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Communication guidelines to consider before you start sending text messages to prospects and customers

Woman with pixie cut sitting outside and typing on her phone.

The point of style and brand communication guidelines isn’t to make everyone at your company sound the same. The point is to sound cohesive — like you’re on the same team. Like you’ve got the same priorities and goals.

Your communication guidelines shouldn’t stifle personalities or the things that make people human.

When you start using text messaging for marketing, sales, or customer support, make sure everyone knows the standards and expectations for how to communicate.

Emoji usage

Emojis and texting just go together, even in B2B communication. Possessing similar neural responses to face-to-face communication, using emojis adds extra emotional or contextual meaning and even enhances the attractiveness of a message to recipients.

Give each team and department a baseline for acceptable emoji usage when talking with potential or current customers.

This includes providing clear examples of when it may or may not be appropriate to use emojis. Base this on overall brand tone, the subject of conversations, and the recipient(s) of messages.

Like if someone texts a sales rep upset about a contract, that’s probably not the time to reply with the frowning or crying emojis.

But when someone in marketing sends out an announcement about an upcoming sale, a few emojis fit right in.

And of course certain emojis will never be acceptable. Whether it’s an icon that looks similar to a competitor logo or one that’s become synonymous with something overtly violent, sexual, or racist, don’t let your team go without guidance.

Images and GIFs

Imagery can make a huge difference in grabbing attention and encouraging replies. You want employees sending photos. But that doesn’t automatically need to include GIFs. Choose what works best for what you sell and who you sell to.

Regardless of products and target audience, clearly outline the types of images that people should send.

For instance, image sizes can affect deliverability. People don’t need to be sending 300 DPI photos through texting. MMS should usually be between 300 to 600 kb.

Slang

The words you use matter. So does the context in which you use those words.

Set clear boundaries about how casual messages should sound and what sort of slang might be appropriate. Any words or phrases people use in text messages need to fit with the brand’s tone and messaging. Of course this all relates to what you sell and who you sell it to.

Again, this isn’t about stifling employees’ personalities — you want people to sound like themselves. There’s simply no place for potentially racist, homophobic, sexist, ableist language in business communication. No exceptions.

Communication boundaries

You don’t want your company and brand to be associated with spammy, incessant text messaging. Give an outline for when automated or scheduled text messages should be sent and at what cadence.

Maybe you don’t want certain messages going out on weekends or after a set time during the week. Like all things in business, your industry and audience ultimately determines how your text messaging strategy works best.

And to protect the individuals at your company, clearly explain that they can and should set their own communication boundaries. Don’t automatically commit your customer support team to answering text message questions on the weekend. There’s nothing wrong with not being available 24/7 to your customers.

Text messaging best practices

Also make sure your team understands general best practices for business text messaging.

For those in sales, make sure they know when cold text messaging is acceptable (hint: never).

For anyone in marketing, that includes knowing the basics of TCPA.

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