14 October 2016

Let’s Get Visual: Twitter Ditches Character Count for Images

  • Twitter removes character count for images: Alias, Social Media Agency Cheltenham
James Ashe, Managing Partner

After Twitter announced that they were excluding images from the 140-character count, the social media team at Alias – and the rest of the world, probably – was over the moon. The feature’s finally arrived, and offers the perfect way to boost your Twitter engagement.

According to Twitter, tweets with an appropriate image attached to them see a whopping 313% increase in engagement, but it could sometimes involve levels of skill akin to witchcraft (or a big graphics budget) to get all of the content you need into a tweet alongside the right image. So it’s great news that Twitter is now ignoring images in its character count, giving keen tweeters a much greater opportunity to get their message across.

Utilising an image with this Old Stocks Inn post resulted in a total of five likes over 24 hours – an increase on text-only posts by The Old Stocks Inn's account, which usually only gain one or two likes in a day without any additional hashtag participation. 

The new image rule applies to all images, and you can post up to four in one tweet. It’s had a bonus effect for Tweetdeck users, too, by stopping scheduled tweets containing an image from taking up a further character. The best part, however, is that this new feature makes it easier than ever to fit a link into a tweet, helping to increase web traffic and, ultimately, conversions. So there’s a lot less word Tetris involved to create some impact!

Even though the new introduction has been a blessing for marketeers and social media managers worldwide, there are still some important things to bear in mind when adding those images to a post:

  • The images you add need to be relevant to the information in the tweet – if not, it won’t achieve that increase in engagement.
  • Tweets are meant to be short and snappy, so overloading images with too much additional text dilutes the message.
  • Less is more – unless a tweet benefits from using lots of additional images, those that contain one strong graphic or photo will be more eye-catching than tweets using multiple photos.

Although other promised features haven’t yet been introduced – namely links and usernames being ignored in the character count – this is a much-needed step, and one that is sure to produce a noticeable boost in engagement for brands worldwide.

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