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Audio creators are the newest influencers to the digital market, mostly born from the rise of podcasts and the audio-based app Clubhouse. This doesn’t come as a surprise looking at the past few years where many content creators turned into mini-celebrities within their genre due to social media and streaming platforms. There was a huge surge during the lockdown. With limited and restricted outdoor activity, people moved their attention from the outside world to the digital world where information to entertainment was consumed in the form of online content from video to audio.

Now, content creators continue to go out of their way to showcase their craft and expertise via their social media and streaming platforms in hope of gaining an “influence”. And many are doing it quite well as newcomers and professionals lead into the digital playground with an open mind.

Audio influencing has become such a widespread phenomenon that even platforms like Twitter have started to introduce their own form of audio-based rooms, with Facebook also introducing a new in-app podcast player. These new features come as Clubhouse, the trailblazing app that started it all, approaches the end of an explosive first year. According to one researcher, the app has been downloaded more than 4.7 million times since its introduction just last April. 

Many industry experts see this interactive audio trend as an exciting area that will produce a new wave of influencers. “Never before have so many brands, entrepreneurs, influencers and regular folks had instant access to their most devoted audience,” author of “The Passion Economy”, Adam Davidson told the New York Times. “Like any transformational medium, it offers new opportunities.”

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What is an Audio Influencer?

An audio influencer is someone who has established credibility in a specific industry and can persuade others to act based on their recommendations and expertise. They cultivate a community on voice-based platforms, such as podcasts and apps like Clubhouse. They are a part of the phenomenon of social audio, where people connect through conversation, and chat rooms are opportunities for them to share thought leadership. Typically, they have some sort of influence outside of these platforms as well. Many of these audio influencers are content creators and C-level executives. 

Research analyst, Jeremiah Owyang suggests that social audio is the new “Goldilocks” medium for the 2020s: “Text is not enough, and video is too much; social audio is just right. It represents the opportunity for social connection and empathy without the downsides of video.”

Along with Owyang, many believe that as social audio grows, it will become a necessity everywhere for brands. You might start seeing live conversations embedded on websites, articles, and more. Just imagine reading this article and being able to hear experts discuss the content in real-time or hearing opinions recorded from your most trusted circle. Readers could even leave voice messages or recorded conversations in physical locations similar to how the geocaching community leaves physical items for others to find. 

How can Entrepreneurs Incorporate Social Audio Into Their Marketing Strategy?

With the rise of this new landscape, there are so many opportunities for entrepreneurs to incorporate audio content into their digital marketing strategy. Here are some ideas Owyang suggests:

  • Live Reviews: Using a product together live while chatting on social audio or creating rooms dedicated to reviewing a product type or specific make/model.

  • Event Sponsorship and Promotion: Sponsor an on-platform event (i.e. conversation room) that aligns with an in-person event or another online event. Or, host a brand-sponsored conversation with influencer hosts.

  • Employee Support: Conversations moderated by company employees where customers can voice complaints, concerns, and problem-solve. 

  • 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 and monetize.

So, What’s Next with Social Audio?

We’re currently seeing the early emergence of audio creators, who are creating and cultivating communities for their platforms and they’re very niche and specific. When you dive into the digital playground, there is really an audio creator out there for everyone. This aligns with the shift of wanting to consume more personalized content in our daily lives. Gone are the days of having to only tune into major content creators, and here to stay are the days where we can go out there and find micro creators whose community aligns with our values. 

For entrepreneurs who are trying to figure out where to amplify their voice, trying to stay on top of every new social platform to hit the market can be bewildering. Think about it, Clubhouse didn’t even exist until 2020. But remember, not every app or platform matters equally to every brand. 

Instead, take a look at how social audio plays a part in your content strategy for building awareness, converting consumers, and building relationships. Trying to become a hot audio influencer on Clubhouse may or may not be what your brand needs. However, one thing is for sure: the rise of audio influencers is on the come up and it cannot be ignored!

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