Texting’s been around for a while now.
Yet many of us still have trouble with it.
How much texting is too much? Why hasn’t that person responded to you? Should this conversation be had over a call instead?
Much of the trouble comes from different preferences and approaches to texting, and to communication in general.
And it can get even more complicated if you’re texting co-workers - or, if you’re a part of a business, texting customers.
But there are a few principles that generally hold true.
Here we’ll go over texting etiquette for different types of situations, including:
Relationships are hard enough.
Texting is a regular part of life, but can sometimes add layers of drama that don’t need to be there.
So what are some good rules of thumb for texting in your personal life?
Some conflicts and miscommunication can be avoided simply by recognizing that people have different approaches to texting.
One person may be a “frequent texter” who’s glued to her phone all day and constantly sending texts back and forth.
People like this will respond to your messages right away.
Someone else may be a “check once every day or so” texter.
These people wait until the end of the day to check and respond back to their texts. Or they may check their texts during the day and think, “I’ll reply to that when I’m free later.”
Then they forget.
Others are somewhere in between those 2 examples.
Not understanding that there are different approaches to texting is a source of frustration.
If you’re a “frequent texter,” for example, and someone you’re texting takes hours or even days to get back with you, you may wonder why they’re ignoring you.
When the truth is, they just have a different philosophy and approach to texting.
It’s not a requirement to respond to a text right away (or even quickly).
However, it’s polite to get back at some point.
What tends to happen for some texters is they read a text and don’t have time to respond, so the “unread” notification goes away.
Then it slips their mind, so they never end up responding.
Don’t leave your friends and family hanging - at the very least, acknowledge that you received their text.
Some people love texting.
Others find it a necessary evil but prefer to correspond via phone when possible.
It’s good to be considerate of who you’re texting.
Your teenage relative may not have any problem texting you about any and every question or issue. But your grandmother may prefer phone calls unless it’s something quick.
Generally speaking, if your recipient prefers calls, try to call them rather than texting when possible.
Sending angry texts is almost always unacceptable.
With texting, you have the advantage of being able to cool off and think through what you’re going to say. So there’s no excuse to spout off an angry text filled with words you’ll regret later.
So take a breather and hold off on typing out those angry emotions.
Most of the time, those things don’t even need to be said.
And if they do need to be said, setting up an in-person meeting for a calm conversation is usually better.
Do you suffer from analysis paralysis?
The tendency to overanalyze comes naturally to many of us. This can impact your texting habits as you fret over every word and punctuation mark your friends and family send to you.
But as mentioned before, different people approach texting from different standpoints.
These differences apply to their style of communication.
For example, some people love to use emojis every other word.
Others have a straightforward, to-the-point approach.
The point is that you don’t need to have an existential crisis if someone adds a period or an ellipsis (...) to the end of a text.
And you don’t need to be offended if someone’s texts come across as terse or blunt.
People interpret punctuation, tone, and style differently. So don’t read too much into it.
OK, so texting in your personal life is complicated.
You know what’s more complicated?
Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when you’re texting your co-workers, colleagues, or supervisors.
The work-home balance is important.
Don’t disrupt it for people by texting them work-related messages after work hours, unless absolutely necessary.
Especially if you’re the boss, texting your employees while they’re “off the clock” can be very intrusive.
As much as possible, allow people to be “at home” when they leave or sign off for the day and save your work questions for the next work day.
If you send a text to a colleague who’s a close friend, your tone will obviously be different than if you send a text to, say, your boss.
Similarly, you would interact with a contractor differently than with your co-workers.
You can have a more familiar tone with some people than with others. So make sure your text messages come across in a way that’s appropriate to your relationship with the recipient.
Texting in business settings should generally stick to business.
You don’t want to distract people from their jobs and make them uncomfortable by sending personal texts to their phone while they work.
So while, “Will you have the draft done by 3 today?” may be appropriate, “How are things going with your new boyfriend?” would not be.
Big group texts are obnoxious enough when they’re among friends and family.
People don’t like receiving the constant notifications that are inevitable with group texts.
With texting in business situations, it’s best to send individual texts or to use a business texting platform.
(A business texting platform will allow you to send mass texts that come through to people individually).
Some work conversations aren’t appropriate for a text message.
Firing an employee, or a serious complaint about your boss, are some good examples.
Remember that whatever you type out in a text message could be there on the recipient’s phone for a long time.
So use your common sense, and have in-person conversations or phone calls when the situation calls for it.
Another use for texting in a business environment is texting your customers or prospects.
Since texting has incredible open rates, this element of texting is powerful for getting more sales.
But before you go text-happy, there are some rules you should follow.
Sending “cold texts” is by and large against texting regulations.
You can only text your leads and customers on an opt-in basis.
So make sure you obtain permission from your customers before sending them texts.
But don’t worry - this isn’t too difficult. Most texting platforms will have opt-in methods such as text-to-join built in.
Texting is an incredible, effective marketing tool.
But that doesn’t mean you should abuse its power.
Your customers will not be as forgiving about receiving unwanted texts as they are about unwanted emails.
So be very intentional about the texts you send, and in particular how many texts you send.
A good rule of thumb is not to send more than 1-3 text blasts in a given month.
But, of course, you know your customers best. So do more or less depending on your audience’s wants and expectations.
Any good marketer will tell you this, but it bears repeating.
Make sure the texts you send to your customers provide real value for them.
Don’t make it about you. Make it about them.
Know what your customers want, and then give it to them in your texts.
Do that, and you’ll see better results. And your recipients will actually be excited to get your messages.
Providing clear opt-out instructions is something that is generally required for text marketing.
Beyond that, it’s just good form.
You don’t want your recipients to feel trapped and frustrated.
And with text marketing, all they need to do if they change their mind about wanting to receive your messages is reply “STOP” to be automatically opted out.
So tell them that.
Text messages aren’t like emails, in that you typically should keep your messages as short and succinct as possible.
People won’t want to read long paragraphs.
Try to keep your texts a single sentence or two.
160 characters is technically the maximum number of characters for a regular SMS (text message), so that’s a good goal.
(But don’t worry if you occasionally need to send longer messages; your recipients’ phones will still be able to process them.)
Texting is something we all do.
That includes you, your family and friends, your co-workers and employees, and your customers.
The more equipped you are as a texter, the easier it will be to navigate all the in’s and out’s of this prevalent means of communication.
And especially if you use texting in your business, you want to be the best communicator you can be and get the most sales out of your texting efforts.
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