Social media is all about having a conversation. As social media executives or community managers we try various combinations to get the perfect post for maximum engagement. The brands we manage have presence on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus (among others like LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and more). Each of these platforms cater to a slightly different audience, and so the composition of these posts also varies accordingly.
The length of the post is one of the primary factors that determines whether your Fan or Follower, who has been overloaded with updates from various Facebook Pages and Friends, will be willing to engage with your brand. An update, complete with appealing content (including hashtags, images and links) will finally lead the Fan or Follower to interact with your post. Since every networking site is used for different purpose, the behaviour of the Fans and Followers also varies on every platform. Interestingly, research shows that people are willing to read more detailed posts on Google Plus than on Facebook. So, what’s the length of a perfect post across social media networks?
When it comes to Facebook, we can see that most posts have a length of about 103 characters (as mentioned in Quintly Research). It has been observed that posts that have around 850 characters have received the highest post interaction i.e. a sum of Likes, Comments and Shares. I would suggest 850 characters is too much information for the Fan, and so an ideal length should vary between 2 – 4 lines approximately which is about 200 characters. A well worded post (with an attractive image preferably) and simple language has the potential to do wonders on Facebook.
Post embedded below is by Mashable – who talk about all things social.
While most conversations on Twitter happen in 140 characters, shortened links in a tweet are a common element. In fact, one must add links to blogs, images, videos or redirect followers to the website from the social media platform. Links take up about 22 characters in a tweet and so an ideal length of a tweet should vary between 110 – 120 characters including about 2 hashtags (which are ideal for a tweet), and/or RT @twitterhandle. The idea is to use all 140 characters, as Quintly Research also suggests that 140 characters is the “optimal posting length in order to get the most engagement” however, it was found out that the highest peak of engagement was for 22 characters.
Tweet embedded below is by another social media veteran Eric T. Tung. This tweet consists of 120 characters, complete with a Link and a @mention.
— Eric T. Tung (@EricTTung) December 12, 2013
Google Plus Longer posts seem to work better on Google Plus. Post length of 156 characters appears to be the average length of posts on Google Plus according to Qunitly Research. Most of the social media marketing experts also maintain this post length while conversing with their Followers. The research also states that “there is not a real peak for Google+” which would suggest that a fixed length of post would work better than others. But, a peak in interaction can be observed at 5 characters and second highest peak is at 442 characters. I would suggest to maintain an average length of 200 characters for your regular posts, as compared to 442 characters, unless you have to give out extremely detailed update on your brand. The post embedded below belongs to Mari Smith – a renowned social media consultant – is of 157 characters only.
A Perfect Post
Now that we have discussed the perfect post length, here are some more suggestions on a the elements of a post for various platforms. Key aspect to keep in mind is to maintain a union between the communication done on every platform. The length of the post may vary, but the conversation being carried out across platforms should be one. Here are some Do’s of a perfect post.
- Maintain the medium length of post ( 2 – 4 lines)
- Remove the long url from the post – instead add a shortened url
- Support your post with an attractive, perfectly cropped image (403 x 403 px for box image, and 803 x 403 px for Highlight image)
- Use relevant hashtags (preferably upto 2) to increase your post’s searchability
- Maintain the 110-120 character limit (excluding @mention and link)
- Add RT in the start of the tweet and mention @twitter_handle to give due credit
- Add link (if any) in the first half of the tweet
- Use upto 2 hashtags (more than 2 can be an overkill, so be judicious in your hashtag selection)
Google Plus Do’s
- Maintain the post character limit of upto 200 characters approx
- Add shortened links in the post
- Use attractive multimedia – videos and images to support your post
- Use relevant hashtags to identify the category of your post. Or you can include SEO keywords in your post and #hashtag them. (Google Plus contributes heavily to SEO – so hashtags are extremely important.)
Follow these tips to make your perfect posts for all social media networking sites. Length of a post will demand the attention and, ultimately engage your Fan and Followers in a conversation with your brand.