SMS / Text Message

Learn how to join existing or create new SMS conversations.

Michael Stephenson avatar
Written by Michael Stephenson
Updated over a week ago


The Conversations module in Element451 allows users to engage in ongoing SMS with students, prospects, and other contacts. This article provides instructions for joining existing conversations and starting new ones.

Joining an Existing SMS Conversation

SMS conversation threads are denoted in your inbox with a cell phone icon.

  1. Navigate to Engagement > Conversations > All Conversations.

  2. Locate and select the message you wish to join.

  3. Click Join Conversation at the bottom.

Starting a New SMS Conversation

  1. Navigate to Engagement > Conversations > All Conversations.

  2. Click the New Conversation button in the top right corner.

  3. Select the channel SMS.

  4. Complete the fields:

    • Conversation Name: The name is used as the subject of the SMS message, and the name of the conversation is also displayed as the message's title in the conversations dashboard.

    • From Number: If your institution has multiple outbound phone numbers, select the number from which you want to send the message.

    • Recipient: Search to find the intended recipient. The search results will only display users with validated mobile numbers.

    • Participants: Add one or more internal participants to loop others into the conversation. Participants receive email notifications for all responses by a student. You are automatically added as the first participant when you create a new conversation.

    • Assignee: If you want to assign the conversation to an individual participant or Team, this can also be completed on this screen. A conversation can only have one assignee.

    • Message: Compose your email message. You can include a CoVideo, Loom video, emoji, files, or images. Or, try out our AI-powered writing assistant, Copilot.

  5. When everything is as you want, click Send to send the SMS and open a new conversation.

📙 Important Notes Regarding SMS

  • SMS messages are limited to 1600 characters. However, best practice is to keep messages much shorter than that. We recommend 160 characters for the best technical and end-user experience.​

  • Some mobile operating systems automatically crop the preview image. Therefore, when attaching images to text messages, we recommend the following aspect ratios: 1:1, 9:16, and 4:3.

  • If you send a message with multimedia content (images or attachments), it will only be delivered to US numbers.

SMS Inbox

All conversations, no matter the channel, are displayed in your Conversations Inbox. Conversations using the SMS channel will be denoted in your inbox with a mobile phone icon. You can access All Conversations by navigating to Engagement > Conversations > All Conversations.

Threading Messages

When communicating with a student via Text Message:

  • If your institution has one outgoing number, all messages (no matter who communicates with the student) will be threaded in one continuous message.

  • If your institution uses multiple outgoing numbers, messages will be organized into separate threads for each number with the student.

  • If you have previously communicated with a student, closed the conversation, and the student subsequently sends another text message, that conversation thread is reopened with the retained conversation history.

To prevent spam, only inbound messages from known senders will be directed to Conversations, creating a new or reopened thread.

To learn more about navigating your Conversations Inbox, click here.

New/Reopened Conversations from Inbound Text Messages

Inbound text messages to your Element451 SMS-enabled phone number(s) can create new SMS conversations or reopen existing SMS threads. When an SMS is received, Element451 evaluates the message to see if the inbound number is associated with a known contact record by checking against contact phone numbers. If we find a match, we'll accept that inbound message and pass it through to Conversations. Remember, as phone numbers are not required to be unique—like email addresses are—if more than one user matches, the inbound message will be associated with the most recent thread.

To prevent spam and SMS messages not relevant to a known contact from entering Conversations, Element451 does not create conversations or store SMS messages from unknown phone numbers and addresses.

SMS Settings

Saved Replies

To add, edit, and delete saved replies, navigate to Engagement > Conversations > Settings > SMS.

Adding Additional SMS Numbers

To add an additional SMS number/inbox, please reach out to the Element451 customer support team.

SMS Unsubscribing + Opting Out

When a recipient of an SMS message sent from your Element451 number replies with "STOP," Element451 will automatically create an SMS Unsubscribe Date milestone for that contact. Following this, they will no longer receive messages from you, whether through Conversations or Campaigns. If your institution utilizes multiple Element451 numbers, the unsubscribe action will apply to all.

Manual Unsubscribe

To learn more about the process of manually unsubscribing a person from SMS subscriptions, click here.

Increasing Deliverability of SMS Messages

To learn more about improving the content of your messages that may be triggering wireless carriers' junk message filters, click here.

Automating with Rules

You can tag, assign, automatically reply, close conversations, and more by using Conversation Rules. These rules are executed against new and reopened text messages from the student. Rules will not activate on subsequent conversations for that student if the conversation has not been closed.

To learn more about configuring Conversation Rules, click here.


BoltBot: AI-Powered ChatBot

BoltBot can be enabled to reply to new inbound messages. For more information about BoltBot, click here.

Copilot: AI-Powered Writing Assistant

Copilot for Conversations is an AI-powered tool to assist you with automated and customized responses. It can generate replies based on message context or user prompts. Copilot simplifies drafting by improving writing, fixing spelling and grammar, shortening text, expanding details, changing tone, and translating. It also summarizes conversations into shareable notes. Copilot saves you time by automating repetitive communication tasks. For more information on Copilot for Conversations, click here.

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