Welcome back to L.A. Connect’s monthly recap on the must-know news from the digital world. Follow us each month to stay up-to-date on all things related to social media and the Internet affecting the public relations industry.
For the first time in a while, there has been lots of recent buzz about Twitter. From football streaming to new features and the end of the 140 character limitat, people are more excited about the social platform than they have been in a long time.
And all of these changes come at a time when Twitter’s future is a big question mark. Rumors quickly circulated that Twitter was up for sale with both Google and Salesforce named as potential buyers. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard rumblings like this – we’ll just have to wait and see.
Twitter is Now a Sports Network
In it’s first season streaming NFL games, Twitter is doing just fine. It was announced that during the New England Patriots vs. Houston Texans game, Twitter had an average viewing audience of 327,000 and reached 2.6 million in total. While that pales in comparison to the 17.9 million average, and 50.5 million total who still watched the game on old-school television, it’s a sizeable increase from the week before. Maybe people are still getting the hang of it.
Either way, that’s a lot of people on Twitter at once – a lot of people who might not have been there at all if it weren’t for the game. This may mean that game time could be primetime to reach certain audiences on the platform. Plus, the reception from those who did watch was positive. Viewers noted that the video stream itself was high quality and the ability to watch easily from any device, including mobile, was an added convenience.
And Customer Service Platform
Twitter is becoming much more brand-friendly thanks to new customer service features. As of the past month, brand accounts are able to publicly display their customer service offerings, including a “provides support” indicator that appears when a user is searching for the brand’s profile. These indicators will help users find appropriate accounts with which to engage. Additionally, businesses can display response times and hours of availability on their profile.
These updates will be critical for Twitter’s role as a customer service platform, especially considering that Facebook launched similar features more than a year ago, and a 2015 report stated that company response rates were much higher on Facebook as well.
As it relates to our work and our clients’, these changes will be hugely important for brands looking to improve customer service on the platform. With a few simple updates to a profile, customers will more easily find the appropriate account and know when to expect a response.
And the 140 Character Limit is (sort of) Gone
This change was announced earlier this year, but the time has finally come – Twitter has loosened the rules around the suffocating 140-character limit. While the limit itself hasn’t changed (still the same old 140), what’s included and not included in that count has changed.
From now on, photos, videos, GIFs, polls and Quote Tweets will no longer count towards your characters. But unfortunately, links still will. Additionally, there are some new, fairly complicated rules around “@mentions.” You can get the full rundown here.
This is all great news for brands. If you work in social media, you understand the struggle of trying to fit detailed, nuanced and often complex brand messaging into a tight character count, especially when you want that content to be visually engaging with an image or video. Well now at least you don’t have to worry about fitting in the picture – every little thing counts!
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