It’s happening. Twitter is slowly but surely expanding how many characters you can use in a single tweet whilst retaining its world-famous 140 character limit. In its first update, the social networking giant added the ability to Retweet or Quote Retweet yourself with just a few taps. Its second update was a biggie… it took away the character count not only for photos and videos, but for GIFs, polls and Quoted Tweets too! And in its third (and latest) update, Twitter has removed the character count that @usernames contribute to your 140 characters when you reply to a group or an individual.
With this new update, Twitter aims to simplify conversations in a few ways. Firstly, who you’re replying to will appear above the tweet text, instead of in the tweet itself. Secondly, you can tap on the “Replying to…” section to see who’s contributing to the conversation. And finally, when reading a conversation, you’ll be able to see what people are saying. This beats having to see a tweet that’s full of @usernames taking up over half of a tweet.
Changes like this are putting a lot of emphasis on one word… conversation. It’s a word that’s easily forgotten when it comes to social media in the B2B technology space. It’s easy to churn out company news and blogs to your followers from your Twitter and LinkedIn feeds. But the key to seeing success with your efforts on social media is to identify those opportunities to engage and converse with other users. Adding value to conversations is a proven method to raise your (and your company’s) awareness to cement a perception of thought leadership.
Twitter is recognising this trend by empowering you with more characters for your tweets. Taking advantage of this isn’t as hard as it sounds, plus all the functionality is built into Twitter already. There are a few techniques to help you increase the number of conversations you get involved in:
#Hashtags – You should be familiar with these. When you click or tap on a hashtag, you’ll see a stream of tweets which contain the same keyword or topic. This is ideal if you want to join a conversation about #cloud (for example). Hashtags are also great for monitoring around specific events, occasions or to join Twitter chats.
Twitter Lists – Everyone on Twitter has the ability to curate their own public or private Twitter lists, all they need is their own account. These lists provide a timeline of tweets from specific accounts which have been curated by you. It’s essentially a way to follow individual accounts as a group without “following” them. Once you build a list, you can monitor it for opportunities to engage and start conversations.
Advanced Search – As far as I’m aware, this is a thoroughly underused tool which Twitter has built into its search functionality. When you search on Twitter you can utilise the “Advanced Search” function. This enables you drill down into to Twitter to find the tweets that are perfect for engaging with. With the advanced search tool, you’ll be able to narrow down tweets to include specific words or phrases in a specific location that was sent on a specific day!
Twitter wants you to converse more on its network… This is why you should be making the most of the changes that it’s slowly adding. Take note of my monitoring suggestions to use hashtags, Twitter Lists and Twitter’s Advanced Search to find individuals and companies who are sharing interesting content. If you start getting to grips with this alternative way of using social media, then you’ll see more return to your efforts.