Category Archives: Text Messaging Questions and Answers

4 Ways Text Messaging Can Improve Your Patron Communications

vote

A recent Pew study revealed that 80 percent of American cell phone owners use text messaging as a means of communication, sending or receiving an average of 41.5 text messages per day. For the 18-24 age group, 97 percent of cell phone owners text, sending or receiving an average of 109.5 texts per day.

One look at these numbers and you know instantly how to reach a majority of your current library patrons and an even greater majority of tomorrow’s library patrons: via text.

Text messaging is a fast and efficient means of communicating with your library patrons and there are many ways in which you can use text messaging to improve your patron communications. Here are just a few types of messages you can communicate to your patrons via text:

1. Circulation Notices Such as Holds and Overdues.

Emails today convey much less of a sense of urgency than they did a few years ago, especially to younger library patrons. To catch your users’ attention with important circulation notices, try sending them via text instead of email. This way, they can act on the notices immediately.

2. Promotional Polls and Contests

A great way to keep your patrons engaged is to link promotions to programming and other library events. Your library can have contests where you send out polls or questions via text for prizes such as first row seats to an upcoming speaker (ie. “The first three patrons to text us the author of Tender Is the Night win front row seats to our October Author Speaker Series Event”). You can also hold a text vote to choose between two programming possibilities for an upcoming date.

3. URLs to Newsletters or Other Library Publications

Does your library publish a monthly newsletter? A terrific way to get the newsletter into the hands of your patrons so they may have immediate access is to send them a short text with the URL right when it is published. Your patrons can be reading the newsletter that your staff worked so hard on literally within seconds of publication.

4. Programming Reminders

In today’s fast-paced and information-packed world, we need to be reminded of things. A great way to promote your library programs is to send your patrons text reminders of upcoming events, along with URLs linking to further information if available. This way, they can check their schedules on the go and even add the events directly from your text to their calendars.

Try these text messaging tips to improve communications at your library. We think your patrons will appreciate it.

“Text a Librarian? I didn’t know you could do that.”

We always wear our Text a Librarian T-Shirts (especially because we just got them in new colors). To work, on the weekends, whenever. Other than my “You Don’t Like Clowns?” tee from Headline Shirts, my Text a Librarian shirt starts the most conversations of any I wear. People always smile, some understand it immediately, some ask what it is and how it works, but the number one thing we hear is “I didn’t know you could do that!” Then, when we explain the context of it, being able to ask reference questions, see if a book is available and put it on hold, get notices about events happening in the library, the next thing always said is “what a great idea” followed by asking us which libraries offer the service.

Whether you use our service or someone else’s, we encourage you to keep letting everyone know you can Text a Librarian. More people will be pleased to know! :)

The iPad, Tablets and E-Readers in Libraries: Game Changers or Are They Just Another Mobile Technology?

My wife loves to read magazines and books every night after work. I love to read articles on my iPhone. The problem is that when you’re reading a magazine or a book, it’s obvious what you’re doing. When I’m “reading” my iPhone, in her eyes, I’m working. Yes, some of them are articles, news and blog posts about work, but many other times they are not. I can’t think of too many other reasons currently why I’d like an iPad, which is being announced by Apple tomorrow.

Note: I have $.50 riding on the fact that it’s called an iPad and plan on using my winnings to pay for half of a bus ride on MUNI.

There has been a lot of talk around the office about what this and other e-readers will do for the publishing industry and we’ve signed up to get our Kindle Devloper’s Kit, but based on some of the recent news and talks that happened at ALA Midwinter recently, it got me thinking again about libraries and how e-readers and specifically the iPad will change or not change libraries.

Here’s what I’ve determined: Outside of the discussions going on about mobile technologies in libraries, I don’t think it will change it too much. The iPad will offer some great new graphic interfaces where buttons will be bigger, browsing experiences will be more tactile (as the iPhone and other mobile phones do), but e-readers and libraries becoming more mobile-friendly will play into the fact that an iPad will just be a bigger version of the iPhone. Obviously at this point I haven’t seen one, so I’ll update if I’m wrong, but I can’t help myself in thinking people will be holding up the iPad to their ears as a silly joke, looking like they’re talking on an iPhone.

