Twitter announced new features this week that have the ability to transform the way businesses can communicate with their audiences and each other. On Tuesday, Twitter added Direct Messaging with more than one person at a time and the ability to shoot, edit and share video directly from the mobile Twitter app. Both of these services represent Twitter moving to build engagement opportunities into its product.
The Group DM function allows Twitter to more closely resemble an instant messaging app, and allows people to start a group DM with followers, regardless of whether those followers follow each other or not.
New! Use Direct Messages to speak privately with a group of up to 20 people. Share Tweets, show emoji & be yourself. https://t.co/8giGhC6OO0
— Twitter (@twitter) January 27, 2015
Ultimately a group DM, which can include up to twenty people, offers Tweet sharing and supports emoji, could act as a way to keep users within Twitter’s own network. Sidebar conversations about things happening in real-time on Twitter can take place in the app, instead of on a third-party platform, like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.
The video feature allows users to record videos up to 30 seconds in length right from the app. This feature also allows you to edit video using basic cuts. Currently, iPhone app users can upload from the camera roll as well (update coming to Android users soon).
So, what does this all mean for brands?
Twitter’s group DM does not penalize brands and prohibit them from having real-time communication with their audiences, unlike some other platforms. If a customer has a complaint, question or concern, the conversation can move from the public Twitter feed into a lengthier and private DM. Responses that are not necessarily relevant to the entire following can be addressed in a private conversation and free up the news feed from public responses.
The group DMs also have the ability to allow businesses to communicate directly with a large group of people in their workplace, which is a similar concept to what Facebook At Work is trying to establish, by connecting coworkers through social media. Twitter’s simpler platform allows for real-time communication between individuals with the ability to share tweets that concern their business or industry and other relevant ideas in a private group setting.
Native video focuses on keeping users within the Twitter app and provide inline content viewing without users having to go to another destination. Twitter’s video content restrictions also seems to be a good length for advertisers looking for new ways to reach audiences on the service. The 30 second length is twice as long as Instagram videos and five times as long as a Vine, allowing for more in-depth and informative video content for viewers. Businesses can use this new accessibility, in the same way Neil Patrick Harris announced exclusive information about the upcoming Oscars, to inform audiences that follow them of new products, services and ideas. This in-app sharing ability also allows businesses with visual elements to provide their audiences with real-time video from events and share it with their followers.
Ultimately, Twitter’s new features allow businesses to provide more information in real-time with their audiences, whether that be through video or private messages.