Shout for Business Onboarding
What is Shout?
Shout is a free chat app just like iMessage, Facebook Messenger, or WhatsApp. Download the app and use it exactly the same as these other chat apps. It's easy to use with your friends, family, customers, teammates or whomever you want to chat with anywhere in the world that has the Shout App.
Just head to ShoutSocial.com to download the app on your mobile phone, or signup and use the web application on your computer.
What is Shout for Business?
Shout for Business allows you to connect a phone number or social media account to text or chat with folks who do not use the Shout App. Most people love Shout for Business so that they can use Shout's automations. I'll show you how those automations work during this onboarding session.
What plans are available with Shout for Business?
There are three plans available on Shout. The only difference between the three plans are the ability to use Shout to communicate with people who don't already have the Shout App.
Free Shout to Shout Plan
With this plan you can use all of Shout's features with anyone else who also has the Shout app. Learn more about free S2S messaging here.
Customer Service Plan
With this plan you can add a local customer service phone number to your Shout account so you can send one-to-one text message conversations with those who don't already have the Shout App. A customer service number is a phone number with a local area code to your state or province. Customer services numbers for text are available for users in the United States, Canada, and Australia.
With this plan you can add a marketing phone number to your account. A marketing number allows you to text many people at once by sending a Broadcast message. Marketing numbers are toll-free phone numbers that start with 833 or 844. Marketing numbers don't have the same spam restrictions that local numbers have. For example, a local or customer service number will quickly get flagged as spam and the carriers will not deliver the messages if, for example, you send messages to too many people at once or use spammy language like PROMO, VIP, DEAL, or DISCOUNT.
Will my customers be confused if I have two different phone numbers?
Probably not, most people already intuitively understand the concept of businesses having a specific phone number that is related to just promos or marketing versus a number they call or text for support or to place an order. For example, when you go to a coffee shop or restaurant, it's really common to see a sign on the door or at the counter that says "Text XXX-XXX-XXX for our latest news and deals". Customers know that the phone number probably isn't the same number they call to get store hours.
Regardless, Shout makes using two phone numbers easy, so even if your customers text you on your marketing number, you'll see all those messages in your Shout inbox, and when you respond, Shout automatically responds from the last number that you or your customer used to communicate. See more about the difference between the two numbers here.
How do I use Shout's Inbox?
Shout's inbox is really easy and intuitive to use, just like any Chat, Email, or Text messaging App. Your most recent unread conversations always show up at the top of the conversation list. Anyone, including free users, can send and receive direct messages in Shout or join a group chat.
Tap a conversation to open it. Type in the composer and click the arrow to send a message.
On your computer, the icons in the composer make it easy to access Shout's other features. Which we'll go through shortly. One of the most useful features to point out is the clock icon. Just tap or click the clock icon to schedule your message to be sent later.
Once your done responding to a conversation, click close to declutter your inbox. Whenever you receive a new message in the conversation, it will automatically move back into your Open Inbox.
Broadcast messages send the same direct message to every recipient of the broadcast. They are really powerful. You can send a broadcast to everyone in a group, everyone in a tag, or just to a few contacts. You can also use broadcasts to send to everyone in a group while adding exclusions like a group, tag, or a few contacts. For example, you might want to message everyone in your Team group excluding those with the "onboarding" tag. You can also use broadcasts to send a message to everyone who is in the middle of a Bot or who has an order that is "awaiting payment".
Just like any message in Shout, broadcasts can be scheduled to send later, and you can see all the messages, including broadcasts that are scheduled to be sent to a contact right from the contact profile. Learn how to send a Broadcast Message here.
How do I manage people I communicate with in Shout?
To communicate with someone in Shout, you just need to create a contact, just like you would with any other messaging or Chat app. You can easily upload your contacts from your mobile phone using the Shout mobile app, or you can upload a CSV in the Shout on your computer.
You can organize your contacts with groups, tags, or broadcast lists in Shout.
Contacts in Shout make it easy to track all the usual information you'd need for any chat app, like a phone number, address, email, etc. You can also keep detailed contact notes for each contact, and Shout will automatically keep track of all the messages, automations, orders, and shipping labels you have associated with a Contact as well, making it really useful for your business. Learn about the entire Contacts feature here.
Groups make it really easy to group your contacts together so you can communicate and message them at once using our Broadcasts feature. For example, you might have a Tuesday Tips, Team, or Customers group so you can send broadcasts to each group very easily.
Tags are a lot like groups in that you can send a broadcast to everyone in a tag just like a group. Tags are also really useful to use like stickers. For example if you want to add someone's favorite color or product, or tag someone as having finished their order or onboarding.
Broadcast Lists make it easy to create dynamic groups of people in Shout, for example you could create a list called "Everyone except Family" where you can easily add your Team and Customers group and exclude all the contacts that are family members or exclude a group or tag called "Family". Broadcast lists can do everything that a group or tag can do, and as you begin to use Shout's automations, you'll appreciate how easy they can make it to manage Shout Automations like Bots, Drips, and Recurring Events.
What are Shout Automations?
Most small businesses that love and use Shout do so for it's automations. Shout automations make managing your communications as your business or communications grow much easier. They help you manage your contacts with groups and tags, collect contact information, and send out content or training.
There are four primary use cases for Bots: 1) Opt In and Opt Out bots, 2) Order Bots, 3) Review or Survey Bots, and 4) Customer Service Bots. For the sake of simplicity, we'll go through the most common use case of an Opt In bot, which automatically collects contact information, creates a contact, and assigns a contact to a group, like a Tuesday Tips group, so that you an then send out a weekly Tip or Promo message to someone who's opted into the bot.
