Social media marketing is a numbers game. If you manage social accounts, you’ve likely encountered the dreaded character limit for your posts. In this series, I will break down the right character count to use on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to effectively get your point across to your followers on social. Let’s begin with Facebook.
Did you know that on Facebook, a post can contain up to 63,206 characters, which averages to about 20-50 pages of a novel, depending on the size of the font? Wow, that is a lot! However, as most content marketers, brands and writers would suggest, you typically lose your followers’ attention after 500+ characters or fewer.
With so many different options and character lengths, it is understandable for brand marketers, freelance writers and content strategists to seek the secret recipe for the perfect number of characters to effectively engage with their followers and audience.
What is the suggested character count for Facebook?
Buzzsumo conducted a survey earlier this year of over 777 million Facebook posts to find the most engaging pages, brands and videos. They determined that the highest amount of engagement on Facebook social posts occurred when the total character count ranged from 0-50.
Based on the graph below, the character count that exceeds 50 characters loses engagement. This might help explain why Twitter is so successful. Tweets are the easiest social content to digest because they are short and simple.
Often times on Facebook, video and image posts generate more engagement, so the description within the post can be short and sweet. It is recommended that the description be a concise, engaging summary of the collateral asset you uploaded. “The key to Facebook engagement in any marketing strategy is to focus on offering value.”
Data Source: BuzzSumo
What works for Facebook might not work for every other social platform.
Sure, BuzzSumo might have suggested an average of 0-50 characters on Facebook, however, as a brand, you know your followers and audience the best. You want to offer your clients something of value.
For example, since Halloween is just around the corner, if you are a retailer, upload photos of your Halloween-themed clothing, accessories and household items. Next, write a description that appeals to your fans and encourages engagement, such as “Trick-O-Treat, we have something super sweet! 10% off all Halloween goodies w/ code: Boo19!” (That sentence was exactly 91 characters.)
Although tricky to condense to exactly 50 characters, you can create a spooktacular graphic or GIF that also advertises your 10% discount. Combined with an eye-catching photo, you can condense your description to “Trick-O-Treat, we have something super sweet!” which is exactly 45 characters.
The key is to try different strategies on how to best deliver your content in an engaging way that catches the attention of your audience, while providing them with something of value.
So, what next?
Writing short descriptions can be challenging, but remember that the attention span of your audience is extremely short, especially when they are inundated with a lot of content on their social feed.
Having a gauge of the average character count is great, but understand that going over it is not a deal-breaker. Some stories require more than 50 characters, but keep in mind that the maximum character count on Facebook is 63,206 (if you ever reach that many characters).
Engage with your audience, showcase your company through visuals and videos and educate them on how your company or services can bring them value, regardless of the character count.