Everyone knows about using Skype for its instant messaging abilities. Along with Skype calls, Skype-to-Skype IM is a core feature for the millions of users the world over. That isn\u2019t the end of the messaging story, however, and, as part of Secret Skype on Skype Up Your Life Week on Pocket-lint, we\u2019re going to show you what else you could be doing.SMS: send text messagesSMS Set up\nSending an SMS on Skype is fairly easy but it does require a bit of setting up first. The main issue\u00a0is that it\u2019s not going to work if the contact whom you\u2019re trying to text hasn\u2019t entered their mobile phone number into their Skype profile. What you can do, of course, is enter it yourself. We\u2019ll explain how in a moment.\n\nIssue number two is that texting someone\u2019s phone from your Skype application costs real money, because it requires using some company\u2019s mobile infrastructure and they tend not to let people do that for free. What you\u2019ll need to do is to buy some Skype credit. Unfortunately, SMS isn\u2019t covered in any of the plans, so it\u2019s a question of buying the credit and paying per text as you go.Sending an SMS\nOnce set up, it\u2019s pretty simple stuff. Start an IM chat with one of your contacts but, instead of just firing off your message, you\u2019ll see a little drop-down menu just below the message field that reads \u201cvia Skype\u201d. Click on it and you\u2019ll discover a second option \u201cvia SMS\u201d.\n\nIt\u2019s at this point that you might find\u00a0you don\u2019t have your contact\u2019s mobile number - or any Skype Credit, for that matter - and you\u2019ll be given the opportunity to enter it manually.\n\nCost\nSadly, while Skype offers cheap rates for making voice calls to landlines and mobiles, the cost of sending a text to the UK is rather pricey at 6.4p per message at the time of writing. That said, if you\u2019re looking to send SMS to mobiles at international destinations, you\u2019re in luck. For example, a text to China costs 3.6p, to the USA 7.1p, India 4.9p, Japan 4.3p, Australia 5.6p. The equivalent from Vodafone (to take one of the UK mobile providers at random) is a flat cost of 24p to pay-monthly customers when sending an SMS to any other country in the world from the UK. That\u2019s considerably more expensive.\n\nSo, the bottom line for SMS from Skype is: if it\u2019s sending a text to someone in the same country as you are, use your mobile phone but, if the other person is abroad, then it\u2019s far cheaper to do it with Skype.Voice messagesInstant messages are good but if the person you\u2019re trying to get hold of is offline, what then? Sure, you can still leave them an IM that will pop up when they\u2019re back online. The problem is that recipients tend to think you only just sent it to them and confusion ensues. Instead, try your hand at leaving a Voice Message.\n\nActivate voice messaging\nFirst you\u2019ll need to activate the service. You might get prompted to buy Skype Credit to do so, but gnore that. The basic part of the voice message service on Skype is entirely free. Instead, head over to the Skype website and log in. Strange, we know, but there are things to be found there. Scroll down to the Manage Features section, click on Voice Messaging and then Activate. Job done. You\u2019ll now be able to make and receive voice messages.Voice message by email, SMS or SpinVox\nWhile you\u2019re on the right page, make sure to tick the box on the right that sends you an email alert when someone\u2019s left you a voice message. At this point, you can get more advanced with the way you use voice messaging but you will need to buy some Skype Credit to get access. If you do that, you can have voice message alerts sent to your mobile phone and, if you really want to start having some fun, you can get those voice messages converted into text for you to read using SpinVox. Remember them?\n\nVoice message greeting\nDon\u2019t forget to create your own voice message greeting for when people want to get hold of you. Use your desktop application this time. Head to Tools, then Options, then Calls and then access the Voice Message panel where you\u2019ll find everything you need.GroupMeGroupMe is a smartphone-based, group IM chat service acquired by Skype in 2011. It\u2019s a quick and easy way to message lots of people at the same time, using only a tiny amount of data and otherwise costing users nothing at all. You can download the free app for iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone. So, that\u2019s just about everyone covered.Once inside the app, you can set up groups - or probably what you\u2019d call Circles if you were a big users of Google+. Each group essentially acts as a live, private chat room for you and yours, so it\u2019s a very nice little way of co-ordinating activities between various enclaves of your social life.