Monday, August 8, 2016

Leveraging Text Messaging with your Youth Groups

Today's youth leaders face challenges

In 2016, the Barna Group found that the top two priorities in youth ministry are discipleship / spiritual instruction, and building relationships. They also reported that common challenges of youth ministry include busyness of youth, and lack of interest from parents.

As you encounter these challenges, we believe SendTree can serve as a tool in your toolbox. If you read further about the research on teens and their communication preferences, you'll find an opportunity to reach busy youth, create communication channels with parents, and build relationships.

Text messaging still tops the list

In today's world of smartphones, messaging apps, and social media, text messaging is surprisingly relevant.

In the last ten years we have witnessed an evolution of communication websites, tools, and apps. Facebook and Twitter were social communication pioneers, digitally connecting us well before smartphones were everywhere. But today, 88% of teens have a mobile phone**, and the list of new communication apps continues to grow quickly.

** 73% of teens have a smartphone, and 15% have a basic cellphone.

In addition to ordinary text messaging, today there are an increasing variety of messaging apps that you can install, like WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram, SnapChat, LINE, Viber, and WeChat, to name a few. All of these apps work great for messaging. However, given a group of teens, they won't all be using the same messaging apps, and the hot app today will change tomorrow.

What messaging apps will people be using next year?

Is there a messaging app in common?

Yes. All of these phones have text messaging in common.

SMS (short message service) predates all of the apps and websites, and existed long before the smartphone. Subsequently, pretty much every phone has SMS and can do text.

Because SMS is "baked in" to everyone's phone, there is no special app to install. There's no account to setup, no password to remember. To reach a new person, you only need their phone number, and you won't impose any "app" requirements on them.

The fact that text messaging is "built-in" explains why it continues to stay at the top of people's lists. Pew asked people what they do with their phones, and the top of the list is texting.

Pew Research Center asked teens about how they communicate with people in their lives, and the responses point to text messaging as the dominant daily mode of communication.

While text messaging is only one part of your total communication strategy, SendTree can provide you with the best tools to leverage text communcations. SendTree can help you reach people where they already are — on their mobile devices.

Do not ignore the facts. The research conducted by Pew reveals what we already suspect: people are on their mobile devices, and text is the most commonly used function on their phones. Mobile phones are already in their pocket, willing and waiting for your message to arrive.

A simple text message can make all the difference in getting more people engaged and attending, and can help build relationships.

2016 Back to School Offer

Starting in August 2016, SendTree is offering a deal for youth groups. You can get unlimited service for a fixed cost for the whole year. This is a great way to work within a fixed budget and have no billing surprises.