TWITTER’S 280 CHARACTERS, WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR BRANDS?

You may have noticed recently, social media network Twitter has allowed all users to write up to 280 characters in a tweet, doubling the original 140 character limit. This was an intriguing move from Twitter, given that it has built its brand on users sharing content in this bitesize form.

Users’ reaction to this move has been mixed, with a lot of people mentioning the fact the most requested feature – to be able to edit tweets – has been ignored and has instead been replaced with a feature no one has asked for. You can see in this article that people were quick to utilise the 280 characters to express their desire for an ‘edit’ button.

“All we wanted was an edit button”

Upon announcing the expanded limit, Twitter rolled out the update to a select few users for a trial period, before rolling it out to the masses. Their findings helped them justify the update and it is now here to stay. Here is what Twitter had to say when it was eventually rolled out to everyone last week:

Tweeting made easier.

The justification for the update are all fair – we have all at some point had to try and make some grammatical sin when we’ve hit the character limit. Also, when you are curating content, trying to stick to the 116 character limit is always a challenge. Twitter released their findings here:

Giving you more characters to express yourself

Now you are probably wondering, as a B2B marketer, how you can best utilise the 280 characters to take your Twitter game to the next level. There are a few things you can do, but you also have to be wary of how it could damage your brand, if not done right.

It is probably not the best idea to try to reach the 280 character limit in every single tweet. Not only does this create more work for yourself, but this could actually be quite damaging to your brand. With Twitter content being produced in a greater volume and regularity, there is so much content being shared on people’s feeds. Twitter recently shifted to an algorithmic feed, rather than a chronological one (unless you use Tweetdeck) meaning that users will only see content from people they are regularly interacting with. If your tweets are constantly hitting the 280 limit, users may not pay attention to the whole tweet and potentially skip past it. This will happen more regularly as more users start to use the expanded tweet limit.

Choose your use of the limit carefully. For many of the reasons above, you should try to avoid bombarding your followers with 280 character tweets, but it can also be very useful if used sparingly and with good intent. If you want to see some good and bad ways that brands have used the limit so far, this list will give you all the examples you need:

Other than being careful with your use of the new limit, I think it is a fantastic way for brands to expand the way they communicate their messages to their followers. Ensure your content is still focused and relevant, but at least now you will have more flexibility with the content you post.

If you would like to have a chat with us about how your brand can best utilise social channels, and the new 280 Twitter limit, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

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