With new features, Twitter and Facebook target specific audiences

The micro-blogging platform huddles with the NFL to live-stream games, and the social network, which has long brimmed with videos and photos, hopes to better serve the visually impaired.

It’s hard for social media platforms to remain attractive to users.

To maintain relevance in an aggressively changing climate, brand managers for Twitter and Facebook have announced big plans.

Twitter: Enticing prime-time football fans

Attracting new users has been high on Twitter chief Jack Dorsey’s to-do list as the platform has struggled to expand its broader audience appeal. On Tuesday, Twitter put its money where its mouth is and announced plans to stream 10 Thursday night National Football League games during the 2016 season.

“Success with NFL games will also pave the way for more video deals that could include other professional sports, political content and eventually entertainment,” Anthony Noto, Twitter’s chief financial officer, told Bloomberg.

The seemingly affordable $10 million broadcast deal is the first of its kind for Twitter, and it gives the NFL a chance to experiment with the platform’s reach. The extended reach could provide a slew of new users for the brand amid a rebuild-and-repair phase.

“We did not take the highest bidder on the table,” Brian Rolapp, the NFL’s executive vice president of media, told Bloomberg. “The platform is built around live events already. We want to see how they use the unique platform, and syndicated tweets all over the Internet is going to be interesting.”

In a statement, an NFL spokesperson said additional websites will be able to embed Twitter’s live stream, which gives the platform and the NFL an increased digital reach beyond the 66 million Americans who currently use the service.

For Twitter’s chief operating officer, Adam Bain, the partnership sheds light on the brand’s strategic marketing future.

“[The] deal is great for our marketers, as Twitter controls some of games’ ad inventory. Can’t wait to bring [it] to market,” he tweeted. “[It] continues our strategy to build [the] world’s best daily connected audience that watches together and can talk with one another in real-time.”

Facebook: Welcoming the visually impaired

As a communications device, Facebook is highly visual—but brand managers recently announced an initiative to make the platform more accessible.

Here’s how the brand’s head of accessibility explained the new feature in Facebook’s newsroom:

With more than 39 million people who are blind, and over 246 million who have a severe visual impairment, many people may feel excluded from the conversation around photos on Facebook. We want to build technology that helps the blind community experience Facebook the same way others enjoy it. We’re introducing automatic alternative text…a new development that generates a description of a photo using advancements in object recognition technology.

From a branding standpoint, Facebook sets a high bar when it comes to expanding its user-base. For the company’s chief, Mark Zuckerberg, its newest feature affirms that.

“The new tool was part of the company’s goal of expanding social media access and making technology more helpful to people,” Zuckerberg told Time.

To have the widest possible reach, the brand will launch the feature throughout its army of products—Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp. Marketing managers have said they plan to expand the feature to other languages and platforms, but that it’s currently available only in English and for iOS users.

Facebook’s announcement emphasizes the brand’s mission to build communities and keep people connected.

“While this technology is still nascent, tapping its current capabilities to describe photos is an important step toward providing our visually impaired community the same benefits and enjoyment that everyone else gets from photos,” a press release stated.

What do you think of the social platforms’ plans, PR Daily readers? How might the features help Facebook and Twitter grow in the increasingly crowded digital industry?

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