Spaces is Twitter’s answer to Clubhouse and other audio platforms’ recent successes. It is a live audio platform to promote conversations with your community. Twitter has been working on Spaces since December 2020 with progress being made public via the Twitter account @TwitterSpaces, which is also the place to send your feedback. It has been tested in a small group as with all of Twitter’s products but is now becoming widely available.
What are the Rules?
- There are three roles in Spaces, all with different levels of control:
- Host – has ultimate power being able to start and end the session, adding, muting, and removing speakers as well as being able to speak themselves
- Speaker – the ones talking, there can be a max of 11 at one time (including the host). To become a Speaker the Host can invite you, which you can approve or deny, or you can request the role which the host needs to approve or reject
- Listener – the guests who can listen to the speakers and react with emojis. There currently is no limit on the number of Listeners
- Any of the roles can also tweet out, share a link, or DM the Spaces invite to anyone to join as a listener
Starting a Space
- To start a session you first need over 600+ followers on your Twitter account as Twitter feels a following of this size means you are more likely to have listeners
- Currently, Spaces is only available on the Twitter app and so to start you need to hold the ‘compose tweet’ button until more options appear, one of which is Spaces
- Once selected you can set up your Space by naming it – though this will be a subtitle, the main title being ‘Username’s Space’
- Once started, your Live Space session will appear in the top bar in purple previously just used for Fleets in blue
- Now your session has started people can join from here or an invite
- When the Host starts the Space they are muted and will be the only Speaker till others join
- The Host also has the ability to turn on the caption options for the other guests. Once turned on this can be toggled on and off by individual users as needed
- To manage your Space you can search the guests, filtering by role, and approving or denying speaker requests
- You can also minimize or ‘dock’ the Space, meaning you can scroll Twitter while listening and speaking with the ‘mute’ option still available at the bottom
- Leaving the app does not end the Space or your place in it, you can still talk and listen
- When the Host ends the Space it ends the session for everyone leading to all Listeners and Speakers being kicked out.
- The Host role cannot currently be passed on
- Spaces cannot be saved on the Twitter platform to be rewatched
- All Spaces are public with anyone being able to join
- Private accounts and accounts without Fleets cannot start the session but can join and become speakers, being visible to other guests
- Anyone can report and block others in the Space, or report the Space itself with Twitter keeping the recordings for 30 days in case they need review
- People you’ve blocked can’t join a Space you’re hosting, and you’ll see warnings under the name of someone you’ve blocked in a Space you’ve joined
So how can you use Fleets for Marketing?
The use of Spaces in marketing will primarily be for giving information, having conversations, and sharing exclusive content. It is an easy way to talk to your audience and find out who is actively listening to your Twitter content.
- Community – Regularly having Space sessions with recurring Listeners helps build your community. Though the conversation is limited to who you let in as Speakers. Your audience can also get to know you, and/or your brand on a more personal level by not just reading what you write but listening to what you say too.
- Inclusive/ Exclusive – Spaces creates content that is both inclusive and exclusive. People who can be there feel more included in the community and noticed by the brand. This content is also exclusive with a ‘you had to be there’ mentality creating FOMO for those that miss it.
- Education – You can use your Space session as a lecture with the Host talking and imparting knowledge while the audience listens and learns and becomes Speakers to ask questions.
- Debates – While a debate can turn into an argument if handled wrong, a debate of two sides with the host managing it can lead to a good discussion. This works better than replying to tweets as tone can be heard and the conversation managed.
- Personal – Putting a voice to a brand that previously has just been text and image-based gives that personal touch and the Space session themselves can be used for the listeners to get to know you better.
- Premier – Like with Fleets, Spaces is a perishable piece of content with the life span of it being live. For special events, there will need to be promotional posts in the run-up to it to get people there. The Premier of a piece of audio content like music or just the sound to go with a video, rewarding them that turn up with an exclusive.
- Data – Everyone in the Space can see who else is there and their role. By tapping on a user you can see their page and description. In your space session, you can note down who attended to see some of your most loyal members of your community and how influential these members are.
How does it compare?
Now you know the rules and how to use Spaces in marketing let’s compare the strengths and weaknesses of the platform.
