Towards the end of November, the most popular social media site, Facebook, announced that it was increasing the word-count on status’ from 5,000 characters to a whopping 63,206 characters; which got us here at JE Consulting thinking, when it comes to social media marketing is the old adage “less is more” really true?
Until recently, it was considered that less was certainly more within social media circles; yet this latest update by Facebook could be set to change the way individuals and businesses provide information. Below we argue both in favour of less being more, and also in favour of more being, well…..more.
Less is More:
It was reported around four years ago that the UK population were sending roughly 220 million texts per day – and this number is expected to have rose dramatically as the popularity of mobile phones and smartphones has increased amongst all ages.
The number of texts we send as a nation in itself is testament to how less can be more, with the character limit on a text message being 160 characters.
Whilst not all businesses are utilising text messaging and the popularity of mobile phones amongst all age groups, there are some who do currently manage to successfully send promotions, offers, etc to their customers using this medium – football clubs and mobile phone providers, are just two examples of industries who are able to utilise the limited space available to reach their audience.
When mobile phones first became popular the thought of getting a message across in 160 characters seem absurd, yet as a nation we go use to it. Then, in July 2006 along came Twitter – who decided to limit the space available for businesses and individuals to get their messages across to 140 characters.
Four years later, and Twitter has roughly 15.5 million UK users who contribute to the 230,000,000 tweets posted per. Showing the popularity of Twitter is still there and increasing, whilst also showing that businesses and individuals alike are able to communicate with one-another using limited characteristics, but without the important messages being left behind.
Today alone, more businesses – in all industry sectors – are turning to Twitter to promote special offers, competitions and the launch of new services and products; whilst also using it as a platform to communicate with their customers.
More is More:
Facebook has always provided a platform for its users to share large quantities of data and information with one another, from pictures and videos to status updates and notes.
When it first launched, Facebook offered the same amount of characters as a standard text message for people to use when updating their status’. However this quickly increased to 420 and then to 500 and until recently 5,000 – anything more than these limits and users had to resort to using the “Notes” application on Facebook.
However, it looks as though, with the latest status character update hitting the bizarre number of 63,206 (I cannot find any reason why they’ve selected this number) businesses and individuals can type until their hearts content on their status updates.
It’s estimated that the average novel could now be posted on Facebook within as little as nine status updates; yet the update of having 60,000+ characters to use in a status hasn’t been greeted with good news all round, with many “experts” pointing to the belief that social media was meant to keep things short and sweet, allowing audiences to have bite-size information as and when they wanted it.
Facebook aren’t alone when it comes to believing that more is more when it comes to characters; as the Google+ status – whether as an individual profile or a business page; also allows a vast amount of characters.
Whilst Google+ offers users the chance to create updates of a large quantity, the offer users who come across these updates the chance to expand and contrast as they desire – clearly understanding that many social media users prefer to have their updates in short spurts.
Sitting on the Fence:
The argument for “less being more” or “more being more” within social media, unfortunately isn’t clear cut. Along with each individual user having their own preference, there are also some sides of social media which appear undecided, namely…..
Blogging / Guest Blogging:
When blogging, because the content is being held primarily on your website you’re in control of the word count. If you’re a talkative person, you may have no issue with the word count of your blogs being in excessive of a couple of thousand.
Yet many websites offering guest blog opportunities, ask that contributors don’t exceed the 300 – 500 limit, understanding, again, that many prefer bite size information pieces.
Where do you fall? Do you think that social media marketing should be capped at the 140 / 160 limit offered by text messaging and Twitter; do you think the 500 limit of guest blogging is more realistic, or do you believe Facebook’s latest update is on the right tracks? Let us know in the comment section.