Twitter: How to get more out of 140 characters

twitter-how-to-get-more-out-of-140-charactersIf you have been frustrated by how little space you have for a Tweet then you will be pleased to know that you may have a few more characters to play with starting this week. Twitter have announced that @names in replies and media attachments (like photos, GIFs, videos, and polls) will no longer count as characters for your Tweet. You can pack more into each Tweet. I thought it might be useful to remind you how to get more out of 140-characters:

(The rollout of the changes start on Monday the 19th of September 2016 and I’m not sure how long it will take to update everyone. I still haven’t seen them. It’s worth updating your Twitter app if you haven’t had the changes yet.)

Images don’t count towards your 140 characters anymore

#1. Add images

This is one of the images that I use to tweet Twitter Tips.

This is one of the images that I use to tweet Twitter Tips. Definitely more than 140 characters!

A picture is worth a thousand words and pictures, so they say. If you haven’t started using images on Twitter, it’s time to start now. Every bit of research that I’ve read shows that images get more retweets and more engagement than text-only Tweets.

Starting this week adding an image to a Tweet won’t eat into the number of characters. You can always add text to an image which gives you, even more space for text. Great if you have an event coming up or need extra words to make an announcement.

#2. Add up to four images

You could always add up to four images for not that many extra characters, but now it won’t impact on how much you can Tweet about. This is a great way to show a behind-the-scenes story or pictures from an event. Very few people are doing this at the moment.

#3. Tag people in images

Did you know that you can tag up to nine people in an image and it doesn’t count towards your character count? This is very useful if you are at an event and have an image with a few people in it or if you want to encourage people to share your tweet.

Video doesn’t eat up your 140 characters

You can add a 30-second video directly from Twitter. Imagine what you can say in that time. And you will still have 140 characters to Tweet.
Alternatively, if you already use Vine, here’s an example of a Tweet with a Vine attached which shows a quick recipe idea.

Polls add feedback to your 140 characters

Ask someone’s opinion by adding a poll. You can ask a question and add up to four choices. Make sure your poll gets a bit of traction by pinning it to your profile. You can also now Quote Retweet and Retweet your own Tweets. I recommend doing a Quote Retweet first which will also allow you to Retweet your Poll later too.

Twitter polls

Gifs add emotions to your 140 characters

Gifs are a bit of fun and now you can add a Gif without it taking up space. If you’ve never added a gif to a Tweet before, you will find a library of free Gifs in your “compose a Tweet” box. Great way to express an emotion and they make me smile. If you are a Gif virgin and you want to test out a Gif, send me a Tweet with a Gif. I don’t mind being experimented on.
How to find a Gif for Twitter

Quote Retweet

This is a great way to add your own comment to someone else’s content (or even your own Tweet). I have never used up all my characters in a Quote Retweet so I don’t consider having a few extra characters as a bonus. If you haven’t been using the Quote Retweet and adding your own comment/introduction/opinion, now is a very good time to start. If 140 characters are not long enough to get your thoughts across, why not Quote Retweet your own Tweet and keep on going? Well, at least, for another 140 characters.


Probably the most exciting thing for me is that when you reply to a Tweet, the @mention won’t count. I believe there is a delay in this one rolling out, but hopefully, it will be coming soon. Talking to people is what makes Twitter great and it is frustrating when you can’t squeeze everything you want to say into the Tweet especially if there are more than one person in the conversation. It should also make replying to a Tweet with an image which has been tagged. Sometimes I want to reply but there is no room unless you delete a few people. I am curious to see whether this will be restricted to just the person you reply to or to everyone mentioned in the Tweet.  Only time will tell.

Visibility of replies – one extra character

You may have noticed that some people add a “.” before the “@”symbol when they reply to someone. The reason they do that is the Twitter used to restrict who could see your replies to only the people who followed you and the person if you started a Tweet with @username. They have announced that all Tweets starting with @username will be visible to all your followers. This means that if you used to start replies with “.”, you can now save yourself one character space. If you never do this, carry on as you normally do.

Did you know about the changes? Do you think they will make a difference to the way you Tweet? Leave a comment below and let me know.

Nicky Kriel

Nicky Kriel is a Social Media Coach & Trainer inspiring, educating and empowering Business Owners to use Social Media more strategically. She is also the author of bestselling, "How to Twitter for Business Success" and newly published "Converting Conversations to Customers". For more information visit or to find out about her courses that she runs in Guildford visit

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