By Jeremiah Owyang, Jaimy Szymanski, and Jessica Groopman of Kaleido Insights
The recent social audio craze––brought about by platform leaders Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces––has us reminiscing at my firm Kaleido Insights about the early days of social media, to get up to speed, read my report: The Future of Social Audio: Startups, Roadmap, Business Models, and a Forecast. The tech crowd abuzz with the promise of a new, real-time engagement platform, influencers gathering en masse to share content, and the ever-so-slight opening of the proverbial “exclusive access door” to the public for a peek inside the magic. Except this time around, consumers and the press are much more keen to the potential data risks and platform flaws.
[Social Audio is the “Goldilocks Medium”, text social networks are not enough, video conferencing is too much, social audio is just right]
If you’re a digital leader who is curious about social audio and looking to explore opportunities for your company’s benefit, we hear ya! In this post, Kaleido analysts have compiled an initial list of 20+ potential business use cases (some possible today, others on the horizon) for social audio platforms as they emerge.
Listen & Learn:
- Sentiment Analysis: Analyze transcripts of conversations to determine positive/neutral/negative sentiment in relation to products, services, brands. Lean on existing social media sentiment metrics as a starting point, adding in inflection, volume, tone, and more.
- Network Analysis: Remember Klout? Analyze user connections and network maps to uncover influencers, followers, engagement patterns, etc. Additionally, track who goes in which room or space, which content or individuals are they attracted to, and predict what they may do next.
- Conversation Analysis: Analyze the spread of messages and ideas throughout networks through reviewing transcripts, keywords, timestamps, etc. Use to inform product and service innovations, and eventually predict the “next big thing.
- Event Sponsorship and Promotion: Sponsor an on-platform “event” (conversation, room, etc.) that aligns with an in-person event or other online event. Or, host a brand-sponsored conversation with influencer hosts.
- Gamification: Create marketing promotions that spur platform users to follow your company, key leaders, or branded mascots in exchange for prizes, content, rewards, loyalty points, etc. Be on the lookout for platform-enabled gamification as well, as developers build gaming apps (eg. crypto rewards) that multiple brands can benefit from on social audio platforms.
- Brand Ambassadorship: Enlist brand ambassadors to act on your company’s behalf, embodying your brand “lifestyle.” Ambassadors participate in relevant conversations organically to positively impact brand perception. Ambassadors and influencers may overlap in your advocacy strategy; be transparent in terms of sponsorship.
- Live Reviews: Options may include using a product together live while chatting on social audio or rooms dedicated to reviewing a product type or specific make/model.
- Virtual Avatars & Bots: Using AI-powered chatbots to answer simple customer care questions via voice assistant. Social audio could be especially useful in assisting those with accessibility issues who prefer voice communication. For example, Nestle’s latest Toll House AI bot “Ruth” could easily become a persistent voice in Clubhouse.
- Peer-to-peer Support: Host regular conversations where customers can help one another in solving problems, much like crowdsourced support models in the sharing economy. Reward customers for helping others, too – with crypto, branded token, reward loyalty points, public praise, etc.
- Employee Support: Conversations moderated by company employees where customers can voice complaints, concerns, and problem-solve. Note: we do not recommend setting up social customer care on Clubhouse or other platforms yet. They’re not ready to scale, and it will simply teach customers to yell louder to be heard (literally!).
- Peer-to-Peer Community: Similar to P2P Support, but more centered on the lifestyle community around your brand or products. Think Airstream and Jeep’s lifestyle communities they’ve built as examples. Social audio offers a place to gather and engage on-the-go.
- Focus Group: A la the traditional focus groups in every researcher’s playbook, host an audio-only focus group where customers can drop in to quickly share inputs on a key set of questions. Add sentiment analysis for even greater insight.
- Startup Engagement: Many companies engage with their industry’s startup ecosystem via incubators or accelerators. Take that idea onto social audio by hosting regular sessions that explore the future of the industry and startup technology impacts. Invite your innovation team to lead the conversation.
Entertain & Engage:
- Live Entertainment: Host live entertainment for your customers on social audio platforms, complete with audience engagement and Q&A. From music, to conferences, to spoken word poetry, artists are looking for safe spaces to perform (especially during the pandemic!) and monetize.
- Live Education: Think Masterclass, but bite-sized and the ability to engage with the instructor and other students. Social audio has a great ability to offer unparalleled access to experts like never before; what can your company teach customers that they’ll find valuable?
- Translation: Combine social audio with live translation applications to help global employees better communicate with each other and overcome language barriers in real-time. The same functionality could also be applied to better communicate with customers in care capacities.
- Audio Slack: The pandemic has ushered in increased usage of Slack and other internal comms platforms. Add social audio to the communications arsenal as a way for teammates to convey ideas and communicate either synchronously or asynchronously like Yac.
- Employee Resource Groups (ERGs): Use social audio as an engagement platform for ERGs to communicate, and gain access to employees from other locations. Social audio offers a more intimate form of communication which can be useful when discussing important issues addressed by many ERGs.
Marketing & Sales:
- Sales Engagement: Assign salespeople with vetting out leads and nurturing prospects within rooms and conversations. A word of caution: engagement that is perceived disingenuous may receive backlash, so tread lightly with pushy sales tactics.
- Advertising: Though platforms like Clubhouse don’t offer any form of advertising as part of its business model today, we predict paid ad models won’t be far behind, and businesses will be clamoring to include in their marketing budget.
- Word-of-mouth: Integrate social audio as a platform into existing social media WOM campaign strategies (paid or earned conversations).