TextIt Updates: Week of February 28th

Each week we highlight new articles and changes to the platform, as well as tips intended to help you get the most out of TextIt:

Updates 

  • This week, we're highlighting a use case backed by a substantial body of research: smoking cessation. It's been found by study after study that advice, reminders and tips sent via text message are just as effective as phone counseling and nicotine replacement therapies. In fact, this meta-analysis of 13 smoking cessation studies found that on average, quit rates for text messaging intervention groups were 36% higher compared to control group quit rates. Sample flow available to download (link). 
  • Learn how you can use flows to automatically create and populate an entire profile for each new contact. In tandem with our use case spotlight, we're demoing an SMS version of the SmokefreeTXT online registration form. SmokefreeTXT a mobile-based smoking cessation intervention designed for teens and adults across the United States. Sample flow and the QuitNowTXT smoking cessation message library are available to download (link). 
  • We've created some Telegram chat bots to demonstrate what's possible with a TextIt/Telegram integration. Search for Purrington, a bot that provides cat facts, and Oxford Wordsly, a bot that tests your English and Spanish vocabulary, to try it out. 

Tips

  • Just like Excel functions, TextIt functions can be called within each other. Here's an example of an OR function being called within an AND function: @(IF(OR(date.yesterday ="03-01-2016", date.tomorrow="03-04-2016"), "either_true", "both_false"))
  • It's possible to search for contacts based on the value of a custom field. Just plug a query into the search bar of your contacts tab, e.g. age>=21Learn more here
  • Did you know it's possible to create flows that send a combination of SMS and Voice messages? Each voice flow contains a Send an SMS Response action: 

Follow us on Twitter to interact with a chat application built with TextIt, or create a free account to build your own. You'll be sending messages in minutes! Get in touch anytime with any questions, comments, or suggestions. 

Creating Mobile Registration Forms with TextIt


Did you know that you can use flows to automatically create and populate an entire profile for each new contact? Some of our largest deployments rely on registration flows to manage both new and returning contacts. They allow apps that are consistently adding contacts via a keyword trigger to scale with ease. 

Use Case

This week, in tandem with our use case spotlight, we're demoing an SMS version of the SmokefreeTXT online registration form. SmokefreeTXT a mobile-based smoking cessation intervention designed for teens and adults across the United States. It was developed with support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, and USA.gov.

SmokefreeTXT's messages are sourced from the QuitNowTXT, a library of smoking cessation intervention messages designed to deliver tips, motivation, encouragement and fact-based information via one-way and two-way messaging formats. QuitNowTXT was developed to be adapted to specific contexts including those outside the United States and in languages other than English. Click the link below to download the QuitNowTXT messaging library: 

Key Components

The easiest and most powerful components of an effective SMS-based registration form are the Update Contact and Add to Group actions.

Update Contact

This action is essential to successfully registering a contact within your TextIt app. It allows you to add pertinent information you've collected from a contact to their profile as a contact field. For example, an app adapting the QuitNowTXT programming might want to add a contact's smoking frequency. First, you'd need to create a RuleSet containing simple response rules that evaluate for each contact's smoking frequency and categorize it accordingly. 

The RuleSet above will produce the flow variable @flow.smoking_frequency (the same value placed in the "Save result as" input). Flow variables are then placed in Update Contact actions to be stored in a contact field on the contact's profile. 

@flow.smoking_frequency.category allows us to reference the category the contact's response was placed in. Once the contact passes through this step, their response will be displayed as an attribute that can be referenced using contact variables

Add to Group

This action can be used to segment contacts based on their responses, response frequency, completion of a flow, and much more. In this case, we're using it to group each contact who has completed the registration flow. 

Give it a Try

We've included a sample registration flow for you to try. Users who’ve purchased credits can download it below:

To import this flow to your account, navigate to your account page, select “Import” from the settings menu in the top right corner, and add the flow:

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Go with the Flow


TextIt is changing the way organizations communicate with customers, beneficiaries, constituents and stakeholders. Whether you're interested in adding an SMS messaging channel to your communication pipeline like WebHelp Groupe, or building chat bot like HigherMe, you're guaranteed to increase engagement and efficacy. 

