Why Twitter Spaces Matters to Brands

Why Twitter Spaces Matters to Brands

Social media

Social audio is here. In an era of social isolation brought on by the constraints of Covid-19 living, the sound of the human voice has become a profound balm. And the resultant success of live audio apps like Clubhouse has inspired other platforms to create their own alternatives to voice-based connection. Twitter’s take on the audio phenomenon? Spaces.

What Is Twitter Spaces?

Described by Twitter as “a small experiment focused on the intimacy of the human voice,” Spaces is similar to Clubhouse in that it allows users to create their own audio chat rooms and be part of rooms created by others. Conversation topics run the gamut, covering everything from popular culture to tech.

How does Spaces distinguish itself? It could be argued that some differences are purely semantics: users join “Spaces” rather than “Rooms,” for example. But Spaces has also emphasized the fact that anyone and everyone can join the app, a contrast to Clubhouse’s invite-only model. In a given Space, hosts make the choice of who to invite to a conversation. Each Space allows up to 11 people (including the host) to participate in the chat; the number of listeners allowed is unlimited.

At the moment, Spaces remains in beta mode, but Spaces is expected to open up for general use soon.

Why Twitter Spaces Matters

Twitter Spaces matters because it’s part of a larger trend: the rise of social audio. When a big player like Twitter leaps into the field with its own contribution, that’s a sign a movement has legs—that social audio is being viewed as more than a passing fad. In fact, social audio has been steadily gaining traction for a while now: according to a Nielsen report, audience use of streaming audio jumped from 50 percent to 64 percent between the first quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2020. Then Covid-19 happened, and social distancing. Voice-based connection became even more welcome.

Twitter Spaces is important for another reason: it could threaten Clubhouse as the reigning king of social audio. Consider Twitter’s slate of new resources, like direct payment service SuperFollows, that might be particularly attractive to business owners. SuperFollows makes it possible for Twitter users to charge to view special tweet content, and also serves as a way for users to sell books, how-to videos, and other media. As noted in CMSWire, “These features can be combined to entice people with a consolidated platform that favors Spaces over Clubhouse for their own business.”

How Might Brands Get Involved?

Because social audio platforms are a relatively new phenomenon, the opportunities for brand involvement are still evolving. But it’s already clear that apps like Twitter Spaces create a favorable place to:

  • Gain audience feedback on your brand. The digital format reaches a wider audience, even as the audio component facilitates a genuine back-and-forth exchange.
  • Host discussions on topics relevant to your industry. Using apps like Twitter Spaces, you might invite a group of people to conversations that position you as a thought leader. (It’s also worth noting that creating a Space is easier and more cost-effective than organizing an in-person gathering.)
  • Network with other experts in your industry. By participating in conversations germane to your industry, you’ll be rubbing shoulders with other experts, in so doing enjoying an opportunity to share information and generate leads.

What Brands Should Do

Like any new app, Twitter Spaces reminds brands of what they can do to maximize digital potential. We recommend that you:

  • Treat Twitter Spaces as a focus group to learn from.
  • Get your own people involved in the platform—creating their own conversations and also understanding what topics are trending in other Spaces. (While Spaces is in beta mode, people cannot create conversations unless they have access to Spaces, but they can listen to them. However, Spaces will open up for general use soon.)
  • Take this opportunity to get your Twitter house in order. Make sure you are engaging on Twitter and building your brand there. Your involvement in Spaces will likely draw attention to your own Twitter account. Make sure your Twitter is ready for increased attention.

In short, be ready for when brands can really play on Twitter Spaces!

Contact True Interactive

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Clubhouse: An Exclusive New App Powered by Audio Chat

Clubhouse: An Exclusive New App Powered by Audio Chat

Mobile Social media

Oprah Winfrey is a fan. So is Drake. But the new social media app Clubhouse, developed by Paul Davison and Rohan Seth, is not just for celebrities. Why does Clubhouse matter to brands invested in digital? Read on to learn more.

