Let me be upfront, I’m always looking for ways to make my job easier and one of those areas is church communication.
I believe church communication is vital for any church. So, I have been doing rigorous research to find the best, and most economical solution.
I was first introduced to YapTap at the Southern Baptist Convention this past summer in Houston. The YapTap folks were very nice, and I really liked the product. However, in my opinion, it was not as competitive with the other messaging programs out there (I was using a free version of SendHub at the time). It was about the same price for a few less features. That was, until they dropped their price for a ridiculous special. They ran a special for $10 a month for unlimited messages, groups, and users. Like a hungry guy driving past a buffet sign, I could not pass it up! Unfortunately, they have now raised the price, but only by $10/month. Still not bad!
For the last month, I have been using YapTap. As of this writing, we have 56 users (and growing) as well as several groups. I really do think this program could benefit you. What follows are several things I really like about the program and a few places I find lacking.
Benefits to YapTap
YapTap is brilliantly simple
It allows you to easily send a message out to recipients who either choose to get it by email, text, Facebook message, Twitter direct message, or push notifications through their smartphone app. The recipient can choose. So, if they “don’t do texts,” they can get it others ways. As of now, most of our recipients choose to receive messages as texts. This can be edited and changed at any time by the user. For more money paid per month, you can actually send out voice messages as well. I am not as interested in that, so I have not tested out that function.
You can create unlimited groups, users and messages
YapTap allows you to create unlimited groups. So, you can text just your small group, Sunday School teachers, staff, students, adults, etc. It is also easy to join an individual group. The program allows for unlimited users and messages as well. This is a BIG feature and separates it from many others. You no longer have to think about “important” updates. You can send what you need, when you need, to as many people as possible. This is a game changer to me, and for only $10 a month!
YapTap allows you to schedule posts to everyone or a group. This is a very useful feature and allows you to sit down one day a week and schedule out all the news and updates you will need. It saves you from telling Siri to set a reminder to send out a message at a certain time during the day. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
Posts to social media
If you select a message to be sent to all your recipients, it will automatically send the same message to your social media accounts. This is a ginormous time saver. Now that Facebook is throttling who sees your Facebook page updates, it will still ensure that everyone gets the message.
Web and mobile use
YapTap is an online service AS WELL as a smartphone app. The web program gives you the opportunity to sit down and write out your weekly updates to schedule for later times. The smartphone app lets you make quick messages and on the fly. You are not tied to one specific place to create your messages. Its very simple and effective.
Where YapTap Is Lacking
It is a little difficult to communicate back with admins
If someone has a question or comment about something, it is a little difficult to communicate back. The person will have to message by starting with their “@” username. For an inexperience person in these things, this renders difficult. However, the program is still easy for a novice, messaging back may prove to be a little difficult.
Not as many bells and whistles as other high priced programs
Other programs I researched had automated messages sent out on birthdays, had a little slicker UI, a better app, etc. However, for the price and function, this still is not that bad. If you need more bells and whistles though, this may not be for you. I actually enjoy it’s ease of use and do not need all the add-ons as of yet.
The sign-up process needs to be a little more simple
One of my biggest caveats is the way you have to sign up. You can send a text invitation to them, which is the easiest, but many times I am trying to get people not as connected to the church involved. Therefore, the best way is to text the word “JOIN” followed by your FIRSTNAME and LASTNAME. This is a little bit difficult and confusing. You can also sign up by a web link though to post on social media or a website. It would be easier to have a text keyword like other programs, but people still “get” how to sign up. There is just a few more hoops to jump through in my opinion.
I am not sure where your church is in its communication needs. For me, with Facebook’s recent changes to who sees Page posts, I am working on switching to texting as our main source of communication. This way I know our members get the message. I am guessing that if you are in a bigger church, you may need more bells and whistles, and can afford it. For us, a smaller church, this is a perfect solution. I figure it will work best for a small to mid-size church with limited staff. I really like the service. If you have any other questions, please leave a comment.