For Example:

  1. An E-commerce company can use TextIt to improve funnel abandonment by texting discount codes to customers who put something in their cart but don't purchase.
  2. An on-demand company can push text notifications when their delivery is on the way or manage a fleet of workers who won't be on computers but will always have their phones.  
  3. Any company can measure Net Promotor Score or Customer Satisfaction by sending messages that are more likely to be read and responded to than any other form of communication.

Follow us on Twitter to interact with a chat application built with TextIt, or create a free account to build your own. You'll be sending messages in minutes! Get in touch anytime with any questions, comments, or suggestions. 

Use Case Spotlight: Text Messages Improve a Smoker's Odds of Quitting


This week, we're highlighting a use case backed by a substantial body of research: smoking cessation. It's been found by study after study that advice, reminders and tips sent via text message are just as effective as phone counseling and nicotine replacement therapies. In fact, this meta-analysis of 13 smoking cessation studies, published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, found that on average, quit rates for text messaging intervention groups were 36% higher compared to control group quit rates. These results are significant given the wide reach and low cost of SMS programs built and deployed with TextIt.

The finding that 'text-plus' programs (e.g., text messaging plus web or in-person intervention methods) performed only slightly better than 'text-only' programs is particularly compelling, as it indicates that cost-saving measures may not affect efficacy. 

Results also indicated that message frequency affects quit rates, as fixed schedules performed better than decreasing or variable schedules. This finding falls in line with our own, which influenced the design of TextIt's campaign feature. One of the core tenets of TextIt is to enable the kinds of interactions that have been proven to work most effectively.

Methodology

Most of the SMS-based smoking cessation therapies evaluated by Spohr SA et al used message broadcasts rather than two-way messaging. TextIt supports both approaches to accommodate a variety of programs. 

Interventions conducted using TextIt flows–which enable researchers to collect specific markers and send targeted responses–track two key variables:

  • Craving Level - measured in terms of intensity, e.g. "High, Medium and Low"
  • Mood Status - measured in terms of quality, e.g. "Good, Okay, Bad"

Once a participant indicates their craving level, for example, they receive a message tailored to the intensity they indicated. 


Each time a contact responds, TextIt's Update the Contact actions replace the value the category their response matched (High, Medium or Low; the responses 'High', 'Hi', or 'H' would match the 'High' category, for example) as well as the date and time. 


Those that would like to track the amount of times a contact responds may use the longitudinal approach explained here. Those who are sending flows on a schedule via a campaign may wish to create a separate flow for each checkup, each containing a set of contact fields unique to that day, so that they can see how responses change over time. 

Give it a Try

We've included a flow that contains both cravings and mood messages. Notes are included to explain pieces of the flow. Users who’ve purchased credits can download it below:

To import this flow to your account, navigate to your account page, select “Import” from the settings menu in the top right corner, and add the flow:

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Go with the Flow

TextIt is changing the way organizations communicate with customers, beneficiaries, constituents and stakeholders. Whether you're interested in adding an SMS messaging channel to your communication pipeline like WebHelp Groupe, or building chat bot like HigherMe, you're guaranteed to increase engagement and efficacy. 

For Example:

  1. An E-commerce company can use TextIt to improve funnel abandonment by texting discount codes to customers who put something in their cart but don't purchase.
  2. An on-demand company can push text notifications when their delivery is on the way or manage a fleet of workers who won't be on computers but will always have their phones.  
  3. Any company can measure Net Promotor Score or Customer Satisfaction by sending messages that are more likely to be read and responded to than any other form of communication.

Follow us on Twitter to interact with a chat application built with TextIt, or create a free account to build your own. You'll be sending messages in minutes! Get in touch anytime with any questions, comments, or suggestions. 

