Sunday, January 24th, 2021
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It’s likely that social media marketing plays a vital part in your brand strategy. If that’s the case, you’re probably always on the lookout for new platforms and product features that enable you to interact with and engage your audience in different ways. This means you should know about Twitter Spaces.
Hot on the heels of launching Fleets, Twitter announced the initial rollout of Spaces, a new social experience built around audio-only chat rooms. It’s currently in the private beta phase, but it’s already clear that Spaces could offer numerous benefits to brands when it’s more widely available.
Here’s my take on Twitter’s latest feature.
What Is Twitter Spaces?
If you’ve got your finger on the pulse of social media, you’ve likely heard of a buzzworthy platform called Clubhouse, an ultra-exclusive, invite-only, audio-based social app that’s been a big hit with A-listers and Silicon Valley leaders alike.
Users have described it as akin to a live-action, free-flowing podcast where you can jump in and out of different rooms, listening to or joining in with conversations on a vast range of topics.
Spaces is effectively Twitter’s take on Clubhouse, except that it’ll (eventually) be available to everyone, not just a select few.
However, whereas Clubhouse has drawn criticism for its light approach to moderation, which makes it a potential breeding ground for online harassment, Twitter has made Spaces big on inclusivity. Its vision is to replicate the “magic feeling” of a “bomb dinner party,” where you don’t know all the guests, but everyone feels comfortable at the table.
At the time of writing, Twitter Spaces is still in the beta testing phase, with only a couple hundred users onboard, predominantly from groups prone to experiencing harassment and trolling. However, the initial reception has certainly been positive.
How Does Twitter Spaces Work?
Now, let’s get into the nuts and bolts of Twitter Spaces.
Only those in the beta testing group can create Spaces, but anyone on iOS can join one. Twitter promises to expand the list of people who can create Spaces over time. When you get access, you’ll be able to start Spaces in two ways:
- By long-pressing the Compose button, and then tapping the Spaces icon on the far left
- Or by tapping your profile image in Fleets, scrolling to the far right, and tapping Spaces
While there’s no ceiling on the number of listeners to any given Space, the number of speakers is limited to 10. However, Twitter prefaces this with the words “for now,” which suggests it may increase the capacity for speakers down the line.
The host of a Space can determine who’s allowed to join with speaking privileges by choosing from:
- People you follow
- Only people you specifically invite to speak (invites are sent as direct messages)
Once a Space is up and running, the host has the power to remove, report, and block participants, and they’re also the only person who’s able to end a session.
Now, more on that bit about removing, reporting, and blocking. In an ideal world, Twitter Spaces would be self-policing, with trolls immediately kicked out and reported for infringements, but that’s not the case here.
Twitter says it’ll retain copies of all Spaces for 30 days after they end, giving its team the chance to review the session for violations of the Twitter rules. If they find any violations, they’ll increase the timespan to 90 days to allow people to appeal if they believe a mistake has been made.
For as long as Twitter retains any given Space, the host can download a copy of the full session data. They also have the option to download a transcript of the session, as long as they enable transcriptions.
While it’s still early days, the Twitter Spaces team has also unveiled a handful of other features that are in testing, including:
- Hand gesture-style reactions
- Live transcriptions, although Twitter says it’s working with a “very early version” of this feature
- Sharing tweets in Spaces
How Organizations Can Use Twitter Spaces
Now you know what Twitter Spaces is, and you understand a bit about how it works. How can brands use this new feature to take their Twitter marketing to the next level?
These are my early impressions; I’d like to qualify them by noting that more use cases may become apparent once Spaces leaves the beta phase and gets rolled out more widely.
Gain Audience Feedback
Audience feedback is super valuable. It helps us iron out creases in our products, road test new ideas, and measure consumer sentiment toward our brands.
Traditionally, gathering feedback was all about running focus groups, but those in-person sessions take a lot of time to organize and, by design, only reach a tiny proportion of your audience.
As a result, brands have increasingly moved toward online customer surveys, often through tools like Google Forms. Surveys help you reach a much wider audience and make it easier to gather quantitative data that you can track over time.
However, surveys aren’t perfect, either. In particular, they lack the face-to-face, human touch that makes focus groups so effective. It’s easy to miss the nuance behind an answer when it’s typed into a form rather than delivered as part of a two-way conversation.
Twitter Spaces could be the perfect balance between the two:
- They’re digital, so you can reach many people without dragging them to a physical location.
