Social Media Posts: The Ideal Length + Other Tips

There always seems to be some debate around the best way to write social media posts. What’s the correct length? How many hashtags should you use? 

Obviously what you post will depend on where you post it. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are all very different social networks (and that’s just the tip of the social media iceberg). So you wouldn’t use the same post across all of your networks.

To help you figure out the best approach, we’ve curated some guidelines for some of the more popular social channels. Keep in mind though, that while these are recommendations made from various studies, they are not definitive. If your audience responds to something different, go with it.

Facebook

Most sources agree that the ideal length for a Facebook post is between 40 and 80 characters. Short, concise posts get the job done. After all, people generally don’t have time to read much more than this.

Longer posts can also get cut off. So if your Call to Action or other crucial info comes after this, you have to rely on your readers to click on the ‘…see more’. 

If you do have a lot to say though, you can fit up to 63 205 characters into your Facebook post. And at 8 000 characters, the limit on comments is also generous.

Twitter

Given the nature of Twitter, the character limit is, well, limited. Twitter now allows for up to 280 characters in a Tweet, as opposed to the older 140 character limit. But that doesn’t mean you should use all of them.

The recommended number is between 71-100 characters. Short, to-the-point tweets encourage more engagement. Shorter tweets also leave more room for comments when people retweet. If you’re using a hashtag or two, try to keep these short as well. 

Instagram

While it’s a very visual platform, Instagram does set a limit on the characters you’re allowed in your captions. You can use up to 2 000 characters and 30 hashtags. 

But your caption will get cut off if it’s too long, so the recommended number of characters is 138-150.

For hashtags, try using between 5 and 10, and keeping these at less than 24 characters each. Studies show that engagement falls off after about 10 hashtags. Using the same hashtag all the time can also have a negative impact; Instagram may not show your post if you overuse a hashtag.

LinkedIn

A company update on LinkedIn can use up to 700 characters, but again this isn’t advisable. As with your other platforms, updates that are too long get cut off, so people have to be even more engaged to actually ‘Read more’. 

As LinkedIn is focused more on businesses and professional updates, a company update should be between 50 and 100 characters. Blue Compass says that if your post description exceeds 3 lines, LinkedIn cuts it off and uses ellipses.

The Right Length For Social Media Posts

Here’s an infographic that sums up the numbers. The numbers in bold are the recommended character figures – try these out and see if they work for you. 

Social media posts recommended characters

We haven’t included info on ads, sticking instead to organic posts. You can have a look at these sources for more information on character limits for both organic and paid social media:

As with any social media posts or campaigns, stick with what works for your readers. Having a good understanding of what your audience likes can help you choose the best social platforms and craft posts tailored for them. 

Photo by Rami Al-zayat on Unsplash

Content Marketing: What Is It and Why Do You Need It?

Content marketing is fast becoming one of the most effective ways to market your business. It’s a strategy that is gaining momentum, and is something every business should consider. Let’s have a look at what content marketing is all about, and how it can help your business.

What is Content Marketing?

There’s a good chance that you’ve encountered hundreds of examples of content marketing, probably without even knowing it. It is content on your website that adds value for your readers. It doesn’t promote a product or service (unlike your PR press releases) and it doesn’t sell you something (unlike advertising).

Content marketing promotes your business or product by providing value to your users. Your content may educate, inform, entertain or enlighten your audience. In other words, it gives them something of value. Because of this, they become return visitors, and they start to trust you (and your business or product). And this means they’re more likely to purchase your product or employ your services.

Content marketing also goes hand-in-hand with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Search engines are looking to provide users with content that is useful to them. So good content, which uses keywords sparingly but effectively, can often do well in search rankings. This is especially true for content that is useful, relevant and which focuses on the audience.

Content Types

When we think of website content, we often just think of webpages or blogs. Of course, these are both great examples of content, but they’re certainly not the only way you can use content to market your product or business.

eBooks or online courses are an excellent form of content. They are something that your reader can take away from your website, in the form of a download. And this means that users will be engaging with your content on an ongoing basis.

Infographics, images and videos are also valuable. They provide an alternative way to view and understand the concept you’re discussing, while engaging readers on a different level. They also make for interesting visual content – ideal for sharing on social platforms. You might even consider using a podcast to reach a wider audience.

If you have a wide variety or interesting and stimulating content, there is a greater opportunity to reach a wider audience. More consistent content means that you keep your audience engaged and coming back for more. This allows you to build on your relationship with them. And if you can establish yourself as an authority, your audience will trust your content and your product.

Why You Should Be Using Content Marketing

You may very well be asking whether this marketing strategy is right for you. You may be wondering whether it is more effective than traditional advertising. Or perhaps you’re thinking that product-punting would be a better option.

But content marketing does work. For one thing, it doesn’t cost as much as your regular advertising avenues. You may hire a professional writer, or you may do your content creation in-house. Either way, generating good content will still be more cost effective than advertising.

Blogs that offer value, or infographics that explain a key concept are also going to last longer, compounding your ROI. Your content will stay on your website, ensuring new and return users can read and engage with it. This is helped along by SEO, with good content leading to a potentially increased visibility in search engines.

As you add to your online content, you increase the potential for traffic and backlinks, you can establish your expertise and build on relationships, and ultimately, you can increase your conversions. Simply put, more valuable content creates a potential for more traffic which means a higher chance of someone buying your product.

