Compliance for SMS is often an overwhelming yet necessary part of text message marketing, and we know S.H.A.F.T. brands find it particularly difficult to navigate as there are varying laws at a federal and state level. Here at LiveRecover, we stay informed on all the new regulations revolving around SMS so you can feel confident that you’re compliantly leveraging the powers of SMS.
• S.H.A.F.T. is an abbreviation for Sex, Hate, Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco. • S.H.A.F.T. brands selling federally illegal items such as cannabis are NOT allowed to send SMS. • Any entities designated as promoting Hate are always prohibited from sending SMS.• Any content that has, or promotes adult or sexual content, alcohol, firearms, or tobacco can use SMS. However, companies need to create an age gate that includes a birthdate to ensure that the users who receive and view the message meet the age requirements. • If your brand falls into a S.H.A.F.T. category, LiveRecover can help you compliantly run your SMS channel with proper age-gating and content guidelines. And for brands that don’t fall into this category but are in a gray zone, like cannabis vaporizers, firearm accessories and ammunition LiveRecover can also assist in leveraging our tool compliantly.
Now that we’ve got the high-level overview out of the way, let’s get into the nitty-gritty.
All brands using SMS to communicate need to stay compliant, but S.H.A.F.T. brands have extra complications. The CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association) is a trade association for wireless carriers and mobile operators. Although not a government organization, telemarketers must abide by CTIA regulations to avoid issues with carriers. In North America, the CTIA's S.H.A.F.T. regulations cover prohibited SMS content. It categorizes text messages and regulates their content based on moral and legal issues. S.H.A.F.T. also restricts any message that includes depictions of violence, profanity, hate, or discriminatory speech.
Companies need to make sure that the users who see and receive the messages meet age requirements. Some companies use several layers of gatekeeping to cover sensitive content, such as geographical locations, to ensure that the content meets local laws and communication guidelines as well.
The FCC requires mobile carriers to be responsible gatekeepers and distributors of text message content and requires text message opt-in language in all messages. Every mobile carrier may have its own guidelines, but it is always best to follow what the FCC has outlined to prevent penalties.
Unfortunately, as a S.H.A.F.T. brand, your marketing team is probably used to dealing with regulations and/or bans. Twitter has an age screening that requires users to provide their date of birth in order to follow an alcohol brand. TikTok has a list of prohibited industries for branded content which includes sexual products and services, alcohol, cigarettes and tobacco products, and weapons. And so on.
It doesn’t just stop at social platforms. Most SMS platforms have a blanket ban on working with all S.H.A.F.T. brands, which cuts off S.H.A.F.T. brands further from marketing opportunities. But here at LiveRecover we believe that many S.H.A.F.T. brands should have the tools and resources to compliantly send SMS messages to their customers. We believe that, even though there are restrictions, great marketers like yourself should still be able to take advantage of SMS and see incredible results.
SMS marketing for many S.H.A.F.T. brands is possible with the right SMS platform. At LiveRecover, we’ve developed a process and incorporated the ability to compliantly leverage SMS as a S.H.A.F.T. brand to ensure all our customers have the guidance and opportunity to succeed.
The key to compliantly sending SMS messages for S.H.A.F.T. brands is to use proper age and geography gating. The goal of age and geography gating is to prevent anyone underage or in an area with different laws from receiving messages about illegal products.In the original message, S.H.A.F.T. brands will want to ask subscribers to respond to the text with their birthday. A welcome SMS could read along the lines of “reply with your birthday (MM/DD/YYYY) to verify your age and get an exclusive discount to check out”.Again, verifying geography would be the same process by asking the customer to confirm their zip code. Our team of agents would then verify the customer lives in a place where they can lawfully receive SMS marketing messages about the product and the product itself once ordered. An additional step to automate this process would be setting up a simple workflow to ensure only customers in states where the product is legal receive your messages.
Just because alcohol is considered a part of S.H.A.F.T. doesn’t mean your SMS can’t be top shelf. By collecting age confirmation in your site’s welcome modal and in the initial LiveRecover message, you can compliantly and confidently use LiveRecover to increase your sales!
Vape, tobacco, and alcohol brands have very similar age-gating protocols. Unfortunately, S.H.A.F.T. brands selling federally illegal items such as cannabis are NOT allowed to send SMS. Other products such as vapes, other smoking instruments, certain chewables and other vape accessories will be able to leverage SMS with the appropriate age gating in place. This includes asking for birthdate confirmation through your site’s popups that subscribe a user to an SMS list and also age gating at the original welcome SMS. At LiveRecover, your initial message will ask the customer to confirm their birthdate so our team can continue the conversation with your customer.
SMS compliance for firearm accessories and ammunition is crucial in today's highly regulated environment. To maintain compliance, businesses involved in selling firearm accessories and ammunition via SMS must ensure that their marketing and sales practices adhere to all applicable laws, including age gating. At LiveRecover, we have you locked and loaded with any necessary compliance steps to successfully and compliantly deploy our SMS tools for your firearm accessories and ammunition brands. We always promote adherence to laws and regulations, and our guidelines take a proactive approach that'll safeguard your business and also promote responsible firearm ownership and safety.
Unfortunately, guns and firearms businesses cannot legally use SMS today but LiveRecover will always stay up to date as the laws change. Please check back on our site regularly to check on relevant changes that'll allow your gun and firearm business to leverage SMS.
With ever-changing laws, it’s hard to keep up with the rules and regulations but our team is always up to date on the latest. If you’re a S.H.A.F.T. brand struggling to understand if your brand can compliantly use SMS, please reach out to our team and we’ll take care of any doubts or questions you might have!