SMS Messaging Service and Other Ways to Improve Your School’s Communication Standards

January 17, 2018 | Back to the Blog

Are you tired of hearing from parents that they never received your messages?

If you’ve been struggling to find the best way to communicate with the parents and teachers at your school, you’re not alone.

With so many different types of communication options available, it can be tough to determine which one is best to use.

Should you email your teachers and parents?

Or should you reach out via social media?

This also begs the question: What’s actually the best way to stay in touch?

The truth is, there are several different ways to communicate with parents and faculty, and they each serve a different purpose.

If you’re not using the right communication channels, it’s no wonder your messages aren’t getting through.

Here’s the good news: Today’s article will cover all the best communication channels to use at your school. And we’ll even talk about when you should use them for maximum effectiveness.

Don’t struggle with staying in touch; start improving your school’s communication starting today.

Let’s talk about the right platforms your school should be using to get the ball rolling.

Find the Right Communication Platform

Instead of trying to use every communication method possible, fine tune your approach and keep these tips in mind.

#1: Longer Messages Should Be Sent Via Email

For many schools, the go-to and preferred communication method is usually email, and it’s easy to see why.

Most people know how to send and receive emails, they’re pretty inexpensive to use, and they leave a nice electronic paper trail of messages that can be referred back to if needed.

The problem is that the average person receives over 100+ emails every single day. That means any messages you send must compete with all of those just to capture your recipient’s attention.

You may have experienced this yourself when parents and faculty complain about not receiving your emails. Despite the fact that you sent them, only a handful of recipients seem to actually get them.

It’s not that your emails didn’t go through. Rather, it’s that your emails didn’t stand out enough in your recipient’s cluttered inbox.

Since this is such a growing problem for teachers and parents these days, it’s essential that you reconsider how much you’re using this method of communication.

Ideally, you should limit your email usage to longer, more detailed messages only. Think: messages you’d want (or need) a record of or a paper trail to refer back to if necessary.

Examples of these types of emails could be like a quarterly update on a child’s performance or areas that need further discussion from a teacher.

You should use one of the other communication methods on our list for all your other messages, as we’ll see next.

#2: Use an SMS Messaging Service for Quick Updates & Private Chats

Text messages may not have been your first go-to when it comes to communicating with parents and other faculty, but it’s one method you should reconsider and start using more often.

Mass texts are great for quickly getting your messages and important updates out to a small or large group of parents or coworkers.

You could send texts to parents signing up to chaperone the next field trip or a group of coworkers interested in decorating for your annual fundraiser.

And, just like with email, texts are easy to use and affordable.

Most of us are already glued to our phone and are pretty comfortable texting friends and family, so the learning curve is almost non-existent.

As for costs, many SMS messaging services are cheaper to use than emails. Your school won’t incur too much of an investment to get started and may actually save money in the long run.

On top of that, text messages bypass overflowing email inboxes and busy social feeds.

So instead of competing for attention, your messages will be the only ones to stand out.

This benefit is especially important when you’re trying to communicate important and urgent messages.

With a 99% open rate, you’ll never have to worry if your parents or coworkers saw your message again.

Keep in mind, to get these types of benefits, you can’t just start texting parents from your personal phone plan.

Instead, your school should invest in an affordable SMS service.

This type of service gives you the ability to segment your subscriber list so you can tailor your messages to the right parents and coworkers.

You’ll be able to send general group messages as well as private ones if you need. You can also create new groups at will.

If only a fraction of your parents volunteered for your upcoming class trip, for example, you can send only those subscribers important updates instead of bombarding every parent on your list.

By doing this, you’ll ensure that your messages are read by the right people and not overlooked.

You can also set up and send reminder texts ahead of time using an SMS messaging service. This is something your personal phone plan cannot offer.

With this feature, you’ll be able to knock out all of your reminder messages at once by scheduling their deliveries ahead of time.

When your event rolls around and you’re swamped with things to do, you can relax knowing that your friendly reminder nudges are taken care of.

This type of automation will save you time and headaches in both the short and long term.

You’ll also have deliverability reports that show you if a parent received your message so there’s no more wondering if it really went through.

Now, you may be thinking, Why can’t I just use social media to do this instead?

I’ll discuss the answer to this question next.

#3: Event Details Belong on Social Media

Social media is another easy and affordable communication method for your school.

But before you decide to go the social media-only route, consider these two questions:

  1. When was the last time you posted to social media?
  2. How did it go? (i.e., What was your response rate?)=

Chances are, the answers to those questions are: It’s been awhile and not very good.

This is a common problem many schools face.

With algorithms that are constantly changing and already crowded social feeds, it’s a huge challenge to get your social posts noticed. And it’s an even bigger hurdle to get people to actually engage with them.

Plus, if you’re not posting regularly (which many schools have trouble doing), you’ll be starting from scratch each time you have to dust off the virtual cobwebs.

So does this mean you should stop using social media altogether?

Not exactly.

There is a time and place where it shines: your school’s social events.

Since social media already has a social element to it, it becomes the ideal place to broadcast your event details.

Each time you have an event at your school, create an event page on Facebook with all the details and start posting updates each week leading up to the event.

You can and should also do this on your website. But when it comes to people asking questions or interacting pre-event, social media should be the place to go.

Take the attendance rate of your school’s events to the next level by combining social media and an SMS messaging service.

Send text updates with a link to your event page to your subscribers to really drum up awareness and excitement.

You can even use automated reminders to ensure that your parents and faculty know the date is fast approaching, which is something you can’t do with social media.

Now that you have a better idea of which communication methods are going to give you the best results — and you know when to use each one — you’re ready to move to the next step: setting the communication standard for your school.

Set the Communication Standard

Create a communication standard that everyone on your team can follow and you’ll have a streamlined system that parents and faculty can depend on.

This should be a simple, one page document that outlines which methods of communication to use and when.

Taking our examples from today, that would look like:

  1. Use emails for longer messages you may need to refer back to later
  2. For shorter, urgent, and other time-sensitive updates, use text messages
  3. And for event details, create an event page on Facebook

For each category, set a few general ground rules (i.e., keep your texts short, use only one call-to-action, don’t send messages after 5 pm, etc.) so everyone is on the same page here.

It’s also a good idea to make another version of this document to give to parents so they also have an understanding of which method to expect and when.

By setting a standard communication protocol, you’ll drastically cut down on the communication breakdowns at your school.

And, by formally laying out which methods to use and when, you’ll also eliminate confusion and the chances of your messages going unnoticed.

Improve Your School’s Communication Standard Today

Ready to start improving your school’s communication methods?

To get started, find an affordable SMS service and then work on creating a universal communication protocol that both your parents and faculty can adhere to.

Remember that longer messages should be kept to emails while event details are best left on social media sites.

Everything in between should go through individual texts or mass texts. Don’t forget to create smaller sub-groups of recipients so you’re not bombarding all of the parents on your list with information only a few need.

Tackle these items and you’ll quickly see a noticeable improvement in your school’s communication — for very little effort on your end.

 

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About James Pelton

James Pelton is the Founder and CEO of Mobile Text Alerts

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