Audio streaming has garnered a lot of attention recently. Chances are you’ve heard of Clubhouse, the audio streaming app used by the likes of Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg to do live talks (similar to live podcasts).
If you’re still waiting for an invite, don’t fret. Twitter has been building its own audio product, Twitter Spaces, and is planning to launch it widely on both iOS and Android late in April 2021.
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What is Twitter Spaces?
Twitter Spaces allows users to host and participate in live audio conversations, hosted within “Spaces” (aka audio chat rooms).
The product is currently in testing, and only shortlisted users can create their own Spaces right now. However, anyone on iOS and Android can join and listen in on a Space. You can stay up to date on Spaces and other Twitter updates here.
How to use Twitter Spaces
How to start a Space on Twitter
Note that at the time of writing, only approved beta testers can start Spaces. Once Spaces is publicly launched, everyone will be able to host a Space (though your account must be public).
You’ll start a Space the same way you write a tweet:
- On iOS, long-press the Compose button
- Select the Spaces icon (multiple circles in a diamond shape).
Or, you can:
- Tap your profile photo (like you’re creating a Fleet)
- Scroll right to find the Spaces option.
- When you’re ready to begin, tap Start your Space. Your microphone will be off by default, so you’ll need to turn it on by tapping the mic icon.
Image credit: James Futhey
Turn on captions
The first time you host or speak in a Space, Twitter will request your consent for having your speech captioned. This will allow users to view live subtitles while listening to a Space (they have to choose “show captions” within their Space settings).
As the Host, you have to turn on captions for your Space. We highly recommend turning them on to make your channel accessible and inclusive for all listeners.
Add a description
When creating your Space, you’ll have the option to add a description (max 70 characters). We recommend adding a short but specific line that mentions the topic that you’ll be speaking about and/or any guest speakers you’ll be featuring. The title of your Space will default to “[Your Twitter Name]’s Space”, which can’t be changed currently.
How to add speakers to Twitter Spaces
You can add up to 10 people (besides the Host) as speakers to a Space.
Choose from three options for speakers:
- People you follow
- Only people you invite
You can always change this later while hosting a Space. If you select “Only people you invite”, you can send invites to speakers via DM.
Image credit: @wongmjane
While a Space is live, you can approve requests to speak from listeners. Any speakers you approve will count towards the 10-speaker limit.
If you have any issues with speakers, you (as the host) can remove, report, or block them.
Note that if you block a user within a Twitter Space, you will also be blocking them on Twitter completely.
There is no limit to how many listeners can join a Space.
How to end a Twitter Space
Hosts can end a Space by tapping Leave in the top right (this will end the Space for everyone). Or, a Space will end if it violates any Twitter Rules.
After a Space has ended, it is no longer available to users. Twitter will keep a copy of the audio and captions for 30 days in case it needs to review the conversation for any rules violations.
During these 30 days (which extends to 90 if an appeal is filed), hosts can download a copy of the Space’s data, including a transcript if captions were turned on.
How to join a Space on Twitter
Anyone (both iOS and Android users) can join a Twitter Space as a listener.
Currently, there are two ways to join a Twitter Space:
- by tapping a purple circle around a host’s photo at the top of your timeline (same as viewing Fleets); or
- tapping a purple Spaces box within a tweet. Note that the Space must be live; you can’t join a Space after it has ended.
Image credit: @wongmjane
When you join a Space, your mic is muted by default.
Once in a Space, there are a few actions you can do:
- change your settings (such as turning on captions and sound effects),
- request to be a speaker,
- see the list of speakers and listeners,
- send emoji reactions,
- share tweets,
- and share the Space.
Pro tip: If you wish to continue using Twitter while listening to a Space, you can minimize it and it will dock to the bottom of your app. If you exit the Twitter app, the audio will continue playing.
How to find Spaces on Twitter
Discoverability is still a work in progress for Spaces. Per screenshots found by @wongmjane, Twitter is planning to create a dedicated tab within the app for Spaces, where you’ll likely be able to search and discover Spaces. For now, you can type “twitter.com/i/ispaces” within the mobile app search bar to find Spaces.
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) March 17, 2021
Spaces are public and can be joined by anyone (including people who don’t follow you).
Hosts and listeners have three options to share Spaces:
- send an invite via DM,
- share it on your timeline via a tweet,
- or copy the link to the Space to share as you please.
