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Texting Etiquette: 7 Rules for Better Engagement

Sep 30, 2021

Texting has long been a convenient, efficient method of communication. We often talk about texting customers, but 70 percent of professionals also believe texting should be used for interoffice communications. It’s important to remember that text message etiquette rules apply whether you’re texting friends, customers, or employees within your business.

Table of Contents

  • Texting Etiquette Rules to Know as an Individual
  • Texting Etiquette Rules to Know as a Business
  • When Is It Appropriate to Text Employees?


Texting Etiquette Rules to Know as an Individual

It's easy to get caught up in the convenience and speed of communication offered by our smartphones and other devices. However, it's important to remember that etiquette still plays a crucial role in our interactions, both online and offline. Here are some general etiquette tips to keep in mind:

  • Avoid texting during movies or other events: When you're in a public setting like a movie theater or attending a live performance, it's best to keep your phone on silent and refrain from texting. Not only can the bright screen be distracting to those around you, but it's also disrespectful to the performers or those trying to enjoy the experience.
  • Be mindful of the timing and content of your texts: While texting can be a quick and convenient way to communicate, it's important to consider the timing and content of your messages. Avoid sending important or sensitive news via text, especially if it's something that warrants a more personal or face-to-face conversation. Instead, opt for a phone call or meeting in person to ensure the message is delivered with the appropriate tone and sensitivity.
  • Respect people's boundaries and preferences: Not everyone may be comfortable communicating via text, so it's important to respect people's preferences when it comes to digital communication. If someone prefers phone calls or face-to-face interactions, try to accommodate their preferences whenever possible.
  • Use proper language and tone: Just because you're communicating digitally doesn't mean you can forgo basic manners and etiquette. Especially if you’re texting someone you don’t have a well-established relationship with, use proper language and tone in your texts, avoiding slang or offensive language that could be misinterpreted or offensive to the recipient.
  • Be mindful of group chats: Group chats can be a fun and convenient way to communicate with multiple people at once, but it's important to be mindful of the conversation and avoid spamming or overwhelming others with unnecessary messages. Keep the conversation relevant and considerate of everyone involved.


Texting Etiquette Rules to Know as a Business 

As a business, you often have less flexibility in terms of what you can and can’t say over a text. Here’s our ultimate guide to professional texting etiquette tips for your business and employee communications. 

1. Be Mindful of Your Timing

Because texting is one of the most direct forms of communication, pay attention to the time of day you send a message. For example, are you texting after work hours? If so, do you expect your employees to respond promptly?

Try to avoid texting employees outside of work hours, not only out of respect for their time but also to ensure they don’t miss any important messages.

2. Make Sure Your Tone Is Clear 

Because it’s designed to be short and fast, texting can come across in unintended ways. For example, you may sound harsher or more demanding than you think.

Try to write in complete sentences to avoid sounding rude. Always read your messages aloud to double-check your tone of voice and ensure your message comes across as intended before you hit send. Don’t forget to use polite language like “please” and “thank you.”

3. Don’t Assume When Using Abbreviations

Don’t assume everyone understands acronyms and abbreviations that you know and use frequently. If you need to save on space, stick to widely known shorthand, like ASAP or FYI, so your recipients understand your message.

Avoid less professional abbreviations, like “WTF,” for example. As a general rule, we recommend avoiding any acronyms that you wouldn’t be comfortable saying out loud to your employees.

4. Don’t Use Text Messaging For Sensitive Announcements

While sending a text message is easy and convenient, avoid sharing bad news or negative feedback via text. Not only does this risk misinterpretation, but sensitive topics are better discussed in person.

To communicate significant company changes that require further context, consider sending critical information in an email. Then, send a text blast to your team afterward to remind them to check their email inbox.

5. Use Discretion With Emojis

Many brands use emojis while texting their customers to convey a casual, friendly tone. But there is a time and place for emojis, and sending a professional text message might not be it.

In most cases, we recommend avoiding emojis since they can cause confusion or even offend your recipients. However, suppose you’re sending a positive message, like announcing how much sales have improved over the year. In that case, you can use emojis (like smiley faces) while still adhering to business messaging etiquette.

Emojis can also humanize your brand and encourage engagement, as long as you stick to using relevant emojis when appropriate. For example, if an employee doesn’t respond with a light-hearted tone, that indicates that you should leave the emojis out. 

6. Keep it Short

As you would for customer messages, keep employee texts short to make it easy to act on the information.

Include a clear call to action, like a link to set up direct deposit or enroll in your benefits program. That way, you can ensure your employees know the next step.

7. Remember Your Purpose

When you set up your SMS marketing platform to send messages to your employees, start by defining specific reasons to send a text message. For example, do you want to use text communication to share only important alerts and updates, like changes to the shift schedule or hours of operation? Or maybe you only want to send automated meeting reminders?

Please don’t abuse your employees’ trust by using your system for something other than its intended purpose. For example, if you spam your team with too many texts, they might stop reading your messages and miss a critical memo.


When Is It Appropriate to Text Employees?

Texting your employees offers many benefits to your organization. For example, you can send out security alerts if there is an accident on site, warning employees not to come into the office. You can even set up automatic reminder text messages to ensure your employees don’t miss any meetings or schedule changes.

SMS text messages effectively convey important information and engage recipients, whether they’re your customers or your employees. If you want to start texting your employees, here are some templates to help you get started.

Company Events

Hi [First Name], we’ve planned our annual company retreat for Monday, 3/14 to Wednesday, 3/16! Let us know if you have any dietary restrictions or other accommodation requests soon so we can plan accordingly. We’re excited to see you there!

Pro tip: If you need your employees to RSVP by a specific time, include the deadline and a link to RSVP.

Holiday Reminders

Just a reminder that the office will be closed for the holidays from Friday 12/23 to Monday 1/2. Don’t forget to submit any invoices for December by the end of the month. Happy holidays!

Meeting Reminders

Reminder: You have a meeting with [Client Name] tomorrow at 2 pm at [Location].

Reminder: You have a meeting with [Team] today at 3 pm in the conference room.

HR Announcements

The deadline to enroll in our employee benefits program is Monday 5/30. To register or make changes to your benefits, use the online portal: [Link] If you have any questions, please contact John in HR at john.smith@companyname.com

Pro tip: Schedule automated reminders that go out one month, two weeks and one week before an important deadline.

Company Announcements

Our latest product campaign was featured in Ad Age! [Link]. We couldn’t have done it without the hard work and dedication of our team, so congratulations! 🎉

The results are in: Our Q2 sales are up 102% from last year! Congrats to our sales team for chasing down leads and finding new clients 🥳 Let’s keep it going for Q3!

Security Alerts

Campus staff: We are on lockdown. Initiate lockdown protocol and shelter in place until you receive the all-clear from this phone number. If you need help, call or text the campus emergency line at [Phone Number]

Pro tip: People can still receive text messages even if the internet is down, so always send text messages to communicate urgent, time-sensitive information in an emergency.


Start Business Texting With Textedly

Professional text message etiquette isn’t too complicated once you know all the dos and don’ts. Using SMS for internal communication results in better open rates and text message campaigns that you can track. You can send anything from a text blast to the entire team to personalized meeting reminders with a robust SMS marketing platform like Textedly.

In addition to mass group texting and appointment reminders, Textedly has two-way SMS so you can talk to an employee one-on-one. You can also use scheduled text messages to make sharing important company-wide announcements easier than ever.

Sign up for a free trial of Textedly and start texting both your customers and employees today.