As you may have heard, Twitter have announced their intentions to stop counting photos, videos, GIFs, polls, and any other ad-on that isn’t a link, towards the 140-character Tweet limit. Previously, media attachments took up 24 characters- 17% of the overall allowed space, so if used wisely, having these extra characters could mean you don’t have to sit in front of Twitter changing words or considering not putting in the proper pronunciation just for the sake of your tweet making sense- if you’ve ever sat in front of your computer with ‘-1 characters’ staring back at you, you’ll know what I mean. The only downside, is that links will still count, however Twitter have done this so our timelines aren’t inundated with spammy tweets with numerous links. Twitter will also now let us retweet ourselves, so if you find a tweet you’ve posted from a while back you find particularly funny, you can bring it back and re-tell it to your followers, it will also stop counting usernames that have been tagged (@username) in the 140 character limit; but only if the usernames are in a reply to a tweet; in original tweets, these will still count.
This update will be launched, ‘in the coming months,’ and will also apply to Sponsored tweets, allowing companies paying for the service to use more text as well as their media to pitch their ideas and sell us their products.
All of this information led us to think- how will this affect companies who use Twitter to promote their products and services- will they use the extra characters to the best of their ability? So we came up with a little guide to help you make the most out of those extra characters!
Use the extra space!
Don’t use this opportunity to clog up your followers newsfeeds with an unrelated image and a block of text, just because you can; curate your content and come up with a campaign that sits around your products- that most importantly is relevant and interesting to those that are engaging with your brand. GIFs, short videos, and witty language will ensue you’re using the extra space in an engaging, creative way. These GIFs don’t even have to be excessively creative- but you will see the engagement between the examples featured below are higher than just a normal text post the brand would tweet.
Nothing lights up your life like tacos. pic.twitter.com/tCTzyT9Rny
— Taco Bell (@tacobell) May 17, 2016
— OREO Cookie (@Oreo) February 22, 2016
You will find Twitter analytics to be a useful tool if you’re using Twitter to promote your business. There are a number of things you want to be looking for- just log into your Twitter account and you hover over the ‘profile and settings’ tab, then click analytics. One of the most important sections of this will be your impressions- the number of times your tweet showed up on people’s feeds, from this, we want to know the reasoning behind why sometimes a tweet will receive a higher level of engagement than others. Analytics will give you the answer to this- including the top 10 interests of your followers so you can tailor your content around these, and a follower breakdown by region- perhaps your followers are mainly in one country for example, so your day time is someone else’s night time, and so the number of people seeing your tweet is lowered, if you alter the time of day you tweet at (or schedule your tweets for!) your overall engagement may be higher.
A tab that also might be of value if you’re wanting to get involved in events and social trends, is the the ‘event’ tab, which will allow you to view recurring themes for different days. Whilst looking at these, you may realise your brand could fit nicely into these, either by your products and services- e.g. a travel company on popular trend ‘#TravelTuesday’ or perhaps just some lighthearted comedy on ‘#HumpDay.’
Innocent Smoothie for example, are known for their great marketing. On social media they post silly fun content that often links back to their products, but not in a forceful or over-done way, they often reply to their customers in a light hearted way. They live-tweeted the Eurovision song contest, and came up with graphics and photos, using the hashtag to get their brand into social awareness on an event that doesn’t actually relate to their products- as you can see from the engagement levels on the tweet below- it worked!
— innocent drinks (@innocent) May 14, 2016
We’ve written before about how important video marketing is; engagement levels are noticeably much higher on posts by brands when they’ve produced a fun and creative video, based around their products. We can see this if we go back to Oreo’s Twitter, a short video works the best, their videos on this channel don’t exceed 30 seconds, and are simplistic in production, however what they create are little scenes, stylistically similar to each other, with only a few moments showing their actual product. These videos do work best if they have sound but don’t require it- so no matter where someone is, they can watch and understand the video.
When you open up with Oreo, an old song can turn into a new friend.https://t.co/gabTBTY4Vx
— OREO Cookie (@Oreo) March 1, 2016
Overall- use this opportunity to get creative! Moving imagery and videos do work best, a new trend developing that we could see more of soon is 3D gifs- so perhaps you want to get in front of this trend! Social media should be a fun place where you can get creative with your brand and find new audiences to engage with- best of all, it provides every business with a space where they can freely share their content and promote their brand message- this update gives us all the opportunity to grow in terms of our media strategy- so lets not waste it!