TextIt Updates: Week of February 21st

Each week, we highlight new articles and changes to the platform, as well as tips intended to help you get the most out of TextIt:

Updates

[+] We published an article highlighting the City of Boston's Boston Centers for Youth & Families Division of Youth Engagement and Employment's use of TextIt to to power the SMS messaging portion of its communication pipeline. It’s the largest youth employer in Boston, hiring over 4,000 youth annually to work with over 200 community-based organizations, and has been awarded prizes by the Guangzhou Institute for Urban Innovation and US Conference of Mayors for its work participatory budgeting program, Youth Lead the Change (link). 

[+] We published an article highlighting WebHelp's use of TextIt to collect product and customer service feedback via SMS messaging for leading European countries. A flow modeled after their service is included for download (link). 

[+] Our expressions library now supports two additional Excel date functions: @(DAYS()) and @(DATEDIF()):

  • @(DATEDIF("start_date", "end_date", "units")) calculates the number of days, months or years between two dates. Units are abbreviated "D", "M", and "Y". A valid expression would adhere to the following format: @(DATEDIF("02-26-2015", "02-26-2016", "M")). Flow and contact variables containing date values may replace "start_date" and "end_date". 
  •  @(DAYS("end_date", "start_date") returns the number of days between two dates. A valid expression would adhere to the following format: @(DAYS("02-28-2016", "02-28-2015")). Flow and contact variables containing date values may replace "end_date" and "start_date". 

Tips

[+] We recently received an inquiry as to how TextIt can be configured to allow contacts to update their own campaign events. Recall that campaigns allow you to schedule messages and flows around a specific date, such as a registration or purchase date. This account will be deploying voice (IVR) surveys in Northern Nigeria each Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and wanted to know how flows can be used to allow their contacts to change the time at which they'll receive their next call (in case their schedule changes). This is an advanced use case, but easy to learn. Import the file below, 'updating_campaign_events.json', into your account to see how it works. Notes are included to help you along.

[+] To translate messages sent by campaign events, use them to send flows containing translated messages instead of message broadcasts. 

[+] Those using the Nyaruka TextIt Android app to send an receive messages, make sure to enable Airplane Reset mode to ensure your phone stays connected to WiFi even during long periods of inactivity: 

[+] We've received a few inquiries from users who wish to protect their applications with passwords. Import the 'code_validation.json' flow below into your account to learn how to generate passwords and validate them. Note that the attached example generates passwords that are only good for one use. Get in touch if you'd like to learn how to apply your own restrictions to your application. 

[+] Recall that contacts lock into an exclusive relationship with a channel of a particular type once they contact it. This means that if you have multiple channels of the same type connected to your account (such as virtual phone numbers) your contacts will only receive messages from the channel they last contacted. Once they send a message to a different channel, they'll be locked into an exclusive relationship with that channel. Import the file below, 'surface_channels.json', and place contacts in it to create a 'Channel' contact field that contains the address of the channel they last contacted. 

Follow us on Twitter to interact with a chat application built with TextIt, or create a free account to build your own. You'll be sending messages in minutes! Get in touch anytime with any questions, comments, or suggestions. 

WebHelp Uses TextIt to Collect Customer Feedback

Clear, effective feedback is a vital resource for any organization. In fact, customer feedback–a buyer, constituent or beneficiary’s reaction to an organization’s products, services, or policies–has never been more important in a time where agile methodology and user-centered design are ubiquitously employed. Here, the goal is to create a reliable, performant communication pipeline to facilitate an exchange of information that measures the difference between performance expected and performance exhibited.

Effective organizations are just as good at soliciting feedback as they are accepting it. They know that effective feedback has benefits for the giver, the receiver, and the greater organization by creating clear directives that motivate improvement and promote alignment with brand, mission and strategy. They also know that mobile phones and the channels they support–SMS messaging, voice (IVR) and social media–are the most effective ways to solicit feedback with an open rate of 98% and response rate of over 70%.

WebHelp, a global business process outsourcing provider specializing in business process management and customer experience across a range of digital communication channels for companies like Sky, Vodafone and Shop Direct, is one such organization. WebHelp uses TextIt to collect product and customer service feedback via SMS messaging for a number of leading European companies.

