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Twitter’s removal of character limit on DMs: What it means for brands?

Less than week for the month to end. So, are you eagerly waiting for Twitter to lift the 140 characters limit under direct messages (DM) which will allow you to send long private messages to friends on Twitter? Users in the Twitter universe are eager for the move but more than users, this step is expected to spike opportunities for brands and advertisers. Let us see what it hold for brands.

The Indian marketing industry is not new to advertising on the social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. But removal of the word limit from Twitter’s DM will allow marketers to explore DM as a new means of advertising. It will allow brands to offer code based discounts to specific consumers or indulge in exclusive campaigns with the consumers.

“The potential marketing opportunities are enormous. Our Prime Minister has already demonstrated the power of individual one-to-one Twitter messages. The multimedia capabilities of the medium and its ability to ease sharing of information further amplifies the marketing potential of the platform,” said Vivek Bhargava, Chief Executive Officer of iProspectCommunicate2.

Kalpana Rathore, General Sales Manager – India at Lucini&Lucini added that Twitter’s Direct Messages will be better suited as a customer support channel or a platform for conversation-led personal interaction with a consumer. She further added that the Twitter feature can be employed to retain consumer rather than acquiring new ones.

However, there are chances that their strategy may backfire if the user chooses to opt out. The brands will certainly enjoy the opportunity of offering discounts and discuss their product at length but there is a possibility the consumers choose to opt out and the communication transforms into a one-way street.

Ms Rathore reiterated the sentiment and said, “If the consumer is looking for specific information, brands would be more interested in replying via a tweet than a personal message as the former would reach a larger audience.” Rather than interacting with the consumer on a one-on-one basis, the brand will prefer using a larger platform in order to gain better visibility, she added.

The branding message may differ across companies but marketing pundits expect that Twitter Direct Messages may soon transform into a medium for email marketing following the relaxation to the character limit on the same. More characters may give brands the opportunity to explore their creative messaging in a larger way.

However, some differences will continue between the two media. Email marketing give brands access to a database collected through various mediums and users who are prospect or current users of the product or service. Whereas Twitter will be limited to a base brands have as followers, stated Zafar Rais, Chief Executive Officer of MindShift Interactive.

Automated branded messages in the user’s mailbox may be seen as spam and the user may end up blocking the brands. “This might affect further on Twitter, as any Direct Message they will receive, they will end up ignoring it, if brands end up sending too many of them, “ Mr Rais added.

Going forward, there is a window of opportunity available to brands – over the longer term the platform could develop similar limitations that plague email – so the first movers will receive a definitive advantage, according Mr Bhargava.

But as Indian marketing community is moving towards a more evolved form of social media marketing, a combination of social media tools such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Twitter and Skype are surely going to reduce the dependency on emails.