- Convenience – Your Tweets, DM’s, Fleets and Spaces all in one place instead of over multiple apps.
- Accessibility – For those with dyslexia or other issues which make reading a struggle, having an audio platform is a more accessible way to speak with a community.
- Closed Captions – Spaces has an CC feature meaning those with hearing difficulties can still enjoy the Space though this feature is still being perfected. While I was testing it the captions went out of sync with what I was saying older than that of the other Speakers.
- Ease – Spaces are easy to set up and use and with you already having a user base on Twitter there is no need to pick up a new platform and build a new community or move your current ones over.
- Instant – When using Spaces you are talking straight to your audience instantly imparting your message, when most social media marketing needs you to wait for the audience to find your content
- Short-Term – Spaces aren’t saved and so people will want to join when they see a live Space in fear of missing out on some content. This is opposed to seeing a Live Space and thinking, ‘I’ll catch it later’.
- Knowledge – With other apps like Clubhouse already existing people have knowledge of this type of service. Even users not familiar with Clubhouse may understand video live streams on YouTube, Twitch and Facebook and so pick up on the idea
- No Cam – Not being a video streaming platform but audio removes the need to look a certain way or have judgement on how you look. When passing knowledge, knowing how you look is not relevant especially if you are speaking as a brand
- Can they do it? – Are Twitter putting too much on their plate – with Fleet, which they are continuing to add to – do they need to add this new feature already? And will they continue to invest in it?
- While testing Spaces for a few minutes we came across a bug, the Space kicked the Host who rejoined duplicated as a listener meaning there was no Host, it eventually kicked the Speakers and Listeners out and ended
- Roll Out – As with Fleets, Spaces is being rolled out but gradually (to users with 600+ followers) so not everyone has access to start a Space but with the invite feature more should be able to join them than first had access to Fleet.
- Coming Soon – Yet again comparing to Fleet, Spaces has many ‘coming soon’ features such as ticketed Spaces, editable CC, and scheduled content meaning Twitter has released another unfinished product.
- Does it Fit? – Audio is not what people use Twitter for. Scrolling short posts is Twitter’s main draw and so will people want to put their headphones on to listen to content?
- Live – The content is live so to join the conversation, be part of the action and build the community they have to be there at the right time which reduces your audience size. Also as the internet is a global platform you will never please everyone with the time.
- Replay – There is no replay ability, currently meaning once the session is done it’s gone forever – unless you use a 3rd party tool to record. While this drives people to your content it means you cannot reuse it beyond that one moment and reduces the audience size of the content.
- App-Only – Currently the top bar where Fleets and Spaces go is only available on the app and so can not be used on desktop. Desktop is more likely where users will have headphones plugged in or be in a space where they can sit down and listen to something so we hope to see this in the future.
- Limited Reactions – At users request in the testing phase Twitter added emoji reactions to Spaces. Currently this is the only way for a Listener to respond and interact with the Speakers and Host outside DM’s. The emoji choice is very limited with ‘laugh’, ‘100’, ‘raise hand’, ‘fist’, ‘peace’ and ‘wave’ being the only options. While some of them are helpful in communication others are less so. They are currently missing some key reaction emojis: ‘thumbs up’, ‘thumbs down’ and ‘heart’ emojis to name a few.
Ultimately Space is a seedling of a platform that needs people to use it for it to grow. Unlike Fleets, which had big shoes to fill with competitors doing it better already like Instagram and Snapchat, Space’s main competitor is Clubhouse which too is in the infant stage. Clubhouse also has the disadvantage of letting people in via invites, which the exclusivity has worked for them till now but with Twitter letting everyone use Spaces why have Clubhouse? Space also has the advantage of being on the Twitter app meaning you don’t have to go anywhere to use it.
Brands will have to approach this similar to how they would approach marketing on Twitch or Facebook/ Instagram Live. I can see mini-convention/webinar-style sessions on the platform with some influencers making good use of this to share more of who they are. I believe if Twitter continues to take feedback on board as they have been so far and invest in the feature then it will be very successful in the future, leading to Instagram and Facebook wanting to copy the idea down the line.
If you want to make use of Spaces in your social media campaign please speak to our team.