How it Works

Each time a customer completes one of WebHelp’s client’s own customer support protocols, they receive an SMS-based workflow from WebHelp’s TextIt account, triggered by our Flow Run API endpoint (test it out on your own account using our API Explorer). The workflow measures both product and customer service satisfaction through a series of simple, well-designed questions. WebHelp then uses tools like BIME to aggregate and analyze the workflow’s results and create a comprehensive report which their clients can use to improve their products and services.

Behind the Process

TextIt’s simple, visual drag-and-drop workflow builder, coupled with its uniquely powerful logic engine, allows experts such as WebHelp to build their own brand of mobile messaging feedback forms in minutes and deploy them instantly.

WebHelp’s surveys are short and direct, consisting of no more than 5 questions. Time-sensitive surveys such as service evaluations have higher completion rates when kept at or below 5 questions. They begin by measuring the customer’s satisfaction with the customer service process as a whole. Next, they determine whether or not the issue was resolved. Finally, they ask the customer for comments to qualify their previous responses:  

At the end of the workflow, each customer’s feedback can be sent via email to your organization’s feedback platform:

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Note that TextIt's WebHook actions and API can also be used to pass customers’ feedback to other web services, like Slack, Zendesk, Woopra, Qualaroo, and much more!  

Give it a Try

Users who’ve purchased credits can download the feedback workflow mentioned in this article below:

To import this flow to your account, navigate to your account page, select “Import” from the settings menu in the top right corner, and add the flow:


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TextIt is changing the way organizations communicate with customers, beneficiaries, constituents and stakeholders. Whether you're interested in adding an SMS messaging channel to your communication pipeline like WebHelp, or building chat bot like HigherMe, you're guaranteed to increase engagement. 

For Example:

  1. An E-commerce company can use TextIt to improve funnel abandonment by texting discount codes to customers who put something in their cart but don't purchase.
  2. An on-demand company can push text notifications when their delivery is on the way or manage a fleet of workers who won't be on computers but will always have their phones.  
  3. Any company can measure Net Promotor Score or Customer Satisfaction by sending messages that are more likely to be read and responded to than any other form of communication.

Follow us on Twitter to interact with a chat application built with TextIt, or create a free account to build your own. You'll be sending messages in minutes! Get in touch anytime with any questions, comments, or suggestions. 


The City of Boston Uses TextIt to Engage Youth & Facilitate Participatory Budgeting

The City of Boston’s ‘one-stop shop’ resource center for youth, the Boston Centers for Youth & Families Division of Youth Engagement and Employment (YEE), uses TextIt to power the SMS messaging-based portion of its communication pipeline. It’s the largest youth employer in Boston, hiring over 4,000 youth annually to work with over 200 community-based organizations.

To further engage Boston’s youth, YEE manages social media and marketing efforts geared toward civic engagement initiatives, and distributes a monthly newsletter to over 40,000 youth, families, and youth workers across the city. All youth are welcome, as focus is placed on vulnerable youth populations including LGBTQ, homeless or unaccompanied, court-involved, and undocumented youth.

The internationally recognized division, which provides thousands of teens ages 15-18 with meaningful employment experiences and career readiness training, is breaking ground in the participatory budgeting space through its Youth Lead the Change (YLC) initiative.

Youth Lead the Change: Participatory Budgeting Boston’s mission is to empower youth to unlock their leadership potential by contributing to the management of $1,000,000 in capital city funds. The process, which takes place from November to June, includes an idea collection phase, in which ideas to improve the city are submitted; a proposal development phase, in which a team of 85 youth work with city staff to create proposals; and a ‘vote + present’ phase, in which Boston residents between the ages of 12 and 25 vote to decide which proposals get funded. The team then guides the implementation of winning proposals.

Applying TextIt 

YEE has found that using TextIt as an attendance-monitoring tool improves response rates. They ask youth to send a keyword to their dedicated number to confirm attendance at events and meetings, familiarizing them with the process of interacting with a TextIt workflow. They also use keywords as hooks to encourage participation. An keyword trigger might be an answer to a question posted at an event or meeting, or through a social media post. 

