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Text messaging best practices

Keep messages short. ​

Text messages should be short and concise. The entire message should be less than 160 characters, including spaces, and punctuation and any branding or links to additional information.​ ​Some special characters count as more characters than the space they take up. For example, # takes up 1 space but counts as 3 characters. Use this free online character counter ​to determine your character count.

Make messages e​ngaging. 

Write relevant, timely, clear and actionable messages. Try to begin each message with an interesting fact or question so that users will be more likely to open the text message to read the rest of the information. 

Make content readabl​e. 

Content should not exceed an 8th grade reading level or contain difficult to understand terminology. 

Use abbreviations sparin​gly. 

Because text messages have a character limit, it is acceptable to use abbreviations, but only when they are easily understood and do not change the meaning of the message. 

Limit non-Latin characters.

Depending on the mobile carrier, non-Latin or accented letters do not always work.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012). Guide to Writing for Social Media [PDF]

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