Perspective

Social audio strengthening connections between people and brands on Twitter

Conversations are bigger, better, and more meaningful when everyone’s voice is heard. 

 

Conversations help us build meaningful relationships, solve common problems, and realise we’re all in this together. For Twitter to truly serve the public conversation, we need to give people more ways to express themselves on their own terms. That means going beyond 280 written characters, bringing even more of you into the conversation. 

For that, there’s Twitter Spaces, a place for real, live, sound-on conversations where anyone on Twitter can tap in and connect with each other over what’s happening in the world right now. It gives expression an added layer of humanity, making your voice heard, literally. And now with the launch of the designated Spaces Tab, featuring a curated list of active Spaces, a search function to find a specific conversation or upcoming scheduled Spaces, it’s never been easier to flex those vocal cords. 

For marketers, we see the future of social audio as brand conversations without barriers, and an opportunity for brands to listen, learn, and interact with people in real time. Most importantly, it’s an opportunity for brands to represent their best, most-human selves. 

Check, check. Is this thing on?

Why audio? Why now? 

Context can sometimes be a challenge when it comes to online communication. The choice, order, and timing of words, as well as the beliefs and values of people participating in a conversation, affect how we process text-based conversations. Although emojis help us clarify our intentions, there’s no substitute for the tone of human voice. Hearing an opinion can help us listen, better interpret, and truly empathise with one another. 

Recent studies have shown1 that when we hear someone’s voice, our brains release oxytocin — the hormone of love, trust, and empathy. (We all know the internet sure could use a lot more of all that!) 

Further, audio is increasingly finding its way into our daily lives, with 37 percent of Australians over 12 listening to podcasts every month and 26 percent listening every week.2 And thanks to audio, the physical gaps created by having to work remotely, including from rural and regional areas, are becoming narrower. These days, we’re even making friends with our smart devices and having conversations with our TVs and fridges. All of this is because technology has empowered our voices in new ways — and we’re only beginning to see the potential of what we can accomplish. 

Text will always be essential for quick comments, video will remains a powerful and intensive form of storytelling, and audio will become an easy way for people to build more fulfilling relationships.

Great things can happen when you use your voice.

Think back to your last dinner party. The best gatherings usually involve an atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable joining a vibrant, engaging conversation. 

That spirit of engaging conversation was the inspiration for Twitter Spaces, serving as the most authentic form of online connection. By facilitating greater empathy and accessibility, we believe live audio conversations empower people to be their realest, fullest selves. And the results were so successful that when we tested Spaces on a group of strangers, they told us it was like spending time with old friends. 

But to really get Spaces right, we harnessed the inspirational nature of three basic human needs: connection, identity, and growth. 

Connection: It should be easy and safe for everyone to find their communities, feel heard, and forge connections, whoever and wherever they are in the world, including marginalised communities.

Identity: When connections happen, people feel more comfortable being themselves and working through their identities together as a community. Identity also gives people an opportunity to explore and celebrate their passions, knowledge, and talents. And features like Tips and Ticketed Spaces further enable people to support and be a part of the communities where they feel the most authentic and comfortable. 

Growth: As with all good relationships, people should feel they’re learning, growing, and actualising themselves on Twitter. Right now, Spaces is being used to go deeper on a range of important topics like mental health, online literacy, and the future of work. And as we continue to innovate with Spaces, we aspire to further deepen our relationships with one another. 

Trust: Brands that work toward making a connection with audiences are seen as more authentic and credible. Because connection inspires trust. And being real and open with your audience through voice establishes trust in a deeper, more sincere way.

Influence: Twitter is a place where people and brands can interact with one another more freely. As social audio increases in popularity, brands should align themselves with Hosts who can expertly hold a conversation. Hosts who speak with a distinctive voice, personality, and who provide depth and focus on a given subject matter. Fanbases follow Hosts embracing such attributes, and through the content these creators advocate for, fans find themselves inspired and influenced. 

Community: If people on Twitter are taking the time to interact with a brand, it’s up to the brand to make it worth their time. Develop a deeper and more authentic connection with the audience by reimagining content and experiences in a live audio context. Then sustain that connection by engaging the community on a regular cadence so people learn when and how often to connect with you. 

So, what will you talk about? 

 

As marketers, now is the time to use your voices to engage your audiences in a whole new way ... or in a way that’s been around since the beginning of time, rather. 

We believe that Spaces can help people empathise with one another more by providing more opportunities to establish closer relationships — no matter how you choose to leverage it.

Voice is the new voice. Now, let’s start talking. 

1 Seltzer LJ, Prososki AR, Ziegler TE, Pollak SD. Instant messages vs. speech: hormones and why we still need to hear each other. Evol Hum Behav. 2012;33(1):42-45. 

doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2011.05.004

2 The Infinite Dial, 2021 Edison Research and Commercial Radio Australia

March 28, 2022
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