The battle to win consumer attention through social audio was a hotfoot race between Clubhouse and Twitter. LinkedIn is now poised to heat things up into a three-way race.
LinkedIn has launched its social audio feature called Audio Events. Users with a LinkedIn profile can host their own social audio events so that their connections and followers can listen to their panels, discussions and forums. Because LinkedIn has 830 million members, it is a major competitor with Clubhouse and Twitter for the social audio market.
How to Set up LinkedIn Audio Events
LinkedIn provides a starter guide to help users learn where to begin. LinkedIn Audio Events can be accessed in the event menu of your LinkedIn profile. You can also access Audio Events in the text box of your post. You then select online event, then select LinkedIn Audio Events in the menu. After that you can fill out details, such as the Audio Event session name and the event time to let people know when they can join. You can invite others to join in. To be a host you do need to have at least 150 followers and be in good standing with LinkedIn community guidelines. This counters from Clubhouse, in which hosts can be from many backgrounds.
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LinkedIn Audio Lets You Host, Join Sessions From Your Laptop
One particular benefit of LinkedIn Audio Events is being able to host and join a session from your laptop. This feature is not available in Clubhouse or Twitter Spaces. Users on those platforms must join through their smartphones. That may be beneficial for those professionals who are limited to their laptops during the day. In fact, users who speak into a microphone for their other media, like podcasts, will consider ways to integrate high-quality features into their laptop Audio Events broadcasts.
A downside is that sessions can not be saved to be listened to later. Twitter Spaces and Clubhouse do have recording and replay features. People like these features so they can hear discussion details on their own time, so it's likely that LinkedIn will change this deficit soon.
Audio Events also provides LinkedIn another element in its strategy to bolster its features. As I mentioned in my post on social media influencers, platforms are competing against each other with updates, and LinkedIn discovered unique experiences from the work-at-home movement that emerged in the COVID-19 pandemic. People became accustomed to broadcasting virtual meetings and conferences using LinkedIn Live. Like many other social media platforms, LinkedIn has been bolstering the features to help content creators stay in its space. It is not a direct competitor to TikTok in many instances; TikTok is primarily a casual-use social media platform, while Linked In is designed for professional networking. But it does provide a business-only environment that might be a better play for business influencers than YouTube or TikTok.
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Amplify Your Reach into LinkedIn's Professional Communities
One of the new features recently launched is called Boosting for Events, an ad campaign for LinkedIn Events pages. It was designed to amplify the reach of your events content to more professionals. On the surface Boosting for Events sounds like just another social media ad feature. But it gives Audio Events a particular hosting advantage over Clubhouse. Clubhouse has no capabilities to extend a room announcement other than room participants sharing a room and from user discovery within its in-app search. Boosting for Events ads can be tailored to a specific LinkedIn audience, which can in turn let marketers control the audience attracted to their content in a more precise manner compared to Clubhouse.
Twitter ads can be used for a similar purpose on its feed, so LinkedIn will at least face some comparisons on that note.
LinkedIn provides a professional networking environment. In contrast, Clubhouse has attracted a mixture of casual as well as business users. In fact, Clubhouse's audience mix has drawn criticism for diminishing the search experience. Some users have complained that finding rooms for preferred topics requires having to parse through a lot of casual panel rooms, some of which are too controversial or "spammy" in nature.
But Clubhouse is working on several refinements to address its faults. A forthcoming feature, Clubhouse Houses, is designed to host several rooms linked to one personal "hallway." In the current format users can only host one room at a time, connected to a public hallway in which people search to the room. Houses opens the possibility of hosting a "miniconference" of sorts with several speakers in different rooms.
A Tantalizing Mix of LinkedIn Assets for Marketers
Because LinkedIn has long established itself as a business and professional development platform, it may be easier for LinkedIn Audio Events to be prominent in retaining attention of professional audiences. LinkedIn has been very popular already with real-time online webinars with its LinkedIn Live. Audio Events holds potential to extend online experiences further, by allowing hosts to have a separate session where they can talk directly to participants rather than talk to their stream posts and emojis. The potential of Audio Events lets marketers provide a structured customer experience where they can engage with their audience much more closely and the audience can find their content much more easily.
Time will tell if LinkedIn Audio Events will gain popularity in the same way that Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces has. LinkedIn has already established live events in its features wheelhouse with LinkedIn Live, so on the surface, adding Audio Events may be a bit of cannibalizing from a surface-level strategy perspective. Twitter was able to build momentum with Spaces since it did not already have an event hosting service. Clubhouse is an app dedicated for real-time events.
But LinkedIn's feature updates can be leveraged with Audio Events, offering marketers a tantalizing mix of assets to broadcast content to an audience in real-time. With 830 million users, there's a good bet LinkedIn will quickly win this social media footrace.