How to Use 280 Characters on Twitter for Marketing
After testing the new feature in September, social media giant Twitter has rolled out 280-character tweets to nearly all users on November 7. It’s easy to see how regular users could have fun with double the character count, but less obvious how social media marketing professionals can benefit.
Twitter has made strides toward profitability in recent months. As others have noted, this is Twitter’s second major product change in the last 12 months — in September 2016, the brand removed character limits for photos, quoted tweets, GIFs, videos, and polls included in standard-length tweets. Now, all those perks continue, with users getting an additional 140 characters per tweet.
So, how can you drive clicks and sales with twice as many characters? Let’s take a look at a few ideas.
Twitter has no special formatting for text posts, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative. With extra characters to spare, there’s little reason NOT to break up longer tweets with paragraph breaks, as NatGeo presenter Brian Bushwood pointed out.
Still, marketers could get even more creative. Consider ways that basic text styles could be combined with line breaks to create a hierarchy of your marketing messaging — all in 280 characters. For instance, there’s:
- Title Case
- ALL CAPS
- S P A C E D
- and flowing text.
It’s never wise to have too many calls-to-action in a piece of marketing — and every link in a tweet is a CTA — however, there are ways that this could work. And considering that a couple of URLs will no longer kill your character count, it’s worth testing out.
For instance, say you’re a mortgage lender with separate landing pages for your home purchase leads and your refinance leads. Now, a tweet could conceivably target both audiences, and leads would self-sort themselves into the appropriate lead channel, depending on which URL they followed.
This has wider implications for other industries as well. Restaurants could share links for both the dinner and the happy hour menus. Retailers could have his and her sales links. Auto dealers could feature URLs for sedans and SUVs.
Revisit Your Copywriting Formulas
With twice as many characters to work with, it might be time to review your copywriting formulas. Kevan Lee at Buffer crafted one of the best Twitter copywriting guides in 2014, covering more than two dozen formulas and giving examples of how most could be condensed down to less than 140 characters.
But that was before you had space to dig into a marketing message through an Attention – Interest – Desire – Action or Features – Advantages – Benefits blueprint. With more space, businesses may revive the older copywriting practice. Dig into your marketing swipe file for longer formulas. With 280 characters you could write tweets that are 40 or even 50 words — that’s almost the whole above paragraph, in a tweet.
Other 280 Character Ideas
There are many more 280-character options, of course. Social Media Today points out the extra space could be used to share bilingual tweets. That would be particularly great for, say, a business who serves both English- and Spanish-speaking clientele.
Some Twitter users have already used the longer character count to make word art or emoji art out of their tweets. This includes vertically aligned tweets that cause users to notice you (as they may need several flicks of the finger just to scroll through your tweet). Emojis or even words could be combined into blocks of text or emojis to create a visual impact. That, of course, could be paired with an actual image for greater effect, as in this otter tweet. And of course, you can also compose a fairly long listicle with 280 characters as a Marvel Comics account demonstrated.
Twitter is making progress and may well achieve profitability this quarter with its new product features rolling out. This could mean increased competition from marketers buying more promoted tweet campaigns or just investing more in their tweet content and interaction. For brands looking to make the most of 280 characters, now is the time. The feature is fresh, the possibilities are wide open, and you have an opportunity to set a new engaging path with your Twitter followers.