have tools for WhatsApp community managers
What are WhatsApp Communities?
The WhatsApp mobile application was built for a single purpose: free instant messaging.
Today, WhatsApp has evolved into something much more. (It is now also available through desktop on WhatsApp Web.)
WhatsApp is being used in over 180 countries by creators, entrepreneurs, and businesses to send communications to individuals and groups of people.
With the recent addition of WhatsApp Communities, WhatsApp users can build a centralized page to host a series of group chats – all in one convenient place. The new community feature offers WhatsApp video, audio, text chat – plus:
- Larger file sharing
- Emoji reactions
- In-platform polls
- Business catalog
- Multiple admins
- Option to archive chats
- Send your live location to others
- Invite by link or QR code
How to set up a WhatsApp community
WhatsApp is simple and free to download for all users. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started with the new Communities feature:
- Go to Google Play or the App Store to download the WhatsApp app
- Create your own WhatsApp account
- Once you’re in, click the top left button with the people icon
- Add the name of your community (keep it relevant and catchy!)
- Add the description of your community (more on this later)
- Create a profile picture with your brand or business logo
- Add a branded cover photo
- Create your group chats by clicking More Options > Manage Groups > Create New Group
- Add in a subject line to name your new group (up to 25 characters)
- Add a unique icon (optional)
- Click the green checkmark
- …Start growing your community!
Begin by creating 2 or 3 groups to host popular topics of discussion or to segment your users. Name your different group chats clearly so it’s easy for new members to navigate.
Pro tip: Set your Community notifications sound as a different tone to your other notifications so that you can easily stay on top of new activity in your community.
How to make money from WhatsApp Communities
WhatsApp is the most commonly used chat platform for hosting communities, but it is operationally intensive to manage! Adding and removing members can take hours of manual admin work, and making money is impossible!
Nas.io is building a platform to ease or automate those operations for community managers so that they can focus on creating value for their community instead.
Community managers around building businesses on top of their communities. They do this in multiple ways:
- Charge a subscription for exclusive access to your WhatsApp community
- Run paid workshops and events
- Sell courses and digital products to the community
- Offer 1-on-1 paid sessions
And monetizing your community has never been easier thanks to Nas.io.
Nas.io integrates with your new and existing WhatsApp group to supercharge your WhatsApp features. After you connect your WhatsApp with Nas.io, you’ll have the ability to:
- Manage subscribers (paid or free) automatically
- Send broadcast direct messages to individuals or all your members
- Get engagement insights from the group such as engagement rate or most engaged members
- Automatic reminders about upcoming events to the chat group
In summary, Nas.io helps you build and monetize a thriving community on top of your favorite platform.
The role of a community manager on WhatsApp
The role of a community manager on WhatsApp is simple: manage your people and moderate discussions.
There is no main feed, like there is in Facebook groups, so you’ll have to regularly check in the group chats to see what people have been up to.
As a community manager, your job is to:
- Give your members a safe space to post their thoughts
- Offer support and guidance when needed
- Represent your mission and convey your brand voice to members
- Make sure people remain engaged
- Create learning content
- Update members on important information
- Review analytics and adapt your strategy according to the audience
- Moderate discussions and chime in occasionally
- Make sure the space remains supportive and everyone is included
A WhatsApp community manager also has to be extra careful and look out for any harmful content that might spread through different group chats. Because of WhatsApp’s semi-private nature, it’s easy for misinformation or unethical behavior to take place.
Because of this, your job as the community manager is to regularly remind people of the rules you have in place for the community. Share educational content, encourage others to speak up, and monitor discussions closely.
WhatsApp vs. community platforms
So what’s the difference between something like WhatsApp and a community-building platform like Nas.io?
You may have already decided that WhatsApp is the platform you want to begin your community on – just make sure you’re clear about the differences!
WhatsApp was established as a chat platform, making it easy to have voice or video calls and texts. It’s similar to other chat platforms like Messenger on Facebook – meaning it was built primarily for connecting people in online chats.
WhatsApp Communities are still relatively limited, and don’t offer as many in-platform tools compared to what community-building platforms usually do such as the ability to monetize or get data on your community.
However, it’s one of the most loved chat platforms around the world!
So, community managers will use WhatsApp together with a community platform for a better community management experience.
Community-building platforms are built specifically for monetizing and engaging with a community.
The pros & cons of WhatsApp Communities
Pros of WhatsApp Communities:
- Free usage. WhatsApp is free for everybody to use, and even their community feature is free to use.
- Organized Chats. WhatsApp allows you to host different groups that are similar to having channels on Discord. This lets you host multiple discussions in different groups, meaning it’s more organized and there’s more opportunity for deeper discussions.
- Easy to navigate. WhatsApp offers a search function that lets you search through discussions, documents, and members in the community. This makes it much easier to find message threads that have been buried, or old content that you want to look back on. And its overall interface is very simple to use.
- Accessible. WhatsApp is available for use in 180 different countries, and all you need for it to work is a wifi connection. Not only this, but it offers accessibility settings so you can adjust font and language if needed.
Cons of WhatsApp Communities:
- Lacks community-building features. There are very limited community-building features in WhatsApp. Aside from organizing your channels, personalization is limited, security is limited, and the features aren’t optimized for hosting and growing a large community.
- Small member limit. You are only allowed to host up to 2,000 people in a community on WhatsApp, and video calls are limited. You are also limited to how many group chats you can create.
- Concern over misinformation and privacy. WhatsApp is another free, semi-private platform that allows larger groups of people to collaborate online without much security or moderation. This makes it easier for people to spread hate, problematic content, misinformation, and for data privacy – especially since a large portion of users use it as their daily text messaging platform.
Best practices for managing a WhatsApp Community
1. Figure out your goals
WhatsApp is great for all kinds of different communities or groups – and great to market or build a community around your business’ products.
