Social Media

Twitter’s unique selling point is its 140 character limit. Not any more: Twitter has announced that they are planning to increase the limit to 10,000 characters for much longer posts.

Twitter has stated that 140 character tweets will stay on the news feed, but users can share longer posts, and you will be able to click to ‘see more’ of a post. This means that your news feed will not be overwhelmed with longer posts.

When Twitter announced this, many of its users tweeted their anger, claiming that this makes Twitter a lot more like Facebook. However, longer posts will mean that users won’t be restricted to 140 characters, which is currently a barrier for businesses when sharing tweets regarding products or services, as web links and photos quickly eat up the 140 character limit.

By replicating the functionality of other social media platforms, Twitter is able to stay relevant, meet new demands of its users, and increase its own advertising revenue.

How Does It Affect Your Business’s Activity on Twitter?

The changes could appear as early as March, so it’s important to know how this will affect your business activities. Currently there looks to be a number of benefits for businesses:

  1. Posting company updates will be easier due to there being no restrictions on character limits. And rather than posting a short piece of text and a link to a blog post, you can post directly onto Twitter.
  2. Twitter is largely used for customer services due its real-time advantages. The way businesses talk to customers will be improved, rather than asking a customer to email you or click on a link you can reply to them with a longer, more descriptive tweet that others also may find useful. See below where TalkTalk have posted a link when a tweet longer that 140 characters would have been easier:improved twitter conversations
  3. Users will be able to read longer posts on Twitter itself before visiting your website.
  4. Twitter’s hashtag function means that potential new customers will be able to see your more detailed tweets.
  5. A study in the US showed that more users follow brands and business on Twitter than Facebook in the US, which means that there is a great opportunity to share better and longer posts on Twitter.
  6. As Twitter becomes more of a publishing platform, consumers may convert on Twitter to a greater extent, as calls-to-actions such as ‘Buy it now’ buttons could be added.
  7. Twitter is now indexed by Google, which means your longer tweets have the potential to appear in the Google search results – so your carefully crafted tweets could be seen by even more users.

Potential Problems for Businesses

If you want to post longer tweets, you’ll need to dedicate more time to creating better posts for Twitter. Copy and pasting blog posts into Twitter isn’t your best bet, but neither is posting the same content from Facebook. Users on Twitter will want to see posts aimed and written for them.

Another issue is that customer complaints could be potentially 10,000 words long and made public instantly, so customer care will need to play a high priority.

Changing the Way We Use Twitter

Rather than publishers linking to their content and taking users off Twitter, users will read content on Twitter itself. As a result, users will spend more time on the Twitter platform.

If more content is available on Twitter itself, this will provide a smoother user experience for mobile users. Users currently have to click links that take you off the Twitter app, and depending on your internet connection this can be a slow and frustrating process.

Businesses are likely to invest time and effort into Twitter if there is a greater opportunity to be seen and their story shared. Advertisers will want to think about spending a portion of their budget on those posts published on Twitter’s platform too.

User Experience

Twitter is still about creating a conversation and engaging with customers. This means if you intend to post larger posts they need to be user-friendly. In terms of user experience, a 10,000 character essay-style posts is unlikely to meet much success.

In some industries, the longer the post the more shares it gets. The graph below shows that longer pieces of content written about DNA received a higher number of shares than shorter pieces of content. The key here is to know your target persona, the type of content they want and how much detail they want to read:

twitter character increase

Twitter Analytics

Twitter Analytics will be able to help you measure whether longer tweets are working for you or not. In the ‘Top Tweets Section’ you will be able to monitor whether your longer tweets gain much engagement. Twitter Analytics may evolve to show behaviour analytics, such as average time duration, to grasp how long users stay on your posts:

top tweets twitter analytics

Conclusion

Shaking up the way we tweet is a good thing. More diverse options can only make Twitter more adaptable and more creative for businesses and users. From retweets, likes, polls and the new Moments section, Twitter is evolving and there looks to be greater potential for businesses.

Even though Twitter may appear to be more like Facebook, I would strongly recommend sharing different content on each platform, as they cater to different users and demographics.

As Twitter is public and your tweets can potentially be seen by anyone and everyone, more content-rich tweets can only help you. So get ready to make the most of them.

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