The #1 goal of communicating with students is to keep them engaged. With so many communication channels to leverage, it seems like we’re always one step behind students. It’s tempting to follow students from trend to trend as they move from Instagram to Snapchat and from WhatsApp to Kik. Before you do that, ask yourself: What’s the difference among these apps, and which one is most effective?
Messaging apps may seem quick and easy – but that’s only after you download them. Less than half of young adults who own smartphones use apps such as WhatsApp, Kik, or Viber. That extra hurdle of downloading apps means that you’ll lose many of the students you’re seeking to engage. And don’t forget that not every student owns a smartphone. Popular messaging applications are not supported by older, more basic phones.
Social Media Sites
Facebook and similar social media sites are a little better at engaging students. 70% of Facebook users check the site daily, with 43% checking Facebook multiple times each day. Schools and organizations use Facebook to market themselves, so Facebook is a more public communication channel. It’s easy for students to tune out your messages among the daily deluge of ads, promotions, and events. Facebook Messenger is more personal, but it again requires a smartphone download or computer login.
So where does that leave educators? With good old SMS text messaging, of course! Text messaging is a unique engagement tool for several reasons. After more than fifteen years, texting’s still one of the most common forms of contact. Any cell phone is capable of text messaging, which is great news for the 15% of young adults who only own a basic cellphone. Text messaging is much more personal because most people only share their cell phone numbers with friends, family, and other trusted individuals. Texting isn’t a public forum, so it can’t be diluted by advertisements or company promotions. Maybe that’s why 97% of text messages are opened and read!
Despite the flood of new communication applications, texting is still the #1 way that students and young adults communicate. Texting is interactive, personal, and cuts through the noise to get students the information they need, when they need it. Messaging apps come and go, but texting is here to stay.
Learn how to start texting students today.