Hear that? It’s the sound of social audio and it’s only getting louder. When we told you about the audio-only platform Clubhouse last year, it was the first of its kind. The app exploded onto the scene, amassing more than 2 million weekly average users in early 2021.
While Clubhouse’s growth has slowed down, other platforms have since adopted the model and rolled out their own audio chat functions, including Twitter Spaces and Reddit Talk. As more platforms make room for this emerging trend, marketers can take advantage of its growing popularity to connect with audiences in new ways.
The Goldilocks Effect
Social audio first gained traction during the pandemic, when communities were looking for ways to connect remotely. Now that in-person events are resuming, it still serves an important and unique function. Video is a great way to meet virtually, but we all now know that Zoom fatigue is a very real thing. When in-person events are either not possible or not ideal for the situation, social audio represents a third option to gather and communicate.
Audio has some of the same advantages of video in that it allows people to connect virtually in real-time, with the ability to effectively express emotion and nuance in a human, natural way. But an added benefit of audio-only platforms is they free people from screen fatigue and enable them to participate without worrying about their appearance or background environment. This distinction has led technology analyst Jeremiah Owyang to dub social audio the Goldilocks medium — the “just-right” dose of human connection at a distance without the downsides of video.
Opportunities To Listen and Laser-Target Your Audience
Another powerful advantage of social audio is the ability to zero in on your particular audience — or even smaller subsets of your wider audience. Reddit Talk, for example, is already enabled in more than 1,000 Reddit sub communities, ranging in topics as diverse as finance and crypto to K-pop and meditation.
Don’t think of it as a forum to directly market, though. Social audio is as much about listening as it is about speaking, so if you’re new to it, take some time to get to know the tone of the conversations in your industry and how you might be able to provide value. And keep in mind, authenticity is highly valued in social audio spaces.
For example, last year, cognac house Martell commemorated Black History Month by partnering with global marketing content creator Karen Civil. Together, they hosted weekly Clubhouse conversations with prominent black female CEOs and entrepreneurs as guests. Rather than use Clubhouse to directly market its product, Martell demonstrated the company’s commitment to activism and community involvement by creating a space to elevate these important discussions.
Social audio provides another opportunity for thought leadership and a chance to add your unique perspective to conversations your larger audience is already having.
Reimagined Live Events
In the past year, LinkedIn saw a 150% increase in streaming video Live Events. In 2022, the platform rolled out Audio Rooms, an audio-only option intended as a direct competitor of Clubhouse.
Social audio enables you to utilize the aforementioned Goldilocks effect by hosting live events in a new way. Even as people readjust to in-person events, there are circumstances in which people can’t meet in the same room. For instance, an event hosted through social audio is a solution for when you have attendees all over the country or the world. Even if your guests are local, an audio option allows them to participate when they might otherwise not have the time or inclination to attend in person. (Think — an afterwork networking event where someone might be more likely to tune in from their couch after a long day at the office).
With Twitter’s Ticketed Spaces, you can host exclusive conversations, share bonus content, and monetize your audience. As the host, you have control over who you invite, how many tickets are available, and the price.
Build Off Your Success
Another effective way to use social audio: use it to keep the momentum going when you have success with another marketing tactic. For example, if your tweet goes viral, Twitter Spaces gives a new avenue to continue the dialogue on the topic, potentially broadening its reach in the process.
If you host an in-person event, consider adding a post-event chat on social audio for participants to debrief and for those who couldn’t make it to participate.
Create Content for Multiple Channels
Although the focus of social audio is with live, dynamic conversation, most social audio platforms offer an option to record sessions, opening them up for future use. You could repurpose a particularly lively conversation as a podcast episode. If you get great, candid feedback from a customer, use the audio snippet as a mini-testimonial on your Instagram story. Or, turn the best insights from a social audio conversation into a blog post. The ability to repackage one piece of content for multiple channels gives you greater ROI. Don’t pass up a golden opportunity to efficiently stretch your marketing dollar.
Keep Your Ears Open
Social audio has emerged as a new frontier with exciting possibilities for marketers to connect with their audiences in new and organic ways. Keep your ear to the ground as this influential tool continues to grow and evolve and don’t miss out on its potential to transform your marketing strategy.
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