Introduction Video Transcripts

Making a Texting Account

Welcome to Resistance Labs!

This is the first video in a series to help get you up and running as a texting volunteer. It covers how to sign up for Spoke, the platform you’ll use to text people.

If you’ve already used Spoke, great! But please keep in mind that you’ll need to make a new Spoke account to text with us, and our version of Spoke may have different features than you’re used to. So it’s still a good idea to watch these videos before you get started!

About Spoke

Spoke is a website that you can access on your phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer; there isn’t a Spoke app. It uses your internet connection, not your cell phone’s texting plan, and it assigns you a proxy phone number when you work on a texting campaign, usually with an area code near the contact you’re texting. This ensures your privacy – no one you text will see your real number.

Creating a Spoke Account

To create a Spoke account, first navigate to Spoke in your web browser. If you’ve been given a link for a particular campaign by a team member, or if you found a Spoke link in a recent campaign announcement, you should use that link. But if not, you can go to our main link, rr.team/spoke.

Once you’re there, click the sign up tab.

Fill out the form, double checking the info to make sure there aren’t any typos. Please make sure to save your password somewhere safe, so you can use Spoke on a different device if you want to.

Click the sign up button.

And you should be all set! If you encounter a rare error, there are troubleshooting steps at rlabs.link/signup-problems. Otherwise, check out our next video on how to request texts and send them.

Requesting and Sending Texts

Welcome! This is the second video in a series on getting started as a texting volunteer. It covers how to find a current campaign, review the campaign instructions, request initial texts, and send them. If you haven’t made a Spoke account yet, check out our first video before you continue.

Finding a New Campaign

In Spoke we have multiple “organizations” that allow us to text for more campaigns easily. You’ll still log into the same account each time, but the link to Spoke can change depending on the campaign, so it’s important to get the right link. When a texting campaign is live in Spoke, we’ll announce it in our Slack and our Facebook group as well as list it on our website.

Here’s an example of what that looks like in Slack. This is the #announcements channel, and you can see that the most recently announced campaign is Wisconsin Vote by Mail. The announcement includes a description of the campaign, the link to Spoke, and the link to its instructions. To learn more about how we use Slack and Facebook and for links to join both, check out our Knowledge Base article at rlabs.link/slack-and-facebook.

We also list active texting campaigns on our website at resistancelabs.com/text under “current texting.” You can see it has similar information and links to both the instructions and Spoke.

Let’s start texting for this Wisconsin campaign. I’ll go ahead and click the link to Spoke –  since I’m already logged in, it takes me directly to the To Do page for this Spoke organization, The War Room.

You’ll notice that while I clicked on a link to take us to the Wisconsin Vote by Mail campaign, it isn’t listed on the page yet. This is because Spoke only shows campaigns you’ve already joined, so it won’t show the current campaign until you’ve been assigned texts. If you’ve been texting with us before you might see past campaigns listed here, but that’s okay – you’ll be assigned texts for the current campaign.

To join the campaign, request a batch of texts. Pick an assignment from the drop down – usually there’s just one choice here, “General: 200 Initials,” although sometimes you might see an option to request unhandled replies instead. You can request up to 200 initial texts at a time; once you finish sending them, you can request some more. Let’s request some now.

And there we go! You can see the Wisconsin campaign has now popped up on my screen. Before we go any further, let’s take a look at the instructions for this campaign. Each campaign is different, so it’s a good idea to read the instructions before you begin so you know what we’re texting about and what types of scripts are available to you. As you can see, we also link to the instructions in the campaign’s description in Spoke.

Instructions

The campaign instructions start with information about the campaign and links to resources. Next it lists the scripts for the initial text and its responses. The initial or first text is the pre-written script you send to every contact. It asks people a question, such as if they’re interested in an event or if they plan to vote for a candidate. In this case, we’re asking folks if they want to sign up to vote by mail. You can also see the three responses we’re recording in this campaign – yes, already signed up, and no.

Further down, the instructions list canned responses for common scenarios such as wrong numbers, and information on which tags we’re using in the campaign. Finally, it describes when to opt out a contact and where to find help. Don’t worry if you don’t know what some of this means yet – we’ll go over all of it in the next video when we cover replying to texts.

Sending Initial Texts

Now let’s head back to Spoke. You can see that there’s one button available for the Wisconsin campaign, “Send First Texts.” The green number in the upper right corner tells us how many we have assigned, in this case the default 200 that we requested earlier. Click that button to start texting.

Spoke will display the first contact you’ve been assigned. Click send. Spoke will automatically display the next person on the list after you send a text. Keep pressing Send!

Once you’ve finished sending all your texts, you’ll be taken back to the To Do page. You can see that the Wisconsin campaign is no longer on my page. If that happens to you, don’t worry! When you don’t have any initial texts left to send, replies to handle, or past conversations in a campaign, you won’t see it on To Do your page. It will reappear when you are assigned more initial texts or when you get a reply.

Now that I’ve sent my first batch, I can request some more texts to send. Check out the next video for how to reply when someone texts you back!

Answering Replies

Welcome to our third video about how to text in Spoke, which will cover how to answer replies. If you haven’t seen the first two videos yet, check them out before you watch this one.

You can see that I’ve sent some more initial texts since the last video, spanning two Spoke campaigns, and that I’ve started getting replies. When people start responding to your initial texts, the “Send Replies” button appears with a red number to tell you how many there are.

