What the Flock is a Fleet?

First it was LinkedIn, now it’s Twitter, seems everyone is jumping on the Instagram Story trend, although, of course they’ve giving it a different name and pretending it’s different just to confuse everyone.

But be under no illusion however, Twitter’s latest feature, which was rolled out in the UK on 17th November this year, is essentially Instagram Stories in disguise.

In one way we’re delighted, because the similar format of Fleets means this is potentially another easy content share.

In other ways, however, we’re totally dismayed about potentially adding yet another social media task to our ever expanding daily to-do list!

If you’re in 2 minds about this whole Fleet thing too, then read on to discover our key guide with everything you need to know about using fleets, what their value-add is and whether, crucially, they’re worth your time…

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What Are Fleets?

Twitter Logo

Fleets are essentially Twitter’s latest feature.

Much like Instagram Stories and before that, Snapchat, Twitter have recently copied LinkedIn down the road of offering a form of content that is less permanent and more light-hearted.

Like Instagram Stories, Fleets last for only 24hrs and appear in a series of profile bubbles that are now visible at the top of the Twitter timeline.

Trialled in various regions at the beginning of the year, Fleets are now available worldwide and intended as “fleeting thoughts” i.e. a content feature on Twitter which is seen as less profound and more casual.

For a platform which centres itself around trending topics, live news and relevance, the hope is that Fleets will really encourage more people to feel comfortable creating content that is more personal and that carries less pressure or weight, especially in terms of retweets or likes.

How Do They Work?

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Because one of the key ways in which Fleets are different to regular tweets is that they can’t be shared or liked.

In the often competitive world of Twitter content, the hope here is that fleets will help open a space on the platform for a healthier form of communication – ones that don’t allow for the trolling or public shaming so often seen as a problem on the platform.

And the main reason for this that Fleets only last for 24 hours and have no long-term profile presence.

Yes, like Instagram stories, there is a short shelf life to this new feature, which helps emphasis it as a place to share less meaningful, statement-like content.

Instead, it’s intended that users will feel more relaxed and at home using Fleets, knowing their content can’t be saved or shared and will shortly expire.

Like Stories, Fleets also make use of the vertical dimension and are ordered behind your profile bubble chronologically.

Responses t o your Fleet can be sent, but this is only via the “send a message” box at the bottom of the screen, or via an emoji sticker.

If you have open DM’s on Twitter, anyone can reply to your Fleet. Otherwise, with restricted DMs, only your followers will be able to respond.

How Do You Create One?

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Fleet content can include video, GIF’s or photos.

There’s also a text overlay facility you can use to add comments or critiques on top of your visual content.

Fleets can be created from scratch, uploaded or used to share and comment on Tweets.

To do this, go to the existing Tweet content you’d like to add to your Fleets, hit the share icon and then select the “Share in a Fleet” button.

You then get the option to add text (with varying alignments, colours and styles) to the tweet before pressing the Fleet button and sending your content live.

Otherwise, to create a Fleet from scratch, hit your profile bubble in the top left of your Twitter home feed and choose from text, camera roll, as well as live photo and video options.

Videos can be up to 30 seconds long; after that, Twitter chops them into sections. This means that any video content over the 30 second mark will be carried on as a separate Fleet.

It’s worth pointing out here that if you’re already creating content for IG Stories, Reels, LinkedIn Stories, TikTok or Snapchat, you can easily just upload that to your Fleet feature too.

Simply use the Camera Roll facility to bring your short, personal and vertical content from other platforms across to Twitter.

Twitter has said Stickers and Live elements are soon to follow for Fleets, so get ready for those as well!

What Are They For?

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We’ve kinda covered this already, but essentially Fleets are designed to tackle 2 of the main problems Twitter has when trying to encourage more users to create content.

The first of these is that many people perceive Twitter content as needing to be weighty, profound, highly relevant and very on-trend.

This puts many people off creating content for, or even using, this platform.

Fleets are designed to buck this trend with content that is more personal, relaxed and informal.

Secondly, trolling and public shaming can be a big problem on Twitter, so that fact that Fleets can’t be shared, liked or publicly commented on is aimed at promoting healthier methods of engagement across this channel.

This is further emphasised by the fact restricting your DM’s will mean only your followers can respond to your Fleets.

It’s also worth pointing out that Fleets have no profile presence – users will have to click on your profile bubble at the top of their timeline to see your content.

With text overlay and video possible, Fleets are also geared to more low-key commentary that is perhaps more throwaway, humorous or grand.

This fits with trends we are seeing across social media platforms generally, where the movement is away from highly curated content towards more low-key and everyday conversations.

In the year of a pandemic, this has only been emphasised.. and we couldn’t be more glad!

What Are the Pros and Cons?

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There are several pros to using Fleets, not least that it will allow your Twitter followers to see that more personal side of your business.

As we always say, this massively encourages consumer or client trust and creates the sense of a personal relationship across digital technology restrictions.

More personal content is a crucial way for you to build trust and integrity among your (potential) clients.

It’s also likely that Twitter will reward users of Fleets in their overall algorithm, as Instagram does with Stories and Reels.

We pufflings (who never seem to have enough time in the day) also like that we can directly share vertical and short shelf-life content from other platforms quickly and easily to Fleets, therefore saving a few less flapping of our wings!

The cons are, of course that despite the ability to share content, this is yet one more platform feature we’ve potentially got to start thinking about!

The other major con is that while Fleets go some way to promoting better and safer communication across Twitter, there is nothing to stop someone sharing your Fleet by potential screenshotting it and then tweeting it to a larger audience.

Sadly, you’ll receive no notification of this, unless you have been tagged.

The other lack of notifications Twitter offers is when a Tweet of yours has been shared to Fleets by someone else, exposing it to an audience you have no control over.

Of course, this can be beneficial as it spreads your reach and has a potentially positive impact, but it can also be worrying as you are not even notified of when this happened, meaning you can’t track any impact, positive or negative.

In fact, the lack of analytics around Fleets in general is a bit of con in our opinion, as it makes tracking any aims or goals stemming from its use near impossible.

Will Fleets Last?

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So will Fleets last?

This is a really great question and an absolutely crucial one to try and ascertain if you are deciding whether to plough resources into this new platform feature.

For us, the decision to do so, would largely be based on your current marketing goals and use of Twitter.

Let’s not forget (in a world of finite resources and time) that we really only suggest ploughing social media time into Twitter if you’re working on a B2B strategy.

This means if you’re targeting other businesses, rather than consumers, with your marketing behaviour.

If this is the case for you, Fleets may well prove effective in helping your networking goals, showing behind the scenes content at your company, or generally adding to the impression your company is progressive and ahead of the curve when it comes to digital trends.

While Fleets may be useful for you in any of the above instances, the fact they so heavily emulate other platforms does worry us.

Instagram Stories is really the king of the B2C market here and Twitter will have to push Fleets hard if they want to go anywhere near to catching up with that.


So that’s our thoughts on the latest Twitter feature.

We hope we’ve given you some more info about what the flock a Fleet is, as well as you helped you decide if you want to integrate this latest development into your marketing strategy.

Any questions about Fleets, Twitter marketing and B2B marketing in general, don’t hesitate to get in touch: [email protected]