Twitter’s second coming – and why it matters for PRs

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It might not surprise you to discover that the Clarity team are serious news junkies. We spend mornings combing through round up emails, poring over the papers old school style and checking online feeds for live updates.

The source that invariably delivers the news quicker than anyone else though is of course Twitter. Sure the platform has had its ups and downs recently, and clearly has an issue with extremists, but it is an invaluable part of any PR toolkit.

It is interesting to note too that recently publishers and news companies have started to get more interested in the platform once again. While at the same time Twitter, which has been dogged by financial poor performances and a lack of confidence from the investor community, has posted a profit for the first time.

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Twitter’s second coming – and why it matters for PRs

Laughing off a social media horror story – Twitter and the Carabao Cup

carabooUnless you’re a West Ham fan like me, or perhaps a fan of Bristol City, you may well have been oblivious to what was going on on Twitter on the afternoon of Thursday 26th October 2017. It was a brand horror story appropriate for the time of year, played out in a very public forum, the like of which will cause nightmares for years to come.

The EFL Cup, otherwise known as the Carabao Cup, is far from being the most illustrious football competition in the UK. The Premier League has become so powerful in recent years that even the FA Cup has lost its magic, leaving little passion remaining for what has previously been known as the Milk Cup, the Rumbelows Cup, the Coca-Cola Cup and the Carling Cup.

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Laughing off a social media horror story – Twitter and the Carabao Cup
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Why Twitter’s character limit increase is good news for PR consultants

Twitter’s shares took a tumble on Tuesday with the announcement that tweet character limits might jump from 140 to a massive 10,000 characters.

What will this look like? Re/Code reported that your feed will essentially remain the same on the surface. Longer tweets will display as normal – in 140 characters – and then, if someone is interested enough, there’ll be functionality to click and reveal the full content.

Critics have slammed the move, saying the expanded character limit takes away from Twitter’s simple elegance. Regardless of what you think of the announcement, the reality is that Twitter will still remain an important news channel.

When the expanded character limit is introduced, what should PR professionals be aware of and how should they best use the expanded space?

Simplify access to your message

Before, regardless of whether your tweet was punchy enough to grab the attention of browsers wanting to know more, you had to rely on them clicking on a link which took them outside Twitter. Now, your headline becomes your 140-character tweet and your press release/alert/blog post can easily be displayed underneath – all without the user having the leave Twitter.

Articulate yourself

As content makers, we are used to consolidating our message to create maximum impact with minimum perceived effort. What I mean, of course, is that while we might spend an inordinate amount of time obsessing over a few paragraphs, the end product won’t (or shouldn’t) look like it. Our aim is usually pretty simple: spark interest, consideration and action.

Twitter has been good for helping us develop our cut-to-the-chase skills but it doesn’t exactly allow for much more. How can we truly get across a brand’s proposition in a short tweet? Obviously we don’t need to wax lyrical every time, but trying to cram an amazing story into 140 characters feels a bit… hollow. Having more space to creatively build a fuller brand story around that cool new initiative or product isn’t a bad thing.

Increased engagement

Earlier last year Twitter removed the 140-character limit from Direct Messages. Do you even know how much easier this has made it for me to complain about my crappy sandwich or bad train journey? Lots.

In all seriousness though, the 140-character DM limit used to frustrate me so much as a community manager. How can you genuinely respond to a complaint or engage in a broader conversation with a client or a member of the public? I resented having to condense my replies, fearing that the brand was coming across as unsympathetic and definitely not that interested.

The increased DM character space has allowed brands to build more genuine relationships with their followers privately. Having the ability to publicly clarify concerns or provide a more in-depth explanation to a question has the two-fold effect of both increased brand awareness and brand trust amongst followers.

Your blog away from your blog

Twitter is used a lot by brands’ bloggers to help drive traffic to their website. These brands use pictures and snappy headlines to help achieve those elusive click-throughs. Now brands and individual bloggers can host a proper preview of their full post within Twitter. If browsers like the excerpt, they’re likely to click through to the blog anyway to read the rest of your post and/or to see what else you have to say.

Fast access

Quite simply, this ups the chances of more of your content being seen by more of the right people.

By Lydia Lobb

 

What do you think of the proposed character limit increase? Do you think it’s a good or a bad thing for companies and their PR teams?

 

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Why Twitter’s character limit increase is good news for PR consultants