How to incentivise using a community platform rather than whatsapp?

I am encountering a repeating ‘issue’ in multiple communities where many users are not engaging on the ‘purpose built’ community platform (eg Mighty Networks, Zoho Connect etc), instead they are engaging on whatsapp.

Most community platforms have these benefits that whatsapp does not offer:
Separate signal from noise
Designed for community
Easy to find, request & share opportunities
Advanced searching & filtering capabilities
New members can read old posts
Private & Public sub-group functionality

But Whatsapp seems to win the engagment battle becasue most people already have it on their phone, it’s simple and appeals to technologically challenge users, and has free audio / video calls. In both my current cases, founders/key influencers are technophobes and dont use community platorm, all they can cope with is whatsapp. I suspect they are the key to changing community behaviour here.

I wondered if anyone else has this issue? What works to build traction on the community platform and get people off Whatsapp? What do you use whatsapp for?

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One idea for enticing folks over to the community is to offer value that they cannot get in the other app/social network. You didn’t say what industry your community covers, but offering insider access to an expert or author, or content they won’t have access to otherwise can be a strong lure.

Another possible area to look at is how streamlined can you get your community? Sometimes purpose built platforms are configured with too many options out of the gate, which will repel the type of user you described. I’d recommend scaling back to just the bare minimum (whether it’s a single discussion, just file sharing, or some other type of content), and see if that moves the needle.

I personally don’t enjoy WhatsApp because I can never find stuff after the conversation is over, but half the world disagrees with me, LOL.


Hi Nick, we have the same issue, although we don’t see it as an “issue.” Our Community is Global, and we have a platform where everyone should meet and have all the capabilities you mentioned.

All the conversations are handled in English, so the regions that struggle with the language barrier started some groups/micro-communities on WhatsApp, Telegram, and Facebook Groups. In my view, the community goes beyond the platform used.

My suggestion is to let them use Whatsapp and invest in some tactics to bring them to the ‘purpose built’ platform.

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Thanks. Here’s the plan:

A) Whatsapp - top of the funnel - for ephemeral ‘in the moment’ comms.
B) Community platform for deeper collaborations and lasting knowledge sharing

  1. Communicating compelling value.
  2. Find out what are the top things valued (connections & collaborations)? Provide only on community platform
  3. Proactive plans to teach their members how to use their community & make it a habit - rhythms & handholding. Simplifying functionality. Layered onboarding multi step (human buddy system and automated email tutorials). Differentiated training for technophobes v for tech savvy.

FYI the communities are nonprofit social impact ( and



Hi @nickgraham,

This is an interesting topic and I feel that many experience it.

Conversations fitting for communities can be going on anywhere outside of their walls. A way of looking at this is through the idea of an “Ecosystem” as opposed to just a Community - seeing how different channels interact with one another and viewing your community’s digital presence as a whole.

I guess it could be a matter of implementing moderation strategies for channels outside of the community and making sure the resources, design, value and that insider access @rhogroupee mentions can be found within the site.

Would love to hear how this situation goes for you!