Twitter's getting longer: What does this mean for marketers?

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New changes being made to Twitter mean that the way your brand tweets is about to change. The social media platform is overhauling its 140-character limit from next week (September 19th), with the types of content subject to the shorter limit being changed.

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[Image credit: thecreativewritersproblems.tumblr.com]

No doubt you've experienced times when you've got what you think is the perfect tweet that is sure to get good engagement from your followers only to find that it's one or two characters over the limit. Not only can this be fairly frustrating, it can also mean that you end up having to change the message of your tweet slightly.

While Twitter previously played with the idea of extending the character limit to 10,000, this was quickly shot down by users who value the brevity of Twitter and the ability to post bite-sized pieces of information. This meant we were all resigned to carefully constructing tweets to fit the limit and balancing the importance of correct grammar over images.

It could get much easier to share content on the microblogging site, though, as Twitter is all geared up to alter the way its character limit works. Media attachments will no longer mean you have even fewer words to work with - so you can post gifs and images to your heart's content. In fact, you'll have another 24 characters to work with, which could make all the difference. 

The same goes for quote tweets, so you'll have the full 140 characters to work with even if you are quoting another person's tweet, which could make it easier to introduce the one you are quoting and explain its relevance to your followers.

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[Image credit: teendotcom.tumblr.com

Another thing that is sure to give you at least a few extra characters is the fact that usernames at the start of replies won't count towards your character limit. This is ideal if you're talking to someone who has a super long username and could mean the difference between a single tweet and having to split your response into two.

Perhaps the biggest difference to the new Twitter limits is that links will no longer count toward your 140 characters. Even though the platform shortens all links automatically, they still count for 24 characters, which can be a challenge for marketers. Soon, you'll be able to write your full tweet and then add your link on the end with no problems.

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[Image credit: tumblr.com]

So what does this mean for marketers?

In short, tweets work better when they have some form of media to engage with and now marketers will be able to include more images, gifs, videos and links in their tweets without having to sacrifice their message. This could lead to better levels of engagement and greater click throughs to sites or content.

These changes could also help to give your tweets a bit more character, better putting across your brand and reflecting its tone of voice. This is only ever a good thing and will allow you to better reflect your persona research throughout your social media strategy.

Of course, the extended limits on media tweets will also mean better capabilities for SEO and Twitter search. The more characters you have, the better the opportunities for searching on the microblogging site and for making use of keywords. While an extra 24 characters isn't going to change the world, it could make a small difference that could really benefit you.

The changes may seem relatively tiny, they definitely give you more room to play around with what you tweet and should be factored into your social media plan from September 19th. 

The only downside to these changes is that we don't know if they are all taking place at once or whether they'll be start appearing over the next few weeks, which could make it slightly difficult to plan ahead. Once they are in effect on your account though, the sky's the limit - or at least 140 characters is.

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