Social Audio Gets Competitive

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Social Audio Gets Competitive

Published June 22, 2021

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There have been a lot of developments in terms of new platforms in the social audio space. It’s getting a little competitive, which I love. I think it’s so cool. I mean, let’s think back when TikTok came on the scene, no longer musically and has legitimately changed social media, possibly forever. It’s the coolest thing. I love seeing somebody come out the gates and sort of like kick everybody in the rear end to get their act together. I think it’s wonderful to have competition. And it’s doing nobody favors to have Instagram and YouTube just be like the top two and such a monopoly.

I’m all for it. So in case you don’t know already, I’m obsessed with Clubhouse obsessed, guys. I use it for business. I use it for pleasure. I used to be such a podcast listener. And I still absolutely am. There’s some favorite shows of mine. One of them is the Morbid Podcast I was listening to over the weekend. I love the Mile Higher Podcast, too. Those are just a couple true crime favorites of mine.

But less of my time is listening to podcasts these days, because I’m really enjoying social audio, which gives me this unique accommodation of audio listening, which I prefer, but also like group conversations where it’s not just one way. I love it so much. So if you’re like me, you’ve been on Clubhouse a ton. And now as of this past week, there have been a couple of new players in the game who like finally launched. It’s been teased out for weeks and weeks. This has been you know, this wasn’t a surprise to anybody. But Facebook officially launched its audio platform, as did Spotify.

So I’m going to give you my two cents of course. I am so curious to hear yours. DM me on Instagram because I really want to hear how you think brands are using these platforms. Are you personally consuming content on these platforms? I think it’s important to know about both because I think it’ll determine the future of how we use social audio.

I want to compare and contrast the three major ones that I mentioned including Clubhouse, Spotify, and Facebook audio. So here are my thoughts about each of those platforms in terms of influencer marketing.

Clubhouse:

Clubhouse started really gaining traction a little over six months ago in the peak of the pandemic. When TikTok had definitely taken off already. And I think there was still an appetite for something different, you know? TikTok sort of opened up people’s eyes to think there could be a different social media platform that could be viable, but isn’t YouTube or Instagram. So Clubhouse, this small but mighty social platform, came about and it really produced an interesting model: people who enjoy audio but want to have conversations.

Think back to 2020 and all of the huge social movements that happened because people felt disconnected but there was so much to say. It was sort of like the perfect storm at the perfect time. And Clubhouse was legitimately trying to figure out How to make this work. They started their creative first program here in the States a couple months ago. And to be completely frank, it basically went nowhere. Unfortunately, the technology because Clubhouse still is in beta. It wasn’t there. I was in rooms the other day talking about the creator first program and people were making incredibly valid points like why weren’t those rooms promoted? Why did you have such difficulty finding who was in that program.

The program was so hyped up because they consider themselves creator first as a point of distinction, yet, creators who apply it for that program didn’t necessarily receive their end of the bargain. So this is just hearsay from people that I know who are connected to those in the creator first program. But generally speaking, the sentiment of the creator first program is that it was kind of a wash, there was a lot of hype behind it, but not even a ton. Creators apply to it thinking, you know, I have this concept. I have the creativity, the you know, some sort of backbone to provide content with, I’m looking to have this social platform amplify what I’m already doing. And yet Clubhouse didn’t actually do that at all. Again, I think that they were just sort of wanting to jump the gun a little too soon, and didn’t really have the infrastructure to support the program that they came out with.

Just about a week ago, Clubhouse announced that they’re launching the second creator first program, this time in India. Cool, awesome but have we really had time to have a post mortem about the first creator first program before moving on to doing this again. The unfortunate thing about a business of this size growing too quickly is that you start to lose the trust of your users and this brings me to a huge point that I want all of us influencer marketers to keep in mind .The power has never been so heavily in the creator’s hands as at this moment in time. It’s so interesting to witness but I’m sitting here observing time and time again, how influencers creators these days are being catered to more than ever before.

And in my humble opinion, it is about damn time. So the jury’s out to whether or not Clubhouse can sustain its user base. I think that it’s a matter of time to whether influencer marketers will heavily invest in a platform like Clubhouse. It certainly hasn’t happened yet. There have been small investments in Clubhouse supplementary, investments in clubhouse, but no one’s investing millions of dollars into creators on that platform. And time will tell whether or not that happens. I certainly am not in a place to predict it. But what I will say is that in my opinion, Clubhouse really needs to listen more to the creators on their of what they need in order to be successful.

