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The Facebook Forty and Other Magic Numbers

Facebook Forty and Other Magic NumbersBlog posts, social media updates and email blasts are all very effective. No one argues that point, however, the best way to go about the content itself is still a mystery. Buffer’s Kevin Lee, may have finally unlocked a few answers in the case of best internet content practices with science and numbers.

Twitter’s Short Temperament

Twitter already has a pretty specific guideline in how many characters to use when creating tweets. While 140 characters may seem like a challenge to fit as many words in as possible, that couldn’t be any farther from the truth. According to the site itself, tweets less than 100 characters get a 17% percent higher engagement rate. Tweets between 71 and 100 characters are considered medium length and are ideal for encouraging retweets.

“These medium tweets have enough characters for the original poster to say something of value and for the person retweeting to add commentary as well.” ~Kevin Lee

The whole premise of Twitter is to create a place where blurbs can be easily read in short amounts of time. Embrace the parameters and you will notice a difference.

Facebook Forty

It may seem like a small number, but it sure produces big results. Like, 86% higher rate of engagement big. That said, 40 characters is virtually nothing and, in turn, difficult to adhere to. One way to gain interest without cutting words is to form a question. No matter what the length, posts that ask for participation, see participation. Posts between 80 and 119 characters that ask a question perform the best overall.

If you don’t see the results you would hope to or if you notice a decrease in traffic, do not be discouraged. Remember, Facebook recently changed its algorithm and that is affecting organic search.

Blog Post Bests

Sometimes, the hardest part of writing a blog post is giving it a fitting title and that’s because everyone knows that the title is huge. If the title doesn’t beg to be read, in this busy, impatient world, it won’t be. Again, as with most everything else, keep it concise.

The suggestion is 6 words, however, that’s not a lot of room to explain what you’re writing about. KISSmetrics says that the first and last three words should be the biggest consideration. Why? Because science shows that readers retain the first and last thing they read the best.

Remember, unique words and short headings make for better SEO as well. Plus, shorter headlines will make posting to social media easier for readers as the character length will always fit.

Additionally, while writing a post, remember that people are not inclined to read long articles. In fact, viewers generally only stay on a page for about 7 minutes before they lose interest in what they are reading.

Email is Roomier

According to Mail Chimp, the amount of characters in a subject line is nowhere near as important as the content of the title itself. Specificity and knowing your target audience is key in email. Consider what your email is trying to accomplish and who you want to open it. From there, create an interesting and informative subject line.

If you think in numbers, 28-39 characters seem to have a higher click through rate, but that’s only by less than a percent. In other words, email is a chance to play around with what works best for your market. Test out lengths and include striking words to see what gets better results.

The internet and all the amazing technology that it has brought to communication is fascinating, useful and downright confusing. What works one day can be drastically different the next. The best way to see results is to test what works for your team. While guidelines are a great place to start, they are still just guidelines.

What content practices have worked for your team?

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