By Augusta Rice
Remember the original days of Twitter? The progressive app that encouraged users to express only their innermost thoughts (e.g. what they had for lunch, their new favorite blog, their thoughts on the upcoming presidential election) in a succinct and timely manner was once a beacon of brevity in an oft-overwhelming and oversaturated social media market. The 140-character limit forced “tweeps” to put a cap on their streams of consciousness and check their grammar morality at the door. Well, friends, as Bob Dylan once said, “The [tweets]they are a-changin’.”
Last quarter, news broke of Twitter’s plans to increase the app’s character limit from 140 to 10,000. Oxford Comma enthusiasts, rejoice! While the actual number may fluctuate, this character increase will allow users to publish long-form content on the service.
After years of character limit scrutiny at the hands of marketing pundits and resistance to change on the part of high-ranking executives, Twitter is finally ready to throw it’s hat into the content marketing ring. Fresh on the heels of its most recent stock-value plummet, Twitter is desperate to find new ways to attract a more mainstream audience to the product. Tweaking the character limit opens the door to the possibility of growth, however, it does not necessarily outweigh preexisting long-form platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn.
Aside from the obvious advantages of a larger tweet-field, this move would allow for more “utility and power” for users, says Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. More characters means text that is more searchable, sharable and expressive of ideas. Referred to internally as “Beyond 140,” this update will allow for increasingly dynamic exchanges when applicable, and (hopefully) will not take away from the short-and-sweet, conversational nature that currently exists in the space.
As a bank that has made or is considering making its foray into the “Twittersphere,” you may be wondering how this amendment can and will fit into your content plan. The answer is simple: proceed as you are. This change is not an imposition; users do not necessarily have to react or alter their existing approach to Twitter. They do not have to use 10,000 characters in every update – in fact, this article is only 4,361 characters including spaces. However, there are opportunities to levy this update to the Bank’s social media marketing advantage, several of which are outlined below:
Convenience In The Short-Term Long-Form
No blog, no problem! With no space limit, Twitter users will now be able to share informative quips and explain the reasoning and implications behind those thoughts in a manner that is more accessible to users. Rather than having to exit the Twitter app to read the Bank’s blog, viewers will now see the headline and be given the option to expand the content that piques their interest.
More Dynamic Content Sharing
Currently, the 140-character limit imposes a quandary when one wants to include both a URL and a photo. As each form of content individually occupy 23 characters of space, including both items takes up 33% of the tweet without even saying a word. Look to this update to say more and show more to your audience.
As mentioned earlier, more characters equal more opportunities for searching within the platform, and new opportunities for marketers to leverage the power of Google. Google has been toying with featuring tweets in mobile search results in the last year, and the additional character has the potential to increase Search Engine Optimization (SEO) exponentially.
ABD: Always Be Disclosing
Perhaps most importantly, the removal of the character limit will make it easier for highly regulated industries (e.g. banks and other financial institutions) to meet disclosure requirements. This move will open the door for increased advertising on the platform, and a much better relationship with your compliance department. Keep in mind the one-click rule will still be a viable option if the idea of including disclosure copy in every tweet seems unappealing to you.
Overall, this move could open the platform to new users and power many original strategies, which will foster a richer experience within the channel for brands and consumers alike. The update is rumored to be launching in March, and this social media marketer is eagerly awaiting the possibilities.
Augusta Rice is a Digital Account Executive at Pannos Marketing based in Bedford, NH. Pannos Marketing is an award winning, full service communications firm specializing in strategic marketing, public relations, social media, e-commerce and website solutions for financial institutions. Email: [email protected]; LinkedIn: Augusta Rice
Online training in Twitter from ABA.