Why you shouldn’t use text abbreviations, and when you can break the rules

People have been text messaging each other for a long time now. As the popularity of texting grows, the use of abbreviations and acronyms grows with it. Though these may seem like simple, fun ways to spruce up your text message marketing campaign, using them for business purposes is not recommended.

Two events collided to create these kinds of abbreviations: the prevalence of both cell phones and the internet. At first they were seemingly harmless ways to make conversations flow quicker, like writing "r u" instead of "are you" or "brb" rather than "be right back." They also helped portray tone, like adding "lol," meaning "laughing out loud," at the end to a sentence to indicate it was said jokingly. 

While using them in interpersonal communications is fine, they should never be used in marketing. Their use implies an unprofessional tone, and may put off some clients. They also can very easily lead to confusion, as some customers may not understand what they mean. 

Use of these abbreviations is more popular with Millennials, as they grew up with the technology that led to the creation of these acronyms. The problem is, Millennials aren't the only age group that texts. Using these may alienate older customers or, even worse, may come across to Millennials as a forced attempt to sound like them.

Exceptions do exist, but are extremely limited. For example, businesses in the event planning or promotions industry that cater to Millennials can probably get away with using a few. It may also be tempting to use them when you're pushing against the 160 character limit. In these situations, consider using stronger, more concise wording rather that resorting to abbreviations.

For companies looking to implement a comprehensive SMS marketing strategy, Swift SMS Gateway offers the tools you need.