Social Media: Are you long-winded?
Updated: Feb 28
In the previous article, we told you about the ways in which you can get started on social media writing. In particular, we explained how important it is to keep it simple. This means that you should keep your caption clear and concise and keep your intentions for your posts straightforward.
However, the reality is that everyone uses different social media platforms. The attention span of individuals on these platforms also varies, which is why we have put together a list of character / word recommendations for different social media platforms. And, fingers crossed, this will help you out some way or another!
Facebook: 50 - 80 characters
Analysing more than 800 million posts, BuzzSumo and Jeff Bulas found that Facebook posts with 80 characters or fewer were significantly more engaging and attention - grabbing vis-à-vis to their longer counterparts.
The unique reason why it is important to keep within this word count is because the algorithm of Facebook cuts off longer posts and forces users to click "See More" to see the rest of it. For unnecessary click, the viewer's engagement and interest reduces proportionally.
Below is a very useful table on the recommended lengths of different post types that one makes on Facebook.
Source: Blog Hootsuite
Instagram: 138 to 150 characters
Even though Instagram was traditionally founded as a visual and pictorial platform, the availability of a caption heightens engagement toward the post.
Captions can be up to 2200 characters long, but a little goes a long way. Research has shown that 138 to 150 characters is more than enough to draw users in. Many Instagram users scroll through their feed fairly quickly, so capturing their attention is contingent on a short but clear message. Similar to Facebook, a short post refrains itself from being cut off and the necessity of viewers to click "More".
While Facebook has its own unique functions, Instagram does not lag behind. Its unique function is the use of "hashtags" to increase the virality of the post. According to research by TrackMaven, posts with nine hashtags receive the most engagement, as compared to those on the further end of the spectrum with 15+ hashtags. Specifically, hashtags with 24 characters or less are also the ones that generate the most popularity.
Source: Blog Hootsuite
That being said, the quality of the hashtags also contribute to the success of the post - which is why the below has more than nine hashtags but managed to attain a significant amount of likes.
This means that both the quantity and quality of hashtags, together with the content, form an extremely powerful post that would reach out to many.
LinkedIn: 20 to 2000 words
LinkedIn is a platform that enables more professional and seamless networking, broadly encompassing employment opportunities. Some may find the platform rather old and unentertaining, in contrast to Facebook or Instagram. However, as university students, there is an increased trend in creating a LinkedIn account to ensure that our path to employment would not be riddled with unnecessary backlog.
But this also means that we should keep our updates on the platform short and to the point - to about 25 words or less. For example: "I have started on my new job at CBTL and I am extremely excited to embark on my new journey!" (20 words). In this event, everyone who follows you on LinkedIn would have an quick update on your life, as well as the employment that you have taken up all in a single sentence. Shown below would be a good example of a quick update:
Apart from updates, posts and articles on LinkedIn has also been researched on. After Paul Shapiro, founder of Search Wilderness, analysed more than 3000 posts, he found out that posts written and adhered between 1900 and 2000 words generates the best results in terms of comments, shares and likes. This is important because these algorithms heightened the visibility of these posts, which is particularly important when looking for employment.
YouTube: 70 to 157 characters
In a quick search, only the first 157 characters will appear as a snippet for the description, and this means that it is absolutely necessary for such videos to hook and draw in their consumer base at the first impression given that they are also a visual-centric platform.
This limit extends beyond the description box, but also to the actual titles of the video. Brendan Cournoyer, marketing VP at Brainshark suggests that the title of the video is the one of the most prominent to consider. It is suggested that titles keep within 70 characters. These 70 characters are essentially an ultra short "Elevator Pitch", in that viewers make the decision of whether they would watch the videos, or even to click like, share or subscribe. Under the trending page, we can observe the brevity of the titles.
Lastly, the actual video itself. How long should it actually be? ReelSEO found that the top 50 videos on YouTube are, on average, 2 minutes and 54 seconds. This meant that a vast majority of people tuned out from the video after the 3rd minute, and this reduces consumer retention and driving away even the most ardent of supporters.
This happens at the point at which the viewer's attention span is forcefully made to extend, and this dissonance causes a converse lack of attention. The counterproductivity meant that the actual video should ideally be as short, attention grabbing, but as attention sustaining as possible.
Remember, like humans, the first impression that your post makes would be an extremely important one, something that would break or change your date. Similarly, the number of the words per post is the one grabbing the attention, and we really hope that with these tips, your post would be noticed from the get go. Good luck!