Spotify Green Room:

Yes, this is the same Spotify that paid Joe Rogan about $100 million to take his ass off the internet and give them exclusive rights to his podcast. This is the same social media platform who is paid Alexandra Cooper $60 million to bring her Call Her Daddy podcast exclusively to Spotify. They’re definitely making a play and have been for years in terms of the podcast space. And I don’t know if anybody noticed, but iTunes like pitifully updated their UI.

It was basically the exact same interface like there was literally like such a little difference that no one barely noticed. It was really actually kind of sad. So only in March of this year 2021 Spotify announced that they were going to be acquiring an app called Locker Room and in doing so, we’re making a stance that they were going to be making a play in terms of the social audio space.

Well cut to last week Green Room exists. Green Room. Green Room, not green house, like a lot of clubhousers are accidentally or intentionally calling it but Green Room. So Green Room. How do you even find green room? All you have to download a whole other app? It’s not even in Spotify. Oh my god, it’s so cringe. Why is it a separate app? I don’t know, are there plans to bring it into Spotify as app like things like this are such a mess, in my opinion, but Green Room.

Okay, so you download the Green Room app, you kick it up, you launch it, and you’re like, Alright, this is Spotify, his version of social audio. And look, I’m sure this is a byproduct of like when it was released people trying to navigate their way through this new launch. But now all I basically saw on there was like, Green Room versus Clubhouse like, which is the better app for social audio. And it was basically a ton of clubhousers who were going over there, to experiment a little bit and to see like, who was showing up more for creators, and it was this kind of beautiful competition.

Here are a couple distinctions high level distinctions between Clubhouse and Green Room. Alright, so Green Room, a couple cool, interesting things that it has going for it, it’s actually got a chat feature at the bottom of the screen, which allows the audience members to still chime in but by typing what they have to say, instead of necessarily coming up on stage, they could still feel like they’re contributing to the conversation.

Obviously, there’s some like engaging ways to get the audience more involved. So that’s unique. That’s kind of cool, except what I’ve heard that from a speaker’s perspective, there’s like two lines of text that you can read at a time. So essentially, like the comments are flying by so quickly, that it’s like, kind of impossible to take in. I’ve heard that moderating a room is more difficult on Green Room but here’s the kicker, y’all. If you can just master those couple of things, the small differences between maybe a Clubhouse interface that you’ve gotten used to and Green Rooms which is just a little bit different.

Here is the key feature that Green Room allows you to download and publish your recording. And what that does, of course, is it makes it easier to monetize, it makes it easier to lift that content up and promote it elsewhere. It makes it possible to have that conversation live outside of a live broadcast. So Spotify is common for Clubhouse, that’s all I can say it’s only been out for a few days. I hope they eventually bring it into the Spotify app. I do think that’s a huge mess. I assume they’re equally trying to continue to test this new thing, while protecting the ecosystem that is Spotify. And how enormous that is. I mean, it’s been around forever, to just in terms of podcasting and music.

You know, maybe this thing will grow and be big enough to yield bringing it into the fold. And if it does, I absolutely predict that it’s going to be huge. And again, it’s because Spotify has the resources to support this. They’re known for having great technology and having the infrastructure to be able to roll out major updates in a relatively short amount of time. So transparently, I’m all for rooting for the underdog. I would love Clubhouse to still come out on top in this competition but I don’t know although I am a Yankees fan. So maybe I’m not always rooting for the underdog.

Facebook Audio:

Interesting. And then of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t bring up Facebook audio. So this was sort of inevitable, simply because Mark Zuckerberg jumped on Clubhouse maybe about four or five months ago at this point. And just like had his own conversation on there, and everyone was like, Hmm, interesting. A lot of people speculate that Facebook offered to purchase Clubhouse. Clubhouse turned it down and so Facebook essentially said we don’t need you, we can easily come out with our own thing.

Here’s my two cents on Facebook’s positioning in terms of social audio. So, what does Facebook do particularly well in comparison to all of the other social platforms? Facebook has a really solid grasp on community building. Look, a lot of you are in WIIMs Facebook group but you’re also probably and some others, whether it’s parenting groups or about some hobbies or, you know, location based groups. I’m in all of the above.

