Do you use Twitter? Probably. How about Twitter Spaces? Never heard of it? It’s relatively new, but with anything social media, it’s best find out fast.
Why it is taking off so fast? To begin with, it’s because so many people use Twitter. Athletes do. Professionals, kids, parents of those kids do. So do young professionals and former presidents. Yes, it has its ups and downs in popularity.
Some years it’s been more popular (or widely talked about than others), but Twitter currently claims 353 million monthly active users, up from 54 million in 2010.
With Twitter’s new rollout of Twitter Spaces you may see a bigger wave of fresh interest in Twitter than we have since Trump texted about “constant negative press covfefe.”
Here’s a fast primer on:
- what Twitter Spaces are,
- how to monetize them,
- and what else Twitter (and Facebook) is up to next.
What Is “Twitter Spaces?”
It’s “a new way to have live audio conversations on Twitter.”
Twitter Spaces is early on in the launch, so as this article is being published (March of 2020), not everyone has access to its full capabilities.
The social platform says, “Anyone on iOS and Android can join and listen in a Space and a small group of people on iOS are able to create a Space.”
Spaces are public so anyone can join and listen, even people who don’t follow you. Listeners can be directly invited into a Space by DMing them a link to the Space, tweeting out a link, or sharing a link elsewhere, like on another social media platform or on your blog.
A Space can support a Host and ten other speakers. The Host has a choice about who can speak. It can be a one-way dissemination of information, a Space where only a few of the 11 have speaking rights, or a Space where everyone can speak.
Users may want to limit speaking altogether as in the time of an important announcement or event. They can also host a panel allowing some people to speak or an open discussion for everyone.
Another cool feature is that you can choose to see captions of those who are speaking. That means your audience can enjoy the Space even if they’re in a place where they can’t listen to audio like on a train or at a coffee shop or an office.
Jane Manchun Wong appears to be one of the top experts on using Twitter Spaces (along with many other platforms and tools), so if you’re on Twitter, start by following her for updates.
You can also name your space or add a description. The Host of a Space can remove, report, and block others in the Space. Speakers and listeners can also report and block others in the Space, or can report the Space itself to Twitter. If a user blocks a participant in the Space, they will also block that person’s account on Twitter.
One of the biggest things to consider if you’re thinking about using Spaces for the chamber (or instructing your members to do so) is that while the Space is live, it’s accessible. Once ended, only Twitter has access to the Space. It retains a copy of its audio for 30 days.
Twitter also announced that it is giving Spaces its own tab. This would make it more visible to users. However, the platform is likely holding out to launch the tab until more accounts have full functionality, which is expected sometime in April.
Twitter also said it’s considering support for using music in Spaces (might want to talk to the people over at MySpace before that) and thinking about better ways of integrating tweets into Spaces.
Charles Kerr also seems to be using Twitter Spaces. He is a digital marketer. (This site is not endorsing this user or Jane Manchun Wong, simply providing their information as an additional resource.)
Twitter Spaces and Monetization
Another thing we’ll be watching for when this feature completely opens up to the public so that anyone can create a Space is the ability to monetize it. The platform is considering adding a “tip jar” that would let people support the kind of content they’re enjoying.
This could be very helpful for when a chamber leads a space in conjunction with a local nonprofit (or important cause) or hosts a webinar with a subject matter expert. It could also be a way where peers would feel pressure to give something based on those around them giving as well.
Spaces could work for committee or board meetings for smaller boards or just a more intimate way to interact with your top followers or investors.
What Else Is Twitter Up To?
Twitter will also be rolling out a feature it calls “Super Follows,” which is in keeping with the ever-growing subscription economy. The site describes it as a program that will let users and publishers earn money from followers who pay (them) for exclusive content, e-commerce deals, or other perks.
At its announcement of the new feature, Twitter showed an example of a Super Follow account charging $4.99 per month. Variety wrote, “It’s conceptually similar to how Patreon works, while other platforms like YouTube and Facebook have added subscription options to let creators give perks to paying fans.”
How could chambers use this?
You could create an educational group that would pay a little extra each month for business tips and best practices from local leaders or leverage it in a high-level networking group.
But the most common use for it might not be in directly participating at all but teaching your members how to leverage it.
When COVID hit a lot of people who sold (only) products or services were shut down. If they had sold something through a virtual subscription service they would’ve retained at least one stream of revenue. This could be a smart use of their time to create a subscription service.
Another thing Twitter is working on is the integration of its recent purchase of Revue. Revue is a startup that lets writers self-publish newsletters and monetize them.
Twitter plans to integrate Revue with the core social platform. This would allow people to sign up for newsletters from Twitter accounts they follow or let writers host real-time conversations with subscribers. This might make it easier to get newsletter followers and to build a mailing list. Followers could subscribe directly from the platform where they are interacting with you, not having to go to your website first.
Twitter is also launching a feature called communities that allows users to create groups much like–you guessed it–Facebook groups.
What About Facebook?
While we’re talking about social media and innovative things coming down the pike (especially in the self-publishing and newsletter category) Facebook just announced that it (too) will soon begin allowing people to self-publish (and monetize) through its platform.
The platform is advertising this new feature as something they’re doing to help independent journalists and writers get compensated for their work.
It also has plans to make this feature a subscription allowing for monetization by creating websites and newsletters.
This sounds great but you can’t help but wonder what that will mean for ownership rights, permissioning, and data.
Is this a feature that could benefit chambers in the future? Perhaps, but it may also be a case of building your home on someone else’s land. We’ll have to wait and see once it officially rolls it out over the next couple of months.
Social media sites are certainly trying to roll out features that will help us all feel more connected, allow for easy monetization, and the leveraging of followers for financial gain.
Is it me or are all social media platforms starting to look alike?
Now, more than ever, it’s not functionality that is differentiating them anymore, nor is it interface because a lot of have adopted similar designs.
No, the only difference is who’s on what platform.
To be successful in social media, you’ll want to ensure you know where your audience is.
And since preferences change, keep an eye on your audience’s movement over time just as you would keep an eye on these new rollouts.