Do you know why Twitter has a limit of 140 characters per tweet? Or why, when it launched, it was called “Twttr”?
It’s because Twitter began as a mobile service. And at its heart, it’s still all about mobile.
The 140 character limit, which was the maximum length of a single text message when Twitter launched, might not be as strict these days. You can add images, URLs, hashtags and cards to expand beyond just 140 characters of text. And “Twttr” (so named because of the 5 character U.S. SMS short code limit) might have grown up into “Twitter”. But its foundation in mobile is still important today.
Of Twitter’s 316 million monthly users, a full 80 percent are on mobile. That’s 253 million people logging in to Twitter via their phones at least once a month.
So how are you reaching them?
When considering your mobile audience, remember that their behavior and context will be different from someone sitting at a desktop reading your tweets. Mobile users are typically on-the-go. They’re out shopping, commuting to work, or grabbing a bite with a friend. They might take a few seconds to scroll through their timeline before moving on to something else.
With this in mind, here are a few dos for making your tweets mobile-friendly:
- Link to mobile-friendly websites. Most websites either have a mobile version, or they are responsive and can be viewed on any screen. Make sure that you are linking to these sites, and not older or out-of-date, mobile-unfriendly sites when tweeting.
- Run smarter ads. Twitter’s MoPub purchase two years ago is making waves these days, as advertisers can purchase Promoted Tweets and Video Ads on Twitter that will be shown on other mobile apps and platforms. So, while this features hasn’t yet been rolled out to everyone, keep mobile in mind when creating your ads.
- Tweet at the right time. Your mobile audience and your non-mobile audience might overlap, but the time of day they’re both online will vary. Monitor your analytics to make sure you’re timing your tweets right for the mobile crowd. You may want to focus on early mornings, lunchtime or after work.
- Use big, bright images. Anything eye-catching will grab the attention of a likely distracted mobile user, and your image-centric tweets will appear larger in their timelines, as well.
And here are a few do-nots:
- Do not break your tweet into multiple parts. If your audience sees a tweet labeled “1 of 3,” chances are they won’t stick around to read any other parts. They’re on the go after all, and time is precious! So do your best to keep all of your thoughts to 140 characters at a time.
- Do not use a string of obscure hashtags. Mobile users don’t have time to click on three or four hashtags that they can’t figure out from the context of your tweet.
- Do not use a too-detailed profile picture. Since smartphone screens are smaller than desktop, test out your profile picture on your own phone to make sure it’s easy to see. After all, it is a big part of your Twitter identity, and you want your mobile followers to recognize you.
(Twitter smartphone image via Shutterstock)