How to Utilize Twitter’s 280 Characters to Build Your Brand #280characters

Twitter is finally making the big move as it has announced its new 280 characters limit on its tweets. The limit had already gone away from quoted posts and polls, but this time it will affect the normal posts too. This opens up a new horizon for social media marketing for businesses, but it has also received some criticism at the same time.

Twitter users believe that it was the core of Twitter’s offerings that it had a 140 characters limit. Taking away this feature will make Twitter just like any other social networking platform according to the opponents of the new change. Some made fun of the announcement of 280 characters from Twitter in creative ways.

However, the 280 Characters Limit Has a Huge Benefit — Storytelling.

For a business to become a brand, it needs to make an emotional connection with its audience. This is done by telling a story of the brand so people can know what the brand stands for, why it is doing what it is doing and what the vision of the brand is. A story has a beginning, a middle and an end, and now they can be fit into 280 characters. Not only does storytelling benefit corporations, you can also use the power of storytelling for personal brands.

If you watch superhero movies, you know every superhero has a story. This is because the curiosity is always there for people to know how something became what it is today. Furthermore, it gives rise to an emotional connection that serves as the foundation of loyalty for customers.

From this, you can get a clear idea that storytelling is crucial for brands and they use it to connect with their audience whenever they can. With 280 characters these same brands will be able to say much more to their audiences on Twitter than they have ever been able to say before.

Is the Increase in Character Limit Needed?

This is debatable. Some have criticized that the change is against Twitter’s unique selling point. However, one major benefit of this change is leveling the playing field between English and some other languages. This is because English is one of the languages that require a lot of characters to be used to convey a meaningful message. The same character limit would not have mattered much for languages like Chinese, Japanese or Korean where each character can say much more than a word in English can. This is clear from character usage statistics that show that only 0.4% of the tweets in Japanese ever touch the limit of 140 characters whereas 9% of English tweets reach this limit.

When it comes to users from China, Japan, and Korea, the new limit will not make much of a change since they already find it difficult to reach the 140-character limit in most of their tweets. For example, when Abraham Lincoln’s address in Gettysburg is put in 280 characters on Twitter, you can only fit in a couple of sentences. On the other hand, this same limit covers nearly the entire speech against Hong Kong in 2000 given by Jiang Zemin. A Twitter user showed this character limit difference perfectly in his tweet.

More Links in One Tweet for Brands

Brands and personal brands will benefit from the new expansion of character limit from Twitter as they will now be able to put more useful content in their tweets. First, they will be able to put multiple links in the tweet. One of the links could be the landing page of the topic they are talking about, and the other link could be the website link that would appear in all of their tweets. Users and brands will also get to tag more people in the same tweet. It happens quite often that Twitter users have to leave out some important people from their replies just to maintain their character limit.

Doing so will be greatly benefitting for businesses as they will be able to address a person in the tweet and tag another person who they want to get feedback from about the ongoing topic. Not to forget, brands have been making use of the long form content on other platforms like Facebook, Google+, etc. Quicksprout is a great example of a brand using long-form content to its advantage. Nearly every post they share on their blogs has images, videos, lots of text and subsections in it.

Statistics in the past have also proved that Google prefers long-form content. A great example of brands sharing long-form content on Facebook is Room to Read. Similarly, A Mighty Girl is another great example of a brand consistently using long-form content on Facebook and getting a great response to doing so.

You Don’t Have to Use 280 Characters

Ultimately, what makes a tweet successful is not in its length. The most popular tweets are made attractive by adding images, videos, and gifs. They can still fit their text-only content within 140-character limit. However, when there are those rare occasions when you want to say more or don’t want to remove that one word that carries the emotion and essence of your tweet, you can benefit from the 280-character limit.

You Can Use the 280 Characters on Twitter Right Now

Twitter took a unique approach to its new character limit by announcing that only a certain number of people will be able to tweet with the new limit while others will still be limited to 140 characters. The is a typical stagger release strategy that generates PR hype. However, as of 8 Nov 2017 (today), everyone can tweet with 280 characters.

How will you use the 280 characters limit? Let me know on Twitter @KaitlinZhang!

Originally published at on November 8, 2017.

Kaitlin Zhang is an award-winning personal branding consultant, helping entrepreneurs, executives and celebrities manage their online reputation. Follow her blog to learn more about personal branding, corporate branding, digital marketing and reputation management.

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