SMS Best Practice: How to Optimize Your Text Messages

by Signal Vine | August 30, 2021
SMS Best Practice: How to Optimize Your Text Messages

Successful texting practices begin with efficient product enhancements, such as removing character limits and requirements. By adjusting our texting environments and procedures, text messages can be optimized for enhanced communication with students. 

How you can optimize your text messages

Before you start your next message here is a quick four-point plan to optimize each text you send.


It’s important to remember you are not re-creating an email message via text. Rather, the text channel works best when you are brief with a single call to action so you get the desired outcome. Use a link or infographic that catches the eye to provide an update for viewers.

Signal Vine texting allows 1600 characters per text. As a general rule of thumb, keep your initial message to 3 texts or 480 characters, however, we highly recommend one message.

As you are drafting your text, start with the why. Why does this matter to the student and how might they respond? Signal Vine's texting allows you to anticipate student responses and set up automation that is relevant and keeps students moving to their desired end goal.


You will have set expectations with students for response times when you started texting, but you will want to be available for that initial response. Whether you are asking for a response or not; often your outreach will spur them to ask you an unrelated question. Thus, send at a time when the team is able to reply within 24 hours. From our experience, 60% of the students that will reply to you will do so in 4 minutes.


It is important to have a common tone and voice so that the student experience is consistent, regardless of who is responding. The Signal Vine platform provides the benefit of a seamless handoff with a defined set of established phone numbers for your department. This allows you to optimize your staff workload by having many advisors or counselors working with the same students at the same time. 

From the students’ perspective, they’re speaking with an advisor they know from a phone number. Remember, if the first response is super bubbly and the second is just professional, the student may read into the text thinking they did something wrong. Use structured automated messages for common responses so the platform will work for you. In addition to regular training, also make sure that everyone has access to common responses that students may be seeking.

Lastly, switch it up. Keep students engaged with fun gifs and help the advisor/advisee relationship - just do not go overboard and keep them under 500 KBs!


The most important lever to ensure students respond or take action on the messages you are sending is by personalizing your communication beyond using a first name in your messages.

First, never ask them to do something that they have already done. Second, show them that it is all about them by specifying groups and the relevance of messages that are directly applicable to where the student is in the process. 

This is a generation of students who are digitally fluent, interact with bots often, and will look for opportunities to expose bots when they are interacting with them. We’re firm believers in automation and in the future of AI and we believe personalization and specifically people will be the key to making AI successful. It’s only as good as the people behind it.

Interested in learning more about how to optimize your messages or to better understand what types of messages to send? 

Learn how to help rising sophomores feel a part of the college community.
Learn how to help rising sophomores feel a part of the college community.
Download our ebook

Connect with your students, prospects, and alumni at each stage of their educational journey.

Explore the leading texting platform for higher education.