The ideal message length on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook

Steven Loeb · October 3, 2012 · Short URL:

Time of day, day of the week, even punctuation, all have an effect

As is often the case, it's not about what you say but how you say it. Context always matters, and so does tone. When people talk about social media, they often lament it as something outside of typical conventions, a place where there are no rules. Funny thing though: it is still human beings interacting with each other, and when you post, and what kind of punctuation you use, can either elevate your post, or doom it to never being clicked on.

Compendium has released the results of a study on the social media marketing statistics of 200 companies to find out how to best get a social media post across. Breaking it down to business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C), the study looked at how factors such as message length, punctuation, and when a message was posted affected how many times it was viewed. 

The study, for the most part, centered on Twitter and LinkedIn, and only mentioned Facebook when it came to what time of day would be best to post.

Here are the results:

Message length

For LinkedIn, the ideal message length was longer for both businesses and consumers than it was for Twitter.

For talking to businesses, a LinkedIn message should be 16-25 words, whereas the ideal length for Twitter was 11-15 words.

Interestingly, when it comes to consumers, they want a longer LinkedIn message of 21-25 words. On Twitter the messages have to be much, much shorter. How short? 1 to 5 words! Businesses really have to concise for consumers on Twitter.


Here is something I found to be unexpected: no matter who is being marketed to, on what social media platform, the question mark is always the kiss of death.

Both businesses, nor consumers, will click less if they see a question mark, especially consumers on Twitter, who clicked 52% fewer times! For marketing on social media, the question mark is a pariah,

When it comes to the exclamation point, though, its more of an even split. It works on LinkedIn, but doesn’t work on Twitter.

Of course, the same does not apply at all to the hashtag, which has almost become synonymous with Twitter.  The hashtag which makes businesses nearly 200% more likely to click on a Twitter message if they see it, and the only place where it doesn't work is for consumers on LinkedIn.

Interestingly, putting a number in a post has almost no effect on social media clicks at all, except for businesses on Twitter, who seem to love them. 

When to post a message

Here is the real bread and butter of this study, and what probably what most people will be interested to find out: when should you be posting your message to get the maximum number of clicks.

Twitter and LinkedIn both seems to work best in the late morning and early afternoon.

For Twitter, the best times are 10-11 AM for business or 12 to 2 PM for consumers, while the best time for LinkedIn is 9 to 11 AM, and 12 to 1 PM for B2C.

Facebook, on the other hand, gets the most clicks in the late afternoon. Perhaps that is because of the stigma of checking Facebook during work, so people may be waiting until they are about to leave to check posts from throughout the day.

Twitter posts for B2B worked best on Wednesday, while they worked best for LinkedIn on Sunday. For B2C, that was Monday and Wednesday for Twitter, and Monday for LinkedIn.

As for what time of day content will be read the most, it is either at the top or the bottom of the hour, except in the case of B2C for LinkedIn, where posts are read throughout the entire hour, except for 10 to 15 minutes into the hour.

To summarize:

If you are marketing to businesses on LinkedIn, then you should write a 16-25 word post, at 9 AM on Sunday, with an exclamation point. If you're marketing to consumers, though, a 21-25 word post at 12 PM on Monday, with an exclamation point, would get the best value.

On Twitter, a 11-15 word post, at 10 AM on Wednesday, without an exclamation point , but with a hashtag and a number, will get the best results from businesses. A 1-5 word post, at 12 PM on Monday or Wednesday, without an exclamation point, will get the most out of a consumer.

And remember: never, ever use a question mark!

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