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Dipstick: Is Twitter’s longer, more expressive tweets good news for brands?

Twitter recently announced introduction of more expressive tweets making it easier for people to express with more room within ‘140-characters’. What are the opportunities and challenges for brands? Marketers, creative leaders and brand experts share their thoughts

Raushni Bhagia, Archit Ambekar & Akansha Mihir Mota | Mumbai | May 26, 2016

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According to Twitter’s announcement two days ago, the simplified tweet rules will make conversations faster and more intuitive. Along with removing the profile tags from the 140-character count, media attachments such as photos and videos will be kept outside the character limit.

Other than the Twitterati enjoying the extra space, how effectively can brands use these few extra characters? Would this provide room for brands to seize the opportunity or will it be more challenging to use the platform for branding? How are brands going to make the most out of Twitter’s new initiative?

BestMediaInfo.com tried to speak to experts from the branding, digital and advertising fraternity to understand if the additional options will make a difference to the brand conversations on Twitter, and how.

[caption id="attachment_62137" align="alignleft" width="150"]Harish Bijoor Harish Bijoor[/caption]

Harish Bijoor, Founder & CEO, Harish Bijoor Consultants

Twitter is my comfort-food in social media. I like it because it is quick, crisp, to the point, and does not say more than it should. I do believe this change will make Twitter even friendlier. I have always believed that counting picture pixels in your Twitter character length is unfair. 140 characters in addition to pictures and the @mention is a good move. I do believe this will make Twitter more brand friendly. Communicators will adopt it with great joy than before.

[caption id="attachment_53332" align="alignleft" width="150"]Satbir Singh Satbir Singh[/caption]

Satbir Singh, Founder and CCO, Thinkstr

Every word counts, which is why brands can say a bit more than they could till now. The good news for brands is that photos will not eat into the character limit. That apart, with mentions being visible to followers, timelines are going to be busy, which means brand messages and conversations need to be more interesting or they'll be irritants.

[caption id="attachment_48690" align="alignleft" width="150"]Lloyd Mathias Lloyd Mathias[/caption]

Lloyd Mathias, Marketing Director, Consumer PCs, APAC & Japan, HP Inc.

Unlike Facebook, Twitter has always been an engagement tool to foster conversations with consumers. Twitter getting more intuitive – faster, easier and more expressive – is a positive development. With the new announcement, brands will be able to share media attachments in the form of videos and photos. This will help enrich conversations with consumers which is always positive for brands.

[caption id="attachment_68472" align="alignleft" width="150"]MG Parameswaran MG Parameswaran[/caption]

MG Parameswaran, Brand Strategist, Founder, Brand-Building.com

Twitter is growing in stature as a communication and information dissemination medium in India after a rather slow start. Improved information content in tweets should help in the adoption process. Advertisers can now add more ad content in all their sponsored tweets. So I expect a significant increase in sponsored tweets.

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[caption id="attachment_44079" align="alignright" width="150"]Tushar Vyas Tushar Vyas[/caption]

Tushar Vyas, Chief Strategy Officer, GroupM, South Asia

It will give a wider canvas for people to write. Importance of a crisper story is the key for Twitter. It’s a better improvement from Twitter.

[caption id="attachment_50341" align="alignleft" width="150"]Sanjay Tripathy Sanjay Tripathy[/caption]

Sanjay Tripathy, Senior EVP, Marketing, Analytics, Digital & E-commerce, HDFC Life

This change will open the platform to new users and will lead to newer strategies, helping a richer experience within the channel. This would make it easier for highly regulated industries to meet disclosure requirements on the platform. Twitter could become a place for more in-depth blogging and thought leadership from executives, similar to LinkedIn and Medium. Availability of more characters will create more opportunities for searching within the platform, which will also provide new opportunities for marketers to harness the power of Google SEO. More characters means more options for content creation giving fewer reasons to link off-channel and it would be an opportunity for deeper engagement with their followers. Brands can say more about themselves and their products and services in a single post.

[caption id="attachment_60519" align="alignleft" width="150"]Gopa Kumar Gopa Kumar[/caption]

Gopa Kumar, Vice-President, Isobar

I think the change is welcome and long due. One of the challenges brands always found with Twitter was the character limit. While it makes brands to be more creative, it can also be frustrating to put together an engaging copy with brand message. Now, with the best content being shown more prominently with uncluttered timeline, brands and consumers have got a meaningful user experience. It also gives creators, brands and publishers an opportunity to engage more with their followers.

It is a win-win for both consumers and marketers as the best content – including organic branded content – rises to the top, increasing both relevance and likelihood of engagement. This would also drive more users to Twitter, which will in turn be good news for marketers.

In the long run though, Twitter needs to do much more than this to drive real difference for brands. With the character limit on Twitter, today brands are compelled to have limited dialogues with their consumers; that may not even be satisfactory or most of their queries/customers are redirected to other channels. With the increase in number of tweet character limit, brands will be able to address consumer queries on Twitter rather than directing them to another channel or the call centre. This will have a positive outcome on TAT as well as resources productivity improving the bottom line.

But it's also true that the fun to be with 140-character brand tweets, which promoted the use of emojis, ASCII art, tags, one-liners will not be there and the current user experience may take a hit. I think the differentiation may go down for the platform as well.

[caption id="attachment_46514" align="alignleft" width="150"]KS Chakravarthy (Chax) KS Chakravarthy (Chax)[/caption]

KS Chakravarthy (Chax), Chief Creative Officer, Tidal7

This is a great step forward by Twitter, and something which has been long coming, given the video and picture led opportunities on all other social channels. Twitter's position as a social channel for everything newsworthy and live will now get more powerful with the ability to add pictures and video on the run. And a bit more room to express oneself will of course help.

My partner and I recently founded Tidal7 because we believe that the power of pictures and more importantly video will continue to overpower all other forms of communication. So, we are delighted by this opportunity to use Twitter more powerfully for our brands.

Twitter's next opportunity - and challenge - will be making the platform friendlier than any other to creators of video content for brands. That is going to be the next race in social media - and he who wins will claim the spoils - and brands.

[caption id="attachment_47005" align="alignleft" width="150"]Milind Pathak Milind Pathak[/caption]

Milind Pathak, COO, Madhouse

I am positive about Twitter wanting users to express more. From a stream news perspective, we are seeing emersions of shorter content. People are not interested in reading the whole news, they want news in short and it is getting very popular. Short form content is becoming very popular and we are seeing this across text, video and so on. So people are more used to snippets, be it news or on social media.

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