Is the stage set for brands to say we need to do something about social audio chat?

I had been thinking about penning this for the last few weeks but articulating your thoughts for long-form of content isn’t a cakewalk with so many distraction points around.

For the past six weeks, I’ve been dabbling with drop-in audio chat and the bulk of my time has largely gone towards Clubhouse, the voice-only social network. Currently limited to iPhone users only by invitation, it has created a major FOMO from its launch days and the buzz is still on. The audio world has expanded horizons though, as we’ve Twitter Spaces and Facebook/LinkedIn and every other social network is also testing its own variants of live drop-in audio.

So do we have a brand play on these networks/extensions or is it meant for the creators and why should you even care?

#1. What your interests are: If you love consuming content or have been into podcasts or simply follow entrepreneurs such Tony Fernandes to Bollywood actress Richa Chadha to content creator NAS daily, chances are you might find them in one of the rooms. The experience of hearing some-one live is very different from a recorded conversation.

#2. First things first, as a brand you cannot set-up a brand a/c on Clubhouse. Likewise, on Twitter, it’s not a stand-alone app, but right inside your profile. Just like in a video world, you need to have a face for your brand, in an audio-only world, you would need to have a voice for the brand or voice(s) for the brand.

The Hustler Club — Co-hosted by Mariann

#2. What’s the chatter on Clubhouse? After experiencing multiple clubhouse sessions, I have found out that the topics are diverse and could be anything from a deep-down session on “Google Search Console” to something as random as ‘Dating Tips’. These exclude the usual suspects such as how to make the most of Clubhouse and how Instagram marketing etc. It’s about finding your interest, hopping into the relevant rooms or at some point creating your own club around a specific interest.

#3. Clubhouse, India and beyond: Despite all the buzz, live drop-in audio seems to be limited to select users in India for now. The attribution for the same needs to go to iPhone only limitation as far as Clubhouse goes. The impressions on Twitter spaces are different though, where device-type isn’t a limitation.

I must honestly admit, most of my drop-in chats have been with folks in a different geography or driven around a common interest. For now, imagine Twitter Spaces as a party, where you might know other guests as you’re following them or have known them for so many years. With Clubhouse, you are mostly meeting completely new people from different geographies. There are rooms for literally everything from travel, book-reading, personal finance, social media influencers/creators.

An impromptu chat on Asia Travel Talk by friend, Jens

#4. What should I do if I am a brand: Just stay authentic, don’t have a forceful agenda and have real conversations. Unlike social media posts that hide behind a brand logo, you can’t do that on audio chats. If you don’t have an opinion, just listen in first, get a hang of the conversation. It is perfectly fine if you are not speaking from the word go.

#5. How do I get the audience? First-up, try answering the question why would people care to listen to you. If you’re talking about something meaningful and adding value to a topic, the audience would come in over a period of time. It also depends on the flow of the conversation, the style of the speakers. I have personally found freewheeling conversations to be more fun.

Keep expectations low initially in-terms of listener numbers. If people, know you’re doing something on a regular basis, they would certainly follow you. I’ve seen a lot of these chats on both Twitter Spaces and Clubhouse happening in the early hours of the morning in the Eastern Time Zone/or late at night in IST.

How has been your experience with drop-in audio chats?