The story feature is a short clip of content that can be posted for a limited amount of time on a social media platform – generally, it will be displayed for 24 hours before disappearing. Instagram pioneered the addition of stories into a platform’s interface and Facebook soon followed suit. Now, Twitter has come out with its own version of the story feature
Twitter has developed its own version of the story feature called Fleets. The addition of Fleets to Twitter opens up many new opportunities for businesses and brands on the platform to increase their engagement and overall brand awareness.
In this article, we will explore why Twitter decided to add Fleets to their platform and how the addition of the feature can provide new avenues for businesses to start bringing in more customers. Keep reading to learn more about how to effectively utilise and create Fleets.
Why Did Twitter Add Fleets?
Though Twitter officially released Fleets worldwide on November 17th, 2020, the social media giant had been testing out the viability of the new feature for months beforehand.
According to Twitter:
“Fleets are for sharing momentary thoughts – they help start conversations and only stick around for 24 hours. Through our tests in Brazil, Italy, India, and South Korea, we learned Fleets helped people feel more comfortable joining the conversation – we saw people with Fleets talk more on Twitter.”
The idea behind the creation of Fleets is to provide users with the opportunity to express more casual thoughts and sentiments in a format that does not have the permanency and pressure that can come with publishing a tweet. Fleets also offer a different kind of interaction between the person posting and the viewer on the other end.
A normal tweet can collect likes and retweets, and these interactions can boost the popularity and success of the tweet upon public reception. On the other hand, a user viewing a Fleet can only privately reply to the poster, rather than publicly interact with content as they would with a tweet.
Here is a quick rundown of the potential benefits provided by Fleets:
- More Intimate Interactions: While interacting with tweets from other users generally happens publicly, Fleets allow for users to have more intimate interactions with their followers wherein they can discuss the content directly.
- Less Emphasis on Popularity: Fleets do not rank or grow in popularity the way that tweets do. As such, a Fleet can be more focused on sharing thoughts or information that can be expressed in a more authentic fashion.
- Supplementary Content: For users that do not publish tweets too often, Fleets are a great way to continue providing an audience with supplemental content. They can also be used to promote special events or deals that may only be happening for a limited time.
Fleets can contain an array of content just like stories on other platforms. This can include pictures, videos, GIFs, and text. Additionally, Twitter allows for the user to close their DMs to everyone besides the users they personally follow – this feature can be applied to Fleets as well, giving the user total control over how viewers interact with their content.
Currently, Fleets are only available on mobile devices, meaning that users on desktops do not yet have access to the feature. However, being limited to mobile devices only may not have too detrimental an effect on the usefulness of Fleets, considering around 80 percent of users access the platform from a mobile device.
How Fleets Open Up New Brand Promotion Opportunities
With roughly 187 million monetizable daily users as of December 2020 and upwards of 330 million active monthly users, Twitter is a massive platform that provides brands and businesses with the opportunity to reach much larger audiences.
Twitter already had many features that are highly useful to business accounts looking to target specific audiences, such as trending topics, which can greatly improve a user’s overall brand awareness when properly employed. There are a number of ways in which Fleets can contribute to brand promotion and be advantageous when used by businesses. These include:
- Appearing on the Home Page: Fleets appear at the very top of the home page, the first and main screen that many users interact with. This means that even if a user’s tweets are not performing well, they can still potentially reach their followers through posting a Fleet.
- Increasing Click-Throughs: One of the primary goals of a Fleet is sparking curiosity or interest that will lead to the person viewing clicking through to the poster’s actual profile and engaging with more of their content.
- Incentivising Following: Though a user could see any public accounts Fleets if they visit their profile, only the Fleets of the accounts someone follows will appear at the top of their home page. Creating interesting Fleets that offer some kind of value, such as discount codes, can incentivise users to follow an account in order to keep up with daily Fleet offerings.
Understanding how to create and utilise content on Fleets is essential for getting the most out of what the story feature has to offer. Fleets can ultimately have a major impact on how well a user retains the attention of their existing followers and audience base. Having a strong connection with an audience is an essential component for online businesses and is one of the major benefits of using Twitter for branding.
Moreover, Fleets allow for users to increase their overall engagement rate. Having many followers is not enough to run a successful Twitter account. Using Fleets to provide extra content that provides additional value to the follower is a great way to build a trusting and loyal customer base.
How Businesses Can Utilise Twitter Fleets
As we have covered, there are several different benefits and opportunities made available through the addition of Fleets to Twitter’s platform. Adapting to platform-wide changes and learning how to best use Fleets to attract more of your audience’s interest is key to finding continued success on Twitter.
Here are a few examples of how to use Twitter Fleets:
- Create Video Content: Short-form videos are all the rage currently, especially with younger generations. Creating video content to share as Fleets that highlight aspects of a business can help to humanize the account to its followers, allowing for better connections to be made.
- Special Events: For businesses that host special events, Fleets are a great way to provide reminders in the days or weeks leading up to the event. This will keep in fresh in a follower’s mind, making them more likely to attend or participate.
- Sales: Sale events, especially flash sales, are well-suited to be advertised through Fleets. This keeps the main Twitter feed from having too much-expired information.
- Coupons and Discounts: Like with sales, coupons or discount codes can be a good inclusion in Fleet content. Businesses can provide coupons or discounts that are found only in the Fleets, thus incentivising followers to engage with the Fleets more.
Keeping Up with Trends
Keeping up with current trends is a major component of creating content for Fleets that is relevant to the daily lives of a user’s followers and thus increase overall engagement. There are a few ways to efficiently keep up with trends on Twitter, including:
- Viewing Other Fleets: Fleets don’t have the same quantifiable aspects, such as likes, to show how effective they are. As such, it can be useful for businesses to check out other Fleets being posted within similar industries.
- Checking Trends Daily: Twitter’s trending page is updated throughout the day, every day. Keeping an eye on what is trending is a good way to also monitor when your followers are more active and interacting with trends.
- Researching Past Trends: Looking into what has trended in the past is a good way to analyse what content works best with specific audiences.
For assistance in researching trends – both past and present – check out Exportdata.io’s trend tracking tool.
How to Make Effective Fleets for a Business or Brand
When making Fleets, there are three important considerations to keep in mind: sizing, length, and design. These three factors will affect how successful a Fleet is at attracting and maintaining attention. Here’s a breakdown of each factor:
- Sizing: Since Fleets are only available on mobile currently, images and videos will have to be cropped to fit within the dimensions of a mobile device’s screen. Fleets are displayed within a 1080 x 1920 pixel frame.
- Length: Shorter Fleets between 5 – 10 seconds are likely to have the most impact, but Fleets can be as long as 30 seconds.
- Design: There are some in-app tools to help users with adding texts and gifs to Fleets that make them more eye-catching. Applying these and being considerate of other design elements, such as color and balance, are necessary for making effective Fleets.
Though they are a bit late to the party, Twitter has entered the world of stories with the addition of the platform’s newest feature: Fleets. Understanding how Fleets can be utilised to further promote a brand and increase engagement with followers is majorly important for anyone looking to maintain a strong online presence for a business.
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