Twitter just announced that they’re testing 280-character tweets with a select group of users. That’s right, some people can now send tweets that are double the infamous 140-character limit…and the feature may eventually roll out to everyone. If that does happen, how will it affect brands? How will longer tweets affect usage of the platform in general?
Why is Twitter making this change?
The change is occurring in response to customer feedback. According to Twitter, people want more room in their tweets, and the lack of room is stopping some from tweeting altogether. Twitter hopes that this change will attract more users, as well as encourage existing users to tweet more often. Spokespeople from the company have also expressed desire to allow users to tweet more meaningful opinions or thoughts; users often feel suppressed when a word or phrase must be removed to get their tweet under the current character limit. The desire for more characters has also been displayed in so-called “tweet storms,” so much so that Android was recently discovered to be adding a tweet storm feature to their version of the Twitter app.
Should your brand’s tweets get longer?
What do 280-character tweets mean for your brand? More characters to get your messaging across, for starters. We feel the pain of the current limit every day. Where can I use an emoji instead of a word? Is it ok to use “&” instead of “and”? If only “u” instead of “you” didn’t look so unprofessional! Once the longer limit rolls out for everyone, brands will have double the space to get their messages across and can even use copy that’s closer to exactly what is on product pages, blog posts, and more.
But that’s not necessarily a good thing. For example, Facebook posts can certainly be much longer than 280 characters, but industry research has discovered that 40 characters is the optimal post length for that platform. And the best-performing tweets (in terms of click-through rate) have shown to be between 120 and 130 characters…already less than the current 140-character limit!
Just because space is available doesn’t mean it should be utilized. Wordy posts can lose users’ attention spans quickly, especially on a platform like Twitter, where people post more frequently than on any other social channels. Brands should be writing tweets as they were previously, and using the extra character limits only when it’s necessary to fit in words or phrases that would damage messaging if they were not included. Just think of it as asking for a favor: you don’t want to do it too often, so save it for when you really need it.