Is the social media audio trend here to stay?

Spring 2020 saw the rise of the innovative, exclusive invitation-only app enter the space – Clubhouse. Clubhouse taps into the FOMO aspect of social media that makes the app all the more appealing and aspirational. Once the conversation is over, the room is closed, and the live audio chats are gone… you missed it!

 

As with any new social media trend, there have been highs and lows along the way. A fair few controversies have made their way into the headlines, and a string of new competitors have emerged. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are all currently working on similar audio social media features. Facebook’s Clubhouse clone ‘Hotline’ is in the beta testing phase, while Twitter has been rolling out and testing ‘Spaces’. Last week, LinkedIn confirmed it’s also introducing an audio room feature — an indication that the big players are taking the threat from Clubhouse reasonably seriously.

So, how can brands navigate these new spaces and potentially incorporate them into future strategies?

As with any new social media tool, it's all about knowing your audience and assessing if it's a good fit for your brand. With audio apps, there is enormous potential for brands to carve out their own niche community, and potentially win business along the way. Figuring out what your audience wants to have conversations about and demonstrating why they should listen to you is an excellent place to start.

Audio-first social interactions are a brilliant resource for advice and collaboration. However, the flip side to exclusivity is that some groups inevitably feel left out. Accessibility in the audio space has a long way to go for users who are hard of hearing; without live automated captions, people with hearing impairments cannot engage in conversations and are disadvantaged by the current format of these audio-first spaces. We wouldn’t recommend putting all your eggs in the audio-first basket just yet, but it definitely pays to watch closely and be an early adopter if this format fits your target audience.

Social media has come so far over the past few years, and with new tools being developed all the time, it seems likely that one of the platforms will find a way to resolve this obvious oversight. Trends sometimes come and go but, just like TikTok, the data suggests the audio trend is here to stay for now.