To create a bot, click Bots, then the blue plus button to create a new bot. You'll want to create a "Conversation Bot". Add a title and description to the Bot, like "Opt In Tuesday Tips".
Next you'll want to add a trigger word. This is the phrase or word that someone will text or message in to start the bot. We'll use the trigger word TIPS. You might also want to include some ways that people might misspell the trigger word, like "Tips" or "Tips!" so that the bot will automatically start when someone accidentally types the wrong phrase. We recommend using single word trigger words, and there's no need to do different capitalization versions, Shout automatically checks all variations of capitalization that some one might use. You should also note that you cannot use any universal carrier key words as trigger words such as START or STOP.
Next you'll want to select the services that the Bot listens to. You must have at least one service selected and you can select as many services as you'd like. For example, you might want to just have the bot run on your Marketing number. Or you can have it listen to all services. It's just up to you. The bot will automatically respond from the same service that someone messages into, and bots will never respond via a different service than the bot was started from.
After that, you'll add your first message to the bot. For most Opt In bots, you'll want to use a Contact Info question type to collect someone's name. The bot will only ask a Contact Info question if the Contact doesn't already have that information. For example if someone you already have as a contact in Shout messages in and the contact already has a name listed, the bot will not ask their name.
I'd then recommend adding a message to let them know that they've successfully opted into your group. For example, a message like "Yay, you'll now receive Tips from me each week! Just respond NOTIPS if you no longer wish to receive these tips."
The last thing we need this bot to do is add the contact to the Tuesday Tips group. Click the action button, Assign to Group, and select the Tuesday Tips groups. Click Save.
Then you can easily preview how your bot will work by clicking Save and Preview at the top, to see how the bot will work when someone messages in with the bot's trigger word.
Learn about Bots in detail here.
Drips work just like bots, except that they deliver messages to your contact on a set schedule. They work great for things like onboarding training, or periodic marketing messaging.
You create drips the same way as bots. Click drips, then the plus (+) button to create a new drip. Add a title, description, select your services. If you'd like you can add a trigger word to a drip campaign, but most drips get started either manually or by a bot.
Unlike Bots, there is only one question type in a drip, it just sends a message, and you can easily choose when the message should be sent. The time you select is based on the time the last message was sent or when the bot was started. So the first message in a drip will be sent "Immediately", and your second question might be 1 day after or 1 week after, however you'd like to schedule your messages out. Each message in a drip campaign can also have actions, just like a bot, so you can add or remove contacts from groups or tags. If you have any questions with creating either a drip or a bot, feel free to reach out and Shout Support can help you through setting up or testing your Bot or Drip.
Learn about Drips in detail here.
Although less frequently used than drips or bots, recurring events are a great way to manage a team or schedule. Some of the most common uses cases for recurring events are sending out reminders to make purchases or join a team meeting. We also have a prebuilt recurring event that you can enable for Birthday Alerts.
What is Shout Fulfillment?
Shout's fulfillment features make it super simple to integrate your customers purchases or product samples right into your communications. You can also purchase and print shipping labels right from Shout and then text out shipping status updates, just like Amazon or Etsy.
Shout Orders allow you to track and send out invoices by text or chat, send out payment reminders, and automatically text out receipts. You can also easily schedule order followups to start a bot or drip after a purchase to collect reviews or feedback about a product or order.
Easily purchase USPS shipping labels just like you would from Ship.com or Pirate Ship right inside Shout. Shout offers the most competitive rates from the USPS, so you don't have to worry about paying more with Shout for shipping.
What is Shout Sharing?
Shout's sharing features make it super easy to share content from Shout to team members, family members, or anyone who has a Shout account. Especially for those who manage big teams, you'll want to check out Invite Links and Folders.
If you work on a big team or with a marketing consultant like Essential Connection Co, you most likely were introduced to Shout when they shared a Shout Folder with you. Shout folders make it really easy to add prebuilt content like bots, drips, or message templates right into your Shout account with the click of a button.
Access the folder by clicking on a folder link messaged to you or you can click on Folders then Shared With Me. Once viewing the folder, you can click the blue import icon to add the content directly to your Shout account. Static content like images or videos can be downloaded directly to your computer or phone just like Google Drive or Drop Box.
Learn more here.
Invite links allow you to create a custom invitation flow to Shout for your team or business. For example you can customize the message that is shown when you invite a team member to join shout. You can also automatically add team members to groups, group chats, tags, and much more with an invite link. Here's an invite link that make's it easy to see how they work.
First, this invite link customizes the permissions message that someone sees when they join Shout after clicking on your link.
Second, it automatically sends them a welcome message from your account, so their inbox isn't empty when they first get into Shout.
Third, it adds them to the "Team" group, adds the "Onboarding tag" to their contact, and adds them to your Team group chat.
Finally, it shares a Shout Folder called, "Getting Started with My Team" where you might include things like PDF onboarding packets, instructions, or business card template or starter message templates to get your team member going right away.
Where can I find help?
If you're having trouble getting access to a drip campaign or folder sent to you by another Shout User, you should first reach out to the owner of the Drip Campaign or Folder.
Our online help center is the best place to get help with using Shout. We put up lots of videos and tutorials to make learning and using Shout really fast and simple.
Our website provides some very useful information and links to help you learn how to use Shout for your specific business.
Our Facebook users group is great place to interact with other Shout Users to ask them questions and network.
Shout support is always here to help for any of our paid accounts. You can message us right in the app, and we'll respond between 9am and 9pm Mountain Time. We're also usually available from 10 am to 3pm on the weekends. If for some reason you can't access the app, just send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, we offer enterprise plans that include priority support if you'd like even quicker response times with a dedicated Group Chat with Shout's support and engineering team and phone support. Just message Shout Support for more information about getting an Enterprise plan.