3 April 2023

Making the most of LinkedIn’s new Audio Events feature

Guides & explainers
Are LinkedIn Audio Events right for your business? Find the answer and more.

LinkedIn have announced a series of new features for Company Pages, including scheduled posts (at last!) and something that caught our eye: Audio Events.

We’ve put together this short guide to explain a little about them, and help you decide whether Audio Events make sense for your company.

 

What are LinkedIn Audio Events?

LinkedIn Audio Events are live, audio-only broadcasts, and accessible via both desktop and mobile versions of LinkedIn’s platform. They can be scheduled in advance (so you can promote them ahead of time and invite specific people, to drive attendance) and you might want to think of them as a phone-in radio show or a live, interactive podcast.

They’re not a free-for-all — the host invites speakers from the audience to participate by handing them the microphone, or even inviting them ‘onto the stage’ if they wish.

 

Why is LinkedIn pushing Audio Events now?

You might be thinking this ‘social audio’ sounds like old news — and you’re right, sort of.

It’s true that similar features have been part of the social media landscape for a while. It began with Clubhouse, before established rivals like Twitter rolled out their versions; and in fact, some social networks recently turned off their social audio functionality, including Reddit and Facebook.

Part of this is a reflection of the large job cuts that some networks have recently undertaken (resulting in some ‘non-core’ products being sacrificed), and also the way that the growth in social audio was fuelled by the pandemic, when new forms of human connection were so craved.

Facebook and Reddit have discovered that, as things return to normal, social audio is a market with niche appeal. And LinkedIn is now seeking to corner that market, having watched and learned from the failure of others.

 

What’s different about LinkedIn Audio Events?

LinkedIn has offered Audio Events to some qualifying individual users since the middle of 2022, and is now extending the functionality to Company Pages.

LinkedIn may thrive where others stumbled precisely because of its nature as a ‘professional’ social network. While people leave virtual social events behind (now that they’re not the only option), virtual business events continue to make a lot of sense.

Social audio is a great low-cost alternative to conferencing and networking events, and is a solid format for Q&As, interviews, and more.

In contrast, a webinar or virtual conference (or whatever you want to call it) often demands people’s undivided attention and they may be expected to be either ‘camera on’ or ‘eyes on’. Social audio, as with all audio, makes a great ‘secondary’ activity — with attendees listening in while doing other activities at their desk.

 

Why should you bother with LinkedIn Audio Events?

Let’s cut to the chase: they’re cheap. Free, in fact, if your hosts and guest speakers don’t demand any fees.

There’s more to it than that, though. Through Audio Events you can share real conversations that humanize your brand, and foster stronger connections with your audience — whether that’s customers, prospective customers, employees, job applicants, or others.

This need for ‘real’ conversations reflects the impact of TikTok on today’s media consumption, which cannot be understated (ownership controversy notwithstanding). Today’s young audiences want authentic, unmanicured content.

Mistrustful of corporations’ motives, they demand crude realism at a time when the increasing ability of Artificial Intelligence threatens to unravel what we believe to be true — even in the world of audio.

 

What are the risks of LinkedIn Audio Events?

Social audio is hard to do well — we mean it when we say that LinkedIn Audio events are similar to radio and podcasting, and those are industries all of their own. Social audio’s live nature also means there’s no editing or production, which may be a negative if you’re uncomfortable with ‘casual’ depictions of your brand. You may be better off with a podcast, which can be edited and include branded elements.

And then there’s your audience speakers. As with any kind of ‘phone-in’, audience participants are a wildcard, and you’ve no idea what they might say — which naturally carries some additional risk.

 

How to make the most of LinkedIn Audio Events

  1. Have a plan

Every radio presenter or podcaster worth their salt has a plan about what they’re going to discuss that day – nobody wings it. The same should be true of your Audio Event host.

Set out your time in advance and how you’ll fill it (your show is limited to three hours, but should be at least 15 minutes long). Start with your running order.

Here’s an example:

  • 0-3 minutes: Introductions and scene-setting
  • 4-10 minutes: Discussion around the day’s topic
  • 11-15 minutes: Regular feature (e.g. a mini game or quiz)
  • 16-20 minutes: Further discussion of the daily topic
  • 21-25 minutes: Listeners’ questions

We’ve written previously about what makes a good podcast host, and the same lessons learned there can be applied here.

  1. Embrace the unplanned

This might sound like it contradicts our point above, but this advice reflects that LinkedIn Audio Events are live and things will at some point, inevitably, go wrong. When they do, you need to roll with the punches.

Stick too rigidly to your plan in the face of challenges and you might miss out on opportunities you hadn’t expected, or at the very least, appear inflexible to your listeners.

  1. Do them regularly

One-off events are great, but to build your audience you need to be consistent. Because it this, you should plan not just for one broadcast but for many. Make it a regular feature: be it weekly, monthly, or quarterly.

Whatever If you’re going to do it, make it a priority that’s as important as your other activity.

  1. Always be yourself and talk about what you know

We could confidently host an audio event about audio, but not photocopiers (we know practically nothing about photocopiers). Which is why we’d never run a LinkedIn Audio Event about photocopiers.

Instead, we would talk (and do write) only about audio. And within that, we have different people to speak on different aspects of audio. Musicians and musicologists to talk about music; producers to talk about editing and post-production; marketers about how to use it to your best advantage.

 

Ideas for how to use LinkedIn Audio Events in your industry

There are endless topics you could talk about! One idea is to latch onto something from the news cycle.

Ask yourself what you’d want to talk about if you were invited onto a news radio show to talk about the day’s headlines; what insights could your subject matter experts provide?

How about…

  • Your business is in the tax or finance sector, and you’re unpacking details of the federal budget announcement
  • You’re in the legal sphere, discussing landmark rulings and their impact
  • You’re an electronics wholesaler, discussing the innovations on show at the latest Consumer Electronics Show

And your Audio Event doesn’t have to relate to the news cycle. How about:

  • A Reddit-style ‘Ask me anything’ with your CEO, or another key person from your business
  • A session sharing interview tips and advice from your recruitment team
  • A creative agency sharing their thoughts on industry trends and events

Just remember that LinkedIn is a business-to-business (b2b) platform, so you’re not likely to connect with many customers if your business operates on the business-to-consumer (b2c) model — which is why LinkedIn Audio Events may make more sense for b2b businesses.

To learn more about how audio can support your business across every platform — not just LinkedIn — speak to one of our experts.

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