It is very difficult to create a brand within Twitter, so it is important to manage your tweet length. The service is a streaming service, and the flow of tweets is constant. This problem is even more true if your user community follows a large number of sources. In that situation, your tweet may only be on someone’s page for a few seconds or, at best, a few hours. Retweets help to increase your brand by delivering your message again, but if you don’t manage your tweet length then your tweets become less viable for retweeting.
When readers retweet your tweets, your influence in the community will increase. You need to think of two parameters if you want to maximize your retweets:
- The tweet has value to your target audience.
- The tweet length makes it easy to retweet.
I am assuming that you are only tweeting things that are valuable to your target audience. I talk about content for tweets elsewhere on this site, so I am not going to spend time on that here.
To maximize your reach, you must manage the tweet length of your message. This tweet length management allows the reader to hit the retweet button, put a short comment, and hit send. If the user has to edit your tweet length to get it under 140 characters, then you make it more difficult for them. If it is more difficult to do a retweet, then it is likely they will not retweet your original wisdom.
Twitter currently has a tweet length of 140 characters. That is not a lot of characters to share your wisdom, and it is even harder if you have to manage the tweet length to allow effective retweets. That is your life though, so let’s work on the technique.
Your first task is to count the letters in your Twitter name or Twitter handle. In my case, my Twitter name is “soshaughnessey.” That handle has 14 characters. That is a lot of characters, and I wish that I would have chosen a shorter handle, but it is too late. I didn’t realize the information in this article when I first established my account, and now I have too much of a brand among my readers to change it.
There are some other constants that you need to consider to manage the tweet length. A retweet is designated on the Twitter stream with “RT @” before the Twitter name of the original tweeter. That is four characters. This means for me to have a tweet retweeted, it will start with “RT @soshaughnessey” which is 18 characters.
We also want to leave some room for the retweeter to say something. Think of things like “Great article!” (14 characters), “I agree!” (8 characters), or “Must read!” (10 characters). My rule of thumb is that we want to give the retweeter ten characters but the more, the better.
So what is my personal tweet length target? I aim for no more than 112 characters. That is 140 characters minus my Twitter name, the retweet constants, and the room for comment.
112 = 140 – 14 [soshaughnessey] – 4 [RT @] – 10.
Tweet Length = 140 – your handle length – 4 – 10.
If you leave your Twitter handle and the length of your target tweet length in the comments, I will be sure to follow you. Better yet, if you retweet the tweet for this article, I will follow you. You can find the original tweet for this article here. You can also follow me at @soshaughnessey.