It is common knowledge that the internet is forever. Country superstar Brad Paisley even wrote a song about it, for God's sake. But Twitter, with its new fleet function, dares not agree.
Fleets will be rolled out to users worldwide in November 2020 and are a way to post content on Twitter that will disappear after 24 hours.
The reactions so far have been … mixed.
It's very meta how everyone stopped caring about fleets after 24 hours.
– Monty Ashley (@monty_ashley) November 27, 2020
ok all your dashing are excellent, it's like having access to an exclusive free old twitter anytime, and I ask you to keep it that way
– Hannah Malcolm (@hannahmmalcolm) November 27, 2020
I've been looking at 10 fleets since this feature came out
– Duke (@Dxke_fz) December 9, 2020
Finally updated Twitter. Subject: Fleets pic.twitter.com/PJTJ5sqSat
– Jenn Adams (@jennferatu) December 8, 2020
Seriously what are fleets?
It's like I'm on an episode of Star Trek where I missed a week because of a timing disruption
– Niall Paterson (@skynewsniall) November 27, 2020
To be fair, early tests in Italy, India, Brazil, and South Korea have shown that fleets encourage more activity, especially from newer users. Since these types of posts are specifically temporary, it has been a more convenient way for many to share their thoughts and opinions.
It will be interesting to see if fleets prevail or if the function like the posts themselves will eventually rise into thin air. In the meantime, if you're interested in getting some fleets (yes, it's a noun and a verb, keep up the good work!) For your business to float, read on.
(This post is available for more than 24 hours, don't worry.)
Bonus: Download the free 30-day plan to quickly grow your Twitter. A daily workbook to help you set up a Twitter marketing routine and track your growth so you can show your boss real results after a month.
What are fleets?
Like Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories, or the OG of Content Disappearance, Snapchat, Fleets are Twitter transient posts. After 24 hours, your fleet is gone forever.
Fleets can only be posted and viewed on Twitter mobile apps. There is no information on whether the feature will ever be available from the desktop.
Fleets can be text, gif, photo or video mail. You can also brisk your reactions to tweets. Fleets can be customized with a variety of background colors and text options. Express yourself! (For the day.)
The pressure to get those cute retweets and likes? Path! The discomfort of putting your comments on file? Path!
If you have something to say about the latest episode of MasterChef Junior (and we know you do) but are concerned about keeping a permanent record of your thoughts on Benni's omelette skills, Fleets are a great way to share your thoughts In that moment.
These are Twitter posts that are very fleeting. Get out of here tomorrow.
The thing that you didn't tweet, but wanted, but didn't get that close, was then close.
We now have a place for it – fleets!
Available to everyone starting today. pic.twitter.com/auQAHXZMfH
– Twitter (@Twitter) November 17, 2020
Use of Twitter Fleets
Having the latest version of the Twitter app on your phone or tablet can get volatile. It's like the fleets have been inside you all along, don't you get it ?!
How to log into Fleets
- Sign in to your Twitter mobile app.
- That's it! You are in!
At the top of the screen, you'll see a series of circles, similar to Instagram stories. On the far left is your own fleet symbol. What brings us to …
How to create a fleet
1. Click your fleet icon (the circle with your profile picture) in the top left of the home screen.
2. You are now in the creation mode! At the bottom of the screen, you can slide left or right between different types of content – choose Text, Camera Roll, Record or Video. (Note: You must press and hold the record button to record while video is your hands-free recording option.)
3. Next, you can resize your graphics, change the background color, or add extra text to make your liquor sweeter.
4. When you're ready to share, tap the Fleet button in the top right corner. Now it's in the world for the next 24 hours!
5. If you want to share a tweet (your own or someone else's) about Fleets, do the following:
- Tap the Share icon at the bottom of a Tweet.
- Tap Share a fleet.
- Now add additional text or emojis.
- In the top right, tap the Fleet button.
Note that anyone who can see your full profile can also see your fleets. So don't be too diabolical with your comments. Also good to know: Anyone who can send you a DM can respond to your fleets.
How to share a fleet
It is not possible to retweet or share a link to a fleet.
That being said, there is no indicator of whether someone is taking a fleet of screenshots. So this is a way to get around this limitation. Get sneaky, we're not here to judge.
How to watch a fleet
You can see fleets at the top of your home timeline. Click on one to view it. The next one in your list will automatically play when it's done.
You can see who has viewed your fleet (this includes accounts with Protected Tweets) by opening your fleet and tapping "Viewed By" at the bottom.
How to respond to a fleet
If you can send a DM to the user, a comment box will appear at the bottom of the fleet.
Tap the comment field to compose a direct message or click the emoji icon in the lower right corner to post a reaction to the original poster.
You can find the course of this conversation in your DMs. (However, this chat log won't go away after 24 hours, so play it cool!)
5 ways to use Twitter fleets for businesses
Just because a social media platform introduces a new feature doesn't mean you have to use it as always. Not all tools are useful for all purposes.
Before adding Fleets to your daily social media to-do list, it's helpful to take a break to see how it might fit into your overall social strategy. (Here's a free template if you haven't created one already!)
Fleets are also currently missing some of the more engaging features from competitors like Instagram Stories. No stickers, no way to add a link, no live streaming. At the moment it's a bit naked.
That being said, social platforms often give algorithm boosts to new features – we see you, Reels – so it makes sense to experiment if getting more exposure is important for your brand. Here are a few suggestions on how to get the most out of the ephemeral nature of fleets for your business.
1. Ask a question
The answers will go straight to your DMs. That way, you can connect to a dedicated user quickly and directly.
2. Share limited time offers
If you have a flash sale or get a quote while they're hot, the transitory nature of fleets can be a great way to get the word out without having to delete the post later.
3. Share customer content without clogging your feed
If you want to share a free tweet with the world (like when Ben Affleck raves about your dog food brand) but don't want to ruin the flow of your posts, share it in a fleet instead.
4. Stand out from the crowd
Twitter has 145 million active users every day. 500 million tweets go out every day. It is really easy for your message to get lost in the chaos.
Using this new format with fewer users is an easy way to stand out from the crowd. Instead of being swallowed up by the news feed, your post is at the top of the homepage. (Want more interesting Twitter stats? We have it all for you.)
5. Create an authentic atmosphere
Because fleets are temporary, there is an opportunity to be more casual and personal than a company Twitter feed might not.
This content isn't long so try to get more experimental and playful – maybe even share some behind-the-scenes information! – to test how your audience reacts.
Like tweets, fleets have to follow the code of conduct, so behave yourself out there. Fleets may be short-lived, but a bad reputation on Twitter is forever.
For more information on how to improve your Twitter marketing game beyond fleets, check out our full Twitter business guide here.
Manage your Twitter presence along with your other social channels and save time with Hootsuite. Schedule and publish posts, engage audiences, and measure performance from a single dashboard. Try it for free today.