Being Social? Length Matters

According to Buffer, the internet is a zoo. Let’s see how the much the ideal content length has changed in the last couple of years.

You are reading: Being Social? Length Matters

When it comes to social media marketing, there are so many variables, it’s hard to isolate exactly what works for clients without months of thorough testing. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t best practices and general rules to get you started. I came across this helpful infographic put together by Buffer and Sumall on the optimal length for headlines and content on a wide variety of social media channels which is an ideal guide.

Considering the speed at which algorithms and trends change in the socialsphere I did some research to see how these stats might have changed in the two years since this infographic was made, and was surprised to see that the only updates were as follows:

  1. Hashtag length – six characters doesn’t cut it anymore. In fact, hashtags with 11+ characters get 117% more retweets than hashtags with 6-10 characters
  2. Email subject line length – whilst 28-39 characters isn’t bad advice, since mobilegeddon it’s advised that subject lines be slightly shorter at 25-30 characters to optimise for all platforms
  3. Ideal word count for blog headlines – whilst it may be true that only the first and last three words are actually read, research shows that 8-12 words get most shares on Twitter and 12-14 words gets most shares on Facebook
  4. Ideal word count for blog posts – long reads are the way forward. 1,600 words, or a seven minute read, is optimal for keeping someone’s attention, but research by Moz shows that in their case even longer posts are favoured by search engines and receive most shares. Therefore 2,000+ words is a good benchmark where possible, to give sufficient depth to your content.

What are the takeaways from this? Create quality, in depth content for your site and when sharing, whatever the social channel, make sure your posts are concise, attention grabbing, relevant to your audience and use them to drive traffic to the long form content on your site.

So you make sure your social posts are doing all that, here’s the infographic guide on the ideal length for social media updates:


Supporting research and further information on the infographic can be found on the BufferApp site.

Have you found that particular posts on certain social channels work better than others? Share your thoughts in the comments below or get in touch for help and advice with your social media strategy.

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