Group texting provides a great way to communicate with your community group members and organize your events and meetings. Although you might have a personal connection with many of the members of your group, you do not want to communicate with them via text message in the same way you would with a close friend or family member. Instead, it is best to develop a few best practices to ensure that you do not end up alienating members.
One of the most important best practices is respect. By putting respect at the forefront of your texting campaigns, you will find that your members will be more willing to remain part of your texting group -- and your organization or club. To do this, develop guidelines for your group texting program and make sure that everyone who handles your outgoing texts follows them.
The Importance of Permission
Get your members to subscribe so that you have permission to text them.
You must have permission to text the members of your group texting program. Getting their permission is not only is a sign of respect, but it is also the law. Texting is an intimate communication channel that most people still reserve for communication from friends, family members, and a select group of organizations and/or businesses. Acknowledge the sanctity of the medium and only text your community members after receiving their express consent.
The easiest way to do this is to have all members text a keyword to your short code or long code to join your texting program. This way, you let them make the first move, and you are confident that you have their permission. As an added precaution, also include a confirmation action, such as an auto-response to a text to confirm their opt-in.
Limit the Number of Texts
When people sign up to receive texts from your organization, it does not give you carte blanche to text them all day and all night. Part of respecting your group texting program subscribers is that you do not send them a hundred texts a month. The ideal number of messages depends on your group and the focus of the texts. Typically, organizations tend to stick to two to four per month, but you may need to communicate more often than that.
So, how do you know how many texts you should send? This is where getting input from your group comes into play. It is beneficial to bring up your texting program during a meeting and learn more about how often group members would like to communicate with you. You might find that group members are open to receiving daily texts. Alternatively, your group might decide that just one text per month is sufficient.
Send at a Reasonable Time
Text messaging remains a disruptive medium. This is because most people are still alerted when they receive a text. When they hear the alert, they typically will stop what they are doing and look at the text. Therefore, you want to be sure to send your texts at a reasonable time. For most groups, this means avoid texting in the middle of the night. You also might want to avoid texting during rush hour, meal times, and during the morning commute.
That being said, if you have a major announcement about your group or there is an emergency action, then you might get away with a text slightly outside of the normal parameters. Just be sure that you remain respectful of people's time, even in serious situations.
Be Clear About the Program
Letting your group members know what to expect from your texting program is also a sign of respect. When you first develop your program, you can get input from your members and establish guidelines according to their feedback. Over time, you might have new members join the group and your texting program. These new members need to be aware of the necessary information, including the frequency of text messages and the types of texts you plan to send.
If you make any changes to your program, inform everyone of the changes with some lead time before you implement them. This gives them time to unsubscribe if they do not agree with the changes.
Develop Worthwhile Texts
Whether it is a reminder about a meeting or information about an upcoming event, make each text worthwhile.
The final component of respect in a group texting program is that you send texts that are of value and worthwhile to your group members. What your group finds valuable depends on the focus of your organization. For example, some groups might send out event reminders while others might send out action alerts. The content itself is unique to your organization, so what is a valuable disruption will also be unique to your group.
Follow these best practices to ensure you are as respectful as possible to your group texting subscribers.
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