Competing for eyeballs. It’s what we do on social media. From uploading quick ‘live footage’ videos to publishing a curated carousel of images, there are so many visual and interactive ways we can engage and connect with our audience, diverting attention away from the competition. But what about chasing eardrums as well? After all, when it comes to online audio listening, the average time spent is a whopping 16 hours and 14 minutes per week (business2community.com). So there must be eardrums to capture?
In this blog post, we’ll delve into using audio marketing on your social channels. Specifically, we’ll look at the rising star, the audiogram, outlining all you need to know when it comes to using audiograms as part of your social content strategy.
But first, why the focus on audio?
The pandemic backdrop
People. It was all something we took for granted before we packed up and started working from home in 2020. From podcasts delving into the nitty-gritty of your industry (or analysing grizzly murders, whatever floats your boat) to friendly, familiar radio hosts punctuating our days, audio media became a substitute for our colleagues in the office. Essentially, audio media has re-emerged as a strong contender, fighting strongly against the powerful video. In fact, it is now estimated 28.3 million adults listen to digital audio every week in the UK (thedrum.com), so it’s clear that audio is here to stay, even as we settle back into our workplaces.
The audio-first social channels
Audio chatrooms like Clubhouse are rising in popularity. In January 2021, Clubhouse was the 5th most popular social media app on the App Store (cybercrew.uk).
The main players enter the arena
Charging ahead as industry leaders, Facebook recently launched Live Audio Rooms and a podcast playback feature. Whenever Facebook make a move like this, it’s easy to predict what the future looks like for social media marketing.
Need help with Facebook marketing? Take a look at our social media marketing services.
So how does this translate to social media marketing and your content strategy?
We know audio is popular. But what about in the context of your social media? To answer this let’s start by going back to basics…
Why do audiences like audio?
It’s simple, really. Audio media is popular because
- It triggers big emotions – imitating the voice of a friend, you often find yourself having ‘yes!’ moments and enthusiastically nodding along… or, the inverse and having a little cry in your car down the M6.
- It paints a picture – as simple as someone telling you a story, you can often visualise what the speaker is describing.
- It personalises the everyday and boring – to read information online is one thing, but to have a human voice bring this information to life is the next level. It’s entertaining.
- It facilitates the multi-tasker – for many, audio can act as background noise subliminally entertaining/ teaching/ informing you while you tend to household chores, drive a long-distance or answer emails. It’s an attractive quality in a busy world.
- It’s a break from screen time – A recent survey found 88% of 11-24 year-olds felt that screen time negatively affected their sleep (scot). Audio media bypasses this and allows us to unwind and tune into another sense, thus is growing in popularity.
- It’s a powerful motivator – a human voice read aloud is active and doesn’t require you to do anything (but listen, which is passive), so it can have a powerful effect on an engaged audience.
Enter the audiogram, traditionally a podcast’s little helper.
Wait… what is an audiogram, exactly?
The Podcast Host describes an audiogram as “a combination of visual art, a sound wave, an audio track, and, at best, transcription of the dialogue. More involved than a gif, less commitment than a video, these are like small flavorful tastes to tempt passers-by into committing to a whole meal.” – and we think this is spot on. And what’s more, this gives you an idea of their history emerging on the web.
Traditionally audiograms have been used to promote podcasts – like a teaser clip – very successfully! Let’s take the example of the US radio station, WNYC. They discovered that the average engagement for an audiogram on Twitter is 8x higher than a non-audiogram tweet, and on Facebook, reach outperforms photos and links by 58% and 83%, respectively (themedium.com). So, what can we learn from this?
How audiograms are claiming a space of their own
If you have a podcast as part of your content marketing strategy, then audiograms will work amazingly alongside your podcast to promote it across your social channels. However, what if you don’t have a podcast? Can you still use audiograms?
Yes! Because an audiogram is your opportunity to push out content in another format. It’s another way of attracting listeners (chasing eardrums), engaging your audience and providing them with the ‘value-add’ concept of content marketing – often via knowledge and/or entertainment while showcasing and cementing your brand further.
But isn’t that what videos are for?
Yes, video has held its place as the ‘top dog’ of content for a long time (LearnHub reports that video content is 1200% more successful than other content), but audiograms are finding their own valuable place. In fact, as content creators, it can take the heat off curated videos and visuals – allowing you to consistently produce soundbites for your audience without the need for filming or animation. Arguably, this refocuses your audience on the audio’s content – putting your words at the centre of their concentration.
Perhaps you’ve spotted audiograms on TV? News shows often use audiograms to display a soundbite from a contributor.
Of course – we LOVE video on social media! But audiograms allow you to mix it up a bit and serve variety to your audience (it is the spice of life, after all!). Furthermore, in 2021, we’ve seen vertical video and Zoom-recorded session videos rise in popularity – which can be great – but can also equate to unpolished footage that’s not quite right for your platform.
