From the communications dashboard you can send out SMS communications individually or to an entire group. Go to School > Communications > SMS > New mail merge SMS.
You have the option to use an SMS that has been created as a template, by clicking on the 'Load SMS Template' button and choosing one from the drop-down list. If you don't see this button, follow the tips in this article: Why can I not see the Load Template button for email/SMS/letters?
First, choose who you will send the SMS as.
Select recipients by clicking the 'To' drop-down menu. Here you can select who you will send your SMS to. This can be an individual, selected by scrolling through the list or typing the name and selecting the appropriate individual. You can also send to different groups or all enrolled students or their guardians.
Top Tip: Can't select anyone in the 'To' box? Clear your current SMS draft by clicking the Discard Draft button at the bottom of the page.
You can also choose recipients by clicking the + button.
In the 'Combine messages?' area you can choose whether you want to combine SMS messages. See this article to see what each option means.
The Merge Fields selection box may be used to customise each SMS to the appropriate individual.
Content options such as hyperlinks and text colouring are not currently supported by SMS, so please do not attempt to use these options in your SMS messages.
At the bottom of the page, you can click 'Send', or 'Save Draft' if you wish to send your SMS at a later point.
Once you click 'Proceed', you can see an overview of the SMS. You can see what the text will display for each recipient by clicking the preview icon.
At the bottom of the page before sending you’ll see the total number of messages you’re about to send. For SMS you’ll also see an estimate of how many credits will be used, and how many you’ll have left after sending.
Just to note - The credits stated in the SMS message include the email signature that has been set up for the school so please bear this in mind!
When you are ready to send the SMS, scroll down to the bottom of the screen and click the green Send button.
Our SMS provider blocks certain keywords that are often used in scam SMS messages. Currently, we know that 'Netflix' is one of the blocked words, so any SMS messages that include this keyword will not be delivered. If a message containing the word 'Netflix' needs to be sent out from Arbor, we'd recommend using a Mail Merge Email, or In-App Message to do this.
Can I send a link in an SMS?
In most cases, hyperlinks are removed when an SMS is sent. You can either:
- Use a Mail Merge Email instead.
- Enter the full URL of the website into the SMS, and advise parents to copy and paste it into their browser.
- Add the full link to your message. For example, https://www.google.com would work, but 'please click here to go to Google' wouldn't work.
Unfortunately, HTML formatting isn't supported by SMS - putting the whole link including the HTTP bit at the beginning will mean that it can be clicked on if the receiving handset can use them.
There are websites that offer a shorter URL for your links if reducing the length of the SMS message is a concern.