Ever since it launched, there have been people wanting to go beyond 140 characters in a tweet. Following a series of changes in 2015, just what can you now squeeze into a tweet?
The basic structure of a tweet
Your standard tweet has 140 characters. This was due to a standard SMS text message being 160 characters long – Twitter’s founders reserved 20 characters to identify the user, leaving 140 for the message.
With Twitter now moving its links exclusively to HTTPS, all links (including photos and videos) will use up 23 characters regardless of how long the URL really is.
Traditionally, we always left 30-40 characters free in a tweet to allow for quoted retweets but that’s no longer necessary…
Twitter’s quote retweet feature (2015 edition)
Originally, we had to manually type “RT” followed by the username of the original poster followed by their message. Then social media management tools like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite started doing it for us at the click of a button, leaving us free to type our comment in the limited space left. Then Twitter added it’s own quote retweet button that stuck quotation marks around the original tweet but still took up lots of space.
Since April 2015, this has been fixed. The new quote retweet embeds the original tweet leaving you 116 characters to add you own commentary – regardless of how long the original message was. This feature is now supported by Hootsuite so you can manage your social media from there with ease.
A picture paints a thousand words
We’ve long been able to embed images and videos into Twitter. But a common trend over recent years is to put together images containing your message and share them.
This is particularly popular in Instagram (naturally, since it’s a visual medium) but works well in other social media too.
What’s more, infographics and other visual approaches can help you squeeze more out from your tweet while spending just 23 characters in the process.
No more character cap on direct messaging
If you just can’t say it in 140 characters, no matter what, then how about 10,000 characters? In August 2015, Twitter removed the cap on direct message length. This is great news if you use Twitter for customer service.
Previously, you had to try and deal with issues within the 140 character cap. This had the potential to cause misunderstandings as you tried to squeeze in your response. This often lead to the approach of “Please email us and we’ll try to help” – certainly not the best possible customer experience or the smoothest resolution.
Now you can just type away and you should be able to deal with most customer enquiries through Twitter directly.
How to make the most of Twitter in your business
Twitter is the perfect tool for the following:
- Sharing content (blogs, videos, etc) with a large audience – beyond those who already know about you (the power of hashtags!)
- Microcontent – quick hints, tips, thoughts of the day, etc, that could pick up some viral momentum.
- Special offers – tweet out offer codes and vouchers – using hashtags for extra reach.
- Events – tweet under an event hashtag to promote the event or make connections with other attendees.
- Customer service – especially now with the lift on DM limits, you can manage customer enquiries.
- Conversation – last but certainly not least, Twitter is a great platform to engage in conversation with your current and potential customers. Take advantage of the quote tweet feature to really enhance your engagement and show that you are listening just as much as you’re talking.
If you need any help making the most of Twitter for your business, just get in touch with us, we would be pleased to help.
About the Author
Paul Hughes | 3D Marketing Solutions | Business Member
Paul is the MD of 3D Marketing Solutions, a marketing service that specialises in helping SMEs to grow their businesses. Most companies’ marketing goals fit into one of three categories:
“We can help you achieve your goals.”
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