How to join in with the Social Audio trend

by Gemma Lloyd

As a small business owner it can be difficult to keep up with the latest social media updates but the growing trend of social audio is one that has been hard to miss!

You’ve heard of Clubhouse, right? The invite-only audio-based app that was initially only available to iPhone users but is now being rolled out to Android too.

Clubhouse was launched in March 2020 and has already grown to 10 million weekly active users, which isn’t bad for the newest social media kid on the block.

However, the launch of Clubhouse hasn’t been without controversy, there have been concerns over privacy and the spreading of misinformation as well as the lack of accessibility for the deaf or hard of hearing.

But for me, the biggest issue is the fact it’s ANOTHER platform to master and keep active.

I’ll be completely honest with you, I love the idea of social audio (I’m not a huge fan of having my face on video!) but I’m not keen on spending time growing an audience on a platform that currently only has the potential to reach a fraction of my existing platforms and could be the next flash in the pan. Remember Vero?

And after working with hundreds of small business owners over the years, I know that you haven’t got the time to waste either.

So how can we join in with the Social Audio trend on the social media platforms we know and love?

Firstly, what exactly is Social Audio?

Social Audio is real-time audio that allows listeners to actively participate in the conversation. A good way to think about it is like a live podcast that you can join in the dialogue.

Over the last year we’ve lacked conversations outside of our household bubbles and we’re all a little zoomed out, so it’s no surprise that the social audio trend has been growing.

Not to miss out, some of the biggest social media platforms are also introducing social audio features that you can take advantage of and you don’t need an invite!

Twitter Spaces

If you’re already using Twitter to promote your business, then look no further than Twitter Spaces, the new way to have live audio conversations on the Twitter app for both iOS and Android users.

They began testing the feature to a small group of users in December 2020 and from the beginning of May 2021 the ability to create a Space has been rolled out to anyone with over 600 followers.

But even if you have fewer than 600 followers you can still join a Space and the conversation. You’ll find Spaces across the top of your timeline (in the same place you find Fleets – Twitter’s answer to Stories!), when someone you follow creates or speaks in a Space, it will appear with a purple bubble for as long as the Space is live.

When you join a Twitter Space you can react with emojis, see any pinned Tweets, Tweet or DM the Space and also request to speak.

Another advantage Spaces have over Clubhouse is the ability for speakers to turn on captions making them far more accessible and inclusive for all users.

When creating a Space you can invite up to 10 other people as speakers and of course choose the topic of conversation.

After the Space has ended it will no longer be available to your audience, like Clubhouse Rooms, the audio in a Twitter Space is not recorded.

If you’d like to join a friendly Twitter Space, Social Mums is hosting a weekly Space on Thursdays at 11am from Thursday 10th June 2021, so please come and join us then.

If you’d like to learn more about creating and hosting Twitter Spaces this is something we cover in detail in our Using Twitter for Business online workshop.

Facebook Live Audio Rooms

If you’re not a fan of Twitter or you’re not using it because your target audience isn’t active on the platform you’ll soon be able to join in with the social audio trend on Facebook.

They have begun testing Live Audio Rooms that will initially be available in Facebook Groups and for public figures only but they plan to roll them out to everyone by Summer 2021.

Image courtesy of Facebook

Visuals shared by Facebook of their new Live Audio Rooms certainly show similarities to Clubhouse but with 54.8 million Facebook users in the UK alone, there is a potential to reach a far bigger audience.

Plus they are giving you the option to turn your live conversation into a podcast for everyone to listen to later meaning there will be benefits even after the Room has ended as well as the ability to charge for access to a Live Audio Room through a single purchase or a subscription.

I think there will be a huge potential for businesses to take advantage of the social audio trend on Facebook especially if it’s a platform you have already worked hard to build a following on.

We’ll of course keep you updated and let you know when these new features become available.

Audio only Instagram Live

It’s no surprise Instagram are also getting in on the social audio trend. Every new feature added to the app is modelled on another popular platform. We had Stories following the growth of SnapChat, IGTV as a rival to YouTube and Reels because of the popularity of TikTok.

Now Instagram are allowing you to switch off your video during an Instagram Live, effectively giving you a social audio experience. With the ability to add three other participants to your live stream you are limited to only four speakers on the platform but this is one that’s already available, so you can make use of it for your business right now.

Image courtesy of SocialMediaToday

As you can see from this visual shared by SocialMediaToday new controls appear at the bottom of your video pane giving you the option to turn off your camera (or your audio if you wish). When your camera is off your profile picture will be displayed instead, as shown in top right of the second screenshot above.

This is a great option for anyone who has already built an engaged audience on Instagram and wants to make use of social audio immediately. Plus going live on the platform using audio only removes some of the pressure to look good too!

LinkedIn have also confirmed they are testing a social audio experience

Not wanting to miss out on this growing trend, as reported in Techcrunch LinkedIn is also working on a Clubhouse rival. This will be great for anyone that uses this professional platform to reach their customers and a great way to build your authority and connect with your community there.

How to use social audio for your business

Whichever platform you choose to use social audio for your business there are a couple of things that will be important.

Social audio is live and on some platforms like Twitter there isn’t the option to share a recording afterwards. So, it’s important to host your social audio Room, Space or Live when your audience is most active on the platform to ensure you have the best chance of them be able to listen in or participate.

Also make sure you promote the fact that you’ll be hosting it in advance to encourage as many people to turn up and join.

We’d love to know if you’re planning to incorporate social audio into your social media strategy. Leave us a comment below and let us know.

Gemma Lloyd

Gemma is the founder of Social Mums.

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