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Sound is magnificent, universal, and takes a variety of forms in our everyday lives.
But when it comes to the social web, we tend to forget the wide spectrum of audio that exists outside of the context of music.
Alexander Ljung, CEO of the popular music sharing service Soundcloud, spoke at Mashable Connect about the “Unmuting of the web,” set to a background score of low growling drones and ethereal synth pads.
Sound is the only medium we can consume in parallel.
Meaning we can consume audio content while we perform other tasks. Like listen to a webinar while we respond to emails or listen to a book while we drive home.
We can simply process way more sound than video.
The Silent Web
There was a time on the web when people loaded up websites with music and sound bites, but the web has grown increasingly silent in recent years.
When we’re online, we’re deaf, and Ljung predicts that in the future sound will be bigger then video online.
We are pre-programmed to respond to change in sound, we isolate it.
Sound as Presentation
Ljung proved how pre-programmed we are to respond to change in sound by abruptly shutting off background music he had been playing during his presentation and sitting in silence for a few seconds before resuming.
It worked. The room stood still and noticed the change for a few seconds, focused on it.
From conception we have been trained, beginning with the heartbeat in our mother’s womb, to notice sound.
The Rise of the Mobile Microphone
With the rise of the smartphone people are conscious that they have a killer digital camera that can shoot photos and videos, but often forget that they have a great microphone as well.
“With sound you don’t need 140 buttons; you just need a single button,” said Ljung. “We like to think SoundCloud is 140 times simpler than Twitter.”
So how can you bring the authenticity of sound into your brand?
For any service related business, like Ljung said, it’s as simple as a record button. The Soundcloud iPhone app provides simple recording and sharing capabilities in one easy app.
1. Record a testimonial.
Think about the authenticity of natural human voice when it comes to reviews. We naturally tell people about businesses we like, and online reviews have become a jump off point for many shoppers online.
Have your plumbing technicians grab a quote from happy customer as they end their call.
Offer a free drink for a free soundbite at a local bar.
At your next meeting, record your customer talking about that unique way they use your product, and love it.
2. Record the world around your brand.
Different places have distinct sounds.
Think about a laundromat or a baseball stadium, distinctly different sonic atmospheres.
Listening to “Take me out to the ball game” sung by 30,000 crazy fans creates a totally different emotion that the industrial churning of washers and dryers, but both illustrate a scene in your mind.
Isolate those senses and give your community another way to think about your brand.
3. Host a podcast
Nike+ introduced a “Karaoke-themed” podcast running mix on Soundcloud for their fans online.
This introduced another touchpoint into the already robust Nike+ campaign that kicked off at SXSW.
Bring the executive chef out of the kitchen and have a conversation with a customer explaining tonight’s wine selection. Record it. Share it.
Tech pundit Loren Feldman can do a podcast version of his popular video series far more often as a podcast than he can as a fully edited videos.
Both video and audio are important forms of content. There are benefits of both.
But often, we ignore sound.
Maybe it deserves a closer listen?
These are just a few ideas for ways you can create new branded content using the Soundcloud platform.
Communities like their content served up in many ways, and Soundcloud’s next version, brings the ability to share sounds of all styles throughout the social web in an instant.
Just as photos and videos are social, so is sound.
Keep that in mind and help “Unmute the Web.”