If you had to distill all of the warnings, suggestions, helpful hints, etiquette guides and outright commandments about group text do’s and don’ts, the bottom line is that you’re probably better off not doing them.
In fact, if you were to make a list of the pros and cons of person-to-people group texting, the cons would usually tip the scale.
That isn’t to say you should never attempt the group route – businesses can actually get great mileage from bulk SMS campaigns where they can push out the same message to hundreds or thousands of fans. But this outreach isn’t likely to be followed by thousands of people texting back and having a conversation with the entire bunch. This can actually be a smart marketing strategy, and one that Trumpia can help your business create.
But there is definitely some caution and planning required when group texting is initiated.
- Not everyone wants to follow the whole conversation. Unlike an email thread where the whole team may need to know something in the “reply all” note, not everyone on the texting chain will want to carry on the discussion once they receive the basic info. People may find themselves constantly back in the loop whenever someone contributes something – even if it’s a string of “Thanks. Got It.”
- It’s easy to forget who is on. In a chain of texts between multiple parties, one person may observe but not necessarily participate. On email it’s easy to know all recipients, but if a group discussion gets busy and the texts start scrolling by, the quiet ones may be ignored – or even talked about if they’re actually forgotten.
- It may violate privacy. You may know everyone in your work texting group, but if someone else sets up a group text with other friends, co-workers from another division or maybe vendors, you may find yourself in a discussion with people you don’t know or don’t know you. If you’re talking about business affairs, you may not be authorized to discuss something with those outside of your immediate work group. If someone else invites you, you may not even see everyone on the distribution list.
- Group texts can be frowned upon, at least professionally. Maybe group texts can be “b 2” fun among young people who seem to be tethered to their devices, but in the modern business environment, continuous texts from an entire group can be distracting or even dangerous. Forbes columnist Kashmir Hill said buzzing/chiming/vibrating phones can create information overload to their owner, be annoying to those near him or her, and lead to inefficiency because of all the interruptions. She had harsh words for voice mail as well, but said at least people generally check texts more often, rather than rarely emptying the voice mail box.
- Texts can blur the line between personal and professional. True, business tech watchers may say that this line is blurred enough with Bring Your Own Device philosophies (where employees prefer to use their personal devices to do work stuff rather than a company phone/tablet.) But unless you deliberately separate your recipient lists from “personal” and “work,” or “casual friends” and “good friends,” as some people you text may be as excited. Creating ‘mini mass texts’ is an alternative suggested by Dana Holmes from The Huffington Post. The caveat is to make sure you keep them straight.
- Don’t assume everyone is on all the time. Yes, people do tend to use texts more than voice or email. But people also put their phones down sometimes. Just because some of your recipients are ready to dive into the topic anytime, doesn’t mean that everyone else is.
- Don’t assume your audience is as tech savvy as you. This goes double if you don’t even think you’re that savvy either. Some professionals may have mastered the basic ability to send and receive texts, but may not understand complex procedures like attaching photos, multiple texts, or some of the new abbreviations and terms beyond LOL.
- Be safe. Whether texting for fun, for work, or something in between, tech experts say to follow “real world” laws of physics like not walking while texting, bicycling while texting or driving while texting. You’re distracted and could hurt yourself or others.
Just because you have the technology to send text to everyone you know, you should only do so in the correct context. For more details about SMS marketing opportunities visit Trumpia, or download our complimentary Mobile Marketing Success Kit.