Mobile etiquette – how can you make sure your tone & style match the medium?

You have probably been sending emails long enough to know what constitutes appropriate email etiquette. You know the time and place for BCC, you realize that using correct grammar and punctuation is helpful in getting your point across, and you know that the formality of a message can shift based on the recipient. An email sent to a long time co-worker might start with “Hi Fred, how’s the family?” whereas an email to a customer may have a much more formal introduction. 

But, what are the rules for communicating with your employees on a short-form mobile platform? And do those rules change when you’re connecting with your non-desk employees who have never held a company email address and don’t know about the invisible rule book of company communications? 

Mobile platforms like Red e App have created a new communication channel, but far too often, we see our customers bringing the tone, rules, and paradigms of a company email, formal memos, and corporate intranets over into this new medium. This leads to ineffective communication at best and damaging employee relations at worst. 

If you think your company may have fallen into this trap, ask yourself a few questions:

  1. Are your communications too formal (aka boring)? In an attempt to make sure you’ve covered all the details, it’s easy for corporate communications to be so jargon-filled and verbose that employees tune out. Make your messages interesting and conversational. Use punctuation, images, videos, and emojis to add interest. Yes, you’re still communicating in a workplace environment (and you should certainly avoid HR violations), but ask yourself – ‘am I treating this more like an email or a text message?’ Odds are good that you have some old corporate habits to break and you need to lean closer to a casual texting tone. 
  2. Are you adding everyone’s 2-cents and creating lengthy messages? Sure, it’s great to check all of your boxes in a single message, but we’ve all read the research. Attention spans are evolving, and younger generations are only engaged through compelling stories and strong visuals. If you have something lengthy to communicate, find ways to shorten it and remove excess information. Break the message up into a few shorter messages, or better yet, record a video for even higher engagement. 
  3. Is your tone condescending? Short, concise messages can be perceived as friendly and warm or cold and rude. The difference in how a message is interpreted is nuanced and can often be shifted with just a few words or a change in punctuation. Go out of your way to ensure that your messages have a friendly tone. Condescending communications will be quickly dismissed and ignored, especially among your non-desk workforce.

Consider the difference between these two communications. They both technically cover the same information, but one has a completely different tone, which would have a significant impact on how it is received. 


Employees who received the second message would be more likely to be on time (and in a good mood) than employees who were sent the colder, harsher message.

Be mindful of formality, length, and tone when sending mobile communications to your teams. After all, teams are made of humans, and your employees want to know that you’re human too!