Social Audio: A New Way for Brands to be Heard on Social Media.

Social audio is on the rise. Here’s how brands are already using it and what marketers can learn from them.
Shruti Ramanujam
June 21, 2021 - 5 min. read

Social media moves at the speed of light. Fads come and go. But one prominent feature we only see rising in popularity is social audio. 

And we have Clubhouse to thank for it. 

Launched in 2020, this invite-only audio chat app has been blowing up, amassing 13 million downloads as of April 2021.  

More users are accessing Clubhouse every day and joining in on lively conversations about work, hobbies, and more. Oprah, Elon Musk, and other celebrities have also been flocking to Clubhouse, giving users more reason to get invited onto this exclusive app.  

Clubhouse taking off has also spurred other social networks into action.  

Twitter was first in line to launch a Clubhouse rival, Spaces. Being a new feature on a platform that already has a staggering 192 million daily active users, it’s no wonder that Spaces is popular amongst brands and users alike. 

Other networks and companies working on Clubhouse clones include Facebook, Discord, LinkedIn, Spotify, Telegram, and Slack.

Further proof that the social audio market is growing at break-neck speed? In the couple of days it took us to write this article, Facebook’s started testing its Live Audio feature with business partners, and Spotify has launched Greenroom.

While new apps keep cropping up, brands have already been using Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces for a while now. It will be interesting to track the live audio market to see if either app comes out ahead or a whole new player will enter and disrupt the field.

How are brands using Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces? 

Brands from diverse industries have been using social audio creatively to engage with their audiences. Here are 8 of our favorite examples.

1. Martell Cognac 

This Pernod Ricard spirits brand partnered with digital marketing strategist Karen Civil to host a series of conversations on Clubhouse during Black History Month to celebrate female entrepreneurs from the Black community.  

2. NBA

Sports leagues have embraced social audio the most by hosting post-game panels and audience discussions.  

The NBA, for instance, has hosted talks on Spaces around the 2021 playoffs. 

3. Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s celebrated 50 years of photograph auctions by hosting a conversation on all things photography. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Sotheby’s (@sothebys)

4. Moment

This global marketplace for creatives has been hosting regular Spaces called Moment Mondays, where moderators show off photos sent in by followers. 

5. Restaurant Brands International

Fast food holding companies are also in on the fun!  

Restaurant Brands International — the owner of Tim Hortons, Burger King, and Popeyes — conducted the company’s Q4 2020 earnings call on Clubhouse in a bid to democratize such reports. 

6. Kool-Aid

Kool-Aid man also made it to Clubhouse in a conversation with Gary Vaynerchuk and Justin Turner from the Dodgers.  

Even if the only thing he said on the talk was his signature “Oh yeah,” his presence was disruptive enough for people to take note.

7. Maersk

Maersk further proved that social audio is for any brand looking to connect with people from its industry. Who said discussions about container shipping and supply chain services don’t belong on social media? 💪🏼 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Maersk (@maersk_official)

8. NARS cosmetics

NARS hosted a Clubhouse room on post-COVID makeup and invited a group of special guests as well.  

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by NARS Cosmetics (@narsissist)

It’s not just these brands. Chevrolet, e.l.f. Cosmetics, Atlanta Hawks, Arby’s, Axon, WWF Deutschland, and more have jumped on the social audio bandwagon.  

And so can you! 

How can brands use social audio for marketing? 

With any new social network on the rise, the immediate question is “how can we tap into it?” 

Remember, Clubhouse and Spaces aren’t avenues for you to sell something, think about attribution, or feature only promotional content. Users are on these apps because they want to have meaningful conversations about topics of interest. 

Your primary goal on these apps should be to build brand awareness and make authentic connections.  

In essence, don’t show up as a brand. Show up as the human behind it.   

With that said, here are a few ways you can tap into audio chats as a brand. 

1.Influencer marketing: Partner with industry influencers to host a live audio conversation on a topic relevant to your brand. NARS Cosmetics’ talk on makeup in a post-pandemic world is a good example.

2. Sponsorship opportunities: Clubhouse may be ad-free, but you could sponsor a room for moderators to host a conversation particular to your brand or industry.

3. Contribute to a conversation…but don’t be salesy: Join a discussion relevant to your brand but don’t make an advertisement out of it when it’s your turn at the mic. For instance, does your brand make size-inclusive clothing? Join a room about inclusivity in the fashion industry.

4. Host a conversation yourself: Host a discussion around an industry trend, niche topic, or even a Q&A. The NBA’s post-game Spaces, Maersk’s Tech Talk, and Restaurant Brands International’s earnings call are all brilliant examples. While the intention is not to sell, you can still leverage audio rooms to engage with your audience, build brand awareness, and position yourself as a thought leader. 

Final thoughts. 

The live audio market is here to stay. We don’t know which app with voice chat rooms will come out of this as the winner, but social audio is most definitely a game everyone should play.  

Approach these chat rooms not as a brand looking to sell but as a human seeking meaningful conversation. Use this opportunity right, and these apps can help you become an industry leader that users rely on and trust.  

The mic is now yours.

2021 Digital Marketing Trends.
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