Twitter to test 280 character tweets - but just because you can, doesn’t mean you should!

Social media and news sites are awash with excitement following the announcement by Twitter that it is trialling a longer character limit to help users to "easily express themselves". Head of PR and Social, Adam Tuckwell, challenges marketers to consider their audience and content type before embracing the latest update.

Twitter currently limits tweets to 140 characters, but has doubled that to 280 characters for a small group of users. Whilst this may come as welcome news to those who are keen to express themselves but who struggle to pack their thoughts and messages into 140 characters, marketers should be wary of composing longer and longer messages.

"Trying to cram your thoughts into a tweet - we've all been there, and it's a pain," Twitter product manager Aliza Rosen wrote. But sharing short notifications is what made the platform so appealing in the first place and marketers should be wary as analysis suggest it is what people want.

Analysis from Buddy Media found that the ideal length for maximum Twitter engagement is actually between 71-100 characters. This may seem really short, and getting tweets under 100 characters can be a challenge, but tweets with 100 characters get 17% higher engagement rates than longer tweets.

Twitter moves so quickly, you have just seconds to catch the attention of your audience as they scroll through their feed. Rather than embracing the longer character limit, marketers should instead focus their efforts on making the content as compelling as possible and adding additional media to stand out on screens.

People engage with visual content better than non-visual content. Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than tweets without images. So rather than hammering the keyboard when composing your next tweet, take time out to find an original and compelling image or video, if you really want to drive engagement.