YEE used the following workflow to collect Youth Lead the Change participatory budgeting ideas: 

Part of YEE's SMS communication channel's success can be attributed to its clever use of shortened links. YEE often uses messages as a vehicle for richer content by sending respondents links to forms, surveys, written content or media. This is a simple yet effective way to guarantee content exposure, as an estimated 98% of text messages are viewed once delivered, and over 70% are responded to.

After they've received a link, users are placed in an intake flow designed to register youth interested in participating in the Youth Lead the Change program: 

Note that YEE makes use of TextIt's grouping features, placing respondents in groups populated by intake workflows, or adding them to groups corresponding with participation frequency. 

YEE also uses flows like the one pictured below to remind youth participants of upcoming events and RSVP for additional information:

International Attention

YEE's Youth Lead the Change program is receiving international attention for its approach to participatory budgeting. Francesco Tena, who heads YEE's Mayor's Youth Council, says his team is consistently responding to information requests from domestic and foreign counterparts. The program has hosted delegations from cities in China, Turkey, Tunisia, Algeria, Russia, and Lebanon. In addition, YEE has been recognized by the Guangzhou Institute for Urban Innovation and was awarded 1st place in the City Livability Awards from the US Conference of Mayors.

Keys to Success

Tena and his team have demonstrated that text messaging is an effective communication channel for disconnected youth. Specifically, YEE has found that the following directives improve their response rates: 

  • Write how you talk. 
  • Use the tone you would with a close friend. 
  • Use first names (called by the @contact.first_name) flow variable
  • Solicit message content feedback from a party that represents your intended audience. In YEE's case, this meant asking youth participants to review messages prior to sending them.
  • Reward the participant for their time: deliver content with each interaction.

Visit YEE's website for to learn more or get in touch. 

TextIt is changing the way organizations communicate with beneficiaries, customers and stakeholders. Whether you're interested in adding an SMS messaging channel to your communication pipeline like YEE, or building chat bot like HigherMe, you're guaranteed to increase engagement. 

For Example:

  1. An E-commerce company can use TextIt to improve funnel abandonment by texting discount codes to customers who put something in their cart but don't purchase.
  2. An on-demand company can push text notifications when their delivery is on the way or manage a fleet of workers who won't be on computers but will always have their phones.  
  3. Any company can measure Net Promotor Score or Customer Satisfaction by sending messages that are more likely to be read and responded to than any other form of communication.

Follow us on Twitter to interact with a chat application built with TextIt, or create a free account to build your own. You'll be sending messages in minutes! Get in touch anytime with any questions, comments, or suggestions. 

Introducing the @new_contact Variable

The @new_contact variable was recently added to TextIt's variable catalogue to support an exciting yet advanced new use case: creating additional contacts associated with a single phone and assigning each their own therapy adherence campaigns. You might think of it as adding "sub-contacts" to an existing contact. Essentially, it allows you to create and manage multiple contacts who communicate via a single phone, e.g. a family. Accordingly, you might apply this feature to a service that not only provides maternity health reminders to expecting mothers, but medical reminders pertaining to the health of their other children as well. 

Applying the @new_contact Concept

The aim of the following use case is to create separate profiles for each child, all containing the mother's phone number, so that she can receive campaign events addressed to each of her children.

Creating Sub-Contacts

First, you'll need to start the mother in a flow that collects relevant information about each child. This ensures that each flow run will result in the creation of a new child:



After your workflow has collected relevant information about the child, you'll use @new_contact to create an empty placeholder for that child's contact profile, and the Start Someone in a Flow action to start a flow that will update the new contact's field values: 


Updating Each New Contact's Profile

The next flow should contain a series of Update the Contact actions that will update the values collected by the previous flow (name, gender, age) to the placeholder for the child, @new_contact:




First, you'd create a contact field for the child that will contain the mother's phone number (you can create new contact fields within the Update Contact flow action). Then, you'll populate that field with the mother's phone number using the @step.contact.tel_e164 variable. @step.contact refers to the mother - the contact who sent the previous message: 




Then, you'd place the @extra variable in front of each of the values collected from the previous flow: 




Once each child's contact profile is created, you can assign them their own campaign

Sending Reminders Intended for the Child

To send reminders to the mother for her child, you'll need to create a campaign event to be sent to the child's contact profile that contains a flow that uses the Send a Message to Someone Else or Start Someone Else in a Flow actions to message the mother. The address you'll use is the contact field containing the mother's phone number, @contact.mother_phone

Download these Flows

If you've purchased credits, you can download the workflows referenced in this post and import them into your account for guidance. 

