Signal Vine Blog: Text Me Back

Technology Traps: How to Avoid Them… And Spend Money Wisely

Posted by Stephanie Sickler Sweetland on October 30, 2015

Does your organization continue to spend money on technology and programs that are outdated and no longer seem to work? Is your organization making investment choices based on criteria other than effectiveness or outcomes? These are technology traps organizations fall into over and over, allocating budget dollars for technology that doesn’t move the needle on outcomes and absorbs valuable budget dollars that could be better spent on high-impact interventions. To maximize your impact, it's critical for your organization to avoid these traps.

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Topics: Tips & Tricks, Engagement, Research, Best Practices

Texting, WhatsApp, Facebook: What’s the Difference?

Posted by Miranda Palter on October 16, 2015

When it comes to communicating with students, the #1 goal is keeping them engaged. Schools and organizations attempt to engage students in a number of ways, but with so many communication channels to leverage, it seems like we’re always one step behind students. It can certainly be tempting to follow students from trend to trend as they move from Instagram to Snapchat and from WhatsApp to Kik, making us ask ourselves: What’s the difference among all of these apps, and what’s the most effective way to reach students?

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Topics: Parent Engagement, Engagement, Best Practices

A Nudge in the Right Direction

Posted by Miranda Palter on October 9, 2015

You may be familiar with “Summer Nudging” and some of the work that researchers have done around texting students to improve matriculation rates. But what exactly is a text message nudge? And why is it effective? 

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Topics: Summer Melt, Engagement, Research

When to Send a Text

Posted by Haley Trost on September 14, 2015

Now that you know why text messaging students is effective and how to send engaging texts, you might be wondering when you should be texting students. It isn’t simply a matter of the time of day; successful text messaging programs are strategic about scheduling messages around important deadlines, events, and tasks.

With that in mind, here are eight times when sending a text message can effectively improve student outcomes:

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Topics: Tips & Tricks, Engagement, Best Practices

NCAN Members Use Texting to Combat Summer Melt

Posted by Miranda Palter on August 21, 2015

This summer, the National College Access Network (NCAN), partnered with us to implement text-based outreach services to their member organizations to support their students’ transition from high school to college. 

The summer intervention draws from the lessons of applied behavioral economics research by Drs. Benjamin Castleman and Lindsay Page, which showed an 11% increase in matriculation when sending personalized text message “nudges” to students during the summer between high school and college. The program allowed participating organizations to opt students into a Summer Melt Campaign, with messages designed by NCAN and personalized to students’ college choices. 

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Topics: College Access, Summer Melt, Higher Education, Engagement

#TLDR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

Posted by Stephanie Sickler Sweetland on August 5, 2015

Do you read a long-winded email the moment you open it? Chances are that you’re more likely to delete that email or send it back to the limbo of your inbox. You are not alone. TL;DR. 

TL;DR (#TLDR) or "Too long; didn't read" is a phrase that’s popular within the student vernacular. It's a common response that students have to information that they deem unnecessarily lengthy.


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Topics: Tips & Tricks, Engagement, Text Acronyms, Best Practices

Four Tips for Writing Engaging Texts

Posted by Miranda Palter on July 14, 2015

We've had the opportunity to work closely with customers as they develop and tweak their text messaging programs to be as effective as possible, and we've learned quite a bit about what works and what doesn't. The difference of literally one word can double the response rate on a message, which is hard to believe until you actually see it in practice. At the heart of what we've learned is that every message needs to be relevant and personalized, and better yet it should be timely and prompt a call to action! That's a lot to fit into 160 characters, but it's easily done once you get the hang of it.

Here's what we've learned: mass amounts of general information can overwhelm students. We have worked with our customers to develop an overview of the key elements of an effective message - what we call the anatomy of a personalized text.
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Topics: Tips & Tricks, Parent Engagement, Academic Advising, Engagement

Welcome to TextMeBack!

Posted by Brian Kathman on July 6, 2015

Welcome to TextMeBack, the place where our "Signal Squad" will be sharing everything and anything we think you'll be interested in hearing. There's more than enough information and pictures on our site to give you a sense of who we are, but let me share a little bit more about the Signal Vine community that you might not know (unless you've been working with us for a while).

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Topics: Admissions, Enrollment, College Access, K - 12, Tips & Tricks, Student Life, Financial Aid, Retention, Parent Engagement, Academic Advising, Conferences, Summer Melt, Higher Education, Nonprofit, Engagement, Research, Alumni