Character count update on Twitter: How to keep your audience engaged with a 280-character limit
Recently, Twitter announced its move to roll out a new character limit to most users, excluding Japanese, Korean or Chinese language-tweets. The platform’s famous 140-character count has been doubled site-wide, allowing users to communicate in longer, 280-character messages. The news has had an unsurprisingly polarizing effect on users across the globe, with some screaming for more limitations, and others defending the increased word count.
Whether you believe that this change will be a positive or negative one, you should still consider how this shift will affect your organization’s social media presence. Below, we’ve outlined three areas to keep in mind.
1. Do your homework. While many are buzzing about this change, the increase to 280 characters doesn’t make it imperative to meet that length in every tweet. With the lengthening character count, test out longer tweets around the topics/times that resonate well with your audience now and stay on top of your post analytics to find trends in engagement and gauge how they react compared to similar 140+ character messages.
2. Short is still sweet. Some detractors argue the character extension will allow brands more room to dominate a user’s feed, cluttering it with potentially irrelevant, sales-focused content. If messages become longer, users may adapt and begin habitually skipping longer text blocks in an effort to find the easier, shorter messages on their feeds. To maintain your edge and keep your followers’ interest, you can consider not always maxing out the number of characters used in your tweets. Longer messages may not hold readers’ interest for very long, while a short, snappy message will be more likely to be read and retained.
3. Visuals & graphics are still king. Any social media professional will tell you that graphics perform better than text. Photos, illustrations, graphs, videos and other highly visual content increases engagement exponentially over a simple text post. If tweets grow longer, viewers will naturally become even more engaged with visual elements on their feeds, which draw the eye and encourage interaction. Take this opportunity to beef up your graphics library or find new images and photos you can use moving forward to keep viewers engaged, especially as they begin to see more text enter the Twittersphere.
The concept of longer tweets has been on the company’s radar – and in tech news speculation – for years. As organizations adapt to the update, now is the time to examine your social policies and put best practices in place that will allow you to stay afloat.
Are you excited or upset by the new character count? How else are you planning to adapt to this update?