SMS Best Practices
For successful and compliant texting programs, you must comply with the following best practices:
- Honor Opt-out Requests - It is critical that you honor opt-out requests by opting that contact out. If a text recipient indicates they want to be removed from your list, you must take them out, and they must not be texted by your organization unless they opt-in in the future.
- Identify Yourself and the Messaging Entity in the Initial Outbound - The individual sending the message should identify themselves and the organization they are texting for. "Hi, this is Sue, a volunteer for John Brown for Congress."
- Respond to Recipients' Questions - Respond in a timely manner to all questions from your message recipients. If you don't know the answer, let them know you'll find it and get back to them.
- Initial Outbound Message Rules
- Keep it Short - 1-2 segments are best for readability and clarity.
- Include Opt-Out instructions - See Requirements for Creating Initial Outbound Messages
- Don't Use Link Shorteners - Short links and other redirects are not allowed. Link directly to your organization's website.
- Curated Audience Lists - Build your audience lists thoughtfully. Put thought into who you are texting, align what you know about them and that they want to hear about you.
- Quality over Quantity - The quality of your conversations is more important than quantity. Don't over text your audience. Over texting will lead to complaints and more opt-out requests.
- Observe Quiet Hours - The best hours for texting are no earlier than 9 am, no later than 9 pm. Keep external factors in the message recipients' community in mind. For example, don't text during an extreme weather event, during a holiday, during the Super Bowl, or during a time of community bereavement unless there is a good reason to be in that locality. See What are Quiet Hours?
- Feedback is Essential - Set up Moderators for your Workspace, to support your Texters with ongoing feedback to help strengthen their messaging game, making sure they are observing best practices. See: Leaving Feedback for Texters, The Benefits of Leaving Feedback
- Never Share Screenshots - Remind all your texters!
- Don't Engage with Trolls - Don't be combative with your audience, even if they are rude, angry or you disagree with them. We have recommended replies for these types of responses. Please use them! See: Add on Script: Universal Info Scripts
- Train your Volunteers to Ask Questions - If they don't know the answer, they should let their contact know they'll ask and get back to them.
Review these important guidelines from the CTIA: