Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces, and More: Social Audio Hath Risen!
The pandemic has successfully crunched the lag time between the development of new technologies and their adoption. And, social audio apps and platforms are a case in point.
When people started staying home, the need for connectivity and a shared experience became pressing. This led to a mammoth increase in the number of social media users. As of January 2021, 53.6% of the global population was using social media – a 13.2% increase from last year.
The trends are even more mind-boggling for social audio apps in particular. Social audio platforms saw 20 million+ downloads up until April 2021. And this trend was dominated by (yep, you guessed it right) Clubhouse.
So we thought of taking you through a quick guide on the various social audio platforms that have people hooked. Further, we will discuss how you can leverage them.
We also got some marketers to talk about their experiences on these platforms and why they adopted social audio as part of their marketing strategy.
And lastly, we’ll cover the challenges of using social audio platforms and the way forward. Let’s get started!
What Are Social Audio Platforms?
Social audio apps and platforms are social media platforms that are predominantly audio-only. Think of this as a virtual conference or event where every “room” has a new discussion going on.
Just like we have breakout rooms in virtual conferences, these social audio apps such as Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces, and Facebook Live Audio Rooms allow you to host rooms, engage in conversations, or simply listen to ongoing discussions.
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If you think Clubhouse was the first social audio platform, you are definitely mistaken. However, what Clubhouse got right was the timing. As people craved human interaction and FOMO was at its peak, Clubhouse dropped as a panacea.
Once you score an invite, you can access the platform with multiple ongoing discussions in rooms. You can simply choose topics that you are interested in. Its content suggestions work like any other social media algorithm, i.e., based on relevancy, content you engage the most with, and the people you already follow.
Clubhouse also offers multiple in-app capabilities. The Clubhouse Backchannel is a private messaging function just like direct messages on Instagram and Messenger on Facebook where you can send and receive texts from people.
Additionally, you can also choose to host multiple types of rooms:
– Closed room: only for users you select
– Social room: open to users you follow
– Open room: open to the public
How Is Clubhouse Performing in the Social Audio World?
Clubhouse’s popularity shot up due to the presence of a certain “robot” on their platform (you know who we’re talking about). But with time they saw an inevitable dip in downloads and new signups and people were quick to write a eulogy.
While numbers may have stabilized, Clubhouse also came under the scanner for not regulating conversations on their platforms. Allegations anointing hate speech, misinformation, racism, and much more were leveled against some of the users of this platform.
Moreover, privacy concerns were also raised around the use of contact information on this platform. A user has to give access to their contacts while signing up. Furthermore, deleting your account on Clubhouse isn’t an easy process either.
Host of Opportunities
Controversies aside, Clubhouse showcases huge potential in an audio-only world. It recently launched an accelerator program for creators aimed at encouraging creators and micro-influencers by giving them resources to grow on the platform. This, apart from their novel ways to emphasize their brand identity. It encourages conversations around artists by changing its app icon. The aim behind this strategy – valuing community.
2. Twitter Spaces
Riding in the audio wave, Twitter came up with its own social audio platform – Twitter Spaces. Much like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces allows users to have live audio conversations on their platform by participating in “Spaces”.
Since it is a part of the Twitter ecosystem, updates on new rooms are accessible on your feed (of course if you follow those people).
Moreover, increased privacy, regulations, and the trust factor that Twitter offers trumps Clubhouse’s stand on these matters. Safety controls allow hosts to control the mic settings of other members in the space.
With regard to technical capabilities, Twitter Spaces seems to have better audio and the provision for live subtitles while someone’s speaking. The best part? You don’t have to interrupt your scrolling while listening. There are a bunch of other features offered by Twitter Spaces that you can check out here.
3. Facebook Live Audio Room
Facebook Live Audio Room is another social audio platform creating hype.
Like all other social audio platforms, Facebook is offering more or less all the existing features. Except, of course, the clout that Facebook already has offers additional benefits. You can expect to see Grammy award winners, professional players, journalists, and more. Imagine sharing the same audio room with your celebrity crush!
Currently, only public figures and certain Facebook groups are allowed to host rooms on this social audio app. At a time there can be 50 speakers while there’s no limit in the number of listeners.
Facebook Live Audio Rooms also offer private and public room capabilities, which allows only members and members + visitors to listen to the conversations, respectively.
