In September 2017, Twitter took one small step toward a giant leap forward.The micro-blogging platform, best known for its 140 character-limit on”tweeted” messages, began testing a doubled post length of 280 characters. The update was officially launched on November 7, 2017. The content marketing industry is buzzing with both excitement and concern as this longer character-leash allows us to adventure into unknown territories.
At the update-launch, Twitter posted a test-report to its blog,allowing content marketers to glimpse at the audience response to the extended character limit. Here are the top three take-aways from this report.
Space = Freedom
The Twitter character count update intends to address what has been dubbed the “cramming issue,” for languages struggling to cram meaningful messages into 140 characters. According to Twitter,”Historically, 9% of Tweets in English hit the character limit.” Intesting, the randomly-selected accounts demonstrated only 1% cramming agains tthe extended 280 character limit. This means content marketers can take a breath, and speak more naturally with audiences, rather than fighting the character counter.
When testing began, selected tweeters stretched their wings in the new character breadth. However, this behavior was short-lived, and Twitter test reports demonstrated a quickly emerging pattern. “Only 5% ofTweets sent were longer than 140 characters and only 2% were over 190 characters.” So, while the space is available, the audience seems still inclined toward message brevity.
Those random-tweeters in the test group demonstrated some of the tangible benefits garnered from the extended character-limit. Twitter observed test accounts tweeted more and subsequently received higher engagement metrics (likes, retweets, @mentions) on their messages. Content marketers should watch for these potential advantages in analytical reporting.
Extended tweet length is arguably the biggest update ever to grace Twitter accounts; however, platform evolution is nothing new to the world of social media marketing. Content curators should watch carefully as audiences adjust tothe update, aligning communications and campaigns accordingly. Social listening will be imperative as new best practices develop.
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