Enterprise mobile social media strategies: Impacts of Twitter’s new character count
Twitter has long been famous for its brevity, mandating that its users communicate their thoughts in 140 characters or fewer. But now it has doubled the length of tweets to 280 characters in most languages.
After weeks of cracking jokes about the change and angling to get early access to the longer tweets, everyone on Twitter can now communicate their thoughts using the longer format. What does the change mean for your enterprise’s mobile social media strategies? Here’s a look at how this one simple switch could impact the way your company engages mobile users.
Why 280 characters is now the default
It’s not surprising that Twitter lengthened tweets to 280 characters. As Engadget reports, Twitter had only chosen the 140-character limit to accommodate SMS text message capabilities. As mobile technology evolved, some users made it a habit to issue massive tweetstorms, threading their tweets one after another in a long chain of connected posts. Others circumvented the 140-character limit by posting screenshots of longer statements written on their smartphone’s notepad app.
Twitter said they hoped 280-character tweets would encourage more people to tweet with ease rather than find a workaround or give up in frustration. During the testing period when only certain users had access to 280-character tweets, just 5 percent of tweets were longer than 140 characters, with a mere 1 percent bumping up against the new limit.
How brands can adjust their mobile social media strategies
Rule number one: Just because your business can use 280 characters doesn’t necessarily mean it should. Mobile users still want to get the information they need as quickly as possible. But there is reason to be optimistic — as Twitter notes, users who had more room to tweet enjoyed greater engagement in the form of likes, retweets and @mentions. They were able to build their audiences as well, bringing more followers aboard in the process. Any brand wanting to maximize its mobile social engagement may want to experiment with longer tweets and see if it can replicate these promising results.
And remember: Gratuitous use of the character limit could backfire, so it’s always wise to read the room before jumping in. You may want to assess how users are responding to longer tweets. If too many brands are cluttering their feeds with verbose posts — something which can easily happen on the small screen of a mobile device — your followers could grow tired of them and begin tuning them out. By keeping a few tips in mind, your business can capitalize on the potential engagement benefits that longer tweets offer.
Tips for mobile engagement in a 280-character Twitterverse
Any adjustments you make to your Twitter strategy should be guided by your brand personality and the unique tone your company uses on Twitter. With that in mind, here are some ways to make the most of this new mobile engagement opportunity.
- If your brand has scheduled tweets waiting to be published, you might want to review and edit them in light of the new 280-character limit. It’s also a good idea to take a fresh look at your Twitter marketing plan and consider making adjustments to take advantage of the change.
- Your social media professionals no longer have to edit their tweets quite so rigorously to keep them within the prior constraints, so they can enjoy a little more breathing room. According to Twitter’s research, the slightly longer tweets they produce might well garner better engagement.
- Your brand can experiment with tone and punctuation now that it has more room to play with, monitoring how the tweaks influence engagement. Marketers once had to cleverly economize when crafting messages on Twitter, occasionally breaking spelling and grammar rules along the way; this practice might no longer be necessary.
- You have more space to write your tweets, but the old rules for mobile engagement largely still apply. For example, you’ll still want to keep an eye on how many hashtags you include in your tweet. According to Buffer, tweets with more than two hashtags suffer a 17 percent drop in engagement. Likewise, images and video will likely continue to garner especially high engagement.
- As with any mobile engagement strategy, it’s wise to closely check key social media analytics to test your assumptions and gain insight into what types of tweets perform best with your audience.
It’s a brave, new and perhaps chattier world out there on Twitter, but it offers intriguing mobile engagement opportunities for businesses willing to adapt to the changes in the platform. As with all social media channels, Twitter makes frequent alterations to its ecosystem, and brands must respond with agility to fully capitalize on them. Those that do position themselves well to secure a competitive advantage, all while potentially gaining increased engagement and deeper brand loyalty.