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How Long? A Guide to Social Media Post Length

Owen Johnstone // 29th October 2018

The best, most memorable messages are often also the shortest.

However, not all messages can be appropriately delivered in a single sentence.

Depending on the audience and specific message being conveyed, businesses may need to tailor their social media posts to fit the specific platform they are being posted on.

Instagram

This platform is the embodiment of the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words”. When writing a post on Instagram you want your blurb to be short and sweet and let your imagery convey your message. Using 130-150 characters generates maximum engagement. With a character limit of 2200, the temptation to write a small essay on Instagram to give your picture some context is often appealing, but will most likely go unread (or even unseen) as followers scroll through their feeds.

-Video: Instagram only lets you upload videos to a maximum length of 60 secs (15 secs on Insta Stories), so make sure you get your message across promptly. While posting multiple videos is always an option, for the cleanest and most effective message you should aim to get it across in just one video. 

– Hashtags: Hashtags are a vital part of Instagram and the easiest way to grow your         audience. It is understandably tempting to want to put as many hashtags as possible. Research by Track Maven, however, shows that posts with 9-10 hashtags generate the most engagement. Try and find hashtags that really resonate with your audience and with what your post is about, as this will give the results businesses really desire.  

Facebook

Facebook is a combination of many things: video, photography and the written word. It’s also the platform with the widest user base, meaning the ideal post length is less about Facebook and more about your audience. While some users will be willing to read longer, more detailed posts, particularly when it concerns prominent social issues, the ideal post length is no longer than about 80 characters, supplemented with an audio or video addition to make it really interesting. This is supported through a study done by Jeff Bullas who’s research shows that posts with 80 characters or less have a 66% higher engagement rate.  A major reason for this is that Facebook trims longer posts (to appox 400 characters) through the use of the “see more” function. This stops casual scrollers seeing the whole post and this inhibits further engagement.

Twitter

280 characters. That’s all you get. Honestly, it’s a good thing. When using Twitter, you and your business want to put out short, sharp statements that get right to the heart of what you want your stakeholders to know. Research from Buddy Media suggests that the optimal tweet is around 71-100 characters, so plan to hit that mark whenever possible. 

– Hashtag: Studies show that hashtags should be kept to a minimum (just one or two), in order to have the most impact. Track Maven has produced this graphic, which correlates engagement levels with the number of hashtags used. As you can see, the general trend is the more hashtags you have, the less engagement you get.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a social media platform with a unique user base and angle. It is designed specifically for connecting business professionals and promoting companies. When simply trying to promote something or offering up useful information, the ideal LinkedIn post is under 100 characters.

However, if a business wishes to discuss a long, complex issue on social media this is the platform through which to do it. While this won’t generate the most engagement, members of LinkedIn use the social media site not only to connect with other professionals but also to learn new things about their industry, so they will be willing to read a longer post. Users will be hoping to gain an insight that they can then take on board to help them in their careers. 

To learn more about post, check out our blog about different Facebook posts for you and your business here.

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Owen Johnstone

I am a public relations and marketing professional who has a love for all things sport. When it comes to social media I am all about video, it's quick, vibrant and completely unique every time. Currently I am an Intern at #SMPerth and a marketing assistant at Peel Thunder Football Club. If you're looking for a early tip for the Super Bowl, a safe bet is LA Rams. You'll thank me later.

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