Additional technical features offered by Facebook Live Audio Rooms include, “raise a hand” feature to join a conversation and the availability of emojis and reactions.
And since all social media platforms are going creator first, they are finding novel tricks to boost creators and enable earning opportunities for them. Facebook allows listeners to buy “Stars” which bumps up those listeners to an apparent “front row” where they will be noticeable to these stars and celebs.
Phew, that’s a lot going on here. And so much to offer!
4. Spotify Greenroom
Greenroom, previously known as Locker Room, is another live audio platform in the running. Spotify with its leverage on the music space did well to venture into this space.
Some of the key features and one-ups that Spotify might have on these platforms include the “Gems”. Gems are something that listeners can offer the speaker if they like their content. Gems appear on the speaker’s Greenroom profile and are a great way to get some clout on these platforms.
Other than the above features, Greenroom offers all the features that other live audio platforms have. Access to interactions with celebrities, browsing topics of interest, and well, of course,the creator fund to help creators monetize their presence on these platforms.
Moreover, there are the usual features of the discussions tab within the Room, which, essentially, is just a space to chat. But unlike Facebook’s Live Audio Room, anyone can start a room in Spotify’s Greenroom.
That’s some information on these platforms. But are you still skeptical about trying these out? Well, we asked the top marketers for their opinions and experience on using social audio. So, if you’re dicey, read on!
Are Marketers Adopting Social Audio Apps and Should You?
We asked some seasoned marketers and founders if they are hopping on the social audio bandwagon. We got varied responses across multiple industries.
1. Aaron Agius, the Managing Director & Co-Founder of Louder Online
“As a global digital agency, we are always trying to monitor the latest trends and keep up with them. Social audio platforms are getting more and more popular, and we’re considering the best way to approach the field. For now, it’s still too early to tell how good the results will be, so we are taking it slow.”
3. Brad, the Founder & CEO of SpinupWP
“People are getting more interested in passive audio consumption. Clubhouse taps into this trend. We have found that people often click through to our social media pages after a session on Clubhouse. Clubhouse is a useful tool to grow our social media following and expose potential customers to our services.”
4. Nathan, the Marketing Director at DiggityMarketing
“It’s good for social media influencers, celebrities, Youtubers, and other famous people who want to connect with their fans. The audio-only features let them converse with each other and make fans feel as if they are a little closer to their idols. Unless these applications become more mainstream and available for everyone to use, they won’t be of much use for us, marketers. But in the future, if they start offering any form of advertisement options, I would definitely love to use them for improved customer experience and marketing.”
5. Deidre Woollard, the editor at Millionacres.com
“We already have a podcast and video spotlights so this is absolutely an area we are interested in. Our goal is to inform and educate real estate investors so these platforms represent a great chance to do that. We have been part of Twitter Spaces and Clubhouse rooms. Real estate groups are very active on Clubhouse.”
With that, we have tried to give you an idea of whether CXOs and marketers across industries are adopting these social audio platforms or not. As for your decision about joining the social audio bandwagon, you’re the best judge.
In our further sections, we discuss how you can leverage these platforms and what are some pressing challenges that you need to be careful about. Let’s get onto it!
How to Leverage These Platforms?
There’s no one track to leverage a platform. You can always do more and find out hidden capabilities. Here we list some ways in which you can begin leveraging live audio platforms.
1. Position Yourself as an Industry Expert
Why would people listen to you? Let’s start with that question when deciding whether or not your business needs to expand its presence on social audio apps. So, before deciding what you want to gain, determine what you are willing to give in these conversations.
No one likes to hear someone when they are being salesy. Try to be as authentic as possible. If you are a startup owner, guide someone who is going through the same problems that you might have. Remind yourself again that audio platforms might have hundreds of passive listeners. But you want to say things that move them and make them reach out to you on other platforms or simply follow your content and look forward to more of it.
Laura, a trademark and copyright attorney, shares how she leveraged Clubhouse, “ I signed up in late March and have been active in “rooms” discussing intellectual property and business generally. I’ve moderated several discussions and am a co-moderator in a weekly International Intellectual Property room. I’ve made great contacts and even generated some new business through Clubhouse.”
2. Conduct Panel Discussions
How about conducting your panel discussions and conferences on social audio apps? Host audio sessions with industry experts, keep it interactive yet fun. Panel discussions offer room for fresh opinions. Don’t be hesitant to open the floor for listeners and see some amazing questions and solutions pouring in. And while you’re at it, consider adding rewards for listeners who participate in the discourse and share their ideas.
