Social media platforms are ever-evolving – new tweaks and features, some minor and some massive, are announced regularly and often without warning. As marketing and sales professionals, it is our job to recognize and adapt to these changes without skipping a beat.
Twitter and Your B2B Marketing Strategy
Recently, Twitter announced plans to increase the maximum length of tweets from 140 to 280 characters, and immediately rolled out the new feature to a select group for user-testing.
The change presents a new wrinkle to a platform that marketers and sales professionals have already expressed skepticism about. Though a high percentage of organizations use the platform for business purposes, a recent study shows only 50% of B2B marketers are confident that Twitter is an effective platform for B2B marketing (source).
Naturally, the news of this change has left many in the B2B sector wondering: Will longer tweets be better or worse for business? Like any new social media feature, longer tweets can be a blessing or a curse depending on how your business uses them.
In today’s post we explore the potential impact of this change and provide you with tips to help you adjust.
1. Remember, longer doesn’t mean better.
We’ve all been there before: Stuck trying to fit a message into 140 characters and failing. But, with Twitter’s new update, marketers now have the opportunity to craft more detailed posts. Though appealing at first, it’s important to use caution.
On Twitter, brevity remains the biggest selling point for users. In fact, studies suggest that longer tweets not only perform worse, but that the text itself is less important than the visual content accompanying it. Consider the following statistics:
- Tweets of 100 characters or less see more engagement than longer tweets (source)
- Visuals (pictures, graphics, videos) are 40 times likelier to be shared on social media (source)
- Tweets like images receive 18% more click-throughs, 89% more likes and 150% more retweets (source)
- Visual content is more aesthetically pleasing to the user’s brain and takes significantly less time to process (source)
If the character limit for tweets doubles, there are two primary risks that marketers must consider:
- You’ll alienate your followers: once the initial novelty of super-sized tweets wears off (it’ll happen quickly!), the long messages you worked so hard on will more than likely be only partially read or skipped entirely.
- You’ll get lost in the mix: Even if you keep your tweets concise, they will still be tossed into a timeline among tweets from other users that may not show the same restraint.
Fear not! These problems are not without solutions:
- Be brief: Avoid lengthy tweets unless you have a rare, unique message that requires the extra characters.
- Think visually: While your competition tweets longer, increase your focus on eye-grabbing visual content. A graphic or video will engage followers more than any 280-character block of text no matter how well-chosen the words are.
Perhaps ideas can only be expressed through a full 280-character tweet—that doesn’t mean you’re necessarily making a mistake. But before hitting send, ask yourself: did I extend this tweet because I needed to, or because I can?
2. Don’t get hashtag-crazy.
As tempting as it may be, don’t use Twitter’s new character limit to jam pack your tweets with hashtags. Though hashtags can generate more visibility and engagement, studies show that over-use can have the opposite effect (source):
- Tweets with one or two hashtags have 21% higher engagement than those with three or more.
- Tweets that use more than two hashtags show a 17% drop in engagement.
For many users, hashtags are the equivalent to Tweet-clutter; they’re visually off-putting and a quick way to turn followers off from your business. For optimal results, stick to these hashtag best practices:
- Limit use to one or two hashtags per tweet.
- Keep copy short. Shorter tags are easier to remember and more likely to be re-used.
- Leverage trending tags, but only when it makes sense.
- Be strategic. Identify which hashtags perform well and avoid tags that cultivate a lot of spam.
3. Strengthen your connection with customers.
Twitter has become an essential platform for customer service, giving businesses the opportunity to communicate directly with followers on an immediate, personal level.
- Customer service interactions on Twitter have increased over 250% in the last two years alone. (source)
- 85% of followers say they feel more connected with businesses after following them on Twitter. (source)
- Companies using Twitter for customer service see a 19% increase in customer satisfaction (source)
With tweets potentially doubling in size, the way you interact with your customers is about to change dramatically.
Your business may choose to refrain from stretching your tweets out to 280 characters, but that doesn’t mean your followers will. In fact, many will utilize this opportunity to provide longer feedback, questions, reviews and complaints.
While this may sound like a headache, it will be worth the additional work. 280-character tweets might seem like overkill, but extended responses to followers illustrate how much your business values its customers and clients.
In the past, most customer interaction has taken place in direct messages, as 140 characters is often inadequate when it comes to servicing a customer’s needs. With 280 characters at your disposal, you’ll be able to respond publicly more often, demonstrating your connection with customers to all of your followers rather than just the specific individual you’re interacting with.
4. Look to innovate.
While the aforementioned guidelines will prepare you well for the new Twitter landscape, there’s one thing that all marketers should value above all else: creativity.
It’s a guarantee that some brand, marketer or salesperson will come up with a completely unique way to use 280 character tweets, and their genius idea will inspire others to follow suit. Yes, you should continue to keep your tweets brief and focus on visual content, but these new rules offer a new opportunity to innovate. Don’t be afraid to step outside the box and experiment, so long as you don’t go overboard or compromise your overall Twitter strategy.
There are always growing pains when a social media platform makes a big change. It is the ability to adapt that separates great social media marketers from the rest of the pack.
Contact ZoomInfo today to learn more ways to elevate your marketing strategy.