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Last year, video conferencing provided the perfect answer for many businesses that were scrambling to accommodate remote work and virtual customer interactions. As video took over as the new primary format of business communication, it led to “Zoom burnout.” Additionally, etiquette became a big concern and topic since, in the comfort of their homes, it was easy for participants to forget that the camera was still rolling.
On-the-call blunders aside, many video conferences also require a bit of work to dial into. From downloading software to patching in via phone or entering unique participant IDs and access codes, there’s an added degree of friction leading up to the screen-staring that happens once you’re connected.
Today, we’re seeing an increasing amount of adoption among audio-only apps across many verticals that help remove the sometimes-awkward video requirement but also allow participants to instantly join a conversation without having to enter a string of numbers into their desktop or phone.
From social audio apps like Locker Room (a sports-focused app now owned by Spotify) to enterprise-caliber platforms like Space, we’re seeing an evolution of technology for streamlining digital communication and human connection.
Sports fans have a lot to say about their favorite teams and their biggest rivals — and that’s been the major appeal of social audio app Locker Room. Between news, rumors, predictions, panel Q&As, and watch parties, diehard fans can listen in or debate for hours about who’s the GOAT and who deserves to be cut. What makes this more engaging is the fact that now anyone can have a voice in the conversation versus, for example, a tweet that might get lost in the Twitterverse. This is an important element to keep in mind when considering why it could be beneficial to use audio apps for the enterprise.
Social-Audio for Enterprise
Audio rooms have also found their way onto other platforms like Twitter and Facebook, and LinkedIn and Slack have announced plans to add audio to their products as well. Slack recently stated that it’s adding audio features similar to Clubhouse, according to Business Insider. LinkedIn announced it’s also including an audio experience in its product, and Twitter recently launched its own audio product. Figma has also added audio to its offering. The category is evolving quickly.
For business leaders and creatives who want to add audio rooms to their website or product, new audio features and audio as a service platforms are making this possible. With these features, companies are adding town hall-style audio-only rooms to their website where they engage directly with their customers. Visitors simply click on the link to join a live conversation with the company rather than going through the friction of finding a toll-free number, dialing it, and getting routed through the touch-tone menu or talking to a chatbot.
E-commerce sites and even B2B businesses can make it easy for shoppers and prospects to click to join a live conversation. In doing so, businesses can facilitate meaningful conversations that could lead to new sales, reduce customer service queues and provide instant value for consumers. In some cases, these conversations can create critical customer feedback loops for developers and product managers. Plus, in a similar fashion to the NBA Top Shot pack opening webcasts, e-commerce brands can use these audio platforms to host live product drops for even stronger customer engagement.
Using Audio Apps for Business
While there is a wide spectrum of business use cases, some of the more successful strategies include:
• Co-hosting rooms on social audio apps like Locker Room and Clubhouse to establish your brand in these unique, more informal spaces
• Adding audio onto your website with widgets to enable customer service, sales and product feedback conversations
• Upgrading your internal communications stack with new features from collaborating tools like Slack and Figma
With audio, remember that the best conversations are two-sided between the brand and the participants. It’s easy to think of audio as just another channel for pushing company propaganda, but instead, guests are also keen to contribute and, in some cases, drive the conversation. As the host, you should let them. You might be pleasantly surprised by the questions they ask, the feedback they share and the opportunities they give you to help them solve problems.
Where do we go from here?
At the moment, things are just getting started for audio apps as social networking giants are developing their own audio products. And other communications platforms like Discord are extending services to support more audio-only features. As more players enter the market, we’ll see more creative ways businesses and consumers apply audio to their everyday interactions.