3. Establish Brand Sponsorships
With social audio platforms enabling payment to creators by their audiences, the scope to make money has also widened. More and more people can establish themselves as thought leaders and if their audience appreciates the work, chances are they will pay to hear more exclusive content.
And from here on, you can create a course or a newsletter or other ways to ensure recurring communication with these people who can be your potential audience. The scope is endless and you can see all of that in action!
4. Conduct Surveys
Mind you, this is more of an after-effect to your initial efforts to grow on this platform. You can share assessments and surveys as links in rooms to gauge audience interests and responses. So, suppose you are a marketer hosting interviews with thought leaders, a fantastic survey or quiz idea can be a post-talk panel poll.
You can create similar surveys to get audience insights.
And the next time you host a session, consider your audience requests, and voila! You have another growth hack for this social media platform!
How to Judge Your Performance on These Platforms
Every marketing effort is done with the aim to realize its impact on the bottom line. And so the most important step towards adopting social media platforms is to judge the performance on these platforms. We asked some marketers what metrics they’d look at in the case of social audio platforms and here are their answers –
1. Nathan, Marketing Director at DiggityMarketing says, “Some of the key metrics to measure could be the number of people who have joined the chat rooms, the comments they left, how many people engaged (asked questions, offered feedback, etc.), and how many left the chatroom in-between the conversation. For business chatrooms, the use of social audio for ERGs (Employee Resource Groups) could be used as a parameter to measure performance. How many prospective leads can be acquired from the chatrooms could be used as a metric to measure sales engagement.”
3. Deidre Woollard, editor at Millionacres.com says, “Followers are an important metric but engagement is even more important. I want to see who is listening, how they are interacting with the hosts, and if they are staying around for a while or just listening in and then bouncing out.”
To sum up, let’s see what metrics you can check to judge your performance on these platforms:
Essentially, these platforms work well for top-of-the-funnel marketing strategies and so, the metrics you use ToF can be used to gauge the impact that you’re creating on these platforms.
Challenges Associated With Adopting Social Audio Platforms
We further asked marketers and founders to share their two cents on what they think are the major challenges involved in adopting live audio platforms. We got some interesting responses.
1. Carla Diaz, the founder of Broadband Search, aptly puts, “Sure, you could count the number of people who join your “room” or “club” and how often people ask to speak during the session. But how do you accurately keep track of a platform where the main aspect is how easy it is to drop in and out of these rooms? What about all the people who asked to talk and the ones who weren’t able to? Do the ones you miss count against your metrics or are they still positive? These are the questions our marketing asks when this comes up and for good reason”
3. Nathan, the Marketing Director at DiggityMarketing says,” The lack of visual content could affect these social audio platforms negatively. Although they are in trend now since people want to experience different kinds of content and audio seems to be the only option left, however, whether or not these applications will remain relevant in the future is still debatable since consumer interests can change anytime.”
The Way Forward: Are Social Audio Platforms Replacing Traditional Interviewing and Podcasting?
With more and more social audio platforms cropping up, interviewing and podcasting as we know them, might change. We gathered some invaluable opinions from people who have done it for long and have a sense of what lies ahead.
1. Bryce Welker, the owner of CPA Exam Guy, an e-learning and course review resource, says, “I don’t see social audio dethroning established interviewing and podcasting models, unfortunately.”
3. Deidre Woollard, editor at Millionacres.com sums up the difference in ways of listening to a discussion on a live audio platform and listening to a podcast. “A podcast is best when I have time to focus. These audio platforms I tend to listen to for shorter periods of time although I know some people who have them on all day. In both cases, personal branding is really important. People show up to listen to people they know and trust.”
We don’t know if social audio platforms are a fad or something that can legitimately change the way we communicate. Nevertheless, we can surely see where our audience is. Moreover, if social audio platforms help in that, then sure why not give it a shot?
That was everything that we could offer around social audio! From the top live audio platforms to how marketers are reacting to it and whether you should adopt it keeping the opportunities and challenges in mind. Well, what do you think? Drop a comment or sign up for our newsletter to stay updated on trends and market insights!
Yeshaswini is a full-time digital marketer at Outgrow. She loves researching and experimenting with her marketing campaigns. But on most days you’ll find her obsessing over aesthetic imagery and blueberry cheesecake.