7 Reasons Text Messaging is a Better Way to Engage Your Event Attendees than Anything You’re Using Now

If you think about it, the question and answer period of any corporate event is critical in the context of your audience’s experience: It’s a time for attendees to seek clarification and the last chance for you to positively impact your attendees. While there are many ways to engage an audience in Q&A, not all are created equal when it comes to effectiveness and efficiency. If you’re not using text messaging at your corporate events, you could be missing out on opportunities to maximize audience engagement.

Here are our top 7 reasons why text messaging engages your audience better than any other method you might be using now:

1. Texting Takes Advantage of the Shift in Communication Styles
In recent years, there’s been a shift in communication styles: More people are likely to use text than any other form of communication, especially young adults. Knowing that so many people prefer to text, it makes sense to try incorporating it into your next event.

2. Answer More Questions in a Shorter Amount of Time
Passing around a microphone and asking your audience to raise their hands to speak are two extremely common ways to ask questions at events…That also tend to eat up the most Q&A time. Texting allows for quick, to-the-point information to be exchanged. This means more opportunity for you to answer important questions.

3. Opportunity to Pre-select Questions
You have the ability to moderate text questions at your event. Is there an important point or takeaway you’d like to emphasize with your attendees? Simply choose the best text message questions to accomplish your goals.

4. Texting Reaches the Vast Majority
Many companies use social media outlets to take questions during events. Instead of hoping that the majority of your audience has a twitter account and knows how to use it, rely on the fact that over 91% of adults in the US own a cell phone with texting capabilities.

5. Receive Text Input from All Attendees
Not everyone feels comfortable speaking out at large corporate events, and that’s okay! Text allows an alternate mode of questioning for those who are more apt to utilize written communication.

6. Text Questions can be Submitted Anonymously and Moderated, Presenting the Best Ones for Speaker Responses
There are many important questions that go unasked because someone might not feel at ease attaching their name or face to the issue at hand. Texting anonymously is the perfect way to get these types of important questions asked at your event.

7. Promote Audience Participation
While most other forms of Q&A engage only the person asking the question, texting provides an opportunity for the majority of your audience to interact with you. Event attendees who actively participate retain more information and will be more likely to correlate your event with a positive experience. Allowing everyone to text in a question shifts an attendee’s perspective from passive to active.

Don’t let outdated or inadequate methods of Q&A detract from your next event.

Consider utilizing text messaging software for a more effective, efficient and successful Q&A session.

For more information about Mosio for Events pricing and plans, visit: http://www.mosio.com/eventsplans

Expert Q&A: Text Messaging in Dry Cleaning and Laundry Delivery Services (Arik Levy, Laundry Locker)

Arik Levy, Dry Cleaning and Laundry Delivery Services

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came up with the idea for Laundry Locker.
Having a professional job and working many hours, the inability to get my dry cleaning and wash & fold done used to drive me crazy.  With a background in operations and technology I knew there had to be a better way.  In 2005 I came up with an ultra-convenient locker based service model that would allow people to drop off and pickup their dry cleaning on their schedule, at their convenience, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

This service is called Laundry Locker® and we are changing the way the world does laundry!  We have quickly become the largest cleaner in San Francisco with service in over 150 apartment buildings, numerous parking lots and office buildings, as well as 6 always open, self-service retail stores.

* You implemented technology in a pretty cool way at Laundry Locker. Tell us about it and how it helps customers.
Technology is fundamental to Laundry Locker®’s success.  As a self-service business, it is imperative that we build trust with our customers.  Our custom built, industry leading technology, gives us the ability to track every garment from the second an order is picked up to the time it is delivered.  This ensures consistent, reliable service and we open up much of our data to our customers to give them the visibility into what we see.  We provide full transparency including pictures of every single item and the ability for customers to mark up the pictures to let us know about issues with their garments.  This is an industry where customers are craving technology; they just don’t know it because it doesn’t exist.  Not only does the technology that we use improve the customer experience but also improves our bottom line.

* How do you see text messaging benefiting your industry?
Text messaging gives our customers the flexibility to transact with us in the most convenient way possible.  Our customers can place orders via SMS, receive alerts when their order is ready and we have more functions coming soon.  Customer service is key to our industry and the stronger relationship you can form with customers, the more successful you will be.  The mobile phone has put a computer in everyone’s pocket and we plan on leveraging that to its fullest. Technologies like mobile payments and NFC embedded in phones is super exciting.  We see some huge opportunities here.