So we’re back to mobile. Do I think libraries should start spending money and resources to develop iPad Apps? Absolutely not. In fact, we don’t think libraries should spend money and resources on iPhone Apps. If you need some great reasons, Michelle Kraft (AKA the Krafty Librarian) just wrote a great piece called “Stop the App Madness” and Jason Griffey’s proclamation of 2010 being the Death of the App is actually something we’ve talked about a lot over here. And while it’s great to see these things talked about in the library community, we’ve noticed that Google is betting on the mobile web, plus some research stating that the cloud will replace mobile apps (and their stores) in the next five years.

All of this said, I’m looking forward to seeing how the iPad and e-readers “change” libraries, but only time will tell. In the meantime, I’m really looking forward to seeing what it looks like and ultimately what it does, other than to let my wife know I’m reading and not answering work emails.

Simplicity in Mobile Software: Showing Instead of Telling

Simplicity in Mobile Software Design

In Simplicity We Trust.

One of the most difficult parts about being a start up is focus. Initially you look at a bunch of different ways your product solves problems in the name of getting customers. After you get a handful of customers buying your product, you’d think that problem would go away, you’d have more confidence in what you are building. In fact, the opposite is true, because now you have even more people thinking of new interesting and amazing things that you should add to make your software better, faster and easier to use. The more features and functions you add, however, the harder your software is to use.

We’ve collectively made a decision here to stick to simple. With the mission of making mobile technologies simple and accessible to more companies and organizations, we’ve collectively come to realize that simplicity starts with us. For our Text a Librarian and 2-way text messaging software it starts with believing in the “Big Red Answer Button” (a mantra that came from hearing one of our customers explain why she loved using our software).

Big Red Answer Button

In most others, however, it has come down to one thing: Showing, not telling. This means using visuals, videos, use cases, etc to illustrate our usefulness and reducing the amount of words used. This direction feels good. It didn’t come easy, but with everyone on board, it is easier to explain what we do and people are getting it.

Here’s to simplicity in 2010!

For those of you interested in learning more, here’s a link to the Ten Laws of Simplicity. It has played a vital role (along with us collectively asking “is it easy to understand?” at every turning point) in use moving this way heading into the new year.

News: Mosio Announces Show360 Mobile for Complete Conference and Trade Show Information Experiences

Web-Based Software and Managed Interactive Mobile Solutions for Event Management, Organizers and Exhibitors

San Francisco, CA December 14, 2009 — Mosio, an award winning mobile technologies company providing messaging and mobile web solutions for businesses and organizations, today announced the launch of Show360 Mobile, a suite of interactive mobile solutions for the conference and event industries.

Show360 combines hosted, on-demand mobile messaging software and managed services, enabling show organizers and exhibitors to maximize the interactive mobile experiences for attendees while they are on-the-go, regardless of phone type.

Conference attendance is down considerably in 2009. Corporate travel restrictions are forcing attendees and exhibitors to look for cost-effective, manageable ways to get the most out of their show budgets and informational experiences. Mobile technologies provide a proven method of increasing attendee engagement and satisfaction, as well as decreasing expenses for exhibitors and event producers.

“Building on over 3 decades of events experience, the Mosio team set out to create Show360 with two goals: Offer cost-effective mobile technologies that are easy for businesses and organizations to implement; and make mobile services available to as many attendees as possible,” says Noel Chandler, Co-Founder and CEO of Mosio.

“Most of the current mobile information services operate on rented hardware or require attendees to download an application to a smart phone. This alienates a massive amount of event-goers eager to access mobile information. Show360 utilizes text messaging and the mobile web to reach more attendees and exhibitors no matter where they are,” adds Chandler.

Show360 Mobile enables show management and organizers to:

  • Interact live with exhibitors and attendees via mobile text messaging. Mosio’s web-based technology can be used as a simple way for attendees to get general event information or for Q&A at breakout sessions and speaker panels.
  • Collect real-time feedback and comments from exhibitors and attendees.
  • Offer quick conference and event information, accessible to on-the-go attendees without mobile application development costs.
  • Take part in the social media conversation and trending by efficiently posting attendee comments and feedback to Twitter and Facebook during and after the event.

