For year’s now sending SMS text messages has been an effective way to communicate with customers. Bulk Text messaging has allowed marketers to get their message directly into the hands of their prospective customers who have willingly signed up to receive information and sales incentives.  The growth of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Google Plus since the mid noughties has presented SMS with an opponent! Some believe they have a decision to make- SMS or social media? We do not believe that a marketer should have to choose between SMS or Social Media when planning which marketing tools to employ.

Social Media is a one-to-many broadcast tool, SMS is a one-to-one communication tool. By this we mean that social media communications are sent out by one company and broadcast to many people on one platform, whereas SMS communications are sent by one company directly to one consumer in a personal, private space. There are advantages of each marketing tool.

Social media allows a brand to broaden their exposure by creating an online presence where they can communicate with their customers on a platform they are comfortable with.  The online presence can help to target and acquire new customers and to retain existing ones. A business can gather information about its customers on social media and then tailor their marketing based on that knowledge. However there is the threat of negative publicity which means social media needs to be very carefully monitored. This alongside content generation makes it very time consuming.

SMS text messaging has an average open rate of 98%, so almost every text message that is sent is opened by its recipient.  SMS’ can be personalised too, using first names increases your return on investment as a unique message can have a powerful impact on customers. SMS customers can also be segmented, thus text messages can be more targeted. Finally, bulk SMS is easy to use and very quick to get set up, it is also a low cost method to communicate with customers from as low as 2c per SMS credit.

It’s clear to see that both platforms have many advantages. We recommend that you find the right balance for your one-to-many and one-to-one communications. Knowing that you can use both of these platforms to achieve different goals should drive the direction of your marketing strategy.  Measuring the impact and return on investment will also help you to decide how much time, effort and budget should be allocated to each marketing tool.