Your feedback is invaluable to us. You can share your questions, comments and suggestions with us at support@textit.in. If you haven't tried TextIt, you can do so for free here

Stay Raja Ampat Uses TextIt to Collect SMS Inquiries & Confirm Bookings

Stay Raja Ampat, an eco-tourism homestay enterprise that offers traditional Papuan accommodations where you can dive, snorkel, relax, experience traditional culture and see incredible wildlife among Indonesia’s Raja Ampat Islands, uses TextIt to collect SMS inquiries and confirm homestay booking requests. 

The Booking Process

Homestays are booked through Stay Raja Ampat’s booking module, which collects your phone number in addition to your booking information prior to checkout:

Stay Raja Ampat’s SMS-based booking confirmation process is powered by the WordPress TextIt SDK, a custom WordPress plugin developed by Stay Raja Ampat to respond to TextIt WebHook events through their WordPress site, and TextIt’s Flow Event WebHooks (see documentation here). Once the booking is completed, clients who've provided an Indonesian phone number receive a confirmation message containing the location of their homestay, booking ID, number of guests and rooms, checkin and checkout dates, and pickup location. Clients can respond to confirm the information provided on their booking: 

Clients receive a text message similar to the one below once the keys passed from Stay Raja Ampat's site replace their @extra placeholders: 

Submitting an Inquiry

In addition to booking confirmations, Stay Raja Ampat uses TextIt's Send Email action to manage SMS inquiries. All messages containing the keyword trigger "Collect" followed by an inquiry are directed to Stay Raja Ampat's booking email address:

Android Channel Reliability 

Stay Raja Ampat processes every messages through our free Android app, which provides a simple yet effective messaging channel anywhere in the world - all you need is an Android phone, internet access and a cellular network. 

Book Your Stay

Visit Stay Raja Ampat’s website to book a stay among Raja Ampat’s tropical island jewels and densely populated seas. You'll experience a nursery and refuge for coral and fish species that are rapidly disappearing from elsewhere in the region, and you’ll be supporting the local economy as you empower the traditional owners of Raja Ampat in their efforts to preserve both their environment and way of life.

Visit our site to sign-up for a free TextIt account - no credit card required. Questions? Comments? Get in touch with us anytime at support@textit.in.

Using TextIt to Assign & Validate Coupon Codes, ID Codes and More

SMS is a popular channel for validation of any kind. In fact, it's built into most of our favorite services, as Google, Facebook and others provide 2-factor authentication to protect your accounts. If you've ever connected a Twilio number to your TextIt account or downloaded Uber, you've likely received a text containing a code and instructions to enter it into the app.

While TextIt's WebHook RuleSets are ideal for coupon code, order number or identification code validation at scale, we also offer a lightweight method that anyone can use: storing these codes as contact attributes and validating them with a simple, three step workflow. 

Getting Started

First, you'll need to create a contact field and assign each contact a code. Codes can easily be generated in Excel or within a workflow using the RANDBETWEEN function. 

Assigning Each Contact a Code


If you'd like to assign codes to contacts and then import them into TextIt using a spreadsheet, you may do so by populating the column assigned to each contact's code with the =RANDBETWEEN expression: 



You can also use a workflow to generate codes. Here's how that might look:



The first step will be to generate the code and assign it to a contact field using an Update the Contact action. In the example below, the field that will contain the code is called Participation Code, which will be assigned a random 4-digit number between 1000 and 9999 using the @(RANDBETWEEN(1000, 9999)) expression: 



A message will then be sent to the contact containing the code. Each time a contact passes through this workflow, a new code will be generated and assigned: 



Validating Each Contact's Code



Once you've assigned a code to a contact field for each contact, you can evaluate it against that same contact field using a simple "Wait for Response" RuleSet. All you need to do is place the contact variable representing the contact field for each contact's code in the RuleSet's value input: 



That's all there is to it. The resulting workflow is as straightforward as can be for the end user: 



Download these Flows

If you've purchased credits, you can download the workflows referenced in this post and import them into your account for guidance. 

