SMS communications is the rising star of internal comms channels. With employees being more distributed and busy than ever, it’s vital to find channels that reach employees and convey messages quickly. Let’s talk about why SMS is the future of company communications.
What is SMS for Communication?
Short message service (SMS), or texting, is one of many internal comms tools that companies have at their disposal.
SMS communications are text-based messages that can be sent directly to an employee’s phone. And since each text has a character limit, it makes this communication method great for short, concise reminders, alerts, or updates for employees.
Like any great channel for communication, SMS texts can be targeted to specific groups or even sent to a single employee.
Ways to Use SMS Communications in 2024
You’re probably familiar with the many ways companies use text messaging to communicate with customers (think of promo messages, reminders to confirm your reservation, or even part of your patient experience when going to the doctor). But using text messages to communicate with employees is a fairly new channel of communication.
So, let’s talk about a few ways you can take advantage of this emerging channel.
1. Onboarding communication.
Despite our best efforts, employee onboarding isn’t easy and we don’t always knock it out of the park. And some of our top onboarding challenges are that we fail to communicate effectively or welcome new hires.
SMS communications might help with the process of onboarding our employees.
Your company might already be using text messaging as part of the recruitment process. But even if you aren’t, it makes sense to then extend the use of texting to the onboarding process.
We love the idea of using text messages to share updates with employees prior to their first day. That might include sending them the location of where they should check in on their first day. It might also include reminders of what to bring with them to complete their tax documents.
You then might also use texts to touch base after their first day, first week, and other milestones in the new hire journey.
This can not only help them feel like they matter to your company, but it can also give new hires helpful information to relieve some of that first week anxiety.
One of the main use cases for mass texting is to send urgent messages to your workforce. And we like to split emergency messages into two categories: disaster scenarios and company crises.
A disaster scenario might be alerting your employees of a location closure due to severe weather or to check in employees after a severe weather event.
A company crisis might include texting employees as soon as a major press release comes out about major changes at your company. For instance, if your CEO is being replaced, you want to make sure employees get the message at the same time as the public, so they don’t feel like they were the last to know.
SMS texts are also great for reminders.
For instance, you might send text messages throughout open enrollment to remind employees of key deadlines and informational sessions.
Or you might use reminder texts to ensure employees complete required training and certifications on time.
You might even use texts to reinforce messages you send on other primary channels like email or your employee app.
Best Practices for Sending Engaging SMS Communications
Now that we’ve talked about a few key use cases for texting employees, let’s focus on a few ways to actually craft those messages.
1. Master the art of short-form communication.
Texts are short by design. If you go over your character limit, your text will be split into two.
P.S. One benefit of theEMPLOYEEapp’s texting solution is that we offer unlimited texts, so you don’t have to worry about surprise charges if you accidentally go over your text limit.
But short doesn’t mean bad. It just means you have to think about how you craft these messages differently than you might in an email or an article on your intranet.
To adapt to short-form communication, we suggest talking to your company’s social media manager. Social media teams are experts in short-form copy that both grabs attention AND conveys your message. They’ll likely have tips for you on how to trim copy down without losing key details and how to write stronger CTAs (more on that next).
2. Drive behavior.
If you only have so much room to convey your message, you have to master the art of the CTA.
At the end of the day, all communications should be trying to get employees to say, do, think, or feel something. That means most of your messages are going to include some action.
Most CTAs are straightforward:
- Watch this video
- Complete training
- Enroll in benefits
- Go to [location] by [time] on your first day of work
But sometimes, the behavior you want is more complex. Maybe you’re trying to evoke a feeling or thought process, rather than an action. For instance, you might welcome new hires with a text where the only outcome you want is for them to feel included and like they belong or to feel less anxious about starting work at your company.
Regardless, you have to clearly state your intent in your messages with limited words. But you are writing pros! You are experts in tone and rhetorical strategies to evoke certain feelings or to drive urgency. Tap into those skills and apply them to all your texts.
3. Have some fun with it.
Aside from emergency communications, which should have an appropriately serious tone, you have the opportunity to have some fun with texting messaging.
Most employees are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work communication they receive. And that doesn’t even include the volume of messages they might receive outside of work.
Just imagine your own phone. How many texts do you get every day? How many do you ignore, and why? What would make a message stand out to you?
That’s why it’s important to not just write boring, safe copy all the time. Play with language and tone. Use emojis!
There’s a big difference between:
Value award nominations are now open. Please fill out this form: [link]
IT’S HERE! Recognize your peers in this year’s value awards. Winners get $100 💰[link]
Both texts are within the character limit, but one includes exciting details and has eye-catching formatting (emoji and all caps). Small changes can make a big difference in your texts standing out on your employees’ phones and actually being read and acted upon.
Adding SMS Communications to Your Channel Mix
Most texting providers limit the number of texts you can send every month, which can lead to extra fees if you go over. But the truth is, a crisis can strike at any time and texting can do so much more than alert employees to emergencies. Why limit yourself when you can have unlimited texts per month?
To find out more about our SMS communication solution, request a demo today.
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