Squaddle and WhatsApp: A (football) match made in heaven

Use Squaddle alongside WhatsApp to find your squad's communication sweet spot
Jamie Andrews
September 28, 2022

Since launching our beta last week we’ve had lots of people sign up (thanks everyone!) and Squaddle is now being used to organise a wide variety of different activities. It’s still early days and Squaddle will be evolving quickly, so please keep the feedback coming!

One of the main reasons we built Squaddle is because of our frustration with big, messy WhatsApp groups full of people RSVP’ing and repeating basic information. But that doesn’t mean that Squaddle directly replaces groups — in fact, lots of users (including us) keep their WhatsApp group going alongside Squaddle…

A typical way to use Squaddle for organising a weekly game of football is as follows:

  • One of the group comes across Squaddle and realises how insanely amazing it is
  • They send a message about Squaddle to their WhatsApp group and ask fellow organisers if they’re up for giving it a try
  • They post the squad signup link in the group, explaining that it will be used for confirming attendance (and collecting payment if necessary)
  • People join the squad (with a bit of encouragement) and the person who set up the squad makes other organisers admins
  • They create their first activity (which can be set to repeat each week) and everyone who’s joined the squad receives a message from Squaddle inviting them to respond (anyone who joins the squad later receives any active invite immediately after joining)
  • Most people respond straight away and marvel at the magic of Squaddle, but there are a few stragglers that need encouragement in the WhatsApp group. If necessary, one of the admins can manually add people to the game
  • Everyone posts in the WhatsApp group about how amazing Squaddle is.
It's quick and easy for your group to join you on Squaddle.

Squaddle is great at maintaining a clear view of who’s attending and who’s paid - two things that a WhatsApp group can’t do on its own. But when it comes to messaging, the story isn’t so simple and this is an area we are particularly keen to receive feedback about.

There are two main options for communicating with squad members: either continue using WhatsApp for everything except RSVPs and payment, or use Squaddle’s in-built messaging functionality. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Once you’ve created an activity in Squaddle, you’ll be given the option to send a message to people who’ve responded in, people who haven’t responded yet, or to any reserves (if there are any). There’s deliberately no option for messaging people who are out that week (except by sending a squad-wide message via the squad screen), and the idea is that messages are sent on a need-to-know basis.

The main benefit of using Squaddle for messaging is that you can avoid distracting people who don’t need to receive the message. People in your squad who definitely aren’t attending that week don’t need to receive messages chasing for more players. And only confirmed attendees need to see teams or other info about that specific game. If you’re not attending that week, the lack of distracting notifications that aren’t relevant to you is great, especially given how much we’re all struggling to pay attention these days.

Squaddle messages are sent on a need-to-know basis to save people from unnecessary noise.

The downside of relying solely on Squaddle for messaging is that communication is one way between organisers and squad members, so it’s not currently possible to reply to the whole group. This can make messaging feel a bit impersonal for the organiser and participants alike.

For this reason, lots of squads choose to keep using their WhatsApp group for messaging. The downside is that everyone has to see the messages that may be about a specific game, but as Squaddle reduces the overall volume of messages (and confusion about numbers), the nature of the remaining chat is typically much calmer and less chaotic.

A good balance I’ve found with my own squad here in mid-Wales is to use Squaddle’s messaging for two main purposes:

  • Sending a message to non-responders if we’re low on numbers on the day of the game. This prompts a load of additional responses (both in and out) and we usually get enough players as a result. If we don’t, then we post in the WhatsApp group as well.
  • Sending teams to confirmed players

Any other chat happens on WhatsApp. Squaddle is so effective at organising that sometimes weeks can go by without any chat in the WhatsApp group, and initially this was a bit disconcerting! But there is now a healthy amount of non-organisational chat, so the group feels “alive” but not overwhelming. We now welcome new members on WhatsApp as well as inviting them to join the squad on Squaddle, and the combination works really well for us.

If you’re already using Squaddle or considering signing up, we’d love to hear from you. We have lots of ideas about how to keep improving our messaging/notification features, but what we’d love to hear from you so you can help shape our priorities. You can contact us on WhatsApp (this is different from the main Squaddle number) or via email to info@squaddle.co.uk.

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