This is the ultimate guide to social media post lengths

As if coming up with the topic for your social media posts wasn’t hard enough, you also have to contend with how long you should make the social media posts you use to promote that content. 

We're talking character count!

Too long, and you risk boring your readers, because you didn’t get to the point. Too short, and you haven’t made a compelling argument for why they would benefit from reading it in the first place! Not to mention that each network has its own set of best practices, and they change from time to time (that's why we love updating these posts every year).

Not only do you need to keep in mind how long your posts can be, but also how long they should be for maximum engagement. It’s one thing to have an upper limit on how long a post can be, but there’s a fine art to navigating what length will test best with your audience.

And yes, post length does include the power of good, benefits-led captions on Instagram, podcasts, and Facebook images.

But luckily, today we’re going to look at some post length best practices that will tell you what you need to know about how long you should make your social media posts in 2020. 

We've broken this article down by social network:

Let's check it out. 

Facebook

Facebook is the premier network for most social media marketers, and it's easy to see why. The network has over a billion users and counting, making it the biggest social network on the net.

For marketers, this means you can use Facebook to target just about anyone in any city and country worldwide. But all of that is worthless unless your posts and Facebook ads are stuffed with well-written copy.

Your Facebook posts can be this long

Facebook is full of a variety of different post types. Some of these include basic Facebook statuses, event posts, ads, etc. The list goes on.

But don't fret, Facebook keeps the maximum character count the same across most post types.

In 2020, your Facebook post can be up to 63,206 characters long. You're not penalized for using images or videos either, so you have tons of room to play with.

Your Facebook posts should be this long

But let's be real: no one is likely to read a Facebook post that's 63,206 characters long.

More often than not, people are quickly glancing at Facebook on their mobile devices. This may be on their train or bus commute, in between classes, or during a lunch break at work.

No one is going to spend their entire commute reading your brand's Facebook novel, so you should focus on keeping your Facebook posts short and sweet. Additionally, while you might be trying to nurture engagement on Facebook, you also have goals to get your audience to your website or purchase your product. There's are important metrics that you're trying to improve (especially for your clients.)

So how long should your Facebook posts be?

We scoured the net for you and found that the general census is that your Facebook posts should be somewhere between 40 and 50 characters.

Facebook expert Jeff Bullas and marketing company HubSpot both found that 40 character is the sweet-spot for Facebook posts.

Bullas took an example from retail brand Wall Posts. They experimented with a number of different post lengths and found that posts between 1 and 40 characters received 86% more engagement than longer posts—pretty sweet, right?

Twitter

Twitter has had a rough past couple of years, but the company is quickly rebounding as it rights its past wrongs and makes huge feature improvements.

This means that Twitter is quickly becoming more and more important for marketers. So not only do you have to write amazing content on the network, but you need to ensure that it's long enough to get your point across, but short enough to be engaging.

Your Twitter posts can be this long

Until 2017, Twitter's post limit was an iconic 140 characters. However, this changed recently when the micro-blogging social network upped its character limit to 280 characters for all Tweets.

An image, gif, or video doesn’t take away from this limit, so you're free to write great captions for your visual media. Unlike @ mentions or images though, links will take up some of your word count, and they get shortened after 23 characters.

Do note that Twitter DMs (direct messages) can be up to 10,000 characters long. However, this is less of a concern, considering DMs are the Twitter equivalent of private messages.

Here's how long your Twitter should be

Just because Twitter upped its character limit doesn't mean you should take advantage of it.

As with many other social media networks, no one wants to read 280 characters when they're quickly scrolling through their Twitter feed on the bus. 

Buddy Media's data shows that tweets between 71 and 100 characters get the most engagement when compared to longer posts. Specifically, these tweets are 17% more likely to be retweeted or otherwise engaged with.

So like with Facebook, keep your tweets short and concise. You'll get the most engagement for your buck.

Instagram

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Unlike other social networks on this list, Instagram is media-centric.

Despite video and images taking center stage on the platform, you still need to add captions to your media for optimal engagement and to get your message across. 

Here's how long your Instagram captions can be—and of course—how long they should be.

Your Instagram captions can be this long

Currently, Instagram captions can be up to 2,200 characters long and can contain up to 30 hashtags in the whole post, and that does include hashtags left in comments.

It’s a hard stop at 30 for the whole post (so that old trick of commenting an extra 30 hashtags in a comment is obsolete).  

Here's how long your Instagram captions should be

Obviously, it'll be hard to get someone to read a 2,200 character Instagram caption.

After all, this will require your user to click the 'see more' button, something that's unlikely to happen considering its largely a mobile-only network.

So with that in mind—like the other networks we've covered—keep your Instagram captions short-and-sweet. 

The Instagram team recommends keeping your captions under 125 characters. This ensures that your entire caption shows up in the Instagram feed.

And while this is shorter than a Tweet, it forces you to make your Instagram captions short and concise. Your caption is important, but your focus should always be on the visuals with Instagram.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a unique social network.

