What are some best practices for sending social invites through SMS?


When sending social invites via SMS to promote an app or service, what are best practices to keep in mind?

Applies To

  • Outbound SMS
  • Social Invites
  • Best Practices


Social Invites are a useful way to promote an app or service to potential new users. Allowing an existing user to recommend the app or service to a friend, which then triggers an SMS to that friend does however blur the line between a person-to-person message and unsolicited marketing.

Having discussed the case with some of our mobile operator partners, we have some tips how you can utilize SMS in this way, but ensure you do not incur charges of spamming people.

  • Limit to one or two SMS per recipient, that is, if 5 people recommend the app to the same person, just send one or two SMS, not five.
  • Include the name of the person who sent the social invite, for example, "Joe Bloggs has asked you to join myapp, download at"
  • Force the sender of the social invite to select recipients individually, and definitely do not have a "Send to all my contacts" button.

Unfortunately, some countries do not allow social invites to be sent via SMS:

  • US and Canada*
  • New Zealand
  • Mexico
  • Russia (this is not fully transparent, but our experience has been that Russian carriers will block social invites)

*According to advice received, we believe that social invites are problematic in the US and Canada if multiple human interaction steps are not involved. The individual user should be able to decide who to send, when to send, and what to say.

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