The ideal length of all things social media

Ever wondered how short or long your post should be for Twitter, Facebook, blogs, presentations, headlines, etc. should be?

It is something we certainly wrestle with here in the social media land of the library, and thanks to Kevan Lee writing at Buffer Social we have something approaching a definitive guideline that is backed up by research. To summarise try this:

A tweet of 100 characters 

Gets the highest engagement rate

Facebook posts less than 40 characters 

This is the equivalent of a pretty short sentence!). Stick to that and you will get more ‘likes’ and ‘comments’

Headlines limited to 6 words 

We tend to absorb only the first three words and the last three words of a headline, so it looks like the headline to this post broke the rule on length, but hopefully stuck to making the first and last 3 words count

Blog posts that take 7 minutes to read and contain around 1,600 words

Although you have to factor in the amount of time we might spend looking at photos, which would reduce the amount of time spent reading. These guidelines come with a disclaimer that it really depends on your audience, the content, and the quality of writing.

Paragraphs of 40-55 characters
This is about 8 to 11 words. Shorter lines appear as less work for the reader, and often the lead paragraph has shorter lines, with the subsequent paragraphs being longer. 
Presentations lasting 18 minutes 
10 to 18 minutes is about how long most people can pay attention before they start tuning out. also at this length people have to be disciplined and really clarify what they want to say. 
Web page title tags of 55 characters 
Google search results will list a maximum of 60 characters, after this it gets truncated

Domain names with 8 characters

Domain names need to be short, easy to remember, easy to spell, descriptive or brandable, no hyphens or numbers and have a .com extension.

Kevan Lee includes a few other forms of media too. Check out the full post for further discussion on these guidelines and check out the infographic below that he developed.

image from