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Abbreviations are a staple of text messaging, whether you’re just talking with friends or sending an email at work. So it’s no wonder that they’re an effective tool for communication and marketing campaigns, as well.
But for text abbreviations to be effective, they have to be correctly used. The context, use, and intended audience of the abbreviation can wildly affect how it’s received. Don’t be daunted, though: we’ve decoded everything for you, from the abbreviations themselves to when you should use them.
Keep reading to learn about 60 popular text message abbreviations, how to use them, the basic do’s and don’t’s., and how you can leverage this powerful tool for your business.
What Are Text Message Abbreviations?
Text abbreviations are just acronyms that are used specifically for messaging. Instead of saying or spelling out an entire phrase or word, a string of letters are used instead.
Typically, the abbreviation is composed of the first letters of each word in the phrase. For example, many people text ‘lol’ instead of ‘laughing out loud.’
Initially, these shortcuts for texting were born of semi-necessity when people still commonly used flip phones. When you have to press 5 three times just to get the letter ‘L,’ using abbreviations saves a lot of time and labor (and frustration).
As phones evolved, so did common texting lingo. Some phrases remained popular, while others faded in and out of use.
Common Text Abbreviations And What They Mean
Technically, you can turn any phrase into a texting abbreviation. But to make sure everyone can understand you and your message, it’s best to stick to the most common abbreviations.
Below, we’ve compiled a text message abbreviations list that outlines popular abbreviations and what they mean, broken down by when it’s appropriate to use them.
These text abbreviations are used often, making them some of the most widely known. They’ve passed the test and time and are almost guaranteed to be recognized, no matter who your recipient is.
- BRB – Be Right Back
- BTW – By The Way
- DM – Direct Message
- G2G/ GTG – Got To Go
- HMU – Hit Me Up
- ICYMI – In Case You Missed It
- IDK – I Don’t Know
- IMO – In My Opinion
- LMK – Let Me Know
- LOL – Laughing Out Loud
- NP – No Problem
- NSFW – Not Safe For Work
- NVM/ NM – Nevermind
- OOTD – Outfit Of The Day
- RN – Right Now
- ROFL – Rolling On The Floor Laughing
- TBH – To Be Honest
- TGIF – Thank God It’s Friday
- TL;DR – Too Long; Didn’t Read
- TTYL – Talk To You Later
These abbreviations are more personal and, in some cases, intimate. They may include crass or vulgar language. Depending on your business, it may not be appropriate to use these.
- AF – As F∗ck
- BF – Boyfriend
- GF – Girlfriend
- GTFO – Get The F∗ck Out
- ILY – I Love You
- LMAO – Laughing My A$s Off
- MCM – Man Crush Monday
- STFU – Shut The F∗ck Up
- WCW – Woman Crush Wednesday
- WTF – What The F∗ck
(As you can see, we’ve visually bleeped some of the curse words. However, we’re sure you still get the gist.)
These abbreviations are most commonly used in professional business environments. It wouldn’t be unusual to see these in an email between colleagues or a message from a client and customer.
- AKA – Also Known As
- ASAP – As Soon As Possible
- COB – Close Of Business
- EOD – End Of Day
- ETA – Estimated Time Of Arrival
- FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
- FTE – Full-Time Employee/ Full-Time Equivalent
- N/A – Not Applicable/ Not Available
- OOO – Out Of Office
- POC – Point Of Contact
- SME – Subject Matter Expert
- TBA – To Be Announced
- TBD – To Be Decided
- TIA – Thanks In Advance
- TOS – Terms Of Service
These abbreviations are closely linked to marketing and industry-specific jargon. Not everyone will recognize them, even if they’re involved in business.
- B2B – Business To Business
- B2C – Business To Consumer/ Business To Customer
- CR – Conversion Rate
- CRM – Customer Relationship Management
- CTA – Call To Action
- CTR – Click-Through Rate
- KPI – Key Performance Indicators
- MMS – Multimedia Messaging Service
- PPC – Pay Per Click
- RCS – Rich Communication Services
- ROI – Return On Investment
- SEO – Search Engine Optimization
- SMS – Short Message Service
- SWOT – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats
- UGC – User-Generated Content
Hopefully, this text acronym list sheds some light on which abbreviations you should use and when.
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How To Use Abbreviations: Do’s And Don’t’s
When it comes to using abbreviations in your communication and marketing materials, there are three golden rules to live by:
Do – Know Your Target Audience And Their Abbreviations
Before you start adding abbreviations to your text campaigns, make sure your audience will understand them. The last thing you want is to accidentally use language that confuses andr potentially alienates your customer.
There are also industry-specific abbreviations and technical language that you may need to learn, depending on your business and customer base. Certain abbreviations may be shared across industries but have different meaning, which you should be aware of.
For example, people in the contract acquisitions industry may recognize CO as Contracting Officer, whereas someone in business may read it as an abbreviation of Company, and yet a third person involved in real estate could believe it refers to a Certificate of Occupancy.
Don’t – Overuse Abbreviations (KISS Rule)
When it comes to abbreviations, it’s better to adhere to the KISS Rule: Keep It Short and Simple. Adding in one (maybe two) abbreviations is fine, but more than that runs the risk of dating your marketing and being off-putting to customers.
Using too many abbreviations also runs the risk of making your business seem unprofessional, no matter what industry you’re in.
Do – Combine Other Texting Tools And Media
Abbreviations are just one way you can elevate your text campaigns and better connect with customers. Using more dynamic tools like MMS messages (images or GIFs), hyperlinks, and short codes can make your marketing even more effective.
While useful, abbreviations are best thought of as an addition. While they can increase customer engagement and conversion rates, they still need a strong foundation to work effectively.
If your marketing is fundamentally flawed or you’re tailoring your message for the wrong audience, there’s only so much abbreviations can do to help.
Leveraging Text Abbreviations For Your Business
If you’re ready to start leveraging texting abbreviations and boosting your business, we’re ready to help. Esendex’s SMS Notify is an easy-to-use, programmable SMS API that lets you connect with customers around the world.
Our API is packed with features like MMS messaging, SMS encoding, and two-way texting so that you can better engage with audiences and create a customized experience, even when you’re using our mass messaging capabilities.
You’ll have access to a Tier 1 SMS network with a 99.9% guaranteed uptime SLA, so that you can reliably communicate with your audiences.
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