SwiftK12 Best Practice Tips for SMS Alerts
SMS (text) broadcasts can be used effectively to improve parent, student and staff communication, provided they are used correctly, professionally and within the guidelines of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
There are several distinct categories, such as automated attendance and lunch balance calls, scheduled communications, and facility closure or delayed opening notices that parents and staff welcome receiving from their district via this channel.
1. “Introduce” yourself: An introduction letting recipients know of your SMS presence, including your short code and why you will be texting may reduce the number of parents who unsubscribe from this channel. It's also simply more courteous. If you have not yet introduced your SMS short code to parents, you may want to consider an introduction letter via email or student folders.
2. When creating your SMS message, include an actionable and immediate action for parents and guardians to take (when possible).
a. Actionable: Updates are nice, but become easy to ignore if it isn't apparent that there is something to do with the information. For example, you can suggest to parents to talk with the child about the information you're conveying.
b. Immediate: This is a platform for short-term, immediate steps and information. That is, it's great when discussing tonight's meeting, but it's probably not the best way to engage parents about the importance of the agenda topics, in detail.
3. Reference other channels or sites for more detailed information: Due to character count limit best practices, it is best to reference your Web site, landing page, or other channels (Voice or Email, for example) for more detailed information. This will ensure your audience receives concise messaging while aware of outlet(s) for additional resources.
4. Cross-promote with social media channels. If you have social media integration completed in your set up (a free feature), you can use these channels to promote opt-in for certain message categories via the parent portal. For example, promote your mobile subscription opportunities on social media, and your social channels on SMS.
5. Personalize your SMS message: When creating your message via Swiftk12 you can choose to place dynamic content into the message using “Insert Merge Fields”. For example, if you insert the First_Name merge field, each message will be customized with the first name of the person.
If you need any assistance or have questions regarding best practices, please do not hesitate to contact Customer Support at (800) 929-1643, option 1 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.