Content marketing benefits

Of course, the emphasis is on offering something of value to your readers. So punting a product isn’t going to work. But you can still add a call to action, or tactfully mention your business or product. The key is to practice integrity and give your customers honest, useful information.

Wrapping up…

The online marketplace is busy. And with everyone trying to sell something, it makes it difficult for your business to stand out. But content marketing is an effective way of offering something more to your customers and readers.

Take the opportunity to provide information, or educate someone. Give your users something worthwhile to read (or view). This will set you apart from the competition and your users will remember this. They’ll grow to trust your brand and value your opinion. And when it comes to crunch time, they’ll choose your product or service.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

What Is Your Marketing Message? (And is it the right one?)

How many times do you read a newspaper headline and cringe at the spelling mistakes, or marvel at the fact that typos and punctuation errors made it past the editor? Of course, we expect the news to be presented to us in impeccable English. But what about the marketing communication we receive on a daily basis? The blogs we read? The social posts? Is it okay for your marketing message to be any less impeccably presented?

The quick answer is a resounding NO! Because if your communication is anything less than exemplary, then you’re sending the wrong message. Sure, these are high standards, especially for the globalised world we live in. But why shouldn’t your customers expect the best? Especially if you expect them to purchase your merchandise, use your service, or buy into whatever it is you’re selling.

Where It Counts

Newspapers, magazines and other such publications are placed on a language pedestal. They employ trained, professional writers and editors. So we expect them to be able to deliver a story in decent English. But I think we’re doing ourselves a disservice if we don’t also expect decent English from any professional communication.

And yes, this should apply to any platform of communication. If you’re sending a marketing email or communicating with your clients (or potential clients) in any way, use good English. From Facebook and Twitter to blogs, emails and even WhatsApp messages – your engagement with your clients sends a message. You need to make sure it’s the right one.

The Right Marketing Message

But how do you ensure this? Especially when English isn’t your native language, or simply isn’t your strong suit. Here are some common mistakes you don’t want to make, and some suggestions for how to improve your communication.

Spelling errors

It happens – you type too quickly and don’t notice the typo. Even when you read through what you’ve written, you might miss the mistake. The big problem here is consistently misspelt words – if you don’t how to spell a word, Google it! You can be sure that at least some of your readers will know how to spell it, and they’ll be wondering why you didn’t take the time to find out.

Words that shouldn’t be there

You read through your work, think ‘Oh, let me change that line’ and you forget to delete something else. Or you start to write something and change your mind, leaving half of the original sentence behind. Sure, it happens. But it can create a bad impression – it is a little sloppy, after all.

Poor punctuation

You don’t need an exclamation mark after every sentence. If you must use them, do so sparingly and where it counts. You do need full stops though. At the end of every sentence. Punctuation can change the meaning of what you’re communicating to your audience, so it needs to be done properly. I bet you’ve seen this one before, but it makes my point:

“Woman: without her, man would be lost.” or “Woman without her man, would be lost.”

Double meanings and Innuendos

In the marketing business, getting your meaning across is key. The wrong meaning can be detrimental to both your campaign and your product. Ambiguity, double meanings and innuendo need to be used with extreme caution.

Insinuating that a certain skin color, or gender, or religion is better (or worse) isn’t acceptable. Derogatory sexual connotations, or any belittling of someone else, isn’t acceptable. After all, can you afford for your marketing communication to send the wrong message?

We often wonder how big products can make these mistakes. Surely someone, somewhere along the marketing chain, realized the message could be misinterpreted? But smaller companies and products, or individuals working for or associated with a company or product, also need to practice caution. You can’t take to Twitter with inappropriate jokes or statements and hope that the world won’t take notice.

Things that just don’t make sense

Have you ever had to read a line, then read it again, and again, until you think you understand what it means? Giving your readers a brainteaser can be an effective tool to engage them. But not when it comes to communicating your message.

Personally, if I have to read something more than once, just to figure out what it means, I tend to move on. This leaves me feeling frustrated – why over-complicate something? Why use so many words when one would do? I simply don’t have the time to wade through long-winded overly-technical explanations when they don’t add anything meaningful.

Solutions

Creating the right marketing message is what we’re after. But how do we go about avoiding these common pitfalls? To start with, it helps to have someone else read your work. Of course, this may not be possible for things like social media posts. But it’s a definite must-do on your blog posts, webpages and any other long-form content. Ask someone to check for basic errors, but also to read deeper, looking for comments that could be misinterpreted.

Then correct your mistakes. If you don’t pick them up before you publish, don’t panic. You can always fix something when you do notice it. If it’s a Tweet (which you won’t be able to edit) and you’ve just published it, delete and repost. If something that you’ve published has caused offence, own it and (if you need to) apologize or explain. You may also want to remove the offending post.

Creative license

Using words like ‘And’ to start a sentence, or getting creative with your punctuation, really isn’t the norm, but it can be effective, or just sound right. Playing up double meanings and innuendos is another effective creative tool. Personally, I don’t like it when words are misspelt on purpose (I don’t think it’s gr8) but again, it can make an impact. But if you’re going to employ these tactics, do it sparingly and save them for when you want to make a point.

Remember, for the most part, readers don’t want to wade through long, complicated sentences. They don’t want to see glaring errors. They don’t want to have to figure out whether they should be offended or not. The essence of effective online communication is ease: easy-to-read, quick-to-understand, simple but powerful communication. So make sure your marketing message says the right thing.

Featured image by Marcus dePaula on Unsplash