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The Group Text App Guide

February 17, 2020
TCPA Contact List Management

How to Find the Right Group Text App for Businesses and Consumers:

Quick Links

  1. Overview of Group Texting for Consumers

  2. Group Texting on iPhone and Android

  3. Best Group Texting Apps for Consumers

  4. Overview of Group Texting for Businesses

  5. Best Group Texting Apps for Business

Introduction to Group Text Messaging

Group text messaging exploded in 2007 with the introduction of the iPhone and other smartphones. Today, all smartphone manufacturers include group text messaging as a standard feature on all phones.

Group texts are now part of our day-to-day communication. In fact, the average consumer has at least 3 messaging apps on their phone’s home screen. It’s clear that messaging apps are one of the most preferred ways to communicate with friends, family and now even businesses.

However, selecting the right group text app can be a problem. This is partly because there are so many ways to communicate. Hence, why we’ve put together a guide for consumers and businesses.

Consumers and businesses have different needs. They need different group messaging solutions. The information in this guide is meant to help you find the best group text app based on your needs. Read on to learn more and discover solutions.

Group Texting Apps For Consumers

If you’re a consumer you have a host of group messaging options. Some of these options utilize traditional SMS text messaging while others don’t. As a consumer, you also don’t need to deal with the regulation and laws that come with business text messaging. This makes it easy to talk with friends and family.

Consumer group texting apps gear themselves heavily toward media and content sharing. As a result, many offer rich features like typing indicators, read receipts and much more. These are features that aren’t currently available over the SMS messaging network but will be in the future via Rich Communication Services (RCS).

Group Texting on iPhone

Apple’s iPhone is the gold standard when it comes to group texting. Everyone loves the rich features like typing indicators and read receipts. Additionally, Apple encrypts iMessage users’ data. This is a more advanced privacy feature that various consumers have come to appreciate.

Keep in mind that these features are only available when texting from iPhone to iPhone. In fact, these messages aren’t even considered SMS text messages. They’re sent using iMessage on Apple’s own network.

For all other messages (not iPhone to iPhone) those appear as MMS or green bubble messages.

How to Compose a Group Text Message on iPhone:

  1. Open Messages and tap the edit/pencil icon to start a new message.

  2. Enter the recipients' names or tap the “+” icon to add contacts.

  3. Enter your message, then tap Send “^”.

Note: To send a group MMS message on an iPhone, make sure MMS Messaging is turned on. Go to Settings > Messages and turn on MMS Messaging.

How to Name a Group Text Message on iPhone:

If you have multiple group iMessages you can name your groups. This makes each group easier to find. To name your group:

  1. Tap a group conversation, then tap the top of the conversation.

  2. Tap “i”.

  3. Enter a name, then tap “Done”.

Note: You can name only group iMessages, not MMS group messages.

Group Texting on Android

Android users have a little more diversity in their messaging options. Many android devices use Google Messages as the default messaging application. However, some Samsung phones come with different messaging apps as the default.

As with the iPhone and iMessage, Google’s Messages app now comes with some rich features as well, including RCS (Rich Communication Services). RCS enables certain Android users with read receipts, typing indicators and a host of other media sharing options.

How to compose and name a group text message on Android

  1. Launch Messages from your homescreen.

  2. Tap “Start Chat” to create a new message.

  3. Tap “Start Group Conversation”

  4. Type names and information to add contacts to the message.

  5. Select the “>” icon in the top right to add a Group Name

  6. Start typing your message and hit send.

Consumer Group Messaging Apps

As a consumer, you can also choose from a host of other group chat apps. Facebook MessengerWhatsAppWeChat, and Line are all great options for sending messages and sharing photos and videos with friends and family.

The interesting thing is that these apps don’t actually send and receive SMS text messages. They send data over their own dedicated networks. These types of apps are called over the top messaging apps (OTTs). To send and receive messages, both parties need to have the app downloaded and installed on their phone.

Best Group Texting Apps for Consumers

Facebook MessengerWhatsAppWeChatLineSignal
GroupsYesYesYesYesYes
Group NamesYesYesYesYesYes
Typing IndicatorsYesYesYesYesYes
Read RecieptsYesYesYesYesYes
Media SharingYesYesYesYesYes
EncryptionNoNoNoNoYes
PriceFreeFreeFreeFreeFree

Group Texting for Business

When it comes to business group texting app solutions, OTTs, private phones, and burner phones don’t exactly work. To send texts to customers business needs more advanced functionality.

As a tool, texting enables businesses to communicate more effectively with customers and clients. It also makes it possible to reach almost everyone in an audience. This is undeniable when you consider that 77% of Americans own a smartphone.

