Published 22nd August 2016 | Social Media Marketing

How Marketers Will Soon Be Able to Maximize All 140 Characters

It’s been a more than a decade since Twitter was launched as a simple micro blogging website and in that time it has firmly established itself as a major player in the social media game. For marketers, the platform is considered one of the Big Three (or as we prefer, one of the Supreme Six), up there with Facebook and LinkedIn as a vital stage to showcase your business.

Twitter has evolved over the last 10 years, changing from a modest 140-character text messaging site, into a creative platform where photos, videos and other media content can be quickly shared. Users can join in global conversations with #hashtags, or connect directly with people via @mentions.

This constant evolution has been essential in keeping up with the ever changing landscape of social media. Newer platforms, such as Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Snapchat, now have more users than Twitter (Snapchat overtook Twitter in June this year, with 150 million active daily users versus Twitter’s less than 140 million).

The latest change in Twitter’s progression is also perhaps the biggest, as it affects their iconic 140-character limit. While there has been much speculation around Twitter’s character limit (with some even suggesting it was going to be increased to 10,000) Twitter finally announced their plans in May this year when they tweeted…

2016-08 Twitter-announcement-2016-05-24

Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO and cofounder, went on to say…

“One of the biggest priorities for this year is to refine our product and make it simpler,”

 “We’re focused on making Twitter a whole lot easier and faster. This is what Twitter is great at – what’s happening now, live conversation and the simplicity that we started the service with.”

Four Top Changes to Twitters Character Count

So how is Jack planning on refining and simplifying Twitter? The company’s Senior Product Manager, Todd Sherman, recently released four changes coming to the platform which are aiming to do just that…

  1. @names will no longer count towards the character count when you reply to a Tweet
  2. Tweets beginning with @ will now show to all your followers, meaning no more “.@”.
  3. Media attachments (images, GIFs, polls, etc.) will no longer be included in the character count, effectively freeing up 24 characters.
  4. You will now be able to easily Retweet/Requote your own Tweets.

These changes aim to improve the ease of conversations between users while ensuring the essence of Twitter (short, to the point, tweets) is maintained.

all without compromising the unique brevity and speed that make Twitter…” according to Sherman.

Interestingly, unlike Instagram and Facebook updates, this Twitter update has widely been greeted with open arms, as it allows both individuals and businesses to use the social media platform more efficiently.

So let’s look at how you can most effectively use these changes to benefit your business.

1. @Replies on Twitter

When replying* to a tweet, @names will no longer count toward the 140-character count. This means having conservations on Twitter will be easier as you can use the freed up character count for your actual message. This is especially beneficial when replying to several people at once.

(*note: it’s possible @name tweets, not replies, might still include the @name in your 140 limit).

People respond to the way a Brand interacts with its followers, so this update is brilliant news for businesses.

2. Goodbye to @replies

While we’re looking at @’s, Twitter is simplifying the rules for tweets that start with a username. Previously if your tweet started with @name, only users who follow you AND the person you were tweeting could see the tweet. To get around this, it became common practice to use .@name which meant it reached all your followers.

The changes mean that all new Tweets beginning with @name will now reach all of your followers, without need to add the ‘.’, giving you an extra free character.

3. Media Attachments in Tweets

I’m sure we’re all familiar with the term ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’ and social media is no exception. There are various stats that look at this:

  • Neil Patel quotes ‘tweets with images receive 150 percent more retweets’
  • Buffer notes that tweets with images get 2x the engagement rate of those without
  • Twitter claims research has shownthat Tweets with photos get 313% more engagement.

The recent changes mean businesses can now include those all-important images, GIF’s, videos, polls or even quote tweets without affecting your character count. (Note, however, that links will still count towards the character limit).

You’ll never have to choose between media attachments or context again, as you can include highly engaging media attachments in your tweets, as well as taking full advantage of the 140 characters – great for all businesses.

4. Retweet and Quote Tweet Yourself

We all know that Tweets have a short life span (according to recent studies the average is 18 minutes), retweets help increase this. The updates make retweeting key business messages easier than ever, and Quote Tweets allows you to resend older messages while adding new content.

These new features mean you can give Tweets that went unnoticed the first time round, perhaps due to timing, a second chance. It also allows you to capitalize on popular messages by using Quote Tweet and adding an update.

2016-08 Twitter-Changes-May-2016


And it’s not just the changes above, Twitter have been busy with other updates.

In June they released #stickers ‘a fun new way to add creativity to your photos and connect them to the world on Twitter’. They also added the ability to tweet longer videos and see more videos, giving users new ways to tap into video on Twitter.

And a little (Twitter) bird tells us there may be more on the way…

We have plans to help you get even more from your Tweets. We’re exploring ways to make existing uses easier and enable new ones, all without compromising the unique brevity and speed that make Twitter the best place for live commentary, connections, and conversations.’

If you’d like to have a chat about the new Twitter update and how it can be used to benefit your business we’d love to help.

 Call our friendly team for a chat on 01763 877110 or click this link.

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