BuzzFeed popularized a new style of social media update called the Screenshort. Screenshorts are pictures of text shared on social media that allow you to tweet longer tweets. Online media companies from the Wall Street Journal to the New York Times have leaped on the bandwagon, and all have built formal internal Screenshort tools.
But, are they a useful tool for your small business social media marketing plan? We set out to discover if Screenshorts are an effective way to increase engagement on social media.
Tweet Longer with Screenshorts
The Screenshort is a chunk of text shared as an image embedded within an update on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.
They’re miniature article teasers, personalized organic-feeling recommendations in the form of screenshot text. They say, ‘Hey, we respect your time and intelligence and here’s this thing we would love for you to read — totally your call but here’s all the information.’
Here is an example of a Screenshort from the New York Time’s Business Twitter account.
What are the Benefits of Screenshorts?
Why would you want to Tweet longer? Screenshorts are an effective way to highlight a passage of text and inform the reader of the one thing you want them to read.
- Efficient way to share digestible chunks of text that allow you to get around Twitter’s character limits and Facebook’s truncation
- Provide a better way to tease and share stories
- Engaging and provide a level of intimacy that is far more personal than headlines
- Can easily summarize a video you want someone to watch
Screenshort tool provider, Share As Image, explains some additional use cases:
- Content marketers can easily create daily inspiration and send them out as images.
- Authors can share their book reviews as images on Pinterest
- Design beautiful quotes and images for sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and any other social networks
A good Screenshort takes all the pressure off the headline to hook the reader.
Do Screenshorts Boost Engagement?
To answer our opening question if Screenshorts are an effective way to increase engagement on social media, we tested five different Screenshorts over a 5-day period on Twitter.
Results: The engagement rates of the five Screenshorts spanned a wide range but…
Good news: The Screenshort engagement rates were all above the average engagement rate of all the other tweets during that same 5-day period.
In fact, the top Screenshort was 3x over the average engagement rate of all tweets for the month of April (example below).
The preliminary results look promising. We plan to expand our testing of Screenshorts to include:
- Different background colors
- Shorter passages of text
- More social network’s
How do I make Screenshorts?
There are a few tools on the market to get you started with your own Screenshort tests:
- Share As Image: Free. $8/month for a pro account. Share on all major social networks.
- OneShot: Free. Share on Twitter only.
- Storming.ME: Free. Share on Twitter only.
If you are more of the do-it-yourself type of person, follow this guide from PCWorld: Convert text to image, and image to text.