- They allow for real back-and-forth conversation, which helps you get much richer, more nuanced feedback.
What’s more, because Spaces are part of Twitter, you can use social listening to track down the ideal people for your digital feedback sessions. Monitor Twitter for mentions of your brand, products, competitors, and other relevant keywords, and send invites to the most relevant, engaged users.
Roll Out New Features or Products to Followers
When it comes to gaining general audience feedback, it’s helpful to look beyond your existing customer base. This can help you understand how non-customers perceive you versus your competition.
However, when you’re planning new features or products, it makes sense to stay closer to home because the most valuable feedback to help guide those decisions will come from the people who use your product day in, day out.
Again, Twitter Spaces can assist you here, provided you have a decent social following. Set up a Space, add your followers, and then ask for their feedback. It’s faster and easier than sending out a survey, and it allows you to leverage your existing audience on Twitter.
Host Discussions on Trending Topics in Your Industry
Panel discussions offer a double win for brands:
- They position you as a thought leader with your finger on the pulse of your industry. Why does this matter? Research from Edelman found that thought leadership strengthens your reputation and positively impacts request-for-proposal invitations, wins, pricing, and post-sale cross-selling.
- They allow you to invite potential prospects to join your panel, giving you a chance to network with them, demonstrate your expertise, and nurture your relationship.
Additionally, Twitter Spaces could be an excellent substitute for in-person panel talks because it’s easier (and more cost-effective) to invite a group of people to a Space than to a physical event.
Because the host has complete control over who joins a session and who’s allowed to speak, and they have the ability to kick people out if they’re not playing by the rules, Twitter Spaces could be ideal for discussing trending topics in an environment that’s free from abuse and trolling.
Interact With Followers in Real Time
Once upon a time, brand communication was pretty much a one-way street. You’d launch a new campaign, sit back, and hope your audience laps it up.
That’s not the case anymore. Today, people expect genuine, two-way interactions with brands. Not only that, but 64% of consumers and 80% of business buyers expect those interactions to happen in real-time.
That sort of live engagement just isn’t achievable through most platforms, but Twitter Spaces makes it possible. Your audience can tune into your live discussions, react, and potentially even get involved in the conversation (as long as they’re selected as a speaker).
However, it goes way beyond just engaging your existing audience.
Because people in your Space are allowed to invite other participants, you can encourage your followers to share it with their followers, thereby getting you in front of a much wider audience.
With Spaces, Twitter appears to have retained many of the elements that made Clubhouse such a hit while addressing the harassment concerns. That makes it a safe and palatable space for brands to build and nurture a highly engaged Twitter following.
Any platform, tactic, or tool that helps marketers break down the barriers between brands and audiences is worthy of attention, so I’m looking forward to learning more about Twitter Spaces when the private beta ends and it gets a full launch.
Do you want help with your social media strategy? Contact us!
What do you think about Twitter Spaces? Perhaps you’re part of the beta trial and have hands-on experience, or maybe you’re just excited to try it out yourself. Either way, let me know in the comments!
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You need a solid online presence in this day and age. The best way to get this is to start a blog, a website, or an ecommerce store.
But before you can launch any of this, you’ll require a domain name, along with other things like a web host and a website builder.
But what exactly is a domain name?
Do you recognize 74.125.739.116? Probably not.
But I bet you know Google.com.
74.125.739.116 is Google’s numerical IP address, and since remembering such complicated numbers would be difficult, to say the least, domain names were introduced.
A domain name is particularly useful for establishing your brand.
You see, no two domain names can be exactly alike. They can be similar, but never the exact same.
As a result, you get the opportunity to create a distinctive online presence exclusive to you and your business.
What’s more, you don’t have to pay to register your domain! There are several ways you can get a free domain name.
Your 2-Minute Cheat Sheet
Want a quick answer on how to get a free domain name? I’ll cut to the chase.
If you’re planning to start a blog or launch a website, you’ll need a web hosting company. When it comes to making a choice, I suggest you choose Bluehost.
Not only does the company provide excellent speed and uptime reliability, but it also offers free domain names. Moreover, unlike other companies that extend this service only as long as you are their customer, Bluehost won’t take away your domain name.
