Sending Bulk Texts
Sometimes you may want to send one text to many students at once. Using list views and the Bulk SMS interface, you can easily send a message to groups of alumni with just a few clicks. If you need to send a message to just one student, check out this article. Please review the "Considerations" below the instructions before sending out bulk texts.
Composing Bulk SMS Messages
- Narrow in on the group of students you want to receive your message using contact list views. For more information:
- Once your list view contains the right students, you will need to select them all.
- If your list contains fewer than 50 students, you can click the "Select All" box in the column headings. You can deselect students if there are a handful you do not want to include.
- If your list contains more than 50 students, you'll need to scroll all the way down to load all of the records (up to 200) before checking the "Select All" box. You can deselect students if there are a handful you do not want to include.
- Once all desired recipients have been selected, click Send SMS Lightning in the top right corner.
- Compose your SMS.
- If there are a few contacts you'd like to add who were not in your original list view, you can search for and add them here.
- These are the mobile numbers your text will be sent to. If you think some are missing, see "Considerations" below.
- If you would like to send an SMS template, select it from this dropdown.
- Strongly consider using a merge field to personalize your message.
- Type your message into the box.
- Pay close attention to the character count - review "Avoid Being Flagged" below for more information. Note that the final character count will include all characters pulled from a merge field, so consider reducing the total SMS character count to 155 or so to build in a buffer for longer names.
- While you have the ability to send files using the bulk interface, we do not recommend it. See "Considerations" below.
- You school name/city will appear here. You do not have to adjust this field.
- If you would like to schedule your text to be sent out in the future, pick the date here. If you would like to send your text immediately, leave this field blank.
- If you are scheduling your text, select the time here. If you would like to send your text immediately, leave this field blank.
- Click Send to send your text (or to schedule the send, if you filled out fields (i) and (j)).
- Your text will now be either sent or scheduled.
Avoid Being Flagged for Spam
To protect individuals from receiving unwanted messages, carriers routinely flag large numbers of messages as spam. To prevent your messages from being flagged as spam and to avoid overwhelming your students with texts, keep the following guidelines in mind:
- It is critical that you keep bulk messages at or below 160 characters. Texts that exceed the 160 limit are broken up into multiple messages on the carrier end, which doubles or triples the number of texts that appear to be coming from one phone number and increases the risk of those texts being flagged as spam. If your messages are marked as "spam" by a carrier, they will not be delivered to your recipients. If you're finding your texts are too long, consider sending the message in an email, instead (perhaps accompanied by a simple "check your email!" text).
- Texts should be capped at around 100-125 recipients at a time.
- On a similar note, please minimize the number of bulk texts you are sending out to students. Mass texts are a great way to send occasional reminders to students, but they should not be used excessively. 'Text fatigue' does exist, and when texts sound like they should be emails, your response rate will begin to drop. Texts that are short, concise, and friendly tend to see higher response rates.
- You can see errors using this report - 30003 errors are typically associated with too many texts or too large of texts being sent at once.
- If a student has opted out of texts, they will be automatically removed from recipient lists, even if you selected their name in the list view. See here for more information.
- Send texts between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. in the time zone your recipient is in. Only send bulk texts on weekdays, and avoid 1:1 sending on weekends (unless your student is soliciting urgent help over a weekend or holiday).
- If you selected students in a list view who do not have a mobile number, they will also be automatically removed from recipient lists. You can add/edit phone numbers by following these steps.
- While you are technically able to send files and images using the bulk interface, we ask that you send them instead through mass emails. Not only might they be flagged as spam due to their size, but they are far more expensive to send than regular SMS.
- As with mass emails, bulk texts are sent to each recipient individually (as opposed to group texts, where all recipients see other recipients' numbers and replies).