Texting is dead, long live the message

Every so often, we get approached by a tournament who wants to have teams sign up to get scores as text messages on their phones. While tournaments have the ability to send text messages out to teams using the Team Apps Module, that feature is rapidly deteriorating.

Here’s why.

Texting (SMS) using a web browser is just really an email trick, one that the cell phone companies would really we rather not do and are making it more difficult with each passing year. In order for texting by the web to work, we need not only the cell phone number but the provider. This is something the team provides upon application if they want to get text messages from the tournament.

Therein lies the rub. Brands have misused trust so much that nobody wants them to be part of their inner text messaging circle. Or — more accurately — to NOT text them. For better or worse, your soccer tournament is seen as a brand.

But this is TourneyCentral so we have a solution, one that is more in-line with where texting is going long-term.

By this time next year, texting will be dead and messaging will have taken its place. It’s a subtle distinction but messaging allows the user to control the messages locally and not rely on a service to “take them off the list.” When the user no longer wants to hear from you, *poof* you’re gone.

One popular messaging service is Twitter. Twitter is versatile enough so that even teams who don’t want to sign up for the service can still get “text” messages from you.

Our advice: The first step is to set up a twitter account for your tournament. People with twitter accounts can follow and get either notifications or text messages when you tweet. People without twitter and don’t want twitter can text to 40404 and put FOLLOW yourevent in the message. (UNFOLLOW yourevent when they want you to go away)

When you update your scores, there is a Tweet button on your confirmation screen. You have to be signed in and this will compose a tweet that you can then send to anyone following you, with a link to your mobile web app.

– Market your twitter follow (or 40404) to the teams.
– Tweet your scores as they are updated
– Tweet anything like DEALS or weather
– If you want to get gutsy, tweet photos using your phone (or Vine)

Check out our blog in more depth. We’re all over social media for soccer tournaments. Here and here for some specific ideas.