Did you know that the first text message was sent December 3, 1992. It said “Merry Christmas” (short and sweet!)
Now that the act of texting has passed its’ 20th “birthday”, a few things to note:
- Six billion SMS or short message serve or “texts” are sent every day in the U.S. according to Forrester Research
- Globally, over 8.6 trillion text messages are sent each year according to Portio Research
- In 2013 texting is expected to be a $150 billion a year industry which encompasses carrier’s charges for monthly fees for unlimited texting or, on average, 20 cents per text.
For many people including buyers and sellers texting is a convenient form of communication –but it does have its pitfalls. I adhere to a few of the following principals when texting clients.
In order to help you use texting more effectively, safely and to your advantage be sure to check out these Do’s and Don’ts:
My Real Estate Agent Texting “Do’s”
- Do Keep it Professional – I will maintain my professional image by using complete sentences and texting during reasonable hours. Avoid overusing abbreviations, emoticons and exclamation points e.g. “c u 2moro @ 5PM 🙂 this house is gr8!!!”
- Do Send Photos and Videos of Listings – as of January 2013 the U.S. now has over 129 million smartphone users according to comScore. This means that a high percentage of my clients and customers can view photos and videos of listings on their smartphone, which I will and can provide to you via texting. I find that my clients appreciate the photos.
- Do Respond As Soon As Possible – People text because it is a more immediate form of communication than a phone call or email. If a prospect texts me, that means he/she is looking for a response sooner rather than later. I will reply as soon as possible. Even if I’m busy, I will let you know that I have received your text and will get back to them within the hour.
- Do Follow Up with a Call or Email if Appropriate – Not all conversation is suited to text message communication. If a homebuyer texts me a question about escrow or contingencies, I will not hesitate to reply that the answer is complicated and ask if they prefer a call or email to explain it thoroughly. Also, it may be a good idea to send a confirmation email after a particularly long text exchange.
My Real Estate Agent Texting “Don’ts”
- Don’t Text Spam – Just because someone gives you their cell phone number doesn’t mean they want you to use it. I always ask new clients if they want to receive occasional texts or what form of communication they prefer.
- Don’t Text Bad News – I will never text bad news, I believe it should be delivered in person or over the phone whenever possible. Texting and emailing bad news can seem insensitive or harsh without the warm inflections of a human voice to convey sympathy. Additionally, the recipient may have questions about the news that would be better answered in a proper conversation.
- Don’t Text and Drive – I NEVER let my rush to reply endanger my personal safety or the safety of others. Studies show that texting while driving makes a crash up to 23 times more likely.
Don’t do it!
- Don’t Hit Send Before Proofreading – Autocorrect is usually helpful, but it can also be very mischievous. I always proof read all texts before hitting the send button to avoid accidentally having a conversation that you did not mean to have.
Texting has turned 20, and smartphones have revolutionized the way we communicate on a personal and business level.