What Is Clubhouse?

Clubhouse, an audio app that facilitates live conversation, is self-described as “a new type of social product based on voice [that] allows people everywhere to talk, tell stories, develop ideas, deepen friendships, and meet interesting new people around the world.” Conversations are not recorded or saved; when a Clubhouse cyber “room” ends, the conversation is done and gone. Participants can opt to just listen in, or they can spontaneously host their own rooms. And the topics under discussion are eclectic, ranging from talks about music to chats about film, beauty, culture, tech, and more.

Clubhouse is distinguished by the fact that it is an audio-only app. There is no feature for private messaging, and there are no written comments. It’s a conversation that just happens to take place online.

What Is the Clubhouse Experience Like?

As Michael Stelzner describes in Social Media Examiner, when you enter a room you hear the conversation going on. Participants can “raise their hand” (using the raised hand emoji) to participate, and might subsequently be invited “on stage” to join the discussion. Those who contribute to the conversation may even become moderators, which allows them to call others up on stage.

Some users find Clubhouse to be like a podcast: something they can listen to while doing other things. Some liken it to a panel discussion. The rooms cover a wide range of topics, something like AOL chat rooms from back in the day. Depending on your interests, you will find rooms devoted to, say, investment strategies for Bitcoin or daily habits for high performers, film talk, writing sessions, mindfulness tips, and much more.

Like any interactive experience, certain protocols are observed and expected. The understanding is that participants will mute themselves until they are called upon, or until they have something germane to add to the dialog. Moderators control the conversation, and rooms can run for hours.

Who’s in the Club?

The app brings a wide range of individuals—and interests—to the table. Celebs like Kevin Hart, Oprah, and Drake are already on board, drawn by the relative privacy the app affords. The app is currently invite-only; each participant is granted limited invites to extend, though the more active a participant is on the platform, the more invites they are able to share. Stelzner recommends downloading the app and setting up your account, then . . . waiting patiently. As he notes, “Someone who knows you might be notified in-app automatically and grant you access.”

Why Clubhouse Matters

Stelzner has asked other Clubhouse members to highlight reasons the app keeps drawing them back (he notes that “[n]early everyone I interviewed was a creator, marketer, or business owner”). Among the responses:

  • It’s viral. When someone you follow goes onstage, the app sends you a notification. You can click on the notification and immediately join the room as a passive listener.
  • You don’t have to be ready for your glam shot. There’s no camera; it’s just your avatar and your voice. So you can join the conversation with that shaggy Covid hair, or even while you are running errands.
  • It helps build business connections. Think the conversations that start at business conferences; this is the same thing, but online.
  • It’s a place to test ideas. Got an idea for a podcast? Clubhouse is a forum to throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks.

What We Recommend

Clubhouse, currently in beta, is only available to iPhone users; the invite-only protocol also limits availability. That said, according to wfmynews2.com, “Clubhouse claims it will eventually open up for everyone, but is attempting to ensure it takes the proper steps in doing so. They also want to make sure they can incorporate features that will be able to handle large chat rooms.”

In the meantime, the app’s very existence is a reminder of the myriad ways brands can plug into culture, understand the trends, and stay connected, even as the pandemic continues to minimize in-person contact. Clubhouse demonstrates yet another way to engage—and the importance of staying current and thinking outside the box—not just during Covid, but beyond.

What can be learned here? We suggest that you:

  • Stay abreast of the opportunities apps offer to connect with a new, diverse audience.
  • Don’t forget the power of audio in digital.
  • Understand the power of crowdsourcing new ideas or feedback on your brand.
  • Get involved. Download the app and request membership individually. Then start exploring the app in your role as your company’s brand ambassador. Network with experts in other industries. Never underestimate the value of learning from diverse startups, CEOs, tech giants—whether on an app like Clubhouse, or in other venues.

Contact True Interactive

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