LinkedIn Social Audio Platform Debuts, Video Version Coming Soon
LinkedIn has launched a social audio platform in beta as part of a larger live events strategy that will eventually include video interactions. The long-rumored platform takes a holistic approach to the Clubhouse model, leveraging LinkedIn and parent company Microsoft’s resources to encourage people to engage and stay on the professional networking platform for events.
LinkedIn has assembled everything organizers need into its beta launch, highlighting how no third-party tools are required. Hosts can run and record the event on LinkedIn and use the platform for promotions as well. The setup is much like Clubhouse and other social audio apps, with moderators able to bring listeners onto the virtual stage to allow them to speak. Attendees will have their profile on the platform connected to their presence in the audio chatroom. They will be able to message each other during and after the event, encouraging the networking behind LinkedIn’s program. This feature also would allow LinkedIn to incorporate the audio chatrooms into other aspects of the website, such as groups and events. For the initial testing, LinkedIn is targeting a few thousand individual creators already using the platform but will widen its scope to brands and enterprise events in the future.
“We believe there’s a massive opportunity to help our 800M+ members worldwide create even more meaningful connections with each other by reimagining virtual events for professionals,” LinkedIn video, creator, and events lead Jake Poses explained in announcing the plan. “This month, we’re taking a big step forward and building on the success of LinkedIn Live broadcasts by launching an entirely new interactive events experience that allows our members to more actively participate in the conversation. Being an active part of the conversation at an event can help you make new connections, bolster your professional brand and inspire peers.”
Digital live events have skyrocketed in popularity partly due to necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic. LinkedIn reported that the annual creation of virtual Live Events on the platform have grown 150% year-over-year, with a 231% increase in annual virtual event attendees. That said, LinkedIn may have to mimic the features that Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces, and startups like Wisdom and other social audio services have been rolling out in order to compete.
The recent Clubhouse Replay feature that archives the whole experience of the room is just the latest example, including Music Mode, which improves the audio quality of performances, as well as Spatial Audio to recreate the feel of live events while the Wave audio chat and Backchannel direct texting address direct communications between participants. Clubhouse can also boast of official deals with TED Talks and official NHL rooms. Recording and sharing social audio rooms is starting to become a trend on other platforms too. Twitter Spaces recently added the Spaces Recording feature to spread the entire conversation in a tweet. LinkedIn brings a deep bench of connections and resources to the field, but it’s going to be a scramble to pick up as much market share as possible.