* What got you started in texting (personally)?
I think I found out about text messaging in a bar. Expecting to find a missed call on my cell phone telling me where my buddies were, I instead found a text message; “We’re at the back bar.”  Brilliant!   Text messaging has made voicemail a thing of the past.  Got a message for me, just text it over.

* How have mobile phones changed your industry?

One of the most exciting things about mobile phones is that now the customer is always connected.  Their response times are quicker and they expect the same from their service providers.  Companies that can react in real-time and provide customers with the information they want, when they want it, will have a huge competitive advantage.

* What advice would you give any business owner implementing text messaging or mobile technologies?
The more channels of communication you open with your customers, the more difficult it becomes to manage the customer experience. For us, before we implemented mobile technologies, it was imperative that all our mobile interactions were seamlessly integrated into our existing customer experience system.  Our inbound text messages come in just like an order over the web and outbound text messages have the same traceability as our emails.  Without this level of integration, you will have a disparate view of your customer and you will be unable to react when they communicate using a different channel.

* Any other thoughts about mobile?
Apps and the mobile web are changing the game in every industry, even dry cleaning.  I think the new Motorola phone with a docking station is super exciting.  The smartphone  is the new laptop.  I can’t imagine the world without my smartphone, and 10 years from now we won’t believe that a basic iPhone was a sufficient device.  I recently heard about a billboard in NYC that was just a simple QR code.  The first day it was up, the QR code was scanned over 50,000 times!  Mobile technology is advancing every day and successful companies will be the ones that embrace it best.

* What kind of mobile phone do you have? If you are able to download apps to it, which is your favorite?
I have an unlocked iPhone running on T-Mobile.  While I compromise on internet speed, not dropping calls anymore is worth the trade off.  My favorite app is CardMunch.  I just emptied my drawers of 1000+ business cards, scanned them in a matter of minutes and they were hand transcribed, digitized and loaded into my Google contacts, for free!

To learn more about Arik Levy or Laundry Locker, you can visit the Laundry Locker website or on linkedin.

Expert Q&A: Text Messaging for Teen and Young Adult Health Services (Stephanie Kline and Alice Bacon, Scarleteen)

According to a new report by Nielsen Company, US teenagers have been cited as the fastest growing audience enamored of mobile content. While that might not seem like a huge surprise to many reading this, a popular reason we get calls from helplines and hotlines about integrating text messaging into their services is decreasing phone call volume. Scarleteen is one of the most popular teen and young adult services online, so we asked Stephanie Kline and Alice Bacon to answer a few questions for us regarding mobile technology and text messaging as it relates to teen and young adult health services.

* Hi Stephanie and Alice, thanks so much for your time. Tell us a little bit about yourselves and what you do.

Scarleteen is an online comprehensive sexuality education resource for teens and young adults. Like many of the others that work with Scarleteen, we are volunteers at the site. Between the two of us, we work the text-in service, answer questions at the boards, answer questions in the Sexpert Advice column, and have written articles. Alice also works outreach at a local teen shelter.

* How do you see text messaging helping teens and young adults learn about health and sex education?

Text messaging can be especially helpful for teens and young adults because it reaches them at their level. This generation is more mobile than in the past, reaching them individually on their cells is a good way to keep their attention and also keep them in proximity to important info. It also means a way of finding answers to questions quickly, and knowing it’s from a source they trust rather than just trusting what they might have heard somewhere.

In general, other places embracing text as a way of outreach can be helpful in its own, as it allows us to reach generations in ways that they feel more comfortable communicating.

* What got you started in texting (personally)?

Alice: What got me started in text personally…. I was finding that with a busy life I didn’t have a lot of time for answering in depth questions on the boards, so when we started doing text I saw it as an opportunity to scatter my Scarleteen work into small portions throughout the day and night.

Stephanie: Actually, I was a little reluctant, as I didn’t do much texting myself. But I had some time free when they were offering the webinar, so I figured I might as well get trained in case text was ever short handed. But I also found it fit better into my always hectic schedule – so now I love working that area.

* How have mobile phones and texting changed how your organization offers support?

Text messaging can offer real-time support where a teen or young adult may otherwise not have a way to get that. It’s especially handy for a teen or young adult who is out in the world, away from their computer, and needs advice or guidance regarding purchasing a pregnancy test, obtaining emergency contraception, reporting or getting services regarding a rape, etc.
* Advice you’d give to organizations considering implementing text messaging or mobile technologies?

Offering a text service can be really helpful, and it’s really pretty simple. As you go along, you’ll see what questions tend to come often, and what responses you give more than others. Setting up template answers saves a lot of time, and having an idea of what boundaries you’ll expect from users ahead of time helps things run smoothly.

