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
Interested in social audio but not sure where to start? Contact us. We can help.