Up until recently, social media has been a predominantly visual platform. Between photos, videos and memes, it seemed that the days of talking and listening to each other without any visual cues were a thing of the past.

However, in 2020, while most of us were hunkered down, downloading TikTok, and getting used to Zoom meetings (and looking at our own faces all day), a new trend emerged in social media — called social audio — with an app called Clubhouse.

Clubhouse allows users to walk down a virtual “hallway” and visit different audio chat “rooms” to meet people from around the world in real time with similar interests. Once you enter the audio chat room of your choice, there is a moderator on the subject, and you can participate as a speaker or listener — it’s up to you. Over the past year, Clubhouse has become so popular that other social media platforms — like Twitter, Facebook and Spotify — have launched their own audio chat services in order to compete.

A screenshot of the clubhouse hallway

The Clubhouse hallway.

How popular is social audio?

Just how popular is Clubhouse? Let’s look at some stats and background:

  • Clubhouse launched in the United States in April 2020 as an invite-only app for Apple iOS users. In 2021, it has become more widely available — now anyone can join (no invite needed!), and it’s available for Android users.
  • In May 2020, Clubhouse had 1,500 active users. By January 2021, the number of active users grew to 2 million. And as of February 2021 (only one month later), Clubhouse grew to a whopping 10 million active users — making it the 9th largest social network.
  • In May 2020, Clubhouse was valued at $100 million. Due to its increase in popularity and usage, in May 2021, it was valued at $1 billion. (Interestingly, this $1 billion status makes it known as a “unicorn” start-up. Other popular unicorn start-ups include Uber and Airbnb).
  • In addition to the United States, Clubhouse is available in 154 countries. And it is the number-one most downloaded app in Germany, Japan, Slovakia and Turkey.
  • Like other social media platforms, celebrities were first to join the app. Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey, Kevin Hart and Drake were all early adopters who have hosted audio chats on the platform.

With the increased popularity in social audio, is it time that your healthcare organization hop on the bandwagon? And how can healthcare marketers use social audio to their advantage? Read on for some ideas.

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Using social audio for marketing in healthcare

Celebrities are one thing, but how can healthcare organizations and marketers utilize this new, popular platform?

Engage with your community

Imagine this — your hospital has a big, new announcement. Instead of organizing an in-person or virtual press conference, you can take away the stress of your CEO’s outfit choices and reduce the threat of technical difficulties. With social audio, you can simply host a chat room and your CEO can talk directly into the phone or computer — no fancy equipment, clothes or backgrounds needed.

Patient-to-patient support groups

Many healthcare organizations host patient-to-patient support groups — either in person or virtual. It’s important for patients to talk to others like them, as it can help them with their physical, mental and spiritual health. With audio chat rooms, patients have access to even more support — worldwide. Patients can also meet and talk with more anonymity than usual, which can help them open up more and get more value out of the support group.

A screenshot of a clubhouse club

A Clubhouse “club” focusing on mental health. This club has scheduled an discussion for Aug. 22, 2021.

Patient-to-doctor communication

According to Ogilvy Health, who recently visited a Clubhouse room entitled “A Few Black Docs: Organ Transplant. Needs & Misconceptions,” this is a great platform for open conversations between doctors and patients. This particular room had over 1,000 attendees from around the world and included a panel of doctors to help answer questions regarding the challenges of being a Black doctor in healthcare and how to perform kidney transplants.

Challenges of social audio

While the possibilities of social audio are exciting, this platform also presents challenges.

There are no visuals

While having no video or visuals can seem refreshing — it’s also a great way to call attention to your brand and keep people interested.

Reach is limited

While the example above talked about a room with over 1,000 attendees — those results are not typical. Most rooms typically have 100 attendees or less.

It’s for individuals

You cannot set up a company or business page in Clubhouse — it’s for individuals only (so far, anyway). So, while one of your doctors may be popular on the app — it doesn’t mean your healthcare organization will be.

Looking for help with social media content? Our team of experts specializes in creating custom healthcare content for any digital channel. Drop us a line to learn how we can help you reach your social media marketing goals.