Text Messaging (SMS) Overview
  • 03 Apr 2024
  • 2 minute read
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Text Messaging (SMS) Overview

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  • PDF

Article Summary

Real-time bidirectional SMS text messaging is a native component of Slate and does not require integration with any third-party platform. You can:

  • Engage in conversations with a specific person

  • Schedule or trigger texts to populations of people

  • Automate responses for common questions

  • Assign messages automatically across staff

There is no limit to the number of texts your institution can send nor to the amount that can be included throughout any outreach campaign.

Text message alert on an iphone sent directly from Slate

Communication Methods


From a Person Record

One off text message from person record

As part of an ongoing Campaign

On going text message campaign

Student Success

From a Person Record

One off text message from person record

As part of an ongoing Campaign

On going text message campaign


From a Person Record

One off text message from person record

As part of an ongoing Campaign

On going text message campaign


To begin using this feature, your institution must:

  1. Purchase Credits - Credits can be purchased anytime and used for even more communication methods beyond texting. Current service rates, which are subject to change:
    Rates are shown in USD. $0.01 = 1 Credit

    Message Type

    United States


    SMS (inbound & outbound)



    Message credits are used for all incoming and outgoing messages. For example, if you send one domestic SMS text and receive an SMS reply, your account will be charged one cent for each message.

  2. Provision Sender Number(s) - The first number is included in your database. Additional numbers are available at the cost of $1 per month (billed as 100 credits per month) for each additional number.

  3. Configure SMS Inbox - Replies to text messages can be found on the associated person record to which the phone number belongs and Inbox. Text messages do not have subjects or other conversation identifiers, so texts received to your numbers are displayed irrespective of any specific mailing. Clicking on an incoming message will display a conversation view of all texts to and from that number.

  4. Delivery Statistics - There is currently no capability for detecting text messages "opens" on any platform.


Emojis are small icons and images created using Unicode Standard, known to increase engagement throughout text messages, emails, and other digital communications.

To use emojis, visit a site like emojipedia.org, and copy and paste them into your message subject or body.

  • Display - Emojis have a device-specific presentation. The icons will also differ between Android and iPhone platforms.

  • Character Count - Using an emoji for an SMS message will reduce the available characters for a single message from 160 to 70. When editing the message, the font-based representation of the emoji will be displayed, and in the preview mode, a color representation using the open-source icon set from Twitter.

Unsubscribe / Opt-Out Support

Standard messages for unsubscribing from text messages are supported. Sending an unsubscribe message will opt-out the mobile number from receiving future messages sent from all mobile numbers used by your institution. Opting out of text messaging will not opt the recipient out of any other communications (e.g., emails, postal mail), nor will it set the "Opt Out" tag.

A recipient simply needs to reply to a message with one of the following commands:



  • STOP




  • END

  • QUIT

Unsubscribes the phone number.


  • YES

Re-subscribes the phone number. At this time, the recipient must directly opt back into text messaging by sending a "START" text, and the organization cannot act on behalf of the recipient in this regard.

  • HELP

  • INFO

Returns instructions about other available commands

Delivery Considerations

Different countries impose different restrictions on incoming message content. If you encounter an instance where a message is marked as delivered, but the intended recipient hasn't received the message, consider looking at Twilio's SMS Guidelines for the recipient's country to better understand what have happened.

Querying on SMS Opt-Outs

In order to query which records might have opted out, there is the SMS Opt Out filter available on the Person Base that allows you to identify records with a mobile phone number that is currently opted-out of receiving text messages.

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