What does Twitter's latest update really mean for your business?

Twitter header for blog

What's happening?

Twitter are effectively increasing the capacity of tweets by removing certain actions from affecting the 140-character limit. If you want to @ someone or attach an image, these things will no longer impact your character limit. Here's a more detailed breakdown:

  • Replies:When replying to a Tweet, @names will no longer count toward the 140-character count
  • Media attachments:Attachments like photos, GIFs, videos, polls, or Quote Tweets will no longer count as characters either.
  • Retweet and Quote Tweet yourself:You'll also now be able to Retweet your own awesome tweets and not just the excellent thoughts of other people.
  • Goodbye, .@:There's no need to .@ anymore. Tweets that start with a username will be broadcast to your entire following for the very first time.

That's all well and good, but what does it actually mean for you and your business? We spoke to two of our most social media savvy team members to get some answers...

N: Niamh Spence - Senior Outreach Specialist

A: Archie Barnett - Paid and Social Executive

Why is everyone making such a fuss?

A: One of the main problems when writing posts for Twitter has always been the character restriction. It's often meant you have to choose something to sacrifice in order to squeeze the information you need into one tweet. That could mean losing an image or losing an important link which should be driving traffic to your website.

N: This update will allow marketers to get their brand messages across much better, without having to compromise. It stops people having to put out messages that might not make total sense and instead allows for more natural conversations to occur. It's easier to sound like a person when this update comes into play, rather than just a well constructed 140-character message.

Why is this a good thing for businesses?

A: Tweets will now be aligned a little more with Facebook posts. Whilst we'd never recommend posting exactly the same message across all channels, it's far less challenging now to schedule content across multiple accounts as you won't have to completely re-word a post for Twitter that you've used on Facebook purely because of the character limit.

N: For businesses that struggle with social, it gives them a little more freedom so they don't have to worry or be too scared about getting the right message across in 140-characters. Social posts shouldn't be over thought, they're meant to be interactive and easy and this update will make Twitter a more attractive prospect for businesses to post on now.

A: It will help with engagement. Businesses fall down due to the lack of images in a post. You had to sacrifice an image to include a link to drive traffic to a website, now you won't need to do that. It will help drive traffic AND be engaging at the same time.

N: The impact this update has on replies is especially important for customer service accounts on Twitter. It will for much more flexibility and give brands the chance to be much more personal and warm without seeming cold and cut off due to character limits.

Is there anything bad about it?

N: If you are a customer services account, it could make it easier for people to air their issues in a tweet rather than taking it to DM or off social media. It could also see people start to write huge chunks of information and you might start to see some ironic, long hashtags just because people can.

A: If someone decided to give you negative feedback, it won't just be you who sees it anymore. It will be seen just like any normal tweet in follower's timelines.

What's the feature you're most excited about?

A: Without even needing to think, it's links and images not counting towards the 140-character limit. It means for us and our clients, there'll be fewer issues trying to fit the right information in a tweet.

N: The ability to quote your own tweets. This is great because it means you can maximise the content you post. It's a fantastic way to increase the your engagements with content you've already put out. A lot of the content we create as an agency is evergreen, so this is perfect for our clients as their content is always relevant and useful so won't be lost.

This RT feature will also be useful for thought leaders who might've predicted something in a tweet months back, that's now come true. Simply re-tweeting what you previously posted saves time on writing another post about how right you were!

A: It will be interesting to see if this encourages users to use polls in their tweets now as well now that they don't detract from character limits. It means you don't have to be as vague if you're looking to get good feedback from your followers so I expect to see some interesting data on that as Twitter roll out the update.