* What kind of mobile phone do you have? If you are able to download apps to it, which is your favorite?

Alice: I have a Blackberry Curve, and my favorite two applications are Pandora Radio and Yelp.

Stephanie: I have a Sony Ericsson MP3 phone, so no apps but love the music.

* About the Experts:

Alice: I am a hard working single mom of a wonderful 4 year old boy named Nolan. I reside in the Seattle area where I am a full-time college student and a part-time worker of many assorted jobs. I have an intense passion for sexual health, domestic violence prevention and supporting pregnant and parenting teens. I also love reading, writing for fun, baking, blowing bubbles and hanging out with close friends.

Stephanie: I’ve spent most of my time for years working with children and adults with special needs. After 4 1/2 years of hard work and studying, I graduated with a degree in Elementary Education and Special Education. Now I teach for an alternative education school. It’s a wonderful challenge. I continue my work with Scarleteen and sexual education, as I remember what my sex ed classes were like and hope for much better for the students going through those courses today. When not in my classroom I’m usually found with friends and family, continuing writing, reading, exploring and traveling.

Scarleteen: Sex Education for the Real World

Donate to Scarleteen: help more teens and young adults

Expert Q&A: Using Text Messaging for Student Services (Curtis Marsh, KU Info)

Curtis Marsh, Program Director, KU Info

* Tell us about yourself and what you do at the University of Kansas.

I work at the University of Kansas for a program called KU Info.  It’s a collaboration between KU Student Services and the KU Libraries.  The program provides the extended KU community a place to go for their questions about KU life and beyond.

* How do you see text messaging helping students on campus?

With some highly visible violence on campuses the last few years, KU joined the growing number of schools that have an emergency communication systems using  text messaging.  Our Libraries offer an ask-a-librarian service with email, instant messaging and text messaging. KU Info uses a text message system through Mosio.  These are all positive uses of texting services for students, but I feel KU and other universities need to put more focus on such services to increase awareness and usage.  The emergency systems are perfect uses for texting students as long as they have strict parameters for what messages are sent. You want the user to be highly alert when a text comes from the emergency system, so resist the temptation to use it for any other purpose.

* When did you start personally sending and receiving text messages?

I started texting to communicate quickly with my student employees (Why r u late 4 ur shift?!).  Now I reach out via text to friends, family, neighbors, etc.  Like email, it is a good way to send your message when its most convenient for you, and give your recipient time to respond when its most convenient for them.

* How have mobile phones changed your industry?

The biggest change mobile phones have created in my industry is the expectation for instant information.  Before mobile phones (and the internet), KU Info would frequently ask for the user’s contact info so they could get back with them once the answer was obtained.  We rarely do that anymore because of the expectation that the information is immediately available. Thankfully, with well-maintained online resources, that information is indeed immediately available.

* What tips would you give to anyone considering implementing text messaging or mobile technologies for student services?

We almost never push messages to our users.  We would much rather them pull messages from us.  It is tough to give away that much control, but it is a much better way to strengthen the relationship.  I feel that every time our user perceives a message from us as unsolicited, we lose a small piece of their trust. We ask their permission to send messages, then ask them what kind they wish to receive. Again, not easy to offer truly customized messaging, but even an attempt in that direction increases the user’s perception of a one-on-one relationship.

* Any other thoughts about mobile technologies?

It seems right to communicate with our students the way they communicate with each other.  But it is so important to keep from intruding.  We don’t want users to feel the way they did the first time their parents looked at their Facebook page. We want them to view it as a convenience that they can communicate with us via text, not a nuisance that we are trying to use their social medium to do business with them.  A few well-placed messages will keep the user interested without the risk of them ignoring you or worse, blocking your number!

* What kind of mobile phone do you have and any thoughts about apps?

Just got an LG smart phone with Android. Still learning about all the cool apps, but certainly enjoying the voice recognition ones that allow me to speak everything from text messages to full dictation.  Advanced Task Killer is one I think will help me a lot with the to-do list.

* More about Curtis:

Curtis Marsh is on his 16th year at the University of Kansas, having spent five years in technology transfer, six years as Associate Director of Marketing for Continuing Education, and now Program Director of KU Info.  In the late 90’s, he left KU for a few years to work for the Kauffman Foundation and get an MBA from University of Missouri, Kansas City. The common thread between all these positions has been marketing and outreach for the university. In 2010, he added the function of Program Director for the Learning Studio.  The ultimate partnership between libraries and student services, the Learning Studio combines a major campus library with several primary student services offices to create an interactive study environment in the center of campus.