What We Learned at State of Search 2016
How 280 Characters Will Change Your Life
On September 26th, social media giant Twitter, announced it was going to start testing out an expansion of their character limit from the infamous 140 characters to 280. According to Twitter, the expansion comes as a response to character count limitations for English, Spanish, Portuguese, or French users. In a blog post announcing the expansion, they explain “this is because in languages like Japanese, Korean, and Chinese you can convey about double the amount of information in one character as you can in many other languages”.
What does this mean for marketers?
An increase in character limits means an increase in freedom for marketers and brands. One of the most frustrating things when working on social media across all platforms is condensing a 3-4 sentence Facebook or LinkedIn post, to a few words that convey the same message. As creative professionals, we thrive under this pressure, but when there aren’t enough hours in the day (there seldom is), slimming down these posts can take more time than expected.
Now there are more chances for brands to get their messages and announcements out without the clutter of multiple tweets with 280 character marketing. This could lead to a cleaner timeline and more concentrated campaign efforts from marketers. By spending the time to craft a larger tweet, Twitter campaigns can now be beefier, and marketers don’t have to worry about spamming the same information over and over again.
One of Twitter’s main reasons for this expansion was to grow their user base. Many find the limit frustrating and a barrier to entry to the platform. Removing this barrier can potentially grow the users of Twitter, which will, in turn, give your brand more opportunities for exposure. Even though it is a change that will be more noticeable in the long term, brands may start seeing more engagement with their tweets over time.
More characters, more problems?
Some of the downsides that come from this change may come from the content itself. More space to create the tweet means more time to spend on utilizing that space. Marketers will have to start getting more creative if they want to cleverly use all of the 280 characters and keep the content engaging. By using that entire space, it’ll be difficult to not sound boring and long-winded. The inclusion of these longer posts will force content creators to keep their messaging interesting and engaging as people scroll through their timelines.
Brands are already taking advantage of this change. Take this Tweet from Taco Bell for example:
— Taco Bell (@tacobell) October 26, 2017
Taco Bell only used 239 characters to convey 3 different pieces of information. The copy is broken into two sections of text that makes it easier to read, and the inclusion of the gif will ensure that it stands out to anyone looking through the World Series hashtag. 280 character marketing doesn’t always mean using all of those characters to get your message across.
It seems tempting but don’t feel obligated to take up the entire space with your company’s Tweet. The initial fanfare will eventually die down, and this will become the new norm for social media marketing. It’s up to marketing professionals to use this blank canvas and experiment with what does and doesn’t work.
What’s your company’s first 280 character tweet going to be?
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