I'll keep this short.

Even if you rock Twitter and crush Instagram, you may still have a thing or two to learn about making communication as crisp and concise as possible.

Why? 3 reasons:

  1. Attention spans are getting even shorter. Your audience members make a decision about whether to engage with your content in just a few seconds. So it has to grab them immediately.
  2. Competition is intensifying. There's so much great content available--and more and more of it is in the form of images or video that require little effort.
  3. People you need to reach--customers, employees and other stakeholders--are becoming more demanding. Unless your content is relevant and useful, it will fail. That's why communication that's self-serving or boring quickly drops like a rock.

So . . . what do you need to do? 2 things:

1. Finely tune communication to meet your audience's needs. That means:

  • Get to know your audience--as individuals, not just a broad group. Conduct focus groups. Pore over the written answers on surveys. Create profiles or character sketches. You won't connect with your audience if you only see them as a bunch of statistics.
  • Use research to understand what your audience really cares about. The classic way to think about this: You may be selling soap, but what your customer really cares about is a clean shirt.
  • Embrace your audience for who they are--warts and all--and communicate based on a real respect for what they need.

2. Develop communication that cuts to the chase and instantly delivers what the audience needs. How instantly?

Marketer Insider Group has created a terrific infographic that sums up (very succinctly, of course), the ideal length for social media and web content.

How short things should be might surprise you. For instance:

  • Although Twitter is offering longer-form tweets, the ideal length is still very, very short: between 71 and 100 characters. Tweets see 17% higher engagement rate if they are shorter than 100 characters.
  • Paragraphs should be between 40 and 55 words.
  • The right length for a hashtag? 6 characters.
  • Email subject lines should be between 28 and 39 characters.

There are more statistics, all indicating the need for brevity. I'm sure I don't need to go on at length because you get the point: Focus your message on your audience's needs. And make your communication super short.