September 26, 2017 – It was supposed to be just like any other day of my routine life.
Helping out my clients with their business challenges, sipping through the morning market trends—both of the local market and the international market, and engaging with my followers on Twitter—I love Twitter for the precision it imparts to my structured thoughts.
Until, I came across something strange…
I saw a Tweet which did not look like a Tweet but it was a Tweet. There was something peculiar about it.
I soon realized the Tweet had more than 140 characters.
Twitter Undergoes a Change—Albeit an Idea Very Much in Pilot Phase of Deployment
Twitter had rolled out a pilot project in which it was testing the idea of increased character limit among selective group of users. The revised limit was 280 characters.
Aliza Rozen, the Product Manager at Twitter, worded the idea as:
“Giving you more characters to express yourself”
Those words are self-explanatory as to what prompted Twitter to explore the idea, also highlighting users’ frustration with the 140-character limit. You can learn more about the official stance of Twitter on the subject, by clicking here.
From that day to this day, Twitter has still been testing the idea of revised character limit and during all this time I have been queried by my clients asking me on how this would impact their social media marketing efforts if Twitter is to adopt the idea permanently.
Here is my take on this.
Revised Character Limit – What This Means for Marketers?
More words, probably a larger audience—as that was one of the primary reasons behind the shell out, more hashtags and more ad space to include more emotional triggers – at least that is how majority are looking at it. Even this article on Forbes has sounded out these benefits for marketers of a revised character limit.
But, I disagree. In fact, the benefits sounded out for marketers in my view are being perceived on the surface and not being analyzed from the viewpoint of Twitteratis.
More Words Doesn’t Mean Anything!
For Twitter, more has always been the less and less has always been the more. Think from the point of view of the people who are reading your Tweets—your customers.
Sure, everyone wants to speak their minds out but not everyone wants to hear you speak your mind out. Your customers may want to express themselves through the 280 characters Tweet, but chances are they won’t be willing to read your 280 characters long Tweets.
How can I say that with so much certainty?
In social media marketing industry, it’s a well-known fact that Tweets that are 103 characters long get the most engagement. This means that even with the character limit standing at 140 characters, the Tweet has to be optimized to get more likes and retweets. Thirty-seven characters are better left underutilized.
Moreover, image posts on Twitter tend to perform better than text or link posts.
Thus, it can be safely concluded that having more words mean nothing for marketers on Twitter.
A Larger Audience – Really?
Aliza Rozen writes in her post:
“Also, in all markets, when people don’t have to cram their thoughts into 140 characters and actually have some to spare, we see more people Tweeting.”
Now this is an interesting insight. Aliza Rozen in particular, is talking about those countries where the native language allows people to convey double the amount of information in one character—your Japanese, Chinese and Koreans. In fact, in these markets Twitter actually dominates the social media landscape.
But truth be told, the reason is not the convenience of having to express themselves more freely—if that was the case, Facebook would have been ruling the social media charts in these countries. It’s the ability of Twitter to allow these users to enjoy reading and sharing their opinion on their subjects of interest without bringing the attention to the user themselves.
I think that Twitter could seriously lose its cult following by adopting this strategy instead of adding to it.
More Hashtags to Use? It Would Only Make Things Bad!
Again, data shows that Tweets with a maximum of two hashtags perform better in contrast to Tweets that have more than two hashtags. How could including more hashtags be a good thing for marketers?
More Ad Space for Including Emotional Triggers
This again, would violate the point established earlier—Twitteratis don’t like Tweets that are longer than 103 characters. Besides that, if you are good at Twitter marketing you don’t need more ad space to include additional emotional triggers.
This is my take – what’s your take on Twitter’s revised character limit?
Looking for more such insightful pieces to optimize your social media marketing strategy and efforts?
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