Every social media marketer collectively sighed when Twitter released Fleets on November 17th. With Fleets, Twitter has joined Snapchat, Instagram, Messenger, Facebook, WhatsApp and even LinkedIn by emphasizing the “volatile” nature of social media. Obviously, the concept isn’t new – and with some nuances on the Twitter platform, it’s still a work in progress. Regardless, it’s another channel that social media marketers enjoy (puzzles).
With new channels come new possibilities for content. Social media marketers are no stranger to the content and strategy demands of adding an entirely new content format and channel. At Fleets, however, there are some unique points and trends that brands and social media marketers need to highlight.
Predictions: at a glance
The real value of fleets lies in how they will develop over time. In the meantime, we can make some educated predictions about how these will affect brands. If you want to invest in fleets, you should also invest in support for dealing with the DMs. In terms of engagement, brands should expect a lot more DMs from viewers. These quick engagement points can be used to build closer relationships, but only if they’re staffed well enough to handle the volume. People expect an answer from the brands they deal with – fleets likely won’t be any different.
With this increase in content, you can definitely expect word of mouth to increase for your brand. Social media has already made word-of-mouth marketing more scalable, but flats like Instagram or Snap stories are increasing the opportunities for creative expression exponentially. This will be hard to track, but it will definitely feed into the larger community ecosystem of real-time social content. It will also create higher ROI for brands with stronger communities and customer experiences.
This feedback is half the story for brands. Ultimately, just like any other function on social media, we can probably expect ads to come to this platform. And that’s good for brands. This new mobile first visual medium offers great potential for converting and activating casual scrollers, especially for industries dealing with soaring CPM prices on Instagram. With new opportunities often come new demands – and when ads become a reality, brands need content to keep up.
Obtaining content for fleets
With the advent of ephemeral social media channels, social media marketers find themselves deeper in the content conundrum: How do we get unique content for this new channel with the expectation that awareness will be fleeting? To be honest, most marketers this year are unlikely to justify a new creative budget on content that is supposed to go away within 24 hours.
Access to scalable content is not a new problem for brands. However, marketers need to wonder again where this content is supposed to come from. From my perspective, there are two key ways marketers can handle content to make it more scalable.
1. Channel-specific content: Crowdsource vs Create
Creating new content, especially visual content, is time consuming and often expensive for brands. User generated, employee, or influencer content provide opportunities to make content strategy more scalable and likely play a role in a brand’s strategy. If brands take the path of channel-specific content creation, they will likely need to invest in a better content management system to extend the life of the subject.
2. Reuse content
Ultimately, the content of cross-pollination shouldn’t be a gasp expression. And with the advent of downloadable social content (like TikTok), consumers expect content to live on multiple channels – as long as it is in line with brand and community values. Additionally, Fleets could be a place where content that wasn’t part of the main feed could live in a similar way to IG stories.
In reality, we can expect the content mix to be a real mix. Beyond the content-related dilemma, the question arises: What do we use fleets for?
Strategy for fleets through other channels
This section is for all of the social media marketers who woke up this morning from their CMO and asked, “What’s our strategy for Twitter fleets?” Much like the other vanished Post channels (known as stories practically everywhere else), there is a lot of potential for marketing creativity.
“I would expect an increased focus on and expansion of fan engagement by simply sharing tweets directly to a fleet, rather than being very selective about what to permanently share for a brand profile.” – Ashmi Dang, former Director / Head of Social at Showtime
With Fleets, brands can help showcase their customer and fan content quickly without worrying about the longevity of the content. And that can lead to a deeper engagement with more fans. Still, fleets have a long way to go before they can offer the same opportunities as stories.
“I don’t see any way for a brand to do as much as possible with the other story formats: no filters, no stickers, no swipe-ups, no way to quote RT or re-share what feels most appropriate. possible for Twitter if you consider how successful this is as a natural behavior for the users there. Aside from posting a pre-made asset or a video-on-demand, I don’t see many opportunities for a brand to drive deeper engagement beyond a point of view. In order for marketers to test this out, we need more detailed metrics. Tap forward, backward, time for each frame, range, clearances, etc. ”
– Bryna Corcoran, Lyft Social Media Director
Beyond top-of-the-funnel engagement, fleets could be beneficial for flash sales and freebies. We can assume that brands use this channel for advertising purposes. But if done inappropriately and spuriously, it can decrease engagement. As with anything social, finding a balance will be crucial.
The broader trend here is that social media has become a means for brands to have fewer brands and more community. Fleets are no different. Strict branding guidelines were important when content inventory was limited, but as content options expand, so too do the opportunities for creativity.