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How to Use Texting Acronyms in Business (The Right Way)

Jul 13, 2020

SMS campaigns are useful for communicating promotions, sales and valuable information to your customers. But when you have a lot to say, it can be tough to keep your message short and sweet.

Text message abbreviations help you stay within character count limits without diluting your message's value. In this blog, we’ll share 40+ common abbreviations you should know – and some business-savvy tips for using them properly. 

40+ Common Text Abbreviations for Businesses 

Are you regularly Googling text acronyms? Here’s an alphabetized list of common text abbreviations you can safely use in your business communications.

  • AKA: Also Known As
  • ASAP: As Soon As Possible
  • BRB: Be Right Back
  • BTW: By The Way
  • CTA: Call To Action
  • DIY: Do It Yourself
  • DND: Do Not Disturb
  • EOD: End Of Day
  • FAQ: Frequently Asked Question
  • FYI: For Your Information
  • ICYMI: In Case You Missed It
  • IDK: I Don’t Know
  • IRL: In Real Life
  • JK: Just Kidding
  • LMK: Let Me Know
  • MMS: Multimedia Messaging Service
  • MSG: Message
  • N/A: Not Applicable or Not Available
  • NP: No Problem
  • NSFW: Not Safe For Work
  • NVM: Nevermind
  • OOO: Out Of Office
  • POV: Point of View
  • QOTD: Quote of the Day
  • RFP: Request for Proposal
  • RN: Right Now
  • ROI: Return On Investment
  • SME: Subject Matter Expert
  • SMS: Short Message Service
  • T&C: Terms And Conditions
  • TBA: To Be Announced
  • TBD: To Be Determined/Decided
  • TBH: To Be Honest
  • TGIF: Thank God It’s Friday
  • TIA: Thanks In Advance
  • TL;DR: Too Long; Didn’t Read
  • TMI: Too Much Information
  • TMRW: Tomorrow
  • TTYL: Talk To You Later
  • TY: Thank You
  • UGC: User-Generated Content
  • WIP: Work In Progress
  • W/O: Without
  • YW: You’re Welcome

PRO TIP: The longer the acronym, the harder it is to decipher. Keep SMS abbreviations short and sweet to avoid confusion.

Why Should Businesses Use Texting Acronyms?

Texting acronyms have become so mainstream that we have trouble remembering the days before we used them.

In the early days of texting, cell phones required multiple presses on the number keypad to generate each letter. It wasn’t long before abbreviations became commonplace to save keystrokes and avoid additional phone charges for lengthy messages.

Once SMS marketing came along, it was only a matter of time before marketers adopted texting acronyms for relevance and brevity. 

If you plan on using texting acronyms in your SMS marketing campaigns, you should be mindful of a few guidelines for maximum impact. In the next section, we’ll dive into six best practices for using SMS abbreviations: 

  1. DO assess your audience
  2. DO keep it simple
  3. DON’T use outdated acronyms and slang
  4. DO understand the difference between texting acronyms and shorthand
  5. DO be professional
  6. DON’T abbreviate gratitude

6 Best Practices for Using Texting Acronyms 

Many common text abbreviations are natural and make sense, especially considering limited text real estate and audience attention span. Using SMS acronyms correctly can help get your message across naturally, achieving your communication goals while saving time. 

1. Assess Your Audience

Remember to use acronyms and lingo that your target market understands. If you have a broad customer base, segment your SMS marketing to tailor messages to each group so that your language and messaging is appropriate. 

2. Keep it Simple

Using a ton of acronyms in a single text message can end up looking like a word traffic jam. If your recipient has trouble “decoding” your message, they’ll skip or delete it. Limit usage of acronyms to one or two per text message. 

Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words. If sending a photo or image illustrates your point better, attach or link to one rather than being too wordy or using too many abbreviations.

3. Don’t Use Outdated Acronyms and Slang

As tempting as it is to use the latest acronyms, they’re often the ones that become dated the fastest. Sticking to common text abbreviations keeps you from defeating the purpose of communicating quickly and concisely. When in doubt, spell it out.

4. Understand the Difference Between Texting Acronyms and Shorthand 

Texting acronyms are abbreviations of phrases expressed as letters to save time. Shorthand is the abbreviation of singular words, like “4,” “2” and “C” (for, to and see). An abundance of shorthand is distracting, hard to read and ends up looking unprofessional.

5. Be Professional 

You should never use acronyms that include obscenities in business scenarios, whether it’s a  group text to employees or an SMS marketing promo. There are plenty of creative ways to express your message. 

Not only is profanity unprofessional, it’s also offensive to many people and can detract from your message and tarnish your reputation. Err on the side of caution and keep your texts on-brand but family-friendly.

6. Don’t Abbreviate Gratitude

While various forms of “thank you” exist (TY, TYVM, TIA -- thank you, thank you very much, thanks in advance) and are common, reconsider shortening expressions of gratitude. In our fast-paced world, saying thank you often gets brushed aside. 

Spelling out “thank you” consistently may help set your business apart by fostering teamwork, bolstering your brand and strengthening customer loyalty.

Connect With Your Customers Through Textedly 

Running text campaigns that get results can seem complicated. But it doesn’t have to be. 

Textedly offers simple SMS and MMS solutions for businesses in every industry.

Textedly is one of a few companies that offer a 300+ character limit message, enabling you to send longer texts than the traditional 160 character limit. Provide your customers with more comprehensive communications that drive engagement and sales.

Sign up for a free Textedly trial today!

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