Twitter is making a bigger claim on the “authentic,” “in-the-moment” approach that has been trending on social sites such as Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat.

The micro-blogging platform said it would begin allowing brands and other high-profile users to share Moments, which are a grouping of tweets, images and videos.

Moments are created using a special tool within Twitter that allows users to string together and arrange tweets. Not all brands have access, but in the coming weeks, “thousands more” creators will be getting access, and eventually all users will be able to create and share Moments.

Twitter introduced the new feature in October 2015 as a way for the casual user to make more sense of the platform and to see highlights from the day’s events. The first Moments, which are accessible through a “lightning” icon in the platform, were curated by an in-house team in addition to some news outlets such as BuzzFeed, Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times and Vogue.

“Moments have been created by our curation team and a select group of publishing partners, but it’s always been our goal to open up this creative canvas to more people,” said Twitter product manager Gaby Peña. “People come to Twitter to see, experience and comment about what’s happening as it unfolds.

“The stories and voices aren’t always expressed through a single tweet,” Peña said. “Moments allow people to capture and experience richer stories reflecting the diversity of tweets that, together, make Twitter so powerful.”

Some of the first brands to have access to Moments include Nike and Allure.

Allure’s Michelle Lee, for example, compiled a number of images and videos that took viewers through a day in the life of the editor in chief, from her morning beauty routine to a meeting over wine in the evening.

Nike compiled a number of baby pictures shared on athletes’ personal Twitter accounts, in addition to a video from a corresponding ad campaign.

Twitter’s curated Moments are accessible even to those who do not have an account, but a brand’s Moments are viewable only to account-holders. On the desktop site, a brand’s Moments live in a separate tab and are viewable on one page in a scrollable, chronological feed. On the Mobile app, a brand’s Moment is accessible through the brand’s Twitter feed, and a user can scroll left or right through all the images and videos.

Twitter Moments are comparable to Instagram’s new Stories feature, Snapchat’s ephemeral ethos and Facebook Live, which all encourage candid, real-time content.

VaynerMedia chief creative officer Steve Babcock acknowledged this trend in a Twitter post sharing the news. “At VaynerMedia, we’re all about marketing for the year we live in and testing new products,” Babcock said.

He said the new ability to make Moments “provides our brand partners with a great opportunity to seamlessly integrate into how real-time culture is being consumed today.”

Instagram stories, for example, let users share content that disappears after 24 hours. This new feature, introduced earlier this month, encourages more regular sharing and viewing, and alleviates the pressure among Instagram users to sharing only the perfect moments. Almost immediately, fashion, beauty and media brands gravitated to the feature, which is displayed prominently on the top of the Instagram app’s home screen.

Coach quickly posted a live tour of its new headquarters and the reaction, said Andre Cohen, who is the company’s president of North America and global marketing, was “fantastic,” with views that were 125 percent higher than the best-performing Snapchat story.

“We love real-time content’s disruptive storytelling nature,” Cohen said. “Content feels more real and less filtered. Our objective is to share important brand moments with personality and authenticity. These moments can include events, runway shows or a product launch.

“As every brand and influencer has higher follower counts and engagement on Instagram and Twitter versus Snapchat, it will be interesting to witness a potential significant content shift toward Instagram or potentially even Twitter,” he added.

Benefit Cosmetics, in beginning to use Instagram stories, polled consumers about what they’d most like to see, said Claudia Allwood, who is senior director of U.S. digital marketing. She said the beauty brand dove deeper into storytelling in coordination with its permanent Instagram posts, including more behind-the-scenes coverage of its San Francisco headquarters.

Benefit created its first Instagram story on the day the feature became available and received more than 50,000 views within the first hour. The brand drives engagement by having consumers comment with emojis or answer a question the brand has provided.

“We have found that our consumer is more heavily engaged on both Instagram and Snapchat, so we have prioritized our real-time efforts to those channels,” Allwood said. She said “irreverent storytelling and snackable tutorials,” including “first reveals,” influencer takeovers and lifestyle stories perform the strongest on Snapchat and allow Benefit to be more casual in its communication.

Allwood said Benefit, which has not yet created a Twitter Moment, primarily uses Twitter as a customer service portal and a communication tool with fans. And that could be a cue to Twitter to encourage brands to jazz up its usage.

In July, Twitter chief marketing officer Leslie Berland said people who don’t regularly use Twitter said they didn’t know what it was for and thought they had to tweet every day. To that end, it is increasingly positioning itself as more of a news source than a social network, and created a marketing campaign of videos and digital ads that convey the message that Twitter is a place to “see what’s happening” with “all the live commentary that makes Twitter unique.”

And today’s expansion of Moments is another move by Twitter, after Jack Dorsey was reinstated as ceo less than a year ago, to become more user-friendly and to be seen as a live news source.

Dorsey in April said live content, especially videos, would be an ongoing focus. “Twitter has always been the best place to see what’s happening now,” he said. “During these events is really when Twitter shines for marketers; these live audiences and the connection that marketers can have to them are rare in the online ad space and so we stand out from the rest of the market around these events.”

 

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