Should My Social Media Posts Be long or Short?
Long or short, your posts need to be good. Different platforms lend themselves better to one or the other. We’ll take a look at how to do the best content on each platform.
The Case for Short Posts
Most social media channels don’t allow for long posts. They’re made to share content that is visual (instagram), easily shared (Twitter), or FOMO-inducing (Snapchat). This works great as you can share a great visual, meme, quote, joke or thought that’s quickly viewed, engaged with and–hopefully–passed on. Keeping it brief (but engaging!) means it’s more likely to be seen or read, engaged with, and passed on.
Instagram. Instagram, like Twitter, is a platform designed for brevity. And yet, length can work to your advantage. Instagram stories allows 15-second clips with a shelf life of 24 hours and, in general, Instagram is a short-format platform. It’s mainly visual, so captions should be brief, as should talking on stories. Still, a mix of longer stories and shorter ones, like longer captions and shorter captions, is the a great way to tell stories. And telling compelling stories is a good way to increase followers and keep them engaged long-term.
YouTube Ads are my favorite thing to talk about. Many of the short ones are unoriginal and awful to sit through, but so many advertisers have gotten smart about it! I’ve sat through long ads just because they were so engaging that even once the 5 seconds had passed, I still wanted to know what would happen next. So, if you do produce video content—as you probably do if you’re managing a Facebook page— imagine you’re producing a YouTube ad and you only have 4 seconds to grab your viewer. How would you immediately engage your audience? How do you keep them watching?
The Case for Long Posts
Generally, your posts are not going to be very long. Shorter posts are great for daily sharing and conversation. Long posts are for more in-depth discussions. However, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter (Medium) all have ways to publish longform content and you should use these strategically.
Blogging is the most obvious place for long posts, but you don’t have to have a blog to share a more in-depth post.
-A lesson you’ve learned from your life that will resonate with people
-An anecdote that illustrates a new idea you want to share
-A how-to or informative guide that’s relevant to your business
The thing about a long post is it has to be super good. You can recover quickly from a lousy short post, but if people take the time to read your long post and get to the end and feel like they’ve wasted several minutes of your life? That’s bad for your brand.
Whatever you decided: make them worthwhile! Just like your business is adding value to your clients’ lives, so should your social media presence. Before everything you create, ask how your follower will benefit from it. If lengthening will make it more valuable, add more content. But if it’s better with fewer words (even if you really loved that story in the second paragraph), cut it. Ultimately your posts are a service to your followers. Make it A-1.