Making audio content social


Mixcloud is a fast-growing Internet radio company based in London's 'Silicon Roundabout'. It was founded in 2008 by four friends from Cambridge University with one, simple mission: to connect radio shows, DJ mixes and podcasts to listeners.

Everyone from The Guardian Music Weekly to TED Talks, Barack Obama and the hottest DJs use the Mixcloud platform to share their Cloudcasts and find an audience.

Because the company grew incredibly quickly without taking any outside investment – and because they used social media to fuel this growth, Mixcloud is one of our Social Heroes.

On Twitter: @mixcloud
On Facebook: facebook.com/mixcloud


Mat Clayton, Co-Founder, on the social product

Social media is built in to everything we do. It’s not an afterthought. The product is inherently social – it’s about sharing audio content with like-minded people – and it also spreads through the major social channels.

So in a sense, we all have social media as part of our brief and we all keep a close eye on how we can increase social leverage in the product and beyond.

On the social multiplier

Yes, we build our brand in social channels, but we’re really there to help our up loaders promote their content. There are many more of them; so releasing that potential is far more powerful than anything we can do that’s centered only around our brand.

We rely on our users to wire their content into their own social channels. Most of them are involved in social so tapping into that is far more important than trying to be the originator of all social activity.

We just make it easy for people to share their content in social media, and they do the rest.

On the Big Two

We focus our efforts on Facebook and Twitter, the two main channels that have proven to deliver traffic and engagement.

We don’t integrate with anyone else. There’s no sense in trying to be in all channels, so we focus on what works. We use the Facebook Open Graph stack to tie into our users and, hopefully, earn access to their social graphs.

Twitter seems to be losing its power as it grows. As people add followers, the whole experience gets diluted. We’re starting to feel that the return may not be there for long. For us, Facebook out-performs Twitter ten-fold when it comes to engagement.

We post the same kind of content on both channels but will change the format to suit. Facebook almost always includes something visual, for instance, but that’s not really Twitter’s strong point.

On social-powered growth

We’ve never taken any external funding at all and that’s 100% due to the power of social media. We could never have grown so fast without social channels – or without spending a fortune.

Somewhere between 40-60% of our traffic comes from social channels. It’s by far the biggest referrer.

On experimentation

With social, you’re always learning. Something that’s true today may be out of date in a few months, so you need to stay involved and watch what’s going on.

We’ve experimented with other social channels – Google+, Pinterest, Flickr – but we just haven’t seen the traction so we find ourselves staying with what we’re good at.

We’d rather post every day on Facebook – their algorithm rewards that – instead of spreading our efforts.

On community

When you think about it, your friends may have very different musical tastes from your own. So you don’t really want to share music with every friend.

We help people build a quality community of people with the same musical tastes. So you can trust their recommendations and they can trust yours.

On resourcing

We have one person who looks after the two social channels and it’s not her full-time job. She’s just proven to be the best at it – her sense of humour resonates well with our audience.

I do the social strategy as it applies to the product – but really the whole team is on that, too.

I’m not sure when, if ever, we’ll need a dedicated social team. But as we grow, we’ll see.

#Social Success Lessons

  • Make it easy for your customers to share their experiences in social media
  • Focus on a few channels: the ones that drive traffic and engagement
  • Post regularly without over-posting
  • Keep the social team lean until you need to grow it
  • Have some fun – people like to engage with people who enjoy what they do

Read about more of our Social Heroes.

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