Adding Character (And Now, Characters) to Your Tweets

Sep 22, 2016 Grace Lynch

If you tweet a lot, you know the feeling. You’re drafting social to promote a fantastic piece of media coverage, defending Nick V. becoming the next Bachelor, or tweeting out your latest blog post and BAM - you’ve run out of characters. For those of you scorned by the 140 character count, I have good news.

As reported by The Verge, on Monday Twitter rolled out some new rules as to what content does and doesn’t count as a character. Yes, as originally reported in May, Twitter has officially broken its own rules. Let’s not go crazy - no one will be able to start posting Twitter novels, but a majority of the multimedia options (which we know boost engagement) including images, GIFs, videos, and polls will no longer count against the 140-character limit. In addition, when Twitter users quote a tweet (i.e. sharing someone’s tweet with their own comments attached), that original tweet will not count in the character limit either - even if your tweet is in reply to more than one user’s handle.

As a lover of all things GIFs, this was fantastic news to me. But what does it mean for brands, and how should we utilize these new rules?

  • Increase engagement with users and other brands: We live in a world where user experience and customer service is more important than ever. Not only should brands use images, GIFs and videos to stand out, but they may also be a helpful resource for customer service. Maybe you are addressing a customer’s concern with a how-to video - now you also have the space to customize a response as well. Or perhaps someone is giving your brand a shout out, and now you can return a thank you reply with a fun GIF as well. These visuals add a level of personalization to the interaction, and they create an engagement opportunity with customers.
  • Use when appropriate: With that being said, the situation may not always lend itself to a funny GIF or a photo. For personal use, these options are always entertaining, but companies need to make sure that the multimedia they are including fits with their brand and the voice of their social channel.
  • It’s going to take more to stand out: Static photos may not cut it anymore. People on Twitter (and other social media platforms as well) are loving GIFs and short videos, so it’s beginning to take more for tweets to stand out. Instead of going nuts with this new-found Twitter freedom, recognize what kind of engagement you are looking for, and plan accordingly.

Following last quarter’s reports that Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey may be dramatically changing the character count limit, these changes are much more manageable and digestible for social media audiences. Brands and individuals alike should now take advantage of this move to increase engagement by spicing up their social content --  and now they have the space to do so.

Topics: Brand, Twitter, How To, PR
Grace Lynch

Grace Lynch is an assistant account executive at InkHouse where she focuses on social media, media relations and day-to-day account coordination across her accounts. A graduate of UCLA College of Letters and Science, Grace began her career in PR as an intern at O'Neill & Associates. At InkHouse, Grace services accounts in several industries, including tech, real estate and venture capital.

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