Writing a tweet is like writing a good headline, except usually there’s a link added to it. Although there are 500 million tweets being sent out every day, Twitter’s 140 character limitation has likely resulted in millions more never being sent. Especially for B2B social engagement, fitting an entire marketing message complete with a call to action into 140 characters or less can feel almost impossible. How can you possibly be expected to cream everything you want to say into that few of characters? And when you factor in retweets – you might as well give up.
We’re joking, don’t give up. It’s time to shorten your tweets. Social media is a huge tool for marketers to get in front of their audience and Twitter is ideal for easy and quick conversation. You can enter conversations, chat directly with industry experts and potential customers that you may not have normal communication with. And fortunately, we’ve put together a few best practices that can help you tweak your tweets to meet the 140 character limit.
8 Tips to Shorten your Tweets
- Use common acronyms … but make sure you still sound professional. Try not to use “u” instead of “you” or “lol” because you don’t want to sound like a teenage texter. However, replacing “with” with “w/” or “because” with “bc” is completely acceptable. Not sure which acronyms to start with? Sprout Social has put together a great list to help.
- Never use the word and – adding & instead can save you 2 characters. Yes we realize it’s “only 2 characters” but in the 140 character scheme of things, there’s a lot you can do with those extra 2!
- Always substitute numbers for words. Whether it’s 1 or 1,362 that you’re using, don’t write out the word. Tweeted numbers don’t have to be written in any special style, people know what you mean whether you write 236 or two hundred and thirty six.
- Find shorter synonyms for longer words. We get it, you really want to use the word “adventurous” in your tweet but it just won’t fit. Type your long words into a tool like Thsrs and you’ll realize you can get the safe effect but less characters with the word “brave”.
- This one may be a bit risky but sometimes you can get away with dropping a few vowels from common words. For example, you can drop the e from text to make it “txt” and people will still get your point. Just don’t get too crazy and drop vowels from everything. Words like grp (grape … or group?) start to become unrecognizable.
- Remove quotes. If you’re putting the title to a post or referring to another article in your tweet, there’s no need to put quotes around it. Just be sure to capitalize proper nouns and you’ll be good to go.
- Drop the punctuation where you can. You should still try to be fairly grammatically correct in your tweets but nobody is going to judge you if you write 1000 instead of 1,000.
- Tweet an image with your call to action. If you can’t find any other way to shorten your tweets, put the words in an image and tweet the image out. You can put as many words as you’d like on a picture (don’t go overboard) without worrying about Twitter’s limitation.
Twitter’s 140 character limit is in place to make it easy for people to quickly scroll through and read a variety of posts. Sometimes it can feel like there are too many social channels and not enough time to look at each. It’s much easier to scroll through 100 tweets in a couple minutes than it is to read 100 Facebook statuses. However, sometimes Twitter’s limitations prevent some long-winded users from sending out tweets. The eight methods mentioned above to help shorten your tweets are designed to reduce the number of times you decide not to tweet because you can’t get the length just right.