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Social 101 // Post Length Perfection

SMPerth // 28th June 2017

Every character counts

It can be challenging writing social media posts. Some platforms offer space for a lot to be said while others are restricted to one or two sentences. 

It’s hard to know whether you’re saying too much or not enough, not to mention the frequently changing character limits.

But it is important to know the ideal length for posts as crafting posts within the guidelines can help attract and engage your audience.

To help you create social media posts that are the optimum length for engagement we’ve created the following guide to the perfect length of posts.

 

Facebook

Let’s be honest, it’s become really hard to get noticed on Facebook. If want to have any chance of your fans engaging with your posts then you’re going to have to grab their attention, and the length of your post is going to help.

Status update

The ideal length for Facebook status updates is 40 characters, the maximum is 63, 206 characters. Too many words in your posts hides your message, too few and there’s nothing to lure them in. Think about how many posts your audience is viewing in their feed – you need to stand out!

“Posts with 40 characters or less receive 86% more engagement compared to longer posts.” Marketing Insider Group

Rather than bombarding your audience with too much information you should use just enough copy (around 40 – 80 characters) to give them a reason to click on the link you are posting. This combined with the image will entice them in, then the title and description will give more information. FYI you can edit these too! The ideal length for your link’s meta title is 60 characters while the meta description should be 155 characters.

Video

Research reveals there is a drop in viewing after one minute but the ideal length for keeping viewers engaged is 2 minutes. The maximum length for videos posted on Facebook is 120 minutes but it is very unlikely you’ll want or need this kind of time.

Facebook Ads

Ad headlines with 5 words are optimum length while the main text of the ad should be around 14 words. It is also advisable to customise the link description (the line beneath your headline), here you should aim for 18 words.

 

Twitter

Short and sweet is the name of the game on Twitter. Aim to use as few words as possible to catch the attention of your audience.

Tweets

Thanks to Twitter’s recent update we now have more space! The number hasn’t changed, the character limit is still 140, but images, videos, polls, quoted tweets and twitter handles no longer contribute to the character count.

Sticking to 71-100 characters in your tweets will give you the best engagement, higher click through rates and it leaves room for other users to RT or reply and add their own hashtags and comments.

Hashtags

One or two is best, don’t overdo them and they are best if under 11 characters.

“Tweets with one or two hashtags have 21% higher engagement” Buffer

Remember they still go towards your character count.

Videos

The maximum length is 2 minutes 20 seconds though, something that long wouldn’t gain so much engagement on such a fast moving platform.

 

Instagram

Captions

Instagram captions can be a great way to do a mini-blog post and, with a limit of 2,200 characters, there’s plenty of room. But using all that space isn’t necessarily the best idea. The suggested length for captions is 138-150 characters, though after 125 they will be truncated.

Hashtags

Hashtags shouldn’t be overdone either, 5-10 is the magic number though you can add up to 30. According to a study by Track Maven, engagement rates dropped when more than 10 hashtags were used in Instagram posts.

The length of the hashtags also has an influence; it is best to keep them under 24 characters for maximum engagement.

 

Snapchat

Though primarily a visual platform there are still limits for the amount of text that can be added.

Snap captions

Captions added to snaps are now able to make use of 80 characters, more than 2.5 times the previous character limit.

But beware overdoing it, this is still all about the images, not so much the text. Draw your audience in with a simple and effective caption rather than a long winded description.

 

LinkedIn

Generally, LinkedIn updates will link to an article rather than be a stand-alone piece so once again the copy in the posts acts to draw the audience’s attention.

Status

Updates can be up to 700 characters but the ideal length for company updates is 50-100 characters.

There are also a number of guidelines around the length of articles on the publishing platform, Headlines should stick to 150 characters or less and the body shouldn’t exceed 120,000 characters.

 

Pinterest

Pinterest is not so much about the words but it is still worth mentioning, especially as more and more brands are using the platform.

“Pinterest is currently the 2nd highest referrer of traffic to Shopify stores”
[source: Social Draft]

Pins and boards

Descriptions for your pins is limited to 500 characters as is your board description. Pinterest allows 100 characters for board names but it may be truncated after 17, the same goes for profile names that are longer than 20 characters.

 

YouTube

Video is slowly taking over after a bit of a lull, all the platform are introducing it which means you’ll need to be producing it and housing it somewhere like YouTube. So, you’ll need to know what your limits are for YouTube descriptions.

Videos

Your video title can’t be any longer than 70 characters while the description has room for 5,000 characters.

The description provides context for the viewer and supports the video but shouldn’t distract their attention. Only the first couple of lines of the description is visible without expanding the text so make sure you put the most important information at the very beginning.

 

Final thoughts

As always this is just a guide to help with post creation. You may find your audience is more likely to engage with longer story telling posts on Facebook. Or that 5-10 hashtags on Instagram just doesn’t drive enough engagement.

Experiment, find out what works for you and most importantly represents your brand in the best way.

Resources
https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/character-count-guide#sm.0000037hgjxp98d3hshqcf5iah1ph
https://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-character-counter/
https://marketinginsidergroup.com/content-marketing/ideal-length-social-web-content/

 

 

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