Another new platform to wrap your head around

The ever-changing world of social media has done it again. The latest and greatest social platform that launched in March 2020 is gaining speed in 2021 and has already built a following of 2 million users in that time. The thing is, not just anyone can go out and download the Clubhouse app (yet), making the number even more fascinating. Currently, the app runs on an invite only basis, giving it an “exclusive” feel to those who have been granted access to the club.

What is Clubhouse?

Well, imagine having an app on your phone that lets you listen in on other people's real-life conversations. But not in a creepy way; the people speaking actually want to be heard! They may be regular joes or famous celebrities, either way, the probably have something interesting or knowledgeable to talk about (no guarantee here however). And you may even be given the opportunity to join in on one of these live conversations. Clubhouse is basically a social network built of off audio-chat. That’s right, no pictures of babies, no videos of kittens or learning popular dances. Just old school old audio.  

Whether you own a business or work in the social media industry, staying on top of the latest and greatest social platform is a must. So, it’s no surprise that you are probably already wondering, “Is there marketing potential here?”

Unfortunately, the answer to that isn’t black and white. It all depends on your business, and what you’re looking to achieve, but to give you an idea, here’s an overview of the ins and outs of Clubhouse, how it works, and what its potential for your business may be.

How do I get an invite?

Great question!

Each person who signs up for Clubhouse is given 2 invites just for joining in on the fun. If they participate in conversations, host conversations, etc. They will be given more and more invites to hand out to others. If you want in the club, hopefully you have a friend who’s already inside. Another way to squeeze your way in, is to find groups, blogs, etc. where people with extra invites may be willing to share with a stranger. This is how I snagged mine! A Facebook group of women who didn’t know what to do with their extra invites were handing them out like candy.

Now here’s a question for you. Do you have an android? If the answer is yes. You’re not allowed in.  Just kidding, but not really. Currently, the app is only available on iOS. Don’t freak out though, an Android app is in the works, and rumour has it, will be out very, very soon.

What do I do once I get in?

When you get your hands on an invite and enter the app, you’ll find a full list of conversational topics to follow, from sports to technology to world affairs, religion, business and so on. In each of these topics or “rooms”, you'll find people who are interested in that same topic. Feel free to creep their profiles and decide if those people are worth a follow or not. The more topics and people you follow, the more likely you are to get suggestions for rooms that fit your interests.

These conversation style rooms come and go as people launch or end them. There is no, “oh I’ll just listen to that later” with this app. Act fast and pay attention to your notifications. The app will let you know when a conversation is happening that you might be interested in.

How many people will be in these rooms? It all depends. Some rooms may be very small, 4-10 people, while others can host up to the limit, which is 5,000.

This kind of sounds like a podcast

I guess that depends on your podcast preferences but remember—everyone involved is speaking into their iPhones, not fancy audio setups like a podcast may have. The speakers can't see each other, so it really is like a Zoom call, without video, or listening in on an old school party line.

There's no professional editing, no sound effects, no transitions, and no advertising (at least not officially).  You can join in on a conversation by virtually “raising your hand” from the audience.  It's then up to the room's creator/moderator to decide if they want to bring you to the “stage” to speak. Until then, you’re always welcome to sit back and listen.

Are businesses or brands using Clubhouse?

The simple answer is, not as you’d expect. This app is not used to house advertisements like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. But! That doesn’t mean that there aren’t a few benefits to investing some time and energy into learning the app.

Clubhouse offers the opportunity to connect with others in your industry. Networking, whether online or in person can provide many business opportunities and help with brand awareness as well. There is also the opportunity for you to become a mentor to some of these listeners, if you can provide a lot of value in the rooms you join. There is the potential to become very well-known for the quality of your advice and develop real-world connections that can lead to business.

In addition to networking, you can also use the platform to engage with potential customers by conducting virtual events. For example, your accounting business could host an event about little-known tax deductions that can save you money, or an online seed vendor could have a weekly Q&A with a green thumb master! As long as the value is there, the potential for engagement is huge!

Clubhouse is also a unique was to humanize your brand! The voice-note aspect of the app makes interactions on the platform feel more personal than a billboard or digital ad.

Tips and tricks to get the most out of Clubhouse

Tip #1

Be strategic with the people, rooms, and clubs you decide to follow. Following any of these too randomly can lead to an overload of rooms and clubs you’re not interested in. If you’re careful with what and who you follow, the app will almost always show you rooms that match your interests.

When you’re in a room, you’ll see three sections of people. The first section (at the top of your screen) is known as the stage, this will show you the speakers of the group. There may be multiple speakers on stage. The second section, also known as the front row, shows people who are followed by the speakers. The third section at the bottom is the rest of the audience. This is where you will initially be placed until being brought to the stage to speak (if you’ve got something to share.) Feel free to creep on any or all of these sections to see if there’s anyone worth adding to your list of follows.

Tip #2

Growing a following on Clubhouse can have a big impact on your business, but to do this, you’ll need to be active on the app and show up on stages.

While it might be tempting to jump into large rooms to increase your chance of having new people find you. The chance of you being noticed in a crowd of 5,000 other people is slim. Rooms with 5, 10, or 20 people in the audience present a better chance you’ll be invited on stage and given the opportunity to make an impression.

Be sure that the rooms you enter are relevant to your industry and get to know the people who frequent them. As you become more active and show up consistently, the people who host these rooms are more likely to pull you up onto the stage where people in the audience will notice you. The more you’re on stage, the more followers you’ll attract!

When and if you are brought on stage, please don’t use your time to sell your product or service. People are likely in this room to find value. For example, if you own a health and fitness company, listeners will find value in your knowledge. Can you offer a new smoothie recipe for them to try, or have you found an app that helps you track calories easier than the rest? Provide value and people on Clubhouse will click on your bio to learn more about you and follow you.

Now every time you open a room or join a stage, the people who follow you will get a notification that you’re live. Before you know it, you’ll have created your own little (or big!) following.

Now that you’ve got some followers, it’s time to host a room! Pick a topic that you know a lot about and think others can benefit from and set a time to go live. It doesn’t hurt to develop a basic structure in advance, so you know which points you want to touch on and be sure to include time for Q&A at some point as well. Make it your goal for participants to walk away from the conversation thinking, “Wow, I really got a lot out of that.”

The future of Clubhouse

Although audio is a nice change of pace from the typical social platforms we’re used to, it’s hard to say whether this type of content is what people will continue to crave in the future.   

Sure, the idea of an interactive “podcast” is appealing to some, particularly when it puts them in the “room” with celebrities. But there is definitely room for growth. As of right now, you have to listen to these chats live. They will not be recorded and available to you at a later date. So, if you’re sitting around at home during the pandemic, great! If not, Clubhouse may lose its appeal.

Clubhouse did recently announce the development of an influencer program coming soon. So,

I’d say the app is worth keeping an eye on as it expands and starts to offer ways to monetize or market your business more openly.

Another thing to note is that popular social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are already working their way into this new audio space as well. Twitter has already launched Twitter Spaces within the original Twitter app, and Facebook is hoping to launch their version of soundbites by this summer.