Twitter didn’t have the best of times during 2015.
Though it’s still one of the most popular social networks on the planet and a vital news source for journalists, the majority of headlines were negative for the micro-blogging website.
Problems included a slew of management changes, deceleration in its top-line growth, and problems in monetising its new direct response ads. Most unfortunate for the site though was a big slowdown in its sign-ups, with Twitter struggling to attract people to join the site.
Twitter’s stock fell by an astonishing 35 per cent according to Forbes. Enter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey with a new management team looking to completely reinvigorate Twitter’s growth for 2016.
Changes obviously need to be made on all fronts to arrest the slide in its market value and to attract a high volume of new users every month. New features are popping up such as changing ‘Favourites’ to ‘Likes’, and the Moments feature lets people catch up on the best content.
Only, a recent interview with Jack Dorsey appears to suggest that Twitter is looking at expanding its character limit for tweets from 140 to 10,000.
That’s well over a page on Microsoft Word. Tweets would be in line with the new limit for direct messages on the site, and would be akin to approximately 1,700 words.
Dorsey highlights that, after spending a lot of time researching user behaviour on the social network, people are taking screenshots of text messages and tweeting to friends, such is the desire to get a longer message across.
But would such a format be suitable for Twitter?
Your Turn: Is Twitter right to be extending its character limit or will it be a huge turn off for users? Would you like the changes to happen for your business? Let me know in the comments section below.
The tweet’s the limit
It depends; if people are fed up with the format they’ll look elsewhere. But it’s fair to say that its 140 character limit is a huge part of its charm; its unique selling point and what sets it apart from other social media networks.
The feature, originally designed so tweets could be of similar length to a text message so they could fit on mobile, is its most notable feature and was recently praised by Dorsey.
“It’s become a beautiful constraint, and I love it! It inspires creativity and brevity. And a sense of speed. We will never lose that feeling,” he said.
But surely that feeling would be lost, wouldn’t it? Instead of short snappy conversations people would be writing mini essays. Better to do that on a Facebook or LinkedIn perhaps? Maybe even a Medium or a Quora. Hell, why not set up your own WordPress website?
Because as well as its short sharp messages, its conversational tone is still head and shoulders above other networks. Especially when it comes to instantly finding and talking to potential customers; Twitter’s responsive nature also makes it a huge asset for companies’ customer-facing departments such as complaints.
But in a very public sense Twitter is also the first name on people’s lips when it comes to heavy internet-based activity such as trolling and bullying. Last month it was also accused of aiding terrorism, with the Turkish authorities fining Twitter $50,000 for removing what it sees as content that’s “terrorist propaganda”.
Twitter’s challenges aren’t simple ones; they’re huge public global problems with no easy solution. But we’re confident that the team will sort them; Dorsey will have to tread very carefully over 2016 to bring about necessary change and keep users and investors alike happy.
Your Turn: How important is Twitter to your business and how does social in general help you interact with customers and help your inbound efforts? Let me know below!
Because no matter what may happen to Twitter, as we’ve pointed out it’s an essential tool for people in the B2B and B2C communities to use, and still offers creative advertising solutions for those wanting something intriguing for their inbound campaigns.
Only last week it added ‘Conversational Ads’ to its arsenal, an advertisement said to be more advanced and engaging than promoted tweets. A conversational ad is still set up like a usual tweet, only it also includes calls to action and customisable hashtags to drive engagement.
By clicking on the Call-To-Action (CTA) a new tweet window will appear with a message created by the advertiser. So, if Coca-Cola for instance started a campaign asking whether people prefer regular Coke or Diet Coke and they clicked on their preference, a populated tweet would pop up for the user to send to their followers asking for their opinion.
It’s designed to spread and get a conversation going, but the user still controls the tweet at the end of the day. They can always change the message or the sentiment before tweeting to their timeline; again, we’ll have to wait and see how successful it is in a few months or so.
But at least Twitter is trying new things and being innovative to try and offer something new to brands over social media. But would the above approach really work if Twitter extended its character limit to 10,000? Would hashtags even be worth including with such a limit?
Twitter is going to have to take a long, hard look at itself to marry in profitable new features with a potentially changing service if Dorsey and his board are set on changing things around. During the third quarter of 2015 only 3 million users signed up to Twitter.
It may be the case that Twitter may have to upset and shed a few users before it hits on a successful new formula that pleases both its users and its shareholders. No matter how bad things may be behind the scenes, though, Twitter still remains a hugely important social business tool for outreach and inbound marketing.
If you’d like to learn more about social media marketing and how it can help your business grow online contact Webpresence today.