When Twitter launched, it was built around SMS. Short  mobile message sized chunks of text which you could send and receive entirely over SMS. But times have changed and since then Twitter has completely retired the SMS feature.

With that came smarter phones, and more media on offer. Videos, image galleries, Moments, Polls… and custom branded emojis. For brands, it opened up a whole new world of ways to engage with your target audience in a content-driven approach.

Twitter evolved from focusing on text to Periscope, video and live, news, branded products and ways to get brands to spend more of their advertising money on the platform.

But more and more we’re seeing the success of text-only tweets. Going viral, picking up more engagement that then ‘creative’ heavy counterparts. Brands often think of the copy of a message as one of the last piece of the puzzle… but what if you start and finish just with text?

Sometimes simple really is best. The classic text only tweet still reigns. No, it isn’t shiny or special… But it certainly does the job, and here’s why.

Twitter was born on text only tweets. If you can’t get your message across in a short amount of characters don’t bother. Taking this mantra your brand has to work harder and smarter to say what it needs. In the instance of most paid-brand campaigns, 1 second video views account for the majority of results.

But text only tweets, well, you’re not being charged for views… engagement or reach, yes, but eyes reading that text two or three times. Nope!

Text could gain you a few more valuable seconds with your customer! Who’d not want that?

It also gives you a chance to be creative with emojis and layouts. But make sure it’s accessible to all! Using non-standard html text may look cool but is not good for those who may be blind. It makes your copy untranslatable, too. You can read more about this here.

Now it’s quite well know that copy that features imagery on average receives engagement at a rate 5X higher than without. But not always. We’ve all seen Wendy’s, Pizza Hut, Nasa and many others cracking the algorithm with creative text-only content.

In a QuickSprout report, they analysed thousands of tweets, and discovered that ninety-three percent of all the tweets they analysed were text-based. 65% of those text-based tweets contained a link so discovered that tweets with links get retweeted 86% more often. Plus, if you can keep the tweet under 100 characters, you’ll also get 17% more engagement.

If every brand is doing image/video based tweets, your text only content could stand out for being so, well, plain. And, from the above, we know the shorter the better.

Brands are obsessed with treating social like old school marketing, there has to be a glossy launch video, then follow up mini campaigns then an influencer launch. Because of this, social can feel samey and muddled. Something that actually stands out is the plain-ness of text only.

However, something to consider is Twitter’s algorithm score. Every time you open the Twitter app or visit twitter.com, the algorithm will help decide what content you are served.

Every message posted on the platform will be given a ‘relevance score, some of the factors include the tweet and what media it uses, such as image or video, and overall engagement (including retweets, clicks, favourites, and time spent reading it), so… if images or media will help users engage with your content for longer, it may be wise.

Basically, there’s not a one size fits all approach – but consider wisely what’s right for you and your brand messaging.

Could you try a text-only tweet as part of your campaign? Think about emoji use, creative tone of voice and the way it could stand out on a brand-heavy feed for your customers. Remember, Twitter was built on text originally, so don’t be afraid to get back to basics…

Have you tried text-only copy for your brand’s social recently? How did it go – let me know in the comments.