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How Brands Can Utilize Audio on Social, And Why It’s Important They Do

  • Madison Vettorino

What pops up when you refresh your Instagram feed? Scrolling through the app used to consist of looking at static images and reading the caption underneath.  There was no need to have your volume on. Now, marketers have to work harder to capture their consumers’ attention.

Content has shifted from static images to animated graphics and video, often accompanied by audio.  The shift towards audio/video on Instagram was even cemented by Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri. In June 2021, Mosseri announced that Instagram “is no longer a photo sharing app.”  While Instagram once appealed to just one sense–sight–it now appeals to two. 

In January 2021, the MIT Technology Review published an article entitled “The future of social networks might be audio.” A mere seven months later, this bold assertion has already proven its merit. This migration towards audio-heavy social platforms is possibly in part due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

Not only did the use of social media reach new levels in 2020, apps that exploded in popularity during the year have promising post-pandemic futures. Just take TikTok, for example. The video-centric site heavily relies on audio to enhance its content and its algorithm rewards those who use its audio features such as Trending Sounds.  Predictably, TikTok’s main competitor, Facebook, recently announced monetised live audio rooms  to enhance the platform’s audio capabilities.

Why Audio? 

You might be wondering,  why is audio the next big thing? How did this seismic shift occur? Part of the reason that the audio explosion is occurring now could be because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

For audio-only apps, such as Clubhouse, the fact that people are working from home could  be partially responsible. Remote workers crave the human connection that conversation can bring, and away from their offices and miles away from their coworkers, many remote workers are lucky to just speak to a few people outside of their home a day.  Therefore, audio-only apps help replicate the feeling of those in-office watercooler conversations in a digital environment. 

But what about apps like Instagram that aren’t exclusively audio?  These increased audio functionalities offer an opportunity for brands to create a multi-dimensional user experience. Audio offers an enhanced emotional connection through music or storytelling that didn’t previously exist and allows users to engage in music-related trends.  

How Can My Brand Harness The Power Of Audio On Social? 

The concept of social audio is new and marketers are still learning how to harness its power.  That being said, there are several tips that you should keep in mind when you are creating audio-centric content to share on social media. 

While there’s a lot to be said for the thumb-stopping power of a breathtaking photo on Instagram, use the platform for all it has to offer. Invest in video and animated graphic content for Reels, in-feed posts, and consider using Instagram Live to engage your audience.  Live video, in fact, is revealing itself to be a powerful way to engage Gen Z users. A massive 95% of Gen Z consumers are likely to recall a call-to-action from video content. 

On TikTok, brands should also utilize original audio, as this is what can help you go viral. While it’s fun and engaging for your brand account to get in on trending audio, it’s also wise to create original audio content. Using original audio actually led to a 52% lift in view rate compared to popular tracks that plenty of other TikTokers are using. 

Also, think about the concept of sonic branding when you are looking to use audio on social media. Sound is powerful; it can even help effectively communicate your brand’s story and identity. This is just as critical on social media as logos or colors that your company might use. Be consistent; your brand story should feel authentic to the company or product.

There’s also the opportunity for brands to collaborate with other businesses in this new, audio-centric space. For example, audio-centric apps such as  Twitter Spaces and Clubhouse are rapidly expanding. You can build your presence on these, and then work to engage with the right audiences. Do this by tapping into the community; join the right Clubhouse “rooms” that are relevant to your niche, make a Twitter Space topic that is relevant to the niche. 

Why Is It Important To Use Audio On Social Media?

Think of it this way: the audio that you use in your company’s social media posts–whether that  be on TikTok, Facebook, Instagram Reels, podcasts, or elsewhere–becomes an extension of your branding. As a result, you’ll want to be sure that you  are carefully curating your brand’s  sound. Be sure that the audio you are using demonstrates what your company is, and communicates your brand story. 

Although audio is an additional element that you have to think about,  marketers should view it as an additional opportunity. We’ve all had advertising jingles or TV show theme songs  get stuck in our mind’s phonological loop – this can happen on social media too. Wouldn’t it be great if your audience heard that catchy song in the background of your Reel? Wouldn’t it be great if everytime they hear it, they subliminally think of your post that they saw with that audio in the background? Sound has power. Once you acknowledge that, you can begin to curate your brand’s sound. 

Is your brand ready for a new campaign, brand experience,  or social strategy? Contact us to learn more about our suite of marketing services.

 

SOURCES:

The future of social networks might be audio  | MIT Technology Review  

How Brands Can Make Best Use of Audio on TikTok (and Why They Should) [Infographic] | Social Media Today   

Create Niche Content on Audio Apps | YouGov 

Brands Must Define Audio Identity, says Pepsico’s Alonso | AdWeek  

TikTok To Stay Post Pandemic | YouGov

Head of Instagram says Instagram is no longer a photo sharing app | The Verge  

Facebook to launch social audio tools | YouGov 

Users can now save audio, share audio pages and search for music on Instagram Reels | YouGov

Facebook is testing drastic changes to Instagram to make it more like TikTok | CNBC 

What the social audio frenzy means for brands seeking new ad channels | Marketing Dive  

Use Live Video to Engage Gen Z Social Media Users | YouGov