Mosio’s Show360 enables exhibitors to:

  • Generate sales leads and send marketing materials in real-time through Mocardsâ„¢, Mosio’s mobile alternative to printed documents, presentations and collateral.
  • Create mobile marketing and text messaging programs to drive customer interaction on their mobile devices during and after the conference.
  • Reduce expenses via a direct response technology on devices attendees always have with them: mobile phones.

More Show360 advantages:

  • Dynamic mobile marketing opportunities for sponsors provide an additional source of revenue and put brands, products and services in the pockets and purses of all attendees.
  • The technologies provide a green alternative for printed materials and reduce post-event waste caused by outdated marketing collateral

Mosio provides clients with a single technology vendor to manage all mobile event solutions. The on-demand mobile messaging platform is available via monthly subscription with a limited 14-day trial account. Managed services are built on Mosio’s web-based platform, tailored to meet specific client needs and goals.

For information about Show360′s mobile solutions for events and conferences, visit:
http://www.mosio.com/biz/show360

About Mosio
Mosio is a mobile software and solutions company providing messaging and mobile web solutions for businesses and organizations. Mosio helps clients connect with customers on-the-go, using their mobile presence as a competitive advantage to increase sales and brand loyalty, both on and offline.

More than 250 organizations have implemented Mosio’s mobile technologies, including event-specific solutions for: Novian Health, Information Today, American Library Association, Performance Pricing, Entertainment Technology Center, Movember Foundation, GoldMail.

Info: http://www.mosio.com

Text Messaging: The New 800 Number in Customer Service and Advertising Response

Traditional Customer Feedback

Click for Larger Image

Augmenting Toll Free 800 Numbers With Mobile Text Messaging for Customer Service
Americans are texting more than they’re talking, a trend that’s likely to grow more than slow down over the next 5-10 years. It’s easy and it’s quick. The popularity and usage of texting is no surprise as the on-the-go lifestyle ends up being more like living than a style type. The truth is, people are still going to use the phone to talk, but the growing usage of text messaging across all demographics shows more people prefer text messaging.

Customers Will Be Heard
The bell curve above illustrates how customer feedback has traditionally been given: in person, comment card, telephone and email. It used to be an extremely effective way to give feedback to a company. But with the growth of social media, customers are being heard by their friends, co-workers and strangers whether they are happy or unhappy with a product or service. Some companies have taken to Twitter to handle customer service issues, but “we’re on Twitter” is not a social media customer service strategy (and it’s certainly not a mobile customer service strategy).

I’m not suggesting companies using Twitter don’t continue to do so, but reacting to a tweet about a bad experience is like someone yelling “this food sucks!” in a crowded restaurant: you can run over and help your upset patron, but the damage has been done. That’s the obvious reason why so many companies are jumping into the social media space: they have to do so to protect their brand image. But there’s another way to protect one’s brand image: make yourself more available to communicate directly with your customers.

Text Messaging: New Customer Conversations

Click for Larger Image

Text Messages: Direct Customer Conversations
If people are texting twice as much as they are talking and they’re using text messaging and mobile apps on their phones to update their status and communicate with friends, companies need to make themselves available via the mobile channel. People are posting their loves and dislikes for a product or service on social media services because it’s easy to do so. Integrating text messaging gives companies an opportunity to start a customer conversation using the medium customers prefer and keep the conversation between them. Is it going to stop everyone from ranting on updates and blogs when they’re upset? No, but it opens up dialogue with more possible customers at a fraction of the cost of 800 tolls or chasing down posts online.

Text Messaging Beyond Customer Service: Direct Response in Marketing and Advertising
I hate the word “blast” when it comes to mobile marketing and it’s a word used far too often in our industry. Customers don’t want to be blasted on their mobile phones. In fact, it’s the last place they’d want to be communicated with in such a way. The mobile medium offers so much to traditional advertising with more and more research showing mobile getting better response rates than online advertising.