And you know, yes, I’m 34 years old. So like, sure, you could make the argument that Facebook is for a certain age of people, but I debunk that theory when it comes to Facebook groups, because I’ve also heard lots of people tell me explicitly, the only reason I’m on Facebook is for the WIIM Facebook group. And so if we can do that, for certain people, I know that there are other groups that bring people to Facebook. So with the theory that Facebook is great at community building, I do think there should there could be an absolutely interesting play in terms of audio.

Now, I will say this, at the beginning of the pandemic, Facebook launched Facebook rooms that I’ve jumped in a handful of them. I’ve created all of them myself and invited WIIM members into them. This is all very early on in the pandemic, just sort of have some roundtable group conversations about influencer marketing. handful of people experienced those rooms, because a lot of people weren’t very interested in coming on board.

Essentially what Facebook audio is, it’s the host rooms with the video turned off. Sure there’s a different UI experience. It looks a lot like Clubhouse, which looks a lot like Green Room, which looks a lot like Facebook audio rooms but here’s the point of distinction that both Facebook is implementing, and Spotify Green Room is offering. They are experimenting with fun ways to exchange social currency. Okay, so wrap your head around this, y’all.

In Facebook live audio rooms, you have the ability to purchase stars, so stars can be purchased or in the conversation used at any time. And by sending stars to the people or person that you’re listening to, you can essentially be bumped to the quote front row, which is a special section that highlights the people who sent the stars.

Okay, interesting. Green Room has something called Gems, similar concept, a way to send social currency to people that are creating content for you. So in case you didn’t know, yes, Clubhouse has the same ability, you can also pay your creators, this isn’t something new but the difference is that Clubhouse didn’t do it in a particularly fun or creative way. They’re sort of programmers first, and they’re not really thinking about the platform in terms of the social interactions, which I do find really interesting.

Obviously, Facebook is a master at that and Spotify figured it out with gems on Clubhouse, the back end, you’ll link up yourself with a stripe account. And a give money button appears when you click into somebody’s profile. There’s really nothing special about it. It doesn’t feel fun, vibrant, personal, really like nothing. In fact, it feels a little awkward but what I do want you guys to make note of is that the platforms are now empowering influencers, audience to be so engaged with them, that they’re willing to just send the money.

Now this is absolutely not something new, I want to make sure that we’re not ignorant here. Obviously YouTube has been implementing AdSense since basically the beginning and paying influencers that way. I don’t know if anybody was familiar with the platform you now but they were really early on in this tipping type feature that they implemented. years ago, I just did a quick Google search about them. And unfortunately, the first Google hit came out.

Unfortunately, the first Google hit that I’m shown says is you now dead, which is kind of sad, but probably just indicative of the fact that maybe half of you or more have never heard of you now, the only point that I want to make is that like this concept isn’t new. It’s certainly not revolutionary, but like how many concepts actually are and to really just getting the concept in the right hands.

I just want you to be aware that all of the three major social audio platforms, Twitter spaces being another one that I’m not even really going to touch on because to be honest, I just I do think Twitter is dead. All three major players in live social audio are implementing some sort of creator currency. So one thing that’s interesting guys is this is another key metric that you can ask how much money have you made from typing on social media?

How many people donate to you on a regular basis? What does that look like? And I love a good metric that we can now measure against. My two cents is that if you’re a good enough salesperson that you can move an entire group of people to tip you on a social audio platform, that is the type of influencer that I would recommend aligning yourself with.

That’s what’s going on. It’s the latest and greatest in the world of live social audio, I highly, highly encourage you to explore each and every one of these platforms individually. That’s the best way to wrap your head around it to have an opinion about it and to work in it.

Don’t dabble in things like TikTok and dive in to TikTok. Dive into Clubhouse. Dive into Green Room and also dive into live audio rooms on Facebook or maybe this recap was just helpful, so you don’t have to do that yourself. Anyways, guys, I do hope that these mini episodes are helpful. I want to be doing them a little bit more often.

You’ll hear me do some mini episodes, some mini episodes coupled with an interview just some things to mix it up and 2021. I love you guys so much. Thank you so much for listening. I hope this recap of social audio and where everything stands was educational, helpful supports you guys.

There’s any topics you ever want me to cover specifically, definitely let me know. Again, I also want to hear your thoughts on all these rooms, all the rooms all the social rooms, you’ll meet me on Clubhouse I’m always on there.

Hit me up on Instagram. Ironically enough, that’s the best way to DM me. And of course check out our website iamwiim.com. For all information on your membership. We’d love to have you check us out. Share this podcast episode with colleagues, friends, anyone you want to hear it and we will see you next week.

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