Table of contents
- Some FAQs
- Step 1. Sign up for a Mobile Messaging Partnership
- Step 2. Migrate to the core fields for mobile number and mobile messaging opt-in status
- Step 3. Create and connect your Twilio account
- Step 4. Set up a welcome series
So you want to get started with mobile messaging, call campaigns, and Twilio? Great, you've come to the right spot! This guide will walk you through migrating to the mobile number and SMS opt-in core fields, connecting your Twilio account to your Action Network group, and creating your first call campaigns and messages.
Before you get started… some FAQs
- What is Twilio? Twilio powers your mobile messaging and call campaigns. They integrate with us to handle sending your mobile message and connecting calls, receiving replies from your activists, and purchasing and managing phone numbers.
- Do I have to use the core fields for mobile messaging and call campaigns? Yes, yes you do. Custom fields will not work. More on the migration process in a bit.
Step 1. Sign up for a Mobile Messaging partnership.
Mobile Messaging Partnerships are coming soon! Click here to learn more.
In order to have mobile messages turned on your Action Network group, you need to sign up for a Mobile Messaging Partnership, once it's available. Give us a couple days to get it set up (please). You can sign up and find out pricing info here.
Step 2. Migrate to the core fields for mobile number and mobile messaging opt-ins.
While you're waiting on your partnership to get set up, migrate to the core fields. Twilio relies on the mobile number and SMS opt-in core fields to send messages and store activists. It is essential that you use our core fields, otherwise there's nothing for Twilio to connect to. Check out our guide here on how to migrate to the new core fields (there's a bonus dog at the end, so you should really take a look).
Step 3. Now that your partnership is set up, create and connect your Twilio account.
Bear with me here, this is where it gets tricky.
Create your Twilio account.
Now that our team has turned on mobile messaging privileges for you, navigate to the 'Settings' tab of your group manage page. Scroll down, and you'll see a section dedicated to mobile messaging. Your first step is to create your Twilio account. Click the green button to go to Twilio and create an account. You'll create an account with your email address, a password, and then be asked to verify your account and a phone number. Go through Twilio's tutorials or skip to your Twilio dashboard.
Once you've created your Twilio account, the 'Not Complete' box will not change. If you did it correctly, it will change in the next step.
Connect your Twilio account.
On your Twilio dashboard, you'll see your SID and Auth token (mine are covered in the screenshot). Copy and paste the Twilio Account SID and Twilio Auth Tokens into the assigned spaces on your Action Network settings. Scroll down and click 'Save Changes'. This connects your Action Network group to your Twilio account. After you've connected your Twilio Account, the 'Not Complete' box will change to 'Complete'.
Set up your messaging service.
A new step will appear, prompting you to set up your messaging service. This is where you'll choose the phone number(s) you'll use.
There's three types of phone numbers you can choose: long codes, toll free numbers, and short codes. There's a lot of differences between them, so let's break down which type you should use:
Toll Free Numbers
Because you can have more than one long code or toll free number, you can still send more than 200 messages a day. When you buy multiple long codes or toll free numbers, Twilio will automatically rotate them for you. And you can buy as many as you need to accommodate your volume. For example, if your mobile list is 1,000 people, you'll want to purchase 5 long codes so you can send to your entire list, but not go over 200/messages per day on any long code.
You can read more about long codes, toll free numbers, and short codes here.
Once you've decided what kind of number you need, click the button on the 'Settings' tab of your group manage page on Action Network to add a number to your messaging service. You'll be brought to Twilio, where you can filter available numbers by area and capabilities — make sure to choose one that has SMS available.
After you've selected your number, go back to the 'Messaging Services' page on Twilio and add an existing number. This will connect your long or short code to Action Network.
On Action Network, refresh the 'Settings' page. You should now see the box say 'Complete.'
Upgrade your Twilio account.
On your Twilio dashboard, you'll see a link to upgrade to a paid account. While you do have free credits you can test with, your messages will have "Sent from your Twilio trial account -" added to the beginning, and you'll only be able to send to numbers that have been verified on Twilio, meaning they were used to set up your account. Call campaigns will also not work properly until you've upgraded your Twilio account. You can read more about pricing for an upgraded Twilio account here.
Follow the steps to upgrade your Twilio project. You'll need to add an address and payment information.
We also highly recommend setting up auto-reload to top up your Twilio balance if it gets low. Running out of balance on Twilio will immediately stop any mobile messages from being sent or call campaigns from working.
Set up your responses.
Twilio, by default, handles standard English-language reply messages such as HELP, INFO, STOP, STOPALL, UNSUBSCRIBE, CANCEL, END, or QUIT in accordance with industry standards. If the activist's response matches one of these keywords, they will receive your default help or unsubscribe message. You can set custom Help Responses and Unsubscribe Responses in the box. All other responses will be filtered according to the process laid out in this document.
Note that this won't work for the first two business days after it has been set. We have to do some things on our end first!
Enable mobile messaging
Next, you'll need to enable mobile messaging by toggling the button in the bottom left of the page.
Step 4: Set up a Welcome Series
This step is legally required for short codes and optional, but highly recommended for long codes.
Your final step is to create a welcome series for your new subscribers using our ladders tool. Ladders are an automated series of actions an activist goes through after they meet certain conditions, called triggers (like subscribing to your mobile list, taking a certain action, receiving a certain message, and more).
Your ladder trigger will be subscribed, then immediately be followed by a 'send a mobile message' action step. The mobile message should include the text "data and messaging rates may apply". We recommend something like "You will now receive text messages from Amy for Texas. Data and msg rates may apply."
Make sure to migrate your existing subscriptions before setting up the welcome series, so folks who have already been receiving mobile messages from you via another platform are not getting triggered into the ladder.
Here's a helpful doc that explains ladder components.
More questions? Check out our FAQs.