With the help of industry experts, we decode how Twitter Fleets would impact the way creators and brands use the platform for marketing.
Over the last several years, Twitter users have shaped the platform into a place where content becomes stale very quickly. Tweets embedded in articles are used to express the mood and opinion of social media in regards to a specific topic in a given time frame. So, while the value of content on the platform is ephemeral in nature, documentation is key to its core. In such a scenario, Twitter fleets, the platform's newest feature released for Indian users is bound to cause a flurry among users, creators and brands. And, it did.
About launching the feature in India, a Twitter India spokesperson said, "We learned from research that people don’t Tweet because Tweets are public, feel permanent, and display the number of Retweets and Likes. We hope Fleets will empower many more people to express themselves more freely. India is the third market globally after Brazil and Italy where Twitter is rolling out this feature to test."
"We’re focused on seeing how people in India use Fleets and look forward to learning more about its adoption, usage, and changes to the overall behaviour on the service," the spokesperson said when asked about the mixed reactions Fleets had received online on the day of the rollout.
Medium of voices
Twitter is an interesting platform when it comes to businesses. A good chunk of social listening and ORM happens here. The audiences are arguably different from other social media platforms. They are quicker and crisper to react and often contribute heavily to the news cycles. This means brands and creators would have an interesting way ahead.
"Fleets is being viewers as an upcoming engagement platform to promote businesses with more credibility than any other platform," feels Sameer Makani, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Makani Creatives.
"Since Twitter already has a fixed target audience, it’s going to be an opportunity for bigger brands to engage directly with its consumers through fleets with Twitter’s well-established image," he further explains.
In between conversations
Gautam B. Thakker, CEO, Everymedia Technologies Pvt. Ltd feels Fleets would ensure brands feel less pressure and have more control over conversations. That it would give them an opportunity to run interesting campaigns without getting lost in the feed.
The feed is arguably a key area of concern for brands as users are already overwhelmed with the continuous flow of new information, pieces of content, trends and hashtags cropping up every second.
Thakker explains, "Twitter is a conversational platform. Sometimes, that leads to long threads and we have seen concerns from users over that becoming a tad bit spammy. This should give brands the space to push out communication that will not overwhelm their feed."
Twitter is a space for news, opinions and engaging conversations. By default, brands have a hard time breaking through the clutter to put across a message or run a campaign. Chaaya Baradhwaaj, Founder & MD, BC Web Wise feels Fleets could make a difference for them.
"Brands have had their limitations on what they can say or do, considering the very involved audiences, wherein a stance taken by any brand or individual that goes with what's trending could spark larger debates and possibly even controversies," she says.
With Fleets, this opens room for immediate responses or stances without the worry of it being etched forever in the walls of tweets, she adds.
Currently, to interact with a Fleet, users have to send a DM to the account that has posted the said content. This, Shradha Agarwal, Co-founder & COO, Grapes Digital feels would help brands and creators forge personal connections with users via an additional route of storytelling.
It will open up the possibilities of creating engagement specific campaigns as well as spaces where brands can gauge user sentiments. "Twitter Fleets will be a medium where conversations can be initiated with fleeting thoughts and this will become a platform for brands to showcase their unfiltered and behind the scenes moments," she adds.
Since the Fleet would disappear in 24 hours, the brands would get a space to be real and raw in their interactions. It could also potentially be a space to create day-specific campaigns that would lose relevance in 24 hours.
By design, Fleets are meant for transient conversations. This is something that works in their favour, feels Ishtaarth Dalmia, Associate Director- Strategy, Dentsu Webchutney.
Creators, he says, are likely to get a head start in testing its creative potential to generate engagement and ridicule the feature. For brands, it would be a good space to experiment with different kinds, types and formats of content.
"Brands will at first, given the absence of paid placements within Fleets, take chances to play around with its capabilities to extend current campaigns, and going forward deploy the format for crisis management. I expect it to spawn new forms of performance art on Twitter the same way tweetstorms and threads, reply guys, or ‘dunking’ with quote retweets did," he explains.
One of the first thoughts that are likely to cross any social media user's mind about Fleets is how similar the concept is to Instagram, Facebook and even WhatsApp. Down to the layout of the feature.
Sharing thoughts about the similarities and the reactions of users, Khushboo Solanki Sharma, Founder, Zero Gravity Communications tells us, "At first, it looks a lot like Instagram Stories. However, did we all not have the same reaction when Instagram Stories were introduced? Users will eventually adapt."
It is an interesting aspect to consider for indeed almost every new feature on every social media platform has received a certain amount of flak. So, it is likely that over time, users would be more receptive to the feature. However, the question of whether the feature makes the platform similar to other platforms is one that is likely to stay subjective to individual users.
Brands leveraging Fleet
While some brands tweeted about Fleets, others posted Fleets to make their presence known on the platform. Several brands experimented with Fleets in a manner to acknowledge the new feature, much as they would a topical trend on social media. The overarching theme across these posts was the ephemeral nature of Fleets. A wordplay on 'fleet' could also be seen.