Twitter Now Has 280 Characters — Here’s What You Can Do With It
Emotions were felt by all when Twitter rolled out its doubled character limit. Long confined 2 making tweets that r hard 4 u 2 read, many marketers rejoiced that they could now use their Twitter accounts to communicate in more complete thoughts. Others who had mastered the 140 character limit predicted that Twitter would begin to generate a lot more unwanted noise.
Both are right! The expanded character limit does free you from using abbreviations that are hard to parse through and that look unprofessional. But just because you can type more characters doesn’t mean you always should. Look to the account of everyone’s least favorite and least remembered ’90s mascot for a solid example of what not to do with your 140 extra characters.
Ya me too #280. Bugs, Daffy, Porky, Elmer Fudd, Every Simpson, Peter, Lois, Chris, Meg, Stewie, Brian, Joosie, The Pussy Cats, Scooby, Fred, Wilma, Barney, Betty, Pebbles, Bam Bam, George, his boy Elroy, Rick, Morty, SpongeBob, Patrick, Mr. Krabs, Seth Green, Johnny Quest, Bandi
— Bubsy (@BubsyThe_Bobcat) November 7, 2017
Gee thanks, Bubsy.
Marketers who want to use longer tweet forms effectively will need to embrace structure. Twitter has long been a platform for giving short “shoutouts” or random commentary like shower thoughts. It not-so-scientifically turns out that 140 characters is about as much as people can stomach for this type of content. If you want to make the most of every letter you can now use, this Atlanta digital marketing company strongly suggests showing some discipline and restraint.
In light of this, here are a few inspirational 280 character tweet formats marketers can use to drive engagement.
1. Tell a More Compelling Story
We predict that while shoutouts and random thoughts will still pervade the Twitterverse, we will see brands shifting towards more interesting copy that pulls people into their brand story.
Rather than trying to blurt out a thought, extra characters means more time to flesh out ideas and a sense of emotion. You can also include richer details that add to the complexity of the story or pique interest.
Check out this retweet from Neil Gaiman to see what we mean:
Equipped with a 50% off coupon, I ventured to Half Price Books to pick up this special edition copy of Smoke + Mirrors by @neilhimself – signed by Neil and artist Dave McKean. It’s beautiful. I may or may not have licked it. We’re married now. pic.twitter.com/8K4hBmMDLS
— Toto (@totomon) November 13, 2017
Yes, this is just pure gushing, but the extra details make it more involving. It’s well worth a retweet for the brand mention.
Sesame Street similarly came out with an inspirational tweet that may not have resonated so well in a lower character limit:
It is our mission to help kids grow smarter, stronger, and kinder. Today on #WorldKindnessDay, help us make the world a kinder place by spreading joy and love to those around you! pic.twitter.com/NSylal3s7V
— Sesame Street (@sesamestreet) November 13, 2017
Try to find ways to introduce emotion or intrigue within the 280 character limit, and you may surprise yourself at how engrossing of a story you can tell!
2. Add Deeper Context to Content Shares
Because of the 140 character limit, many brands once had trouble sharing content and squeezing in enough description while accommodating hashtags and the link itself. Now, you have twice as much room to get it all done.
As a counter example, take a look at the master of online marketing himself, Neil Patel:
When Rankings Fail: Why Your #1 SERP Spot Doesn't Generate Sales https://t.co/mGXgmb3jSB #ranking #SERPs #Sales pic.twitter.com/AnsouCQqC6
— Neil Patel (@neilpatel) November 13, 2017
A #1 SERP spot can’t generate sales? Wow, that’s interesting! You know what would be more interesting and could cause someone to click? Some actual insight as to what that means. As it stands right now, Patel is just repeating the title, which is slim on information.
Instead, he could have tweeted out something like:
Poor optimization and a lack of strategic keyword research can make all your SEO ranking efforts matter little! Read “When Rankings Fail: Why Your #1 SERP Spot Doesn’t Generate Sales” to see why and what you can do about it. https://buff.ly/2ySWDFp #ranking #SERPs #Sales
This approach adds additional interest to the title and makes concrete promises about the content you will digest. Simply sharing your content title in a 280 character world no longer cuts it.
3. Post Lists, Link Rundowns or Analyses for Quotes
Marketer Dhariana Lozano has been killing it with the new expanded character limit. One of her new approaches is to take existing content types like link shares, advice or quotes and make them deeper.
Some things I've learned from managing successful #Instagram accounts:
1. Consistent posting
2. They have cohesive feeds
3. There's a clear #strategy
Read the full list of things can learn from the best accounts #ontheblog -> https://t.co/zwOzAd278R pic.twitter.com/9BFbhyLsaG
— Dhariana Lozano – NYC Social Media Consultant (@DhariLo) November 8, 2017
Her tips for making the most out of the limit include:
- Posting multiple links with context, or a quick round up of interesting links and stories
- Quotes with some sort of reflection on their meaning
- Advice or thoughts formatted into a list
- Asking expanded questions of your audience to start a deeper conversation
4. Don’t Use All the Characters Just Because You Can
We predict that the wave of memes, Smashmouth quotes and obnoxious vertical posts will subside once the novelty of 280 characters wears off. Similarly, we will see brands soon stopping well short of 280 characters if they feel they have gotten the message across.
Vice Editor Caitlin Kelly perfectly nailed the irony of how most expanded tweets could have easily fit in the old 140 character limit without sacrificing clarity:
139 characters pic.twitter.com/WkfdXL8oLh
— Caitlin Kelly (@caitlin__kelly) September 26, 2017
Work hard to optimize your messaging to make it clear, compelling and concise regardless of how many characters you have available.
Improve Your Messaging and Get Better Social Media Performance with Help from an Atlanta Digital Marketing Company
If you’re struggling with getting followers and engagement at any character length, EverSpark’s social media marketing and digital PR services could be perfect for you. We can help distill the essence of your brand and broadcast it as a compelling story that drives clicks.
See what we can do for you when you contact us today!