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Social Audio – How It Made Listening Great Again!

Aug 11 , 2021

Lately, the world has been making a lot of noise, literally! With the lockdown pushing us to find new ways of keeping us entertained, the concept of social audio is sweeping the world off its feet, just like how Snapchat and Tik Tok did in yesteryears. The idea itself is simple: you either enter a room discussing a topic, or you create a room for a topic you have in mind. And thereafter begins a conversation on a platform that is voice-based social media!

What seems like a simple idea seems to have caught fire in just a few months, with Clubhouse making a grand entry and being a favourite around the globe in just a matter of days. It first garnered attention when in February 2021, Elon Musk and later Mark Zuckerberg debuted on Clubhouse. Facebook and Twitter are working on their own versions of audio-only apps, which is a clear indication of how big the industry is going to be.

According to Tech Industry Analyst Jeremiah Owyang, social audio is the ‘Goldilocks’ medium of the 2020s, because it “represents the opportunity for social connection and empathy without the downsides of video.” Observe why many people opt to listen to educational podcasts to learn new things or use voice commands and smart speakers to initiate various tasks (from placing internet search queries to making lists), and you shall understand why one gets lenient towards social audio, which provides a frictionless user experience. Audio technology has now grown to a phase where you do more than listening or consuming content. On top of that, social audio also allows you to interact with others!

How does it affect individuals?

People find it easier to multitask when they are assisted with an auditory tool. It is one of the reasons why we love to talk or listen to music while we are doing something. But until now, one’s social presence was marked by images and videos, which is why very few can multitask when they are on any social media platform. Apps such as Spotify and Clubhouse brought with it allowed audio to be used to interact and connect in diverse settings — while cooking, running, or watching your children at a park.

While individuals find social audio as a fun platform, it also shines when it comes to personal branding. Successful creators have been found to possess commendable moderation skills, alongside consistency in both being proactive speakers and participants of conversations. Additionally, they are also found to be collaborating with fellow users to reach out further.

With the expectation of keeping top users on the app, Clubhouse had launched the Creator Accelerator Program, and now it has launched its first direct payment process, which will enable users to transfer funds to their favorite hosts, just like Patreon.

How can a brand benefit from it?

If you’re a company looking to explore opportunities for future benefits, here are few things you may try:

  • A Dedicated Spokesperson
    Businesses that want to integrate social audio into their marketing and customer care need trained spokespersons who can present, communicate, dialog, and listen with empathy, and are good conversationalists as well.
  • Live and Online Events
    People expect genuinity, and as they consume and participate in social audio, they expect nothing else. Currently, many live online events are using live video conferencing to connect participants with each other. Through social audio, brands can opt to engage in audio events over webinars to encourage a hands-off alternative.
  • Sponsorships
    Brands could identify leaders or influencers in the space and work together on partnerships, including a combination of sponsored rooms or series, just like you could see in a podcast
  • Personal brand and leadership
    Platforms such as Clubhouse have seen quite a number of executives and founders interact in rooms and topics as a way to further the reach of their brand and become spokespeople for the values of their company
  • Consumer research
    Topical rooms can be excellent sources of receiving relevant brand insights.

Now you might be wondering, is social audio the next big thing?

In just a span of months Clubhouse added millions of users and is currently valued around $4 billion. Platforms such as Discord are pushing themselves to reach broader audiences. Social Media giants such as Twitter, Facebook and Reddit are developing their own options like Twitter Spaces, Facebook social audio and Reddit Talk respectively. It is rather safe to say listening is going to be a lot more fun in the coming months.