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Social media • July 2016

Don’t let character count limit character

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Don’t let character count limit character

Dessa Boyle
This article was contributed by
Dessa Boyle

Looking back, we can all admit that 2016 has been a year for the books. A reality television star is now a Presidential nominee, Leo finally won his Oscar, Beyonce showed us how to get in Formation, and Twitter is turning the big 1-0. 

A crucial channel in launching the social media movement ten years ago, Twitter became the first online social networking forum where anyone could join and no topics were off limits. The only catch? Whatever was said needed to be less than 140 characters.

This character limit was initially built so tweets could be sent over text, and now it has grown to influence the efficacy of short, succinct, and relevant content across all social networks. In fact, over the last ten years, every social platform preaches that the use of concise messaging resonates best on each platform, particularly for brands within the space.

So how does a brand create engaging, relevant content without the concern of character count? 

Clue in to your audience.

By knowing the brand’s audience, a company can truly create campaigns and hashtags relevant to interested users without ever thinking about character count or too-lengthy of posts. For example:

The REI audience has always been keen on the outdoors and adventures. With this in mind, REI broke records with the 11-character-count hashtag #OptOutside, encouraging users to opt for outdoor excursions rather than spending Black Friday shopping. This hashtag was short, simple and relevant to the audience, allowing for both the brand and fans to use interchangeably – ultimately resulting in a 7,000% increase in engagement in 24 hours since the launch of the campaign. The key to the continuing success of this campaign? REI knows their brand, knows their audience, and knows the content and concepts that will strike a chord, regardless of character count.

Be quick, and be relevant.

With so much knowledge share and information circling the internet, it’s absolutely necessary for a brand to keep a finger on the pulse of what’s happening every day to ensure content is aligned with the current state of pop culture. Irrelevant content results in less brand advocacy amongst users and can lead to a brand seeming “behind” or stale – a cost that no brand can afford during this day and age of marketing.

A perfect example of a successful and relevant brand post occurred during the third quarter of Super Bowl XLVII, where a power outage caused the lights to go out and the game to pause for over 30 minutes. While most of the world stood still during this blackout, Oreo struck on the relevancy of the moment with one simple, relevant (and un-promoted) post:

Clever tweet from Oreo during Super Bowl power outage

This Tweet outperformed a majority of paid promotions and to this day, is regarded as one of the most crucial moves made by a brand on social media – simply by capitalizing on a historic moment with a tweet of 22 characters and a photo.

Be honest to your brand and your audience will follow.

Social media provides brands with a platform to showcase their authentic voice in a two-way conversation between brand and customer. Because of this, a dedicated adherence to a brand’s social personality can build the most trustworthy and devoted audience.

DiGiorno Pizza has always been known on social media for their personality simply because the handle exemplifies a pizza that you would want to be friends with. Their humorous personality on social media has done wonders for their brand awareness. Case in point: The pizza company showcased their funny side during the 2013 live-tweeted event “The Sound of Music”—and DiGiorno posted one of the most retweeted Tweets from the brand, all thanks to simply being true to their brand.

Fun and engaging tweet from DiGiorno


 From the beginning of marketing, audiences time-and-time again appreciate transparency, relevancy, and authenticity from brands. Life on social media is no different.