According to the Twitter Spaces team, they’re working on a scheduling feature for Spaces, which will make it much easier to promote and notify your followers ahead of time. Once you’ve scheduled a Space, you’ll be able to tweet a link to it and your followers will be able to set a reminder to join your Space once it’s live.
Image credit: @c_at_work
Twitter Spaces vs Clubhouse: how do they compare?
On the surface, Twitter Spaces and Clubhouse look pretty similar in design and function. But while Clubhouse may have been first out of the gate, Spaces has already surpassed Clubhouse in some aspects (more on features below). Early users seem to agree:
clubhouse feels like going to another person’s house for a social gathering & you’ll maybe be forced to interact with people you don’t know. twitter spaces feels like a small gathering you have at home with friends.
— anna melissa 🏀🐍✨ (@annamelissa) March 5, 2021
I know @TwitterSpaces is only in beta, but I’m so impressed by the audio quality and the emoji functionality that allows Listeners to participate more actively.
Can’t wait for more! https://t.co/NPoQo4G6B1
— ro kalonaros (@yoitsro) February 11, 2021
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of Twitter Spaces and Clubhouse (as of April 7, 2021) features:
It remains to be seen how Twitter Spaces’ full launch will impact Clubhouse’s popularity.
One huge difference between both platforms is their user base. Clubhouse is a new app that is building its base from scratch, whereas Twitter already has millions of daily active users, which gives Spaces a leg up.
1. The network is already here.
You don’t have to hurry over, land grab another new social channel and build up your following on a new audio network from scratch.
It’s already here @Twitter plus you get built in network effects.
— Lucas Bean 🗯 (@Luke360) March 31, 2021
5 ways to use Twitter Spaces for business
The question on every marketer’s mind right now: Should I be planning to integrate Spaces into my Twitter marketing strategy? Before answering that question, make sure you have a solid Twitter marketing strategy.
Using the newest bells and whistles won’t help if you don’t have a strong foundation, such as having genuine conversations with your followers and knowing your brand voice.
Once you’ve got that locked down, here are some thought starters for how your business can use Twitter Spaces.
1) Thought leadership
For many businesses (especially B2B ones), establishing your brand as a thought leader is one of the many benefits of using social media. Given the multi-speaker design of Spaces, it seems like a natural fit to use it for hosting industry panels.
Build your business’ thought leadership and offer value to your customers by organizing a Twitter Space with experts in your industry. Or, host a live webinar featuring one of your employees sharing their industry expertise.
Hosting a Q&A or ask-me-anything session would be a great use of Spaces’ live nature and request-to-speak features. Many businesses do these with Instagram Stories stickers, but using Twitter Spaces would create a much better experience for users who get to ask questions to a real person and get immediate satisfaction from hearing answers right away.
Consider hosting a Q&A session on Twitter Spaces to answer questions from customers about a new product or feature. Or, invite a celebrity or well-loved figure within your industry to do an AMA session (with your business as the exclusive facilitator).
3) Commentary on live events
Twitter is already hugely popular for hosting conversations on live events such as sports and TV shows/live broadcasts. If you’re a media business or publisher, your business could use Twitter Spaces to share commentary on relevant live events, inviting your community to join as speakers (like radio talk shows). We’re already seeing this in communities like NBA Top Shot, with publishers hosting Spaces to discuss the latest drops.
4) Game shows/giveaways
Another potential use case for Twitter Spaces inspired by radio: Host a live game show with your followers. It could be themed around a new research report, platform launch, or market expansion. Or if you’re launching a new product, have listeners compete in some fun trivia challenges and give your product away to the winner, rewarding them with the first experience of your new product.
5) Album/movie/product releases
What’s a better fit for an audio platform than music? For musicians, Twitter Spaces provides a great opportunity for promoting future album releases: Hosting a live album listening party with your biggest fans.
This idea could also be adapted for releases for movies, TV shows, apps – anything for which a business builds anticipation ahead of time. Then, on release day, invite your top fans or customers to a Space to celebrate and discuss the release. Make sure to share some exclusive audio content during the Space to reward listeners and excite people to join your future Spaces.
With the early popularity of Clubhouse and the imminent launch of Twitter Spaces, it looks like social audio is here to stay. With Twitter, Spaces feels like an improvement of its existing product: by adding a voice dimension to text-only conversations, it makes the platform feel more intimate and human.
Twitter Spaces is expected to launch publicly sometime in April 2021. Stay tuned!
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