Here’s what its terms and conditions state:
“If you’re dissatisfied with your experience at Bluehost, you won’t lose your domain name. You’ll be free to transmit or simply point it elsewhere at your convenience. You retain ownership of your domain until the end of its registration period unless you elect to extend it.“
Talk about a company with good ethics.
To create your Bluehost account, click here. The whole process takes about 60 seconds, and you’ll have a web host as well as a free domain.
If this doesn’t appeal to you, you can also consider using a free subdomain.
This is where website builders like WordPress and Wix come into play. The only catch is that instead of having a .com site like mine (NeilPatel.com), you‘ll have something like yourusername.wixsite.com/yoursiteaddress or yourdomainname.wordpress.com.
This isn’t an ideal situation. But it can be a viable option for when you want to experiment with free features of the website builder.
And that’s it! Now, if you want to learn how the whole thing works in more detail, read on.
Step 1: Go to Bluehost’s Website
The very first thing you need to do is head over to Bluehost.
Select Hosting from the top menu bar.
You must be wondering why you shouldn’t click on Domains when it’s a free domain that you want. This is because you don’t want to bundle your hosting plan with domain registration.
You’ll end up paying for your domain, which is NOT what we’re aiming for.
Just trust the process.
Step 2: Select Your Hosting Type
Bluehost offers you three types of hosting plans: Shared Hosting, Dedicated Hosting, and VPS Hosting.
I would recommend shared hosting if you’re a newbie just starting out.
Not only are the plans under this category cheap, but they can also accommodate the needs of low-traffic sites quite efficiently.
It allows multiple websites to share the same server resources. This is the main reason why shared hosting is so affordable, but it may also potentially cause slow loading times and performance issues.
This hosting type is good for someone who doesn’t expect high traffic volumes and lacks technical knowledge.
VPS hosting stands for virtual private service hosting. This category includes plans for websites that want better performance and can accommodate a higher price point.
The good thing about this hosting type is it guarantees useful resources to you exclusively. Technically, you still share a server with other websites, but you have a “virtual“ server that includes dedicated resources.
You can consider this hosting type if you expect sudden spikes in traffic volumes.
Dedicated hosting gives you exclusive access to an entire server reserved for your website alone. You don’t have to share it with anyone.
Understandably, you get premium performance with this subscription plan–but you have to be ready to pay its premium price, too.
This could be a good option if you’re a large enterprise that regularly handles high traffic. It’s also great for those who want complete control over the hosting environment.
For this guide, I’ll suggest you choose shared hosting. However, if you prefer other plans, you can go ahead with them as well.
Don’t worry! You get a free domain with any Bluehost plan.
Step 3: Select Your Web Hosting Plan
Bluehost offers four different shared web hosting plans: Basic, Plus, Choice Plus, and Pro.
I’ll suggest opting for the Basic entry-level plan as it’s cheaper and would be better suited to beginners.
It’s very budget-friendly, with plans starting at just $2.95 per month. However, you have to pay three years in advance if you want to get this price. This does sound scary at first, but believe me, it’s worth it.
If you plan on launching a larger site for your business, I would recommend the Choice Plus plan. Although you have to pay more money, the extra features are well worth it.
After that, click on Select under the plan that you decide to proceed with.
Step 4: Register Your Domain
After you choose a subscription plan, Bluehost will ask you to set up your domain.
This is where you’ll get two options:
- Create a new domain
- Use a domain you own
Select the “Create a new domain“ option. This will allow you to search for available domains.
Enter the domain that you want to buy into the search bar and choose your domain extension. Your options include the following:
… you get the drift.
I’d encourage you to select a .com extension as it looks more professional and helps you appear more reliable to your visitors.
The only time that I’d consider an alternative domain extension is if the .com extension is already taken and you are absolutely set on the name.
The other reason you might consider an alternative domain extension is when the domain is out of your budget. Honestly, there are plenty of extensions cheaper than a .com domain, but sometimes the extra money is worth it.
Otherwise, .com is your best bet.
Having a .com domain is particularly important for businesses—small blogs, personal sites, and side hustles may be able to save a few bucks here.
Step 5: Finalize the Deal
After you’ve chosen an available domain name, all that is left is to create your Bluehost account and finalize your plan terms.
Pay careful attention to the Package Extras section. You don’t need everything you see, but make sure you check the Domain Privacy + Protection option.
Doing this will conceal your name, email, phone number, and address from appearing on a public database. The $0.99 per month is worth it to keep hackers away if you ask me!
