UPDATE: On The Today Show on March 18, Twitter's CEO dispelled rumors about Twitter's expanded character limit. The 140 characters are here to stay!
Have you heard the news?!
Twitter is hinting at expanding its infamous 140-character limit.
Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted a screenshot of text on January 5th, mentioning: “We’ve spent a lot of time observing what people are doing on Twitter, and we see them taking screenshots of text and tweeting it. Instead, what if the text…was actually text? Text that could be searched. Text that could be highlighted. That’s more utility and power.”
It’s been reported that this change could roll out as early as March, and that you may be able to use up to 10,000 characters in your tweet! If that’s the case, it’s likely that users will see just the standard 140 characters and then have the option to expand the tweet to read more.
Although this has made some Twitter users upset, it could be a great thing for businesses. Here are three ways businesses can maximize Twitter’s expanded character limit.
- Weave more keywords into your tweets.
Social media is one of many factors that can help increase the search engine optimization (SEO) of your website. When publishing tweets that link to your website, you will have a greater opportunity to integrate more keywords thanks to the expanded character limit. But be careful not to overdo this, as linking to your website too often may appear “spammy” to your followers.
For example, if you are a financial advisor that specializes in 401ks and one of your website pages has the focus keyword “401k rollovers,” publish a tweet that includes “401k rollovers” and links to that particular page. Being able to use more than 140 characters in a tweet will allow you to include the keyword, link, and a motivating reason for people to click through for more.
- Advertise articles and blog posts on Twitter.
The expanded character limit can allow you to use your Twitter profile as a blog. Consider publishing full articles and blog posts directly to Twitter and paying to promote them. When doing this, make sure that you do not publish something that is already on your website; if you do, Google will view this as duplicate content.
With Twitter’s expanded character limit may also come even better analytics, where you can see not only how many people read your tweeted article, but also how long they view it. According to Richard Jones, founder of EngageSciences, “Soon, you could pay for placing a Promoted Article according to the number of people who read more than 70 percent of that article.” This way, paying to promote an article or blog post on Twitter could bring a good return on your investment, especially if you include a clear call-to-action at the end of that article.
- Use Twitter as a direct line of communication to your target market.
Over the years, Twitter has become – among other things – a customer service platform for many smart businesses. Consumers complain to McDonald’s about wrong orders and ask Southwest Airlines to help them reschedule delayed flights. Both of these companies do an excellent job of responding to, and successfully solving within the Twitter feed, many of these issues. However, because there simply is not room to respond to certain complaints in 140 characters, many other brands respond with a standard “Call us at 1-800-555-5555 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can look into this issue.”
Twitter’s expanded character limit would change that. Gone may be the days when you have to spend 20 painstaking minutes thinking through how to fit every.single.thing you want to say into 140 characters – or even a multi-tweet chain. Instead, you can respond in one tweet and therefore solve the issue in much less time. Twitter makes for an excellent customer service platform and, if you are not currently using Twitter for this, now is the time to plan how you will implement it.
- Continue to use the 140 characters!
Although Twitter’s expanded character limit would be primarily beneficial, there also would be some negatives – mainly that your Twitter followers may get so overwhelmed with the additional content that they do not click to read more. Make those first 140 characters count! And, consider publishing at least one tweet a week that is still less than 140 characters. It will be a refreshing difference, and may more likely be retweeted by your followers.
Regardless of whether Twitter officially expands its character limit, now is the time to – as Richard Jones mentions – “start thinking of Twitter as less a news-breaking, click-driving service powered by microblogging, and more of a destination where deeper levels of engagement can happen.
- Emily Crider, Social Media & Project Manager