Code-Generating Workflow: 

Code-Validating Workflow: 

Your feedback is invaluable to us. You can share your questions, comments and suggestions with us at support@textit.in. If you haven't tried TextIt, you can do so for free here




Feature Update: Reach your Contacts on Telegram

We're proud to announce that you can now add Telegram channels, giving you access to a super-fast, simple and free platform used by over 62 million people around the world through any mobile device. Telegram is a cloud-based instant messaging service - similar to WhatsApp and WeChat - with a focus on speed, openness and security. It's open source and encrypted end-to-end, meaning that all data sent and received via Telegram cannot be deciphered when intercepted by your ISP, network administrator or other third parties.

Why Telegram?

There are five key factors that make Telegram our first choice for cloud-based messaging: 

  1. Unlike most cloud-based chat applications, Telegram provides an open API that encourages integration and development.
  2. Telegram's values of openness and security fall in line with our own, allowing us to provide an encrypted channel for organizations communicating sensitive information.
  3. It's completely free.
  4. Telegram will allow you to send up to 30 messages per second - the same throughput a short code would allow at no cost. 
  5. Telegram provides a web app; a desktop version for Mac, PC and Linux; and mobile apps for all iOS and Android devices. It can be used anywhere an internet connection is available. 

How Does it Work?

Your Telegram channel will be represented by a Bot. Telegram Bots are special accounts that will serve as an interface for the workflows and messages you send via TextIt. Bots differ from standard accounts in that they: 

  • Have no online status and no last seen timestamps, the interface shows the label ‘bot’ instead.
  • Are given usernames that always end in ‘bot’ (e.g. @TriviaBot@GitHub_bot).
  • Act as a simple interface for Telegram's API. 

Much like TextIt, Telegram Bots allow you to create custom tools that provide you with alerts, weather forecasts, translations, or other services upon request, e.g. Poll bot

TextIt Enables Bulk Messaging

As it stands, Telegram doesn't provide a method for sending bulk messages or notifications. In fact, a Bot not connected to TextIt can't initiate conversations with new users. A new user must either add them to a group or send them a message first (they can use telegram.me/<bot_username> links or username search to find your bot). However, when a Bot is connected to your TextIt account, your Telegram contacts become TextIt contacts, allowing you to leverage our broadcast functionality to initiate conversations and send bulk notifications with ease. 

Getting Started

You can add a Telegram channel just like you would any other channel: simply log-in, navigate to the Add Channel page and select the Telegram option at the bottom of the page:

You'll be asked to enter an authentication token from your Telegram Bot, which is provided after you create it in Telegram. 

Follow the instructions provided to create your Bot. The first step is to find and initiate a conversation with the BotFather:

After initiating the conversation, send the /newbot command and give your bot a name. You can follow the link provided to give your Bot a picture and description. Then, plug the authentication token you're provided into your TextIt account. 

Considerations

Each time a new end-user initiates a conversation with your Bot, they'll do so by tapping or typing the /start command*. You can assign an introductory workflow, e.g. a registration workflow, to your Bot by creating a keyword trigger

*In order for your contacts to receive messages from your TextIt account via Telegram, they'll first need to tap the /start command. 

Try it Out

We've created some TextIt Bots to demonstrate what's possible. You can interact with them by creating or opening a Telegram account and searching for Purrington, a Bot that provides facts about cats, or Snowman, a Bot that provides weather reports for the Northwest Washington area:

As always, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, let us know! If you don't yet have a TextIt account, you can create one for free here. We provide 1,000 complimentary messages to help you get started.