And you’re done!
You now have an excellent hosting plan as well as a free domain. If you have not already started then start now at Bluehost.
For the sake of comprehensiveness, I’ll also discuss two other ways of getting a free domain. Although I don’t recommend them, it’s always good to know all of the options.
Option 1: Using a Free Subdomain
Several website builders offer subdomains, which is a personal domain that exists within an existing domain name.
Remember that movie Inception where Leonardo DiCaprio dreams that he is in a dream? Something similar happens here.
You end up getting a domain name within a domain name.
Site builders like Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly offer subdomains to their users. They have a free trial as well, so if you like their services, you can purchase their premium plans that include everything you require to build, launch, and manage a professional business website.
Out of the several perks on offer like drag-and-drop site builder, web hosting, templates, and search engine optimization (SEO) tools, you also get a free domain name.
But why do I still say this method is not ideal?
Let’s discuss this with an example.
Imagine you use a free website builder like Wix. You won’t have to pay for a domain, yes, but your side will have the Wix subdomain. It’ll look something like this:
Suppose your Wix username is “My Stunning Website 123,” and the domain name you want is myblogsite. Here’s what you’ll get:
Think about it: Does that look professional? Have you seen any credible website have a domain like this?
That is why I’d only suggest this method if you want to experiment with your website builder’s free features or new updates.
Hostinger and WordPress are your other options, and luckily, neither are as invasive as Wix.
- The format for a free WordPress subdomain is: yourdomainname.wordpress.com
- The format for a free Hostinger subdomain is: example.000webhostapp.com
This is a good option for situations when one cannot spend money, but it is not a viable long-term strategy. You want your domain name to be memorable and short–both of which aren’t possible when you use a subdomain.
The fact that your visitors won’t remember your domain or find it hard to remember is another disadvantage.
Option 2: Using a Free Domain Name Registrar (Not Recommended)
I’m only discussing this option for the sake of comprehensiveness of this article and wouldn’t recommend it.
You can get a domain name from a free domain registrar, but it’s still unsuitable.
You see, the truly free domains use untrustworthy-looking extensions. For instance, you get .tk instead of .com. Your prospective customers would much prefer working with a domain name that reads yourbusiness.com instead of your yourbusiness.tk.
While it is entirely free, it looks unprofessional and untrustworthy and is even susceptible to hackers. Plus, you don’t own the domain name, which also defeats the purpose of launching a blog or a website.
Several domain registrars will give you a free domain in exchange for running ads on your website. There is nothing wrong with running ads, but this just isn’t the best way to do it.
You don’t have any control over the ads (the kind of ads played, the length, etc.) or their placement. As a result, your visitors may not have the best experience on your website. This may even damage your SEO ranking as well.
In fact, even if you view the situation with a more optimistic viewpoint, it still isn’t viable.
Suppose you’re successful in driving high traffic to your website, and the ads get one million views. You won’t receive a single penny from those ads–all you get is a free domain.
Not a fair trade, right?
If you’re seriously toying with the idea of running ads on your website, I’d advise you to do so through a legitimate advertising network as it can be a great source of income. Don’t exchange ads for a free domain.
Important: Don’t Forget to Renew Your Domain!
Domains expire. This can take one year, two years, or three years based on the package you buy.
Setting up a website or blog is hard work. You put in a lot of effort to find the perfect URL, design a website, and publish relevant content on it, among several other things that help it rank high and attract customers.
Just imagine the horror when you get up and realize some random stranger has bought it. The reason? You forgot to renew your domain.
This is why you must understand the importance of renewing your domain. Many people have made this mistake in the past, and it cost them dearly.
For instance, during one presidential election cycle, Jeb Bush and his team forgot to renew their domain JebBush.com, which Donald Trump successfully purchased and redirected Bush’s visitors to his own presidential election website. It was a stellar business move on Trump’s part, but a disaster that Bush’s team could’ve easily averted.
Make sure domain renewal is marked on your calendar a month in advance. You can also put your domain on auto-renewal just to be safe.
Bluehost is the best way to get a free domain name–one that you won’t have to surrender even if you switch web hosts. The other way is to use a subdomain by using reliable and reputable web builders like WordPress and Wix.
Within seconds you’ll have a reliable web hosting service as well as a new domain for free. Trust me, saving a few dollars isn’t worth the hassle of looking unprofessional, running a spammy website, or getting hacked.