By lifting audio, you can create an audiogram that provides focus. This is especially useful for snipping high-quality soundbites from online conferences and events – thus, providing valuable content for your audience instead of lengthy (and boring) videos.
8 ways to build effective audiograms into your social media strategy
Here are our quick tips to bear in mind when creating audiograms
- Be clear on your audience
Who do you want to listen to your audiograms? Define this before going ahead – it could influence everything from whose voice you use to what content you include.
- Use existing content
There are two ways to think about this. Firstly, like our example above, think about existing audio you have (perhaps on a recorded Zoom session, for example) that you can chop up and use as a soundbite. Secondly, why not take the opportunity to bring written content to life? For instance, read aloud a blog post and chop up certain parts to serve as an audiogram.
You’ve published a blog with so many highlights… so, pick them out and put them in front of your audience’s ears for an easy-listening option. Think mini audio book.
- Keep short and sweet
You’re not producing a podcast (yet!). So keep under 2 minutes and keep an eye on those analytics – you might find your audience drops off after a specific time, so you can adapt to suit their preferences.
- Lead to longer-form content
Equally, you could use an audiogram as a ‘sneak preview’ to a long-form piece of content – something that the user needs to invest more time in. Traditionally this would be a podcast. Remember, in many cases, a user consumes content because they are looking for information, advice and expertise within an area. It is different from a user consuming traditional marketing (such as a social media advert), who is readier to buy a product or service.
In the case of an audiogram, this is short-form (and often surface-level content) that serves not only to give the user a ‘taster’ but also offers reassurance that you cover the area they are looking for information on – so they can invest more time with you.
Digital marketing 101: you often want your users to get off social media and onto your website. If that’s your goal, audiograms are a great way of offering short-form content on social media as a taster of the long-form content available on your website.
A quick snippet of information over in audio format is just the taster your audience needs to delve deeper into the subject – and hit another deeper touchpoint with your brand.
- Leverage personality
Have you ever listened to a podcast, and five minutes in, you think, ‘I cannot stand this voice”. Truthfully, voice can make or break your audio marketing. So, even if Andrea is the expert in the latest industry trends, her voice may say otherwise to your audience. Instead, pick someone who you know has a great rapport with your best clients.
- Evoke your brand, rather than say it
Some of the most successful podcasts out there hardly mention their brand name, deviate from content ‘pillars’ and have an overall sense of ‘freedom’. Now, of course, as marketers, we know this isn’t the case – and often behind the podcast lies a very carefully curated strategy.
Take for example, Hitachi Ventara’s podcast. Although they interview employees from across the business, each episode takes on its own subject – delving into everything from diversity to sustainable finance. Yes, you’re speaking to the ‘people of Hitachi’, but you’re listening in on much broader conversations. So what can you learn from this when it comes to audiograms? Essentially, hone in on the content side of content marketing. Provide conversation starters instead of using an audiogram as an advert in voice form.
- Always include subtitles
It’s important for accessibility and improves user experience – enough said.
Captions ensure all users can access your audio – which is hugely important when your audience is higher education students.
- Remember the mute button
This goes hand-in-hand with using subtitles or closed captions. Most social channels automatically mute video content (because your audiogram will be uploaded as a video file) – so the user has to unmute the audiogram to listen. Therefore, it’s essential to consider the design of the audiogram (a single graphic) and the copy it includes. How will that encourage your audience to stop the scroll and unmute (or read the subtitles)?
*Bonus tip* Record on the go!
The more content you gather, the more opportunities you create on social media to serve multiple goals. For example, a quick voice note observation could be a great industry contribution (helping build your brand authority) or simply something relatable that your audience will enjoy (improving engagement). Just remember that, yes, content is king – but refining it to find the ‘golden nuggets’ will lead to more success through increased engagement.
Top tips for marketers struggling with content! Ask colleagues with industry expertise to answer a question or give a top tip via a voice note. You could even make it a goal for the week ahead… or a ‘challenge’ if you want to keep it light-hearted. The key is to keep it specific, i.e. ‘what is your top tip for returning to the office after working from home?’ so it’s easy for people within the business to answer in a short time. Open-ended briefs with no real direction will often only create tumbleweeds.
Tune in to audiograms today
We hope the above starts you off in the right direction. Audio media is nothing new. But its strength on social media is growing every day. So, if there is one challenge you set yourself (or your marketing team) this month, we’d say choose audio. It’s an exciting media format that has a huge potential (just think of all those eardrums – as well as eyeballs – out there).
Speak to us about your audio marketing today
Want to get started? From your content strategy to your social media presence, we’ll help you leverage audio across your marketing, with the aim of seeing fantastic results. Get in touch to discuss your marketing today.