This article provides some best practices for Admins to keep in mind to help prevent excessive text message, or message, usage.
Text message notifications are limited to 160 characters. We make it easy for an Admin to see how many characters long a text message is in the Message Customization section of the Send Alert form.
For text messages that are over 160 characters long, you will need to expand the Message Customization field and make adjustments.
Once you expand the Message Customization field for the text message, you have a couple of options. If the message is already close to 160 characters, you can make slight adjustments to the text to bring the character count down. Keeping your character count under 160 characters will ensure the SMS message arrives at the recipients' phones in only one segment.
If you're close to 160 characters, below are some easy changes that will quickly help reduce character count:
- Replace and with &
- Replace 11:00 with 11
- Replace three with 3
If you find yourself regularly drafting internal alerts that exceed 160 characters, consider encouraging staff to download and use the CivicReady app. We recommend that you send lengthy internal alerts as CivicReady app notifications or voice calls.
For public alerts that exceed 160 characters, we recommend that you use the Add link to message checkbox, located below the Message Body editor box. Do not use the Add link to message feature for internal alerts.
Add Link to Message Feature
When you check the Add link to message checkbox below the Message Body editor box on the Send Alert form, a custom webpage will be created that contains the full message content.
The custom web link will be appended to your text message automatically.
You can then edit the text message, and significantly reduce the character count, noting that full details are accessible at the "following link." The link is appended at the end of your text message automatically, so you don't have to paste it into your Text Message field under Message Customization.
Many organizations prefer to send a text message in a critical situation to be able to quickly capture their audience's attention because we all know how quickly email inboxes can become overwhelming and overfilled with emails.
Considered sending a simultaneous email and text, with a robust, detailed email and a brief, simple text. The text message can be the attention grabber- sending the recipient off to read the simultaneously received email, or you can use the Add link to message feature as outlined in this article.