What’s the biggest challenge that you’ve run into when it comes to Twitter and your social media strategy?

For many, the answer is fitting an entire marketing message into 140 characters or less. How can you possibly be expected to cram everything you want to say into that few characters? And when you factor in retweets — game over.

Fortunately, we’ve been able to collect a few best practices that can help you tweak your tweets to meet the 140 character limit. If you’re ever stuck making edits to a tweet that just won’t seem to fit, check out the tips below to see if there are any easy adjustments you can make to trim a few characters here and there:

1. Use a tool like Thsrs to find shorter synonyms for any longer words you’d like to use in your tweets. Thsrs takes words like “favorite” and spits out shorter synonyms like “choice” and “loved,” a 2-3 character savings!

2. Make sure that there are no places where you use the word “and.” This is an easy, and often overlooked, fix. Just substitute symbols like “&” or “+” to save 2 characters.

3. Get rid of unnecessary pronouns and articles, like the words “that” and “the.” For example, if your tweet says “check out this website that features white papers by B2B marketing companies,” you can easily tweak it to say “check out this website featuring white papers by B2B marketing companies.” That’s 4 characters!

4. Find the best link shortener out there. While TinyURL shortens links for you, sites like bitly actually produce even shorter links.

5. Substitute numbers for words. This is another easy fix if you see your character count dwindling down. “One” becomes “1,” and so on.

6. Use contractions whenever possible. For example, if you’re struggling with character counts, you should make sure you don’t have any instances of “can not” or “would not” that can be shortened to “can’t” or “wouldn’t.”

If you’re still having trouble getting your tweet down to 140 characters, try a few of these less sophisticated techniques. Just be careful to keep your tweet from sounding like it came from a teenager on a mobile device.

7. Drop vowels from words. For example, “source” becomes “src,” and “text” becomes “txt.” Just try not to shorten words until they’re no longer recognizable. Words like “banana” (bnn?) aren’t exactly conducive to shortening this way.

8. Use common abbreviations. While they’re not always pretty, substituting “w/” for “with” can save you 2 characters. “Retweet” can easily become “RT,” and “by the way” is often shortened to just “btw.” Just try not to use “u” instead of “you” if you can help it — it can be hard to sound professional when your tweet comes out sounding like a text message.

**Bonus Expert Tip:  Use Expanded Images. Twitter has recently made a few big changes that can optimize tweets, making even more out of the 140 characters. One of these changes is the implementation of inline images. Essentially, Twitter’s expanded inline images make your post stand out among the never-ending stream of content. A picture is certainly worth more than 140 characters. However, we are also seeing tweets with expanded images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites, and 150% more retweets than those without! This means those short 140 characters can be used even more to your advantage when combined with the other suggestions in this article.

Using shortcuts like these can save you a lot of stress when it’s time to send out those tweets. Keep in mind, a good rule of thumb is to keep your messages short and simple to begin with. If your tweet needs to be 140 characters, make sure it provides valuable information.

What other tips and tricks do you use to keep your messages under 140 characters? Let us know in the comments!

Jenna Hanington

Posts Twitter