By Michael P Chiriac & MikeC.Motts

If you are looking for one of the hottest brand building tools of 2016, look no further than Anchor.fm (anchor.fm). Adored by everyone from angel investors to tech reporters and social media managers, Anchor is the must-use audience outreach tool of 2016. This powerful iOS mobile app lets you record short-form audio broadcasts. Share your mini-podcasts with your audience, discover the broadcasts of other Anchor users, and record replies to conversations you find intriguing. With the massive interest in podcasting as a form of content marketing, the addition of Anchor to your customer acquisition strategy is a no-brainer. If you are intrigued by the potential of mini-podcasting, following are 11 ingenious ways you can use Anchor to help build your brand and grow your network:

- Use Anchor to respond to comments on your blog. Imagine the power of receiving an audio reply to your comments instead of a text reply; your audience engagement rates are likely to soar! Record your message, indicate your recording is in reply to a blog comment, and then share your Anchor broadcast on social media. Once shared on your favorite social networking platform, embed your shared reply on your blog beneath the corresponding comment. Now that is how you increase your social media ROI.

- In the same way you can reply to comments on your blog with an Anchor audio post, you can comment on the blog posts of others with an Anchor cast. From words of praise to additional resources a blogger might enjoy, the ability to acknowledge a blogger’s hard work with an audio comment is a thrill they are not likely to soon forget.

- Instead of responding to social media posts on Twitter or Facebook with a text-based reply, respond to social media posts with audio reactions. Record your broadcast and then post your Anchor cast as your reply. With two minutes to record, you can provide a much more in-depth answer than 140 characters on Twitter or a short reply on Facebook.

- If your business often posts motivational images and quotes on social media, consider opting for a motivational Anchor cast instead. Read your favorite passage from an inspirational book, share your thought of the day, or even challenge your listeners to live their best life. Share your recorded broadcast on your social networking platform of choice and encourage your followers to reply back to you on Anchor.

- Once you get into the habit of conversing with your audience via Anchor, create a weekly blog post or email newsletter featuring your top Anchor podcasts of the week. Not only will you be sharing your best broadcasts of the week, you will be building your subscriber list at the same time. Can you say #winning?

- You can use Anchor to collaborate via audio on team projects and then create blog post featuring all of your team’s Anchor broadcasts. Share each broadcast on its own on social media in real-time, and then repurpose those podcasts by embedding them all in one blog post. Your listeners get a front-row seat to your business’ collaboration process and you get an instant blog post to boost your indexed links on Google.

- Another fabulous way to use Anchor is as a tool for influencer outreach. Discover which influencers in your business sector are active on Anchor, and then embed one of their socially shared broadcasts in a blog post or newsletter with relevant feedback/discussion. Advise your chosen influencer via an @ mention on social media that they have been included in your blog post/newsletter, and then sit back and wait for the conversation to begin. Influencers love opportunities that allow them to extend their network while showcasing their influencer status at the same time. You will have put your company on their radar and made a potentially valuable connection at the same time.

- Instead of connecting with corporations on social media with a text-based post, consider posting an audio mention instead. Whether it is mentioning how much you enjoy using their product(s) or leaving a comment regarding their stellar customer service, your audio reply is likely to get a much greater degree of interaction than a plain old text-based post.

- If you are a Slack user, consider replying within Slack with an Anchor reply. Record your audio input and then share a link to your recording within Slack. Who needs emojis and GIFs when you can reply with an audio broadcast instead?

- Pinterest is another powerful way to extend the reach of your Anchor broadcasts. Create an engaging image for Pinterest, add a link to your Anchor podcast, and then hashtag your pinned broadcast accordingly. Each time your pin is re-pinned, your network gradually grows.

- Consider using Anchor to narrate your travels. Whether you are traveling on business, enjoying a family vacation, or perusing a tradeshow/conference, you can narrate your adventures via Anchor. Share your travel broadcasts on social media, ask for replies and comments, and then watch the discussions just naturally grow.

These are just a few of the numerous ways to can use Anchor to extend your brand reach and potentially connect with new customers. Do not think of Anchor as a podcasting tool, but instead as an audio reply button. Anything you can comment on/reply to with a text-based message, you can do the same with an audio message. The number of ways you can use Anchor to grow your business are only limited by your imagination. Do you think you will be adding Anchor to your arsenal of must-use business building tools this year?