Did you know 6 billion text messages are exchanged daily in the United States alone? SMS is a popular communication channel for many people – it’s quick, easy to use, and very direct.
Text messages are personal in nature; we tend to use them when communicating one-on-one with friends and family. But there are times when you might want to contact more than one person at the same time via SMS – this is especially the case for businesses.
For example, you might need to send a single message to your entire customer base to spread awareness about a new product. Or inform all staff that the offices are closed due to an emergency. Or share joining instructions (arrival times, etc.) with delegates for an event you’re organising.
Two ways to send one message to multiple people simultaneously are group SMS and mass texting.
What is group text messaging?
Group texting is when an SMS message is sent to two or more people. This turns the message into a group chat (also known as a group conversation, community or channel, depending on the service you’re using). A group chat is essentially a shared messaging space where multiple recipients can see each other’s texts and replies.
It’s not a private conversation like a one-to-one text chat – every group member can see who else is in the group. For this reason, group messaging is usually reserved for personal conversations between family, friends, and occasionally co-workers or members of a forum.
Services that offer group texting usually limit the number of participants you can have in one group.
How can I send a group SMS?
It’s easy to send group messages on both Android and iOS devices using traditional SMS and iMessage.
Sending group text messages on Android
An Android group chat uses Google Messages or Samsung Messages. It typically works like this:
Open up the Messages app and tap ‘Start Chat’.
Then tap ‘Create a group’ and select the contacts you want to add from your phone’s address book (or you can add numbers manually).
When you’re done, tap ‘Next’ and add your group name (optional).
You can then send SMS messages to all recipients in the group. Messages are sent via cellular networks.
If you want all members to see each other’s replies, you may have to switch to MMS. Otherwise, you could receive individual responses that are only visible to you as the group creator.
If all your recipients also use Android and you’re using the Google Messages app, you can switch on chat features which enable you to send texts over WiFi, see a typing indicator, share photos, etc. This is also known as RCS messaging, which gives you more feature-rich, internet-based chat options instead of basic SMS.
Sending group text messages for iOS
The process for setting up an iOS group message is very much the same as Android - you can simply add multiple recipients in the ‘To’ field before composing the message. Providing all recipients are Apple users, your messages will automatically be sent over WiFi or mobile data (as an iMessage rather than SMS).
Using an instant messaging app to send a group text message
Third-party instant messaging apps, such as Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Viber or WhatsApp, are also frequently used for group messaging. These offer the same benefits as RCS messaging in that you can attach a range of media content in messages (text, images, audio, video, etc.). You can see when someone is typing, and all members can see each other’s responses.
Messaging apps like these work over the internet, not cell networks. So for users to receive messages, they must be connected to WiFi or have mobile data enabled. Also, all users in a group must have the same app installed (you can’t carry out group messaging with some recipients on WhatsApp and others on Messenger, for instance.)
There are limits on the size of group chats depending on the app used. With Messenger, you can add up to 250 members in a single group. WhatsApp supports 1024 members, and Telegram 200,000.
So what’s mass texting?
Mass texting is also known as bulk SMS messaging, bulk texting or BCC texting. It’s a level up from group texts in that you can send to hundreds of thousands of recipients all at once (if you use an SMS provider).
It also differs from group texts because messages are sent individually to all recipients - and replies are sent privately in respective chat threads. Mass texting ensures anonymity for all recipients, as each person can’t see who else receives the message.
SMS group texts are sent over a cellular network using SMS protocol. This means recipients don’t need to be connected to the internet to receive the messages.
The best way to send mass texts
A professional SMS messaging platform gives you ample tools to manage an extensive subscriber database and send mass text campaigns in minutes. Messente is one such solution that offers a mass texting service.
Here’s how mass texting works using Messente’s platform:
First, you need to sign up for an account (free).
Then, upload your existing contacts into Messente’s ‘Phonebook’ or start collecting subscribers using a sign-up form.
At this point, you can segment your database into different groups if you wish, such as VIP customers, employees or inactive customers.
When you’re ready, you’ll compose a message and select the groups(s) you want to send to (there’s no limit on numbers). You can preview your campaign and how much it’ll cost to send. Pricing depends on SMS volume and destination.
Finally, you can send your text straight away or schedule it for a later time or date.
When you sign up with Messente, you’ll also get an API key for integrating Messente’s SMS API into your existing business systems. This opens up many opportunities like SMS automation and workflows, better campaign insights, etc.
Most SMS providers offer personalisation, where you can pull through customer-specific data into your messages, such as the recipient’s name or a product they’ve purchased. Some software also supports rich texts and MMS messages. However, this type of messaging is costlier than SMS because of the amount of data needed for transmission.
With mass texting, you can choose whether to allow recipients to reply or not. Sometimes, you might not need a response, in which case it’s best to set up one-way texting within the SMS platform.
How to choose between group messages and mass texts
There are several factors to consider when deciding whether to send group messages or mass texts. Use this handy table below as a guide.
Is mass texting right for your business?
This article explains the various ways you can send messages to groups of people. Mass texting could be your best option for sending a group message to many thousands of recipients for marketing or transactional purposes.
A group texting platform such as Messente helps you with contact management, one or two-way texting, campaign creation, message scheduling, and more. Get started with a free account.