Most people I have come across (especially on Twitter) flinch at the thought of people being able to write more than 140 characters on Twitter. In fact, many believe that a big reason why Twitter succeeds is because of its 140-character-limit. If people are allowed to type more than 140 characters, they declare, Twitter will become just another spam-filled platform where long streams of text will clog the timelines and most of this text will make no sense.
The inherent strength of Twitter is of course it’s short messages. The entire format has evolved around this state of brevity. Even in terms of usability, it is easier to quickly scroll through shorter spurts of text rather than long paragraphs. Yes, images and videos are there that often occupy lots of space, but you can disable them in almost every Twitter app that you use on your mobile phone or tablet.
Twitter would like more long form content published on its website just like Facebook and LinkedIn, according to this Re/Code update. The company is working on building a “product” that will allow people to use the social networking website to post more than 140 characters or long form text. It isn’t very clear whether it will be the users of the “product” who will be able to post long form content while the remaining Twitter users go on using 140 characters, or the facility will be available to everybody.
Longer content means people spending more time on the website and more time on the website means greater ad revenue, or at least this is how the conventional logic goes. Up till now, as you know, long form content is published elsewhere – your own website or your own blog, Medium, WordPress.com, Tumblr and even Facebook these days – and the URL with a small textual description is published on Twitter. So basically Twitter is constantly sending traffic away because the whole purpose of publishing your URL on Twitter is to send people to that URL and consequently, leave Twitter. People are not staying on Twitter longer unless they are engaging in some ongoing conversation. If they come across blog posts and articles on Twitter itself, they won’t have to leave the website.
What does an ability to post more than 140 characters on Twitter mean to content marketing?
In simple terms, there will be another platform at your disposal where you can publish content to promote your business. The true purpose of content marketing is to help people while letting people know from where the help is coming. Marketing messages don’t sell. Relevant, useful content does. So the same philosophy will apply on Twitter when you decide to use its ability to publish long form content for content marketing.
But isn’t it a big hassle to post content on different networks? You might already be publishing long form content on LinkedIn, Facebook and Medium? Of course, then there is also your own blog. After all how much content can you publish?
Personally, I wouldn’t suggest my clients to go for all platforms. For B2B marketing, yes, LinkedIn is important and it is worthwhile to invest in content marketing over there and publishing long form articles and blog posts specifically written for LinkedIn. But for Twitter? I’m not very sure. You may call me a power Twitter user but I mostly use it for political, social and cultural interactions, not for business purpose. For business purpose I use my own blog as well as LinkedIn and I believe the same applies to most of my clients.
Not much data is available regarding how much business Twitter exclusively generates for advertisers and marketers.
Also, I’m not saying that for content marketing you can totally disregard Twitter’s ability to publish long form content. It is hard to predict how everything will evolve. But as of now, even if you decide to post longer blog posts and articles exclusively on Twitter, keep in mind that the audience is used to quickly browsing through shorter updates. The sort of attention people pay to tweets might be totally different from the sort of attention they pay to posts on LinkedIn or even Facebook. So start experimenting with first, one paragraph, then a couple of paragraphs and then maybe a few more paragraphs.
I often suggest my clients to publish long form content on their own website and on LinkedIn and then use their other social media profiles to promote that content. You may do the same with Twitter.
It also depends on your audience. For example if you are an author promoting your books then Facebook would be a better platform and you can start building content over there along with on your own website. If you write business-related books then LinkedIn would be a better platform for you and you should focus on creating long form content on LinkedIn. If your experience of having interactions on Twitter tells you that you are going to get good response by publishing long form blog posts and articles on Twitter, then sure, go ahead.