As we are still amidst a global pandemic, change and innovation remain top-of-mind. In early 2020, lockdowns swept the world and our typical way of life came to a halt, but we had no choice but to move forward as best as we could. Everything started to become virtual including school, work and even large-scale events. There was a shift in technology and a need for change as more people spent time on their computers, phones and tablets.
A few months into the pandemic, two months to be exact, Clubhouse was introduced as a new type of social network completely based on audio and has since gained more than 10 million downloads. This is significant and worth noting because Clubhouse is an invite-only and IOS-only app that succeeded while still in beta testing. The app hosts virtual rooms for live discussions giving listeners an opportunity to participate by speaking “on stage” when allowed, and actively listening and joining in on groups that interest them. Clubhouse has expanded across hundreds of countries worldwide and has recently introduced payments which allows creators to monetize their content. Everyone from Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Kanye West, and Slack CEO, Stewart Butterfield has given their praise or spent time on the app sharing “gems” which led to fans flocking to be a part of the exclusive community.
Clubhouse created the blueprint for the social audio era and competitors took note and went straight to work to join the conversation. Twitter, LinkedIn, Spotify, Slack, and reportedly Facebook, have launched or are currently working on incorporating a social audio feature. For those unable to snag an invite on Clubhouse or couldn’t join because they have an Android device, you can still hop on the live-audio bandwagon with Twitter and Discord recently launching new features. Twitter’s Spaces lets users create their own live-audio rooms while also sharing audio clips via tweets and direct messages. Other social media apps are following the same format by adding an audio feature and combining it with their current platform. This is where the audio wars begin as social platforms with years of moderation experience launch their new features with loyal followers, which may prove to be a downfall to Clubhouse, who has to build up its following and be able to take on an influx of new users.
The Future of Audio Social Networks
Brands can benefit from understanding how audio apps can be included in an overall social media strategy. Based on the nature of audio apps, the expansion of thought leadership content has great potential for marketers to capitalize on. With audio apps, you’re building trust with your social network, sharing knowledge from industry experts and generating new business leads along with a community of engaged followers.
It’s safe to say that audio apps could be the new marketing strategy for businesses this year. There seems to be so much potential, especially with large established social networks incorporating this feature, but only time will tell. The best way to join in on the social audio conversation is to start early and stay persistent.
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