3 Tips to Plan for Twitter’s Likely Character Expansion

Per widespread industry reports, it’s expected that Twitter will soon lift its iconic 140-character tweet limit. Though details are yet to be confirmed, the change is expected no later than March; the tweet limit is speculated to skyrocket up to 10,000 characters (Twitter’s direct messages already recently ballooned to this new limit).

Don’t despair, Twitter purists: according to reports by Re/code, the visual interface would remain much the same on the surface, still showing only the first 140 characters of each tweet in a feed—users would then click on a tweet to see the expanded content.

Nonprofit communicators should prepare in advance for this almost certainly impending update, and strategize how this digital ground shift could affect and even benefit an organization’s Twitter handle(s) efficacy and engagement. Here are a few simple tips to help nonprofits plan for Twitter’s next (longer!) chapter:

  • Get Creative With the New Space: Twitter’s 140-character limit sometimes means cutting important corners off your message. If the limit is lifted, you’ll be able to share more robust, complete information in a single tweet. For example, consider tweeting a link to a recent blog, including a pull quote or first paragraph to help draw in readers. But remember: the most important content should remain in the first 140 characters, to remain visible (without additional clicks) to those browsing their feeds.
  • Brevity is still key! It’s important to keep in mind that best practices of web and social media writing and engagement will persist even in the face of a longer limit. In other words, just because you have more space doesn’t mean you should always use it. Facebook has a much bigger character limit than Twitter, yet studies still show that shorter posts (as short as 60 characters) still see better engagement on Facebook than their longer counterparts! The same is already true of Twitter. Posts that are 100 characters or fewer tend to perform the best. While certain occasions may call for longer-form content, typical day to day tweets should remain short and sweet.
  • Emphasize Visuals: Adding photos to tweets in the past has historically been a bit of a trade-off, since adding a photo reduces the total number of characters you’re able to work with. Even so, we know that posts with photos tend to boost engagement. With an expanded character limit, however, including photos and visuals like infographics will be a no-brainer. And without the short character limit, you’ll have room to add a caption, photo credit, or even a bit of backstory if needed.

Do the expanded Twitter limit rumors spell major impending strategy shift or minor tweaks for your organization or business? Join the conversation by adding your thoughts in the comments section.

Brooke Preston

Brooke Preston is an Acting Account Manager at Prichard, where she generates strategies and content for a number of foundation and nonprofit clients. Brooke is a seasoned writer, editor and content consultant whose background is centered in journalism, corporate communications and nonprofit marketing. Brooke holds a B.S.S. in Music and Media Studies from Ohio University.
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