The buzzy social media app Clubhouse pioneered the social audio space during the pandemic. Now, established social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and reddit, are launching their own social audio features.
Here’s what candidates and campaigners need to know about social audio, how it’s being used, and what to do about it.
What is Social Audio?
Social audio is interactive, synchronous, and audio-only. It’s not like a podcast that’s meant to be listened to later. The intended audience is whomever is listening at that moment. However, you shouldn’t assume that what you’re saying isn’t being recorded.
Social audio is real-time like a radio interview, but interactive like a panel discussion with Q&A. The hosts of a “room” can bring in members of the audience to participate. Because it’s audio only, there’s less pressure on what the speakers look like or what’s in their backgrounds.
How is Social Audio Being Used?
Like any new media format, social audio is still in its experimental stage, but for now, it’s mostly for podcast-style interviews, panel discussions, and informal chats. It remains to be seen whether the social audio trend is a pandemic-era fad or new staple of digital life.
The user base for Clubhouse is still small with just 10 million active users and it functions much like an extension of Twitter (not unlike the early days of streaming video with Meerkat). But Facebook’s moves bring social audio to an entirely new scale of audience.
What Campaigns Should Do
The advice with regard to Clubhouse is the same as with any new social media platform. Stay focused on building your audiences where voters and influencers are, that is Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. In general, your social media efforts should always be in service to your overall campaign goals through list building, persuasion, turnout, and fundraising.
With any new feature Facebook introduces, there’s an opportunity for early adopters since the platform boosts their new content type. The best way for campaigns to engage with social audio is to plugin to existing communities and audiences. For example, if there’s a Facebook Group in your region, ask to do a live audio room with them to answer members’ questions.
The bottom line for campaigners? Keep an eye on social audio, but don’t dive head first into this new content type or new platforms.