Additionally, more than 8 out of 10 (85%) of consumers want to be able to send texts to and receive texts from businesses in real-time. This means that a good business texting app should be:

  • Easy to use

  • Capable of true two-way communication

  • Capable of offering advanced features

  • Affordable

  • Tied to a 10-digit local phone number (10DLC)

In terms of features, the best group texting apps for business typically provide the following:

  • Customer and Contact Message Groups

     

    As a business, you should be able to order and segment and save groups or customers based on their various characteristics.

  • Text Message Templates

     

    It’s laborious to send the same message over and over again. A good business group texting app allows you to save messages as templates for repeat use.

  • Send Later and Scheduled Messages

     

    Saving time starts with

     

    . The best group text messaging apps utilize this as a standard business feature.

  • Send Recurring Messages

     

    The best business messaging apps take automation to the next level with recurring, scheduled text message sends. This is an advanced feature that not all messaging apps offer.

  • Track Contact Opt-in/Opt-Out

     

    Opt-in and opt-out policies apply to businesses, especially when it comes to SMS marketing. Consent depends on the message content and who’s sending it. Businesses need their messaging apps to help them out on the legal side. Good apps will maintain a do-not-contact list and manage everything behind the scenes.

  • Maintain Privacy and Oversight

     

    Businesses with many employees and big operations need oversight. The best group messaging apps use various access and permission levels.

The Best Business Group Texting Apps

SnapDeskEZTextingText MagicSimple TextingHeymarketSlack
Starting Price Per Month$19.99$49.00Variable$25.00$29.00Free
Group ManagementYesYesYesYesYesYes
Message TemplatesYesYesYesYesYesNo
Scheduled MessagesComing SoonYesYesYesYesNo
Recurrence and CampaignsComing SoonYesYesYesYesNo
Opt-in/Opt-out ManagementYesYesYesYesYesNo
Privacy and Oversight FeaturesYesYesYesYesYesYes
10 Digit Local Phone NumberYesYesYesYesYesNo

Slack - A Business Messaging Email Alternative

In business, Slack is one of the most widely used team and group messaging apps. Slack even says that they’re “the smart alternative to email”. They’re not wrong!

Slack is great for teams and team members. Its simple design allows users to send group messages in various channels. It also allows for media and photo sharing, link sharing and all sorts of other advanced tagging and communications options.

There’s a problem with Slack though. Both the business and the customer need to be Slack users and have Slack installed on their phones. This is a problem especially when it comes to providing customer support and sending reminders and notifications. 61% of customers don’t want to install a new app or migrate to a new messaging platform just to communicate with a business.

If you’re a small business interested in reaching your entire customer-base on their phones, in their native messaging app, Slack doesn’t quite work. There are better business messaging options.

Why You Don’t Want to Use Your iPhone and Android as a Business Group Text Message App

As a small business or firm, there’s nothing to stop you from sending a group text message to customers from your iPhone or Android device. However, there are some major problems. This approach opens a business up to significant liability.

  1. Group Text Privacy

     

    If you send your group text message using your private iPhone or Android device, then everyone in that message group sees everyone else’s response. In this way, there’s no privacy. Everyone sees everyone else’s message and personal phone number. Customers don’t want this every time they get a text from your business.

Suggested Article: How to Send A Group Text Without Reply All

  1. Group Text Oversight

     

    You have no oversight when employees or staff members text customers from their personal phones. This presents a liability problem for everyone: the business owner, the employee and even the customer.

  2. Group Text Consent

     

    There’s no way to track consent and opt-in/opt-out when adding customers to a group and sending group texts from your iPhone or Android. Consent doesn’t exactly apply in the consumer space, but when it comes to business text messaging and promotional texts, consent is the law.

The TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) is the law that businesses need to be aware of. It specifically covers text messaging and opt-in/opt-out policies.

Suggested Article: TCPA Compliance Checklist & Guide for Business Messaging

  1. Group Management

     

    Both iMessage and Messages on the iPhone and Android allow you to name groups. But businesses need ways to organize their customers into groups. When you segment your customers by commonality, you can tailor the message more specifically. This leads to better engagement.

Why You Don’t Want to Use a Burner Phone for Business Group Text Messaging

To maintain privacy and protect liability, some businesses text customers from burner phones. These are cheap phones with dedicated lines. Some of these plans even allow for SMS text messaging.

As with texting from your personal phone, burner phones don’t fully protect your business from liability. Again, with a burner phone, there’s no way to track opt-in/opt-out, manage groups or maintain oversight of customer and employee conversations.