Using Twitter for B2B and telecom marketing is a game of trial and error, and Twitter’s new 280 character limit is no exception. If you haven’t heard, Twitter has doubled the number of characters you can use in a tweet, from 140 to 280.
Whether you are a one-person marketing department or a social media manager, it may be tempting to lengthen all of your tweets and overhaul your Twitter marketing strategy.
Twitter’s change to 280 characters is not actually as drastic as it seems, however. You don’t have to change your Twitter strategy much as long as you use your new power wisely. Consider our Twitter 280 Character Do’s and Don’ts below before you dive in and lengthen your tweets.
What to do with Twitter’s 280 character limit:
Do use proper grammar, spelling, and complete sentences.
One of the biggest benefits of the new 280 character limit is giving your tweets room to breathe. You no longer have to cram a coherent thought, a hashtag or two, a tagged source, and a link in 140 characters.
Use the extra characters to use complete words, proper grammar, and full sentences. This will make your tweets easier — and faster — to read.
With all the worry about Twitter feeds becoming packed with long tweets, keeping your tweets concise but readable will help you stand out.
Do have conversations and respond to mentions using full sentences and fewer tweets.
Twitter is great for having spontaneous, real time conversations with one or more people, whether for customer service or an industry chat. With the new 280 characters, fit full thoughts into a single tweet, rather than rapid-fire tweeting partial thoughts.
The 280 characters are also useful for responding to customer service inquiries where you may be explaining something or asking for several pieces of information.
Do use Twitter’s 280 characters wisely.
As with any form of writing, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” Unless you have a specific reason not to, keep your Twitter marketing concise.
You should, however, feel free to experiment with creative long-form tweets. Run your own test of short versus long tweets to see how the results compare. Brands have found some creative uses for 280 characters:
01001000 01100001 01110110 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01100001 00100000 01100010 01101001 01110100 00100000 01101101 01101111 01110010 01100101 00100000 01100110 01110101 01101110 00100000 01110111 01101001 01110100 01101000 0001010 #280characters
— Cisco (@Cisco) November 8, 2017
— NASA Goddard (@NASAGoddard) November 8, 2017
Do include quotes, stats, and a description.
With a little formatting you can use a quote or stat as well as a short description of an article or image you are linking to. This can add personality or authority to your post and encourage viewers to click through to your link.
“George and Jane Jetson would feel increasingly at home in today’s world — nearly half a century ahead of schedule.”
— Matrix IBS (@MatrixIBS) November 22, 2017
What not to do with Twitter’s 280 character limit:
Don’t copy and paste.
Just because you can use the same social copy on Facebook (or LinkedIn) and Twitter, doesn’t mean you should. Your most engaged followers will notice when you do, and they are the ones you least want to disappoint.
Also, Twitter lets you space out sentences, making your tweets more easily digestible. As in the example for Hootsuite, below, Twitter gives you more vertical formatting space than other social platforms:
Great news everyone! Hootsuite users can now tweet with all 280 characters!
That means you can tweet a whole story about owls if you wanted to! 🦉
Or you can keep it brief. The option is yours! With great power comes great responsibility. Tweet wisely, friends. pic.twitter.com/czq8KbdqZ7
— Hootsuite (@hootsuite) November 10, 2017
Don’t use 280 characters for the sake of using 280 characters.
Tweet with purpose. If you use the full 280, do so with a strategy in mind. Don’t be like Culvers:
They’re back! They’re back! They’re back! They’re back! They’re back! They’re back! They’re back! They’re back! They’re back! They’re back! They’re back! They’re back! They’re back! They’re back! They’re back! They’re back! They’re back! They’re back! They’re back! #280characters pic.twitter.com/KmeO4DlBP8
— Culver’s Restaurants (@culvers) November 8, 2017
The novelty of the 280 character limit has worn off, so users are less likely to entertained by blatant usage of the 280 characters. Clever posts like the NASA example above were great when the feature was new, but even tweets like that would be considered out of touch if posted now.
Don’t make tweets longer than they need to be.
During the test period of the 280 characters, Twitter found that tweets that took advantage of the additional character space saw more engagement than shorter posts. But take that with a grain of salt.
The 280 character limit was a novelty at the time, and only the best accounts got permission to use the new limit. Plus, these power users were already Twitter pros with large audiences—of course their newly-280-character tweets got lots of attention.
At the end of the day, if a shorter tweet is able to get the same message across with fewer words, it will be easier to digest.
Always be testing
Think of 280 characters as a Twitter marketing tool, rather than a new standard. If you use the extra space wisely and with purpose, it can help you stand out from the Twitter crowd. As with any marketing strategy, always be testing.
Try tweeting about the same subject with a longer and shorter tweet. Take advantage of new formatting options to see if that adds value for you. Everyone is different, and some companies may find their content better suited to the 280 character limit than others.
If Twitter marketing is daunting to you, or if you just need some help juggling everything on your social media plate, drop us a line to see how we can help.