As of last week, Twitter’s character limit has officially doubled, with the iconic 140-character tweet now expanded to 280. Twitter rolled out the change in an effort to give users more room to express themselves, however not everyone has been so quick to jump on board.
Some users have come to appreciate the 140-character limit as a means of keeping tweets creative and concise. So, while users may be wondering how these longer tweets will affect their feeds, marketers are wondering how they can utilize this newfound freedom to boost their brand.
TWEETING IN 280 CHARACTERS
Twitter first announced the change back in September, stating in a blog post that they were testing out the new character limit by only allowing a select few users to experiment with it. Their primary goal is to give users more room to be expressive, ultimately hoping to increase user engagement.
By expanding the character limit, the company said it hopes users won’t have to spend as much time editing and tweaking their tweets to fit within the character limit, making it easier – and faster – for people to say what they want to say.
And with Twitter’s user engagement seeing a dramatic decline this past year, the company is ultimately hoping that giving users more room to express themselves will encourage them to tweet more frequently.
MARKETING IN 280 CHARACTERS
With the new update potentially bringing in more traffic, brands could see an increase in followers, which means more potential customers. Plus, having more followers will result in more people seeing and sharing your content.
And, with twice the space to convey a message, brands have new freedoms to transform how Twitter is used. But the question then becomes: Should those freedoms be utilized? Because, as we all know, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
What has made Twitter such a unique social media platform is the brevity of the shared content. It’s important to respect how Twitter is utilized in order to create effective content that will resonate with users, or else run the risk of disrupting the fast-moving, real-time nature of the site with long-winded “salesy” copy that could annoy (and potentially alienate) followers.
Additionally, Twitter has been skillfully used by brands for customer support and, while this new character limit allows them to sound more human in their dialogue with customers, it could also open up the door to unnecessarily long messages that clog their followers’ feeds. The last thing marketers want to do is have their messages read like a grade-school student trying to fill a word count.
There’s no doubt that there will be a period of trial-and-error as the Twittersphere navigates these new limits. But the truth is, no one wants a feed full of mediocre content, regardless of the character limit. So before you start moving ad dollars around and scheduling out months of 280-character tweets, take a step back and focus on creating quality content.
Are you a social media marketer who regularly uses Twitter? What do you think about character limit expansion?