When reports indicated that Twitter was moving forward with plans to increase its character limit, the general response was one of outrage.
Why would the social network remove the core aspect that makes it unique and establishes the sense of immediacy that attracts users in the first place? Even after CEO Jack Dorsey shed light on the reasons behind the change, many remain unconvinced.
As a personal user, it’s fair to rant and complain and make empty threats to jump ship — remember when changes to Facebook’s interface had people threatening to move to Google+? But as a brand, it’s wise to accept the likelihood this change will indeed happen, and to embrace the change by recognizing ways your brand can benefit.
Here are three worth noting:
1. Opportunity for Longform Content
Twitter is known for brevity and speed, so you may be thinking, “Who is going to stop scrolling their feed to read a long tweet?
Well, just because the character limit increased, that doesn’t mean you have to take advantage of it all the time. Rather, it means you have the opportunity to do so when necessary and appropriate.
As Dorsey said above, there are times when providing an explanation beyond 140 characters is helpful. Perhaps you have a new product launch that customers would be interested to learn more about. Perhaps if they were led to an outside website, they would be less likely to read about your launch than if it simply lived on their Twitter feed. Or maybe you could incentivize your audience with a contest in which collecting clues from a long post would benefit them.
Long tweets can be fun too. You just have to be creative and come prepared with ideas once the change is implemented.
2. Better Analytics
Since people have been using screenshots or images to post longer content on Twitter anyway, allowing people to actually post words as text is better for search optimization, which is one of the arguments Twitter’s founders made in defending the character limit change.
On top of improved searchability, the longer tweets might also allow brands to analyze user behavior beyond likes, retweets and replies. We could see how long people spend reading a longer tweet, how far down they scroll before moving on, etc.
3. More Efficient Customer Service Interactions
When customers want to tweet to a brand, but their inquiry exceeds 140 characters, they currently have to divide their complaint into several different tweets, and then the brand has to either direct them to a hotline or request the user to follow them (if they don’t already) and send them a direct message. Very inefficient, to say the least.
If customers can contain their entire concern in one tweet, and the brand can respond with directions or information on how to remedy the customer’s issue, it would eliminate a lot of wasted time and effort and make brand-customer relations a more painless experience.