The primary user base is the professional workforce. You can post a ton of different content types on LinkedIn that will appeal to a more business oriented audience. Specifically, you can post statuses, videos with captions, and blog posts.

As you'd expect, statuses and blog posts have different character limits. We'll walk you through both of them below.

Your LinkedIn posts can be this long

Your LinkedIn statuses can be up to 700 characters long on company page posts, and 1,300 characters for statuses on individual accounts.

On the other hand, articles have no real character limit. However, it's been reported that posts over 120,000 characters will get cut off by LinkedIn's blogging network.

Here's how long your LinkedIn posts should be

LinkedIn will cut off your posts with a "See morebutton at the 140 character mark. Anything beyond this will be hidden—no matter if your audience is viewing on a desktop or mobile device.

With that in mind, unless you're writing an extremely long announcement on LinkedIn, keep your posts under 140 characters for both personal and company posts. This ensures that your readers can view all of your content when scrolling through their feed.

On the LinkedIn article side, treat it as a blog post: make your articles long enough to get your point across, but short enough that you keep your audience engaged.

YouTube

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Yes, YouTube is still considered a social network. As the third largest search engine in the world (after Google Search and Google Images), YouTube is a platform that you can’t ignore in your posting schedule.

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Source: Less Than Half of Google Searches Now Result in a Click | Sparktoro

Sooner or later, you’re going to need a reliable, shareable video link, so if your brand doesn’t have a YouTube channel yet, hop to it. 

When sharing a video post on social media, we recommend following the length guidelines for the network you’re sharing it on. If you’re sharing a YouTube video on Twitter, for example, you still have to stay under the character limit. 

But there are length considerations that go into sharing a video on the YouTube network itself.

How long your video should be?

There isn’t a perfect length that we recommend for videos. We wish there was a perfect video length that we could just rattle off which would instantly boost your rankings up on Google’s search results, but the truth is that you should make a video that’s the best length for the information you need to tell.

At a minimum, though, we recommend that videos are three minutes long.

Moving on to the actual words associated with your video, the video title and description are your real “money-makers” in terms of SEO rankings.

How long your video titles and descriptions can be

When you’re making your titles and descriptions, stick to these guidelines: 

  • Title - 100 characters (though try and keep it under 70 characters so your title will show up completely everywhere)
  • Description - 5,000 characters

How long your video titles and descriptions should be

Your title can be up to 70 characters, and because it’s one of the most important components of your video, make sure to use keywords that address your SEO goal.

But beware: anything more than 70 characters will likely end up cut off in search results.

A good rule of thumb is to put your post important words first.

YouTube’s own training materials recommend using the first few lines of your description to explain your video using SEO keywords in natural, human-sounding speech. This means don’t try and keyword spam your description with a huge block of targeted keywords. Describe it like a person would! 

The description of your video can be 5,000 characters long, and it’s another way you can increase your visibility in search results and make it easier for people to find your content. Be descriptive and useful, and don’t forget to link to your website and social presence to keep people engaging with you.

Google My Business

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Google My Business continues to mature as a social network linked to your company's Google Search and Google Maps listing. This is especially important if you have a local, brick-and-mortar store that you want people to come and physically visit. 

You can use Google My Business to update your business' listed hours, address, and even change out the photos. But did you know you can also post status updates to your Google Maps and Search listing?

Yep, it's a thing, and it's super useful. 

You can post everything from new product promotions to drink specials to blog post links on your Google My Business page, and they'll be shown to everyone that looks for your business on Google.

Your Google My Business posts can be this long

In 2018, Google My Business bumped its character limit from 300 to 1,500 characters. 

Additionally, Google removed the 100 character limit from updates, so you can now make your posts as short as you'd like.

Titles can be 58 characters long, and should quickly describe what you’re advertising: whether it’s an event, a deal, or an announcement, try to convey the core message in 4-5 words. 

This isn’t the place for clickbait. 

Here's how long your Google My Business posts should be

Keep your Google My Business posts as short as possible.

Posts are extremely small when viewed in a Google Maps or Search. And as you can see in the examples above, your audience can only see the first 100 words, so if you want them to see the rest they need to click on the post. 

However, Google's design doesn't make it immediately apparent that you can actually click on Google My Business posts, so it's unlikely that most viewers will actually click on your post. 

Because of that, we recommend that you try to get your entire point across in the first sentence of your Google My Business post. This will keep everything visible in the preview and gets your point across.

Bottom line: Google says that an ideal post length is between 150-300 characters. It’s brief enough to be quick to read, but long enough to offer some useful details. 

Remember that a post will only last for seven days, unless it’s an event post or offer, which will last until the event occurs or the deal ends.

Bottom line

That's all there is to it. In this article, you learned how long your social media posts can and should be on all major social networks. Use these tips to make your brand's social media posts more engaging as you enter the new year.

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