Social Media

The Unique Opportunities of Social Audio

By Eric Dahan, CEO and Cofounder of Open Influence

The world is becoming more social, and social media and social functionality are proliferating virtually every aspect of the digital landscape. We are rapidly seeing social communities emerge around every area of interest and virtually every activity. Whether you’re interested in computers, cars, engineering, stock trading, or fitness, there’s an online community for that. Additionally, social functionality is emerging in new areas such as ecommerce platforms and streaming services. As a result of everything getting more social, influencer marketing is becoming an increasingly central part of the overall marketing mix. The latest trend is the social audio space.

Opening The Door For New Creators

Though digital audio has been growing for years, with virtually every enthusiast, expert, or personality having a podcast, apps like Clubhouse, Spaces, and Greenroom are making the experience social. Social is not only transforming the experience for audiences, allowing them to now become active participants, but is also enabling more people to become creators more easily. From cryptocurrency enthusiasts to niche industry experts, many are discovering their voices through their communities in a format far less daunting than starting and managing a podcast.

Unlocking B2B Influencer Marketing

Though social audio spans across virtually every genre, for marketers the potential of B2B influencer marketing is one of its most interesting prospects. Influencer marketing over the past 10 years has been an increasingly bigger part of brands’ overall marketing mix, but it has also been limited to primarily consumer-facing brands. However, the format of social audio is really enabling business leaders, who would be unlikely to create on other social platforms like Instagram or YouTube, to create more easily. They are able to easily host virtual summits and panel conversations within their business communities with conversations focused on various subject matters.

Social audio has essentially replicated the industry conferences’ experience and value proposition in a digital format providing B2B brands with a new alternative to getting their executives and thought leaders in front of the right decision makers. For brands in the B2B space, not only can they have their own employees and internal advocates actively engage on social audio, but they can now partner with others to promote their message, whether they are sponsoring a room or paying to set up rooms with recognizable thought leaders.

Finding The Right Creators

One of the biggest challenges still with influencer marketing is finding the right creators to partner with. When it comes to social audio, this challenge is compounded by the fact that the format is still fairly new. Unlike finding influencers on other platforms, where brands have a plethora of tools and data insights to determine the right influencers, a qualitative approach still works best for social audio. It’s all about finding the right subject matter experts and thought leaders to partner with and having your own company spokesperson or representative act as your public-facing thought leader.

Here is what is important to determine which influencers are best to work with and how to engage with them:

Define Your Audience: Spend the time really understanding the audience you are trying to reach. Determine the key decision makers for your business, understand how they buy, what they care about, and their biggest pain points.

Focus on Trust & Relevance: Determining your audience will help you determine if a creator reaches them, but it will not determine if your target audience finds them relevant when it comes to talking about your business to that audience. Find the influencers that are trusted in the subjects you want to focus on with your audience that tie to your value proposition. The number one mistake brands make is focusing on big-name influencers as opposed to the right influencers. Always remember that influence is about trust, not popularity.

It’s All About The Content: In the social economy, creators are exchanging content for attention. When partnering with influencers/creators, make sure to provide your audience with content that they will find valuable, instead of trying to just advertise to them. For B2B marketers this could mean giving your audience insights that make them smarter. For consumer-focused brands this could be education or simply entertainment. Either way, focus on creating great content and remember not to drive a hard sell. Social audio is conversation, and reciting an advertisement point blank not only won’t work, but it will cause you to lose credibility.

A New Revenue Stream For Creators

Creators today have more ways to earn than ever before. Traditionally, most creators' main source of income came through brand partnerships, with YouTubers also receiving a revshare from Google advertisers on their channel. However, today creators not only have more platforms to earn on but also more ways that they are able to earn. Creators are able to earn through revshares, brand partnerships, affiliate deals, tips/donations, sale of virtual goods, their own product lines (reserved for larger talent), or even through creator funds. As platforms compete for quality creators, they each are working diligently on incentivizing creators to build their audiences on their platform. As the social audio space, we can expect to see more of the same. In fact, Spotify Greenroom is already offering a creator fund in order to attract new talent to the platform.

Though the pandemic fueled social audio, the medium is clearly here to stay, and it presents many opportunities for creators, brands, and influencer marketers. Like most platforms (and mediums), getting in early will pay dividends in the long run.

Eric Dahan is the CEO and Cofounder of Open Influence, a premier influencer marketing company with clients that include Disney, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Intuit, SoFi, Unilever, P&G, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, L'Oreal and Under Armour, among others. The company is also a leader in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence within the ad industry thanks to its predictive analytics tools and entire influencer taxonomy, which contains over 10B data points. Eric is a Forbes 30 Under 30 recipient and Inc. 30 Under 30 honoree.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.