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If you use Twitter for promotion you know that while the 140 character limit seems like plenty, it can decrease rapidly with the addition of a photo or link. Those days may soon be over as the company will soon stop counting photos and links as part of its 140 character limit.
Currently links take up 23 characters, even if Twitter automatically shortens them, which means that you only have a very short sentence available if you use a couple of links, or a link and photo, in a tweet.
Twitter had recently contemplated increasing the number of available characters to as high as 10,000, but a user backlash stopped the motion in its tracks. There’s been almost universal applause among users over the latest proposal however. Then there’s the fact that quick and concise messages are the primary way that the service distinguishes itself from other services.
Why 140 characters in the first place? Twitter started its life as an SMS texting app in the days before smartphones. There was a hard limit of 160 characters available for a mobile text message in those days, and the company chose 140 as a way to keep some characters in reserve for the user name to be attached.
Lately Twitter has been making video a priority as part of its push for live events, agreeing to pay $10 million to the National Football League for the rights to stream 10 Thursday night games during the 2016 season. Twitter is also said to be working on more content deals for streaming sports, political events and entertainment as a way to possibly expand its stagnant user base.
Expanding the messages is also something that Twitter can use to help it sell more ads, as the same character limit applies to promoted tweets as well as normal tweets. Of course, keeping advertisers happy is a major concern (that includes artists and labels if they promote their tweets to their fan base) as many have recently taken their ad dollars to other social media platforms.
Social media is the lifeblood of so many artists, bands, musicians and record labels in terms of engaging and growing their fanbases. That means it’s important to stay current on the latest developments so you don’t get left behind.
With that in mind, there are 3 new trends in social media that are really heating up that you should keep an eye on, according to Kevan Lee of of the social posting tool Buffer in a post on thenextweb. Look out for the following:
1. Purchasing items directly from your News Feed.
We’re already seeing this on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest where your fan can make a purchase from within the app, which means she’s avoided linking to the multiple steps in an external shopping cart and possibly losing the sale. Facebook has also been testing a Buy button for more than a year, and is slowly rolling it out to a specific group of advertisers.
One of the downsides of News Feed purchasing in the current crop of social platforms is that you usually need to be involved with a third part app like Shopify, Stripe or Gumroad to use as a payment processor/gateway, but if you’re selling merch online already, chances are that you’re already connected.
2. Custom social networks at work.
Companies are beginning to see the advantage of having their own internal social networks. The thought being that if employees are going to be on social media during the workday anyway, the company might as well have some control over it. Facebook at Work is the first network to jump into this game with a customized work version, but expect others to follow.
There are still a lot of unknowns here, but the trend is worth watching since it could affect the timing of your posts. In other words, it might be better to wait until after 5PM when people are away from their work networks so you can catch them on their personal networks. On the other hand, a work network might be able to be penetrated by a certain type of post, which then gives you the inside track at engagement. We’ll know more as it rolls out.
3. How to reach people who aren’t checking their feeds.
Social media is more broadcast while messaging is more personal. Many people prefer messaging because there are no algorithms involved, nor are there ads. As messaging becomes more popular, the influence of social lessens, as does your ability to reach your fans who depend less on a social platform. But what would happen if you could broadcast to a group of fans over a messaging app? Whatsapp has already started something like this with a newsletter that is broadcast to a wide group of people, and Everlane for Facebook allows a broadcast over Messenger.
The upside of this is that it gives your fans another way to hear from you if you give them multiple options when subscribing. The downside is that it can definitely clutter up a service with unwanted messages.
Many of the social distribution companies are also trying to wrap their heads around this one, but the hope is (at least from me) that messaging stays private. Don’t be surprised if ads start to pop up in places that you never expected though.
(Photo: Sebastiaan ter Burg via Flickr)
If you’re an artist or in a band then you’re probably on social media to reach your existing fans and to expand your fanbase. There’s a problem though, in that it’s getting a lot harder to do that, especially with the biggest social platforms available.
This is especially evident with Twitter, which still has 320 million monthly users, but most of those seem to be business, sports and celebrity users or journalists. Gen Z and younger millennials are staying away like the plague.
It seems that, unlike Facebook (which they reluctantly use), younger users really don’t have a good reason to use Twitter when other alternatives like Snapchat, Instagram and Kik fulfill their needs in a better way.
Twitter is hard to define and even harder to describe why you need it, but any social network is in trouble if the user doesn’t have any friends on it, as is currently the case with Twitter and the Gen Z and millennial crowd.
Brands are beginning to recognize this as well and spending less on the platform, understanding that it probably won’t be growing much in the future, and that you’re buying current users, not future ones.
That’s why it’s important that you know exactly where your fans are before you invest your time in a social platform. You only have a limited amount of energy and as a result, can’t be everywhere, so go where you can get the most bang for your buck in terms of time invested. If you know that your fans are on Twitter, spend your social capital there, but if more are on Instagram (for instance), that’s where you have to be.