If you think social audio is only for influencers and B2C companies, think again.
Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces, Fireside, Discord—these and multiple other platforms are expanding and transforming the world of social media as we know it. Some, like Discord, have been around for years. Yet when it comes to how to use social audio to grow a business, generate leads, or boost your reputation, most B2B businesses are still wandering without a map.
At Zen, a PR Agency, our media specialists hopped on the social audio train before it even left the station, so we’ve got some ideas on how it can help you.
But first, what is social audio?
Social audio allows people to share recorded messages or speak in real-time to others through a closed social platform. It can look different depending on the service you’re using, but essentially, that’s what it is: using your voice to communicate with other users, rather than by typing, recording a video, or live streaming.
Social audio has risen in popularity since the pandemic began for obvious reasons—since we couldn’t hang out in person, we had to do it online—but the earliest adopters of social audio, and live streaming, for that matter, were neither Gen Z users on lockdown, nor forward-thinking CMOs.
They were gamers.
Long before Clubhouse or Twitter Spaces, Discord, an audio- and text-based instant messaging app, was being used primarily by gamers to talk to each other while playing video games like Fortnite or Minecraft.
Today, there are communities of all kinds on Discord, but it’s still primarily known for being used by video game devotees—similar to Twitch, the live streaming app that predated Facebook’s streaming services and was launched in 2011 as a way for gamers and esports enthusiasts to watch other people play games and esports.
YouTube also launched live streaming services in 2011, but only select users were allowed to livestream (any user, however, could watch one).
Today, with platforms that are geared more toward the general public and businesses, social audio is being used by influencers, thought leaders, celebrities, and business leaders across industries to host conversations and events, network, and more.
Relevant reading: Is Thought Leadership PR? A Look at 7 B2B Thought Leaders Worth Following
How does social audio work?
To create a social audio event or conversation, users begin by setting a topic and creating the virtual area where the conversation will occur. On Clubhouse, that’s called a Room, and on Twitter Spaces, it’s called a Space.
Related reading: What’s Clubhouse? Everything You Need to Know About the New Platform
Each platform has rules on how many people can speak in a given session, while generally, there’s no or a very high limit on how many listeners can join (unless the Room or Space is invite-only, which keeps it private only to you and the people you select).
If you want to listen to a conversation or panel or event, you simply join the Room or Space as a listener. Depending on the size of the event and the rules surrounding it, you’ll be able to interact with the speakers on your own or through a moderator. Just as with live panels, a moderator keeps the conversation moving naturally, calls on people who have questions, and generally manages the space.
What are the most popular social audio platforms for B2B?
Currently, Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces are emerging as the leaders for those who want to use social audio in the B2B space.
However, Facebook is set to roll out social audio products as well in the near future, including:
- The audio-only version of the video-and-audio Rooms feature
- A product similar to Clubhouse, which will let users listen to and interact with speakers on virtual “stages”
- The ability for users to record status messages and post them to their News Feeds
How can B2B tech companies use social audio?
While social audio is still getting started in the B2B space, there are many potential ways it can be used as a PR or marketing tool.
- Connect with journalists – join conversations with journalists on topics relevant to your business. By asking questions or providing information, you can become a source they come back to for future stories, leading to excellent PR opportunities for your B2B brand.
- Host a live event – host a discussion with one of your executives and invite others in the industry, influencers, bloggers, and/or journalists
- Host customer care office hours – schedule a regular session with your Customer Care representatives or tech support staff when customers can ask questions and receive help with issues
- Build a community – create a regular or recurring Room designed around networking with others in your industry. Make sure to choose a topic and speaker for each session, so you don’t end up with a dead or directionless room!
- Host a conference – Video conferences are great, but not everyone is comfortable on video—especially after a year of Zoom meetings, calls, and events. Audio conferences allow speakers and guests to listen and speak wherever they are, whatever they’re doing, without worrying about how they look or their background.
- Host an FAQ information session – If you have questions that customers are repeatedly asking about your product or service, consider holding an FAQ session where you answer those questions, and allow listeners to ask their own.
- Connect with influencers – If a B2B influencer you’re hoping to work with is hosting an event or conversation, make sure to attend and engage.
- Invite an influencer to speak to your audience – If your Room or Space is getting lots of traction, invite industry influencers or thought leaders to host a conversation with your audience (similar to a social media takeover).
Social audio can be a highly effective tool for your B2B PR and marketing efforts—it just may take a bit of experimentation to figure out what works best for your audience.
Need some help? We’re ready to talk!