But, before you begin your community, you should have a solid and clear “why” behind why you’re beginning this community, and why WhatsApp is the best option for you.
Why did you choose WhatsApp Communities? What’s the goal for your community? How is it going to help you achieve your goals? What do you want this to become in the future?
Get clear on what kind of community you are trying to start, and how you want to curate that experience. This is going to help you make decisions easier as you jump into managing hundreds of different people from around the world.
2. Establish your community rules
Especially to caution against any lack of security on WhatsApp, it’s important to be vigilant about what goes on in your group – and to be extra adamant on the rules and behavior you expect everybody to adhere to.
So, be sure to keep your list of rules and expectations right in the description of your community so they’re accessible and visible to all people at all times.
Be sure to also update and reiterate these rules and expectations often on your “Announcements” chat so people are regularly reminded, and new members are kept up to date. Some important ones to include are:
- Remain respectful to all your fellow members
- Be supportive and cheer each other on
- DM community moderators if you witness any harmful behavior
- Keep your content friendly
- No hate speech allowed
- Use the “reply” button to continue a conversation in a separate thread (to keep the conversation organized and make sure everyone has a chance to participate)
And remember: as you do this, make sure to use a positive tone. After all, your main goal is to make sure everyone has a good time in your community!
In addition to this, be sure to keep your chat safe and secure by not sharing your link, and making sure your group is set on Private. If you happen to run into any problems, you can simply remove people through your admin tools, or you contact WhatsApp admins if you need extra support.
3. Recruit admins onto your team
Running a community by yourself is hard – especially once you hit a certain number of members. Start recruiting volunteers through social media, or, even better:
Recruit people from your most-active members lists.
After all, these people are familiar with the community, know what the experience is like from a user perspective, they know about the space and they are clearly invested. They would make perfect allies to create an even better community experience going forward.
Once you recruit admins, give them admin access and delegate tools and responsibilities. It’s best to assign each admin a specific group chat to help narrow your focus, and make sure every group chat has someone managing it at all times.
When assigning chats to your new admins, assign them according to their strengths and areas of interest. And don’t forget to reward them too! Offer feedback regularly, support your team of volunteers, cheer them on – and let them know you’re grateful for their help.
A little gratitude towards your team can go a long way in improving morale for the whole community.
4. Make your chats concise
WhatsApp is like a texting platform – not a blog.
Don’t write novels when you make a post. Instead, stay concise and focused. Practice your short writing by reviewing some Twitter posts and see how other people have successfully gotten their message across in 280 characters or less. It is possible! And it will help keep people engaged, and reading until the end.
When writing chats, also remember to remain polite and use a professional and supportive tone for all of your communication (establish this amongst your admin team too!).
Remember: however you choose to communicate as the manager sets the tone for all other communication in the group. So choose wisely!
5. Separate different discussions under different group chats
Especially as your community grows in numbers, it’s important to separate different topics of discussion under different groups. This personalizes and organizes the experience so people can get the most value out of your community – with much less work involved.
Create a separate chat for announcements, one for memes, inspiration, and anything else that’s relevant to your people. But make sure not to have too many groups up front, and make sure each group has a purpose. This will make sure it’s easy for new members to navigate and engage.
6. Build a rewards systems
If you’re noticing a lack of engagement at any point, offering some sort of rewards system could do the trick. Rewards inspire people to act and engage, and especially if the reward is fruitful and attractive, it will keep people coming back, and speaking highly of the experience.
Not only this – but it lifts morale! Consider doing something like this within your private admin group as well to keep your volunteers performing at their best, and keep their spirits high. After all, happy moderators are happy members!
7. Plan out a content schedule
The most important part of hosting a community is creating content and creating unique experiences. This could include anything from hosting live videos, AMAs (ask me anything sessions) or sharing news stories every week.
Work with your admins to come up with a solid content schedule in advance so you always have value going out. Keep it fresh and don’t be too repetitive – you don’t want your content to become redundant or boring.
Use planning tools and make it a habit to constantly keep up with content trends and engagement tools that might enhance your experience. And if you’re not sure what to do next…ask your audience! Do a poll or ask for feedback in a Google form. Involving your audience is key in creating a helpful experience and making your members feel connected and valued.
With that said – don’t pop up and bother your community too much. Let your audience have the space to speak without being overly guided by your influence, or topics of discussion. Let them – in fact, encourage them – to start their own conversations and share their own content.
After all, this is what separates a social media page from a community!
Not interfering within the community or with other potential members is key in building trust, and making members feel free to express themselves and engage within the group.
Must-have tools for WhatsApp community managers
While WhatsApp has some built-in tools like polls and file-sharing, here are some more tools that are bound to help you get the most out of hosting your community on WhatsApp:
- Zoom. This is going to let you host more than just 32 people in a call, and allows you much more freedom to create an experience when you host videos. You can use virtual backgrounds, create cool effects, share your screens and even write on your screen to help people learn and remain engaged. There’s both free and premium versions available.
- Analytics tools. There are WhatsApp add-ons you can get, or you can integrate with Nas.io and get analytics on your community health! These will help you get an idea of the most active members in your chat, and more to help you use real-time data to improve your community experience.
- WhatsAuto. This plugin will allow you to use automatic chat bots that will respond with a pre-curated message when you’re not available, or post auto responses for common questions to reduce your need to re-write your answers. There are both free and premium options available (and you can also access analytics through this tool!).
- Content planning. Use a tool like Asana or Notion or Trello (free options available). This will help you and your team of admins create assigned tasks, and organize your management experience.
Build a community with Nas.io
Nas.io integrates your WhatsApp for an all-in-one community platform solution. Here, you can build a private community on top of WhatsApp, for free.