There’s a new wave of audio social networking happening, and we need to embrace it, not shy away from it. It started near the beginning of the global COVID-19 pandemic with Clubhouse, an iOS- and invite-only drop-in audio chat room app. This app is one platform where users can listen to industry experts under one roof. Now, more and more social networking platforms are adding an audio-only chat room feature to their channels to give users options to start or join audio meetings that anyone can drop into in real-time. If you can’t beat them, join them, right?
How have marketers used Clubhouse to their advantage, you ask? B2B marketers have especially reaped the benefits of the audio app because of its opportunities to reach an already engaged audience, receive product feedback, or create a conversation with a subject matter expert. The app also has Clubmarket, which is currently in development, where brands can sponsor chat rooms on topics. This ties well with current demands because 73% of B2B executives say that customer expectations for more personalized experiences is higher than ever.
Influencer marketing has also tapped into audio social networking. Although there are a few tweaks to work through for this type of marketing on the app such as putting in safeguards for users, there are still some benefits as well. Some influencers aren’t your typical 16 – 20 something year-olds. During a pilot program through Clubhouse, many 40 – 50-year-olds conducted talk shows, hosted thought leadership chats and much more. It’s not just a social platform that the Gen Zers and Millennials would monopolize.
As mentioned earlier, many other social media platforms are also creating their own audio-only chat rooms to engage their followers. Twitter jumped in and created its “Spaces” feature which opens it up to reach a much wider audience in that app. Through Facebook’s new live audio meeting rooms feature, users can now create audio broadcasts that users can tune into and participate in within the app. Recently, LinkedIn also confirmed that it is testing an audio social experience in its app where creators can network within their community using their professional identity and not just a social profile. The latest to join the live audio hype is Spotify through its acquisition of Clubhouse’s rival, Locker Room, with the intentions to reach a wider audience by offering sports, music, cultural programming, and interactive features for creators to connect with audiences in real-time.
Clubhouse surged in popularity primarily because of word-of-mouth marketing. No one likes to be left out, so as more and more people came to learn about the app, they wanted to get in on the fun. They wanted to be invited to this exclusive party to connect with the popular people in real-time. But will this type of live audio experiences interfere with podcasting in any way? Yes and no. The time listeners spend on Clubhouse or whatever other live audio feature on a network is time away from Apple or Spotify’s podcasts. Clubhouse and podcasts could also coexist like other platforms do (i.e., Netflix and YouTube). Could live audio experiences stunt the growth of podcasts? Possibly because advertisers could decide to invest their ad dollars into that versus the on-demand audio platforms. It may be too early to predict since Clubhouse just recently celebrated its one-year anniversary and elements within the app are still in development. Advertising opportunities could evolve, it may become available on Androids as well, etc. Who can say what we’ll see in the next few months? We’ll just need to keep an eye on the wave and see how it comes to shore.
Social Media Specialist