extra-23-characters-blogBack in May, Twitter announced that some changes would be coming to the platform that would alter the way that users tweet. (Click here to see our original post covering those changes.) This week, the social media company finally rolled out some of those changes to its full customer base.

What changed? Media added to tweets no longer takes up character space. This includes photos, videos and GIFs.

Twitter limits posts to 140 characters, and until this week adding any media to a tweet took up approximately 23 of those, leaving users with only 117 characters to express themselves. Now, users can rejoice in having those 23 precious characters back. But now the real question: what is the best way to use them? Check out our advice on the four best ways to utilize the extra tweeting space.

  1. #Hashtag it up. Those 23 characters should give you enough space to add 2-3 #hashtags to your posts. Select strategically! Use your company’s branded hashtag and then throw is one or two more that are industry or topic specific. What does adding the right #hashtag do? You can join a conversation in real time, making you a part of the larger local, national or global conversation on a topic. Using a trending #hashtag can also ensure that your post will reach more people, but not just any people—a targeted audience who is already interested in the topic. In summary, #hashtags are the perfect addition to a tweet if you’re looking for brand exposure.
  2. Throw in a @mention. Expand the potential reach of your tweet by @mentioning a person, place or other brand. That account may retweet or give you a mention back, exposing your account to all of their followers. You’re also extending that account an invitation to join your conversation, or you are pro-actively joining one that they are already a part of. A @mention is also a way to give credit where credit is due. Are you tweeting out an article link? @mention the author, or tag the director of the attached video.
  3. Link out. Drive traffic to the right source, whether its to you site (ideally) or someone else’s. This can increase reads of the article or blog post you’re promoting, views of a longer video hosted on the platform, or drive sales of product. It can also drives sales of product on affiliate sire that you may be getting commissions for, so always keep in mind what the next step is for your customers. Bring their buying process full circle by giving them the option to complete the sale.
  4. Flesh it out. Add those words or punctuation that you’ve previously edited out because you didn’t have enough characters. Think adjectives, or simply fully spelling out a word that you abbreviated. Make sure there’s no confusion due to tryng 2 shrtn ur wrds.
  5. Nothing. Sometimes less is more. If you’ve said what you need to and there are still characters left, leave them!