We soft launched a mobile advertising response product with a few marketing and advertising agencies and are getting great feedback. The system lets customers help themselves get more information immediately using their mobile devices. Text messaging as a method of responding to ads, whether they be print, TV, billboards, posters or flyers is going to be a huge hit in 2010 and beyond. Used in customer service, direct response or as a helpline for a brand, mobile text messaging is still in its infancy. What’s better, you don’t need “an app for that” to use it in your business.

For information on how Mosio can help you set up mobile text messaging customer satisfaction, service and feedback systems,contact us or visit www.mosio.com.

Text Messaging Use in Helplines, Hotlines and Info Lines

Help and Info is Only a Text Away

Yesterday Scarleteen, a free sexuality information resource for teens and young adults went live with their Text Scarleteen service. I’ve been quite impressed by the buzz already surrounding their launch of the service in the first day (and their graphic, above, is great as well). Owned and operated by Heather Corinna (plus a handful of volunteers), Scarleteen provides service to approximately 20-30,000 young adults per month internationally. Heather and her team seem to have no trouble getting traffic to the website where they can ask questions via email or read and respond to messages on their message board.

Scarleteen’s use of text messaging in this way isn’t augmenting a phone line, but rather using it as an additional way for young people to get in touch with someone who cares when they’re out in the world. Last month I wrote a post on our mobile answers blog called “sex and health education for teens and young adults via mobile text messaging – private, personal, anonymous, and effective” pointing out some of the reasons we’ve been contacted lately by health centers and services on campuses and in the community. In a recent meeting with an organization that provides youth lines, they told us that their phone call volumes were going down. It makes sense. Americans on average, text twice as much as they talk on their mobile devices. If teens aren’t talking to their friends as much on the phone, preferring texting, then it’s not going to be their first choice in communication tool for speaking to hotlines or helplines. The organization that we met with knows using text messaging to communicate will prove to be more successful. I’d argue this is the case not only for teens, but 20-35 year olds as well, even if for different reasons.

Consumers expect businesses to have a website. They expect many businesses to have a toll-free number. If your audience carries a mobile phone, they’re going to expect to communicate with you on that device and behaviors are showing that it’s not going to be talking.

More and more libraries are beginning to understand this and moving that way. They use text messaging as a way to extend their outreach, expand their walls and communicate with patrons wherever they are. It’s an exciting movement and very fun to watch. What we’re seeing with our customers is the understanding that simply having texting capabilities isn’t enough. There has to be a way to collaborate, archive, search, run statistics and become more efficient in responding through the mobile medium. We’re happy they’re choosing us to do so and are getting more and more interest in our text messaging for hotlines, helplines and info lines software.

Below I’ve reposted the “9 reasons to use mobile messaging for sex and health education for teens and young adults” in case you haven’t seen it yet. Most of the reasons below can be applied to any organization in communicating with all U.S. mobile phone users these days, not just the younger demographic, but that’s for another post.

9 Reasons to use Mobile Text Messaging for Sex and Health Education for Teens and Young Adults

1. Their mobile phone is everywhere they are. Phones are in their pockets and in their purses, everywhere they go. Text messaging offers a quick, discrete method of communication whenever and wherever advice is needed.

2. Text messaging technologies exist that provide anonymous interactions, allowing conversations to be private and confidential.

3. It is difficult to get over the hurdle of calling or coming in face-to-face for advice or help. Starting the conversation via text messaging can lead to more personal interactions (phone or appointment) once a level of comfort has been reached.

4. 80% of 18-34 year olds report cell phone as “lifeline” in a recent survey conducted by Sprint.

5. “Sexting” is a real problem. Utilizing the same medium to educate students can make a positive impact on negative behavior. They are obviously communicating about sex with their peers through text messaging & mobile photos, so this channel is open for healthier conversations.

6. 71% of teens and 90% of college students own a cell phone (Pew Internet and Student Monitor, respectively).  Not all own computers or have the privacy at home to be able to consult health professionals and sex education specialists.

7. Young people already understand texting can be used beyond peer-to-peer interactions. American Idol and youth-targeted marketing campaigns have done this for years, so there is no obstacle or major challenge for them to understand how a text messaging service works.

8. Quick, immediate, real-time availability by health services/information specialists can help prevent delayed, long-term issues.

9. It is a lot easier than you may think to implement a text message service and information helpline to reach more teens and young adults.