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20 March 2020

5 tips to avoid being mistaken for spam when sending COVID-19 SMS broadcasts

With the rise of malicious SMS texting scams exploiting COVID-19 (Coronavirus), there will only be a decline in trust for business communications while adding to the general public’s rising panic and paranoia building about COVID-19. This makes it even more difficult for real businesses, health organisations and public sector services to provide essential information, warnings and alerts to their stakeholders during times of urgency.

SMS communications best practise

We’ve talked previously about the Top 3 SMS Coronavirus scams to look out for as consumers, but it’s just as important that we also consider the impact on legitimate businesses and their SMS broadcasts too. For organisations who want to make sure their SMS communications aren’t mistaken for spam or smishing, here are our top 5 tips:

1. Identify yourself

It’s important for all businesses to clearly identify themselves in order to ensure that it is not easy for malicious actors to spoof them. For example, use a dedicated number so that recipients can easily identify you and make sure you always include your full company name in your signature.

Using a reputable provider, such as MessageMedia, allows you the option of always having a consistent signature across all of your messages.

2. Make it clear

Given you only have 160 characters per SMS, you want to make sure that you are being direct and to the point in the content of your messages. Save more characters by always using free URL shortener for links like Bitly or Tiny URL.

For some MessageMedia plans, we include a built-in link shortener allowing you to have short trackable links ready-to-go when you need in our web portal. In addition, those customers can choose to have custom shortened domains or use their own domain in the shortened link.

3. Pick a dedicated number

By picking a dedicated number, you can help recipients build trust with you. Make sure that you let your stakeholders know on other official communication channels that this is the ONLY number from which they will receive SMS communications on. Make it clear that they are not to trust any other communications from any other numbers.

Most legitimate providers, including MessageMedia will allow you to pick a dedicated number. Make sure you talk to your provider.

4. Be time-conscious

Due to the nature of emergency communications, you will want to prepare early. The quickly evolving nature of COVID-19 means that information will change constantly, even day-to-day. It is on you to understand your audience, collect and correct contact information and to think hard about what features and additional dynamic content you may want such as automated replies, images and links.

MessageMedia has put together a detailed checklist to help you prepare for sending emergency SMS communications. Remember, it will take time, energy and resources for you to get all these elements together for a successful and legitimate SMS broadcast. Get started now!

5. Choose trusted providers

There are numerous reasons to choose a trusted provider, including efficiency and reliability. Be mindful that you do your due diligence and look into the history of each of your chosen options. Ensure they have consistent positive client reviews and the ability to scale depending on your audience needs.

Message Media has been around for over 20 years with offices in the UK, US, NZ and AU. We send more than 150 million messages per month and have supported over 50,000 global customers since our inception. Whomever you choose, make sure they will be able to support you in the long-term.

Further reading on COVID-19

As a global SMS provider, MessageMedia Group wants to reassure businesses that we are being conscientious and proactive during this public health situation. We will do what we can on our end to help you through this trying time. It is important to us that you know we are here to help.

If you want to know how we’re dealing with the rapid spread of this outbreak internally, have a read of MessageMedia Group’s public statement from our CEO, Paul Perrett.

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