Soundcloud is well on its way to reaching ubiquity. The platform, which allows users to share and listen to audio recordings, recently reached 30 million registrations, and now counts the Queen amongst its patrons.
At this week’s SXSW conference Soundcloud launched its new Pro Partner accounts - a new membership tier that offers businesses a set of exclusive features. The accounts are currently invitation only, but Soundcloud has made clear that the features, which include large headers and the ability to add image slideshows to recordings, will soon be generally available.
In the meantime, though, the business applications of Soundcloud are yet to be properly explored. The platform has a range of potential benefits for small business owners. So how might you use Soundcloud to help your firm?
1. Start a radio show
The non-music content that does best on Soundcloud (and, indeed, the content that does best on the internet) is that which offers users something genuinely useful, informative, and entertaining. Think of Soundcloud as a way to hone your content marketing. Consider the types of audio content that your current and prospective customers might find useful, and start a regular ‘radio’ show based around these. All you need to achieve this is a USB microphone (available for less than £50) and some free recording software such as Audacity. Regularity is key here; if you want to build a listenership, one of the most important things you can do is ensure that you are uploading new content according to a schedule.
2. Use it to host audio 'banners'
Many business owners use banner spaces on their website to host ads for promotions or deals. Rather than sticking with the same old image-based banners, why not add a new multimedia element to your site by swapping them for Soundcloud embeds?
Record a series of snappy audio advertisements, concentrating either on your key offerings or on special promotions you are running. You can track the number of listens you generate using Soundcloud’s built-in analytics service.
As so-called ‘rich media’ advertising reaches maturity, the opportunities for hosting audio banners on sites other than your own are also growing. It is safe to assume that in the foreseeable future it will be possible to use Soundcloud embeds in your regular PPC advertising.
3. Give an audio tour of your business
Finally, why not use Soundcloud to give current or prospective customers some new insight into your business? Audio gives you the opportunity to present information that you might not otherwise have been able to impart in a digestible way. For example, you could offer an audio tour of your premises, explaining the work that your business does. The proliferation of high-quality recording devices in smartphones has made this remarkably easy; indeed, you can now upload directly to Soundcloud from many handsets.