Answering replies as promptly as you can is a crucial part of texting. When replying to people, you will: record responses to the question we’re asking, use canned responses or write your own replies, tag contacts as needed, and opt out contacts if necessary. Let’s go through those one by one – I’ll click the “Send Replies” button to get started.

Recording Answers in Spoke

The first text in a campaign asks a question; in this campaign it was “Would you like to sign up to vote by mail?” When a contact answers the question, you need to record their response. We provide this info to our texting partners or candidates, and it also allows us to follow up with folks if needed.

Here’s someone who says they’ve already signed up to vote by mail. To record their answer, I’ll first click the question under “Current question.” Next I’ll select their response from the list. A message then automatically appears for me to send. You can adapt it if necessary to fit the conversation, but in this case it works fine as is. Finally, I’ll click send. As you can see, Spoke then moves on to the next reply.

Sometimes recording responses is a bit more complex – there might be a follow up question with additional responses that you need to record, or you might need to edit a response if someone changes their mind. Check out our video, Recording Answers in Spoke, for more examples.

Canned Responses and Tags

Often people respond with something other than a direct answer to the question that we’re asking. We provide scripts (called “canned responses”) for many scenarios such as wrong numbers and additional info.

Canned responses are also often associated with a tag. You’ll apply tags in Spoke to save information about your conversation. They allow candidates or local partners to follow up later, and they can help us update incorrect information. Examples include: Moved, Wrong Number, Volunteer, and Spanish. Since the tags we’re using can change depending on the campaign, remember to check the campaign’s instructions to see which ones you should be adding.

Let’s look at an example of how to use a canned response and tag. Here we have someone who’s let us know that we have the wrong number. You have to add tags before you send a message, so I’ll do that first. On a computer, click “Manage Tags” to bring up the tagging box. On a phone, the “manage tags” button is hidden behind a three dot menu button at the bottom of the screen, but the rest of the steps are the same. Next I’m going to click into the text box and start typing the tag I want to add, “wrong number.”

The wrong number tag has popped up in a drop down list, so the next step is to click it. Finally, I’ll click “save.”

Next I need to send the “wrong number” canned response. I’ll click canned responses, scroll down in the list to find it, and select it. At this point I could edit the canned response if needed, but in this case it makes sense so I’ll just send it as is.

Opting Out

Another action you’ll need to perform regularly while answering replies is opting people out. Opting out removes someone permanently from our texting list. Your conversation with them will disappear and we won’t be able to text them again in the current campaign or in any future campaigns.

Opt out someone when: They ask for us to remove them from our list or to stop texting them. It’s the law! This includes, but isn’t limited to: “Stop,” “Don’t text me,” “I’m on the Do Not Call List,” and “Unsubscribe.” You should also opt someone when they’re rude, swearing, racist, or harassing you. Finally, opt someone out if the campaign’s specific instructions say to.

Do not opt someone out just because: They don’t want to take action or support the candidate. (Mark them “No” instead.) Or they disagree with the specific issue we’re texting them about right now. Or they’re a wrong number or not in the area we’re texting. (Tag them “Wrong Number” or “Moved” instead.)

Here’s an example of someone we need to opt out – they’ve replied “stop.” First, click the opt out button. The default opt out message will appear; click send to opt them out and send them the message.

In this next opt out example, they say they don’t want us to text them again – so when I click opt out, I’ll delete the default message and opt them out without sending anything.

Finally, this person says we have the wrong number and wants us to remove them. Whenever someone asks to be removed, opting out takes priority whatever else they say. So I’ll immediately opt them out instead of responding with the “wrong number” canned response. First, I’ll add the wrong number tag; it’s not required for opt outs, but it’s helpful for us. Then I’ll opt them out.

Writing Messages

Of course, not every conversation can be answered by a question response, canned response, or opting out. In those cases, you can write your own message. In this conversation, we’ve sent them the “already signed up response,” and they’ve replied that they’ll tell their friends and family about voting by mail. I know from the instructions that there isn’t a follow up response or a canned response for this, so I’ll just write my own: “Awesome, have a great day!”

When writing your own messages, please follow these guidelines:

  • Double check to make sure that there isn’t a question response or canned response for the scenario. Always record answers to the question using the question drop down menu, not with a custom message.
  • Stay positive and polite, even with trolls. Remember, you’re texting as a representative of an organization or candidate. You should assume that anything you say can be shared on social media.
  • Keep texts as short and concise as possible.
  • Feel free to do simple research, such as finding a link to register to vote. But if you aren’t sure how to respond, you can ask for help in the Slack #questions channel.

Getting Help

This video series can’t cover everything you’ll see when texting in Spoke, so we have several resources available. If you have general questions about Spoke and texting, check out our Knowledge Base. It has troubleshooting tips, best practices, common scenarios, and more.

For questions about a particular campaign, check out our Slack #questions channel. You can learn more about Slack and find the link to sign up at rlabs.link/slack-and-facebook.

A Final Reminder

  • Please read campaign instructions before you start texting!
  • Record answers to the question asked in the first text.
  • Tag your conversations as needed.
  • And opt out people who don’t want us to text them. It’s the law!

You’re Ready to Text

You’ve now learned the basics of how to get texting in Spoke with Resistance Labs, and you’re ready to text!

Go to resistancelabs.com/text to find a campaign, click “Start Texting,” and request some texts in Spoke!

If there aren’t any campaigns available right now, be sure to join our Slack community to see announcements when campaigns go live. And as you get more comfortable with the basics, check out our other resources for more information on how to become an effective texter.

Thanks for watching, and thanks so much for joining us!