What is Clubhouse (and should I be using it?)
Updated: May 4, 2021
If you've been on social media and marketing sites lately, you might have heard about Clubhouse. This one-year-old social media platform which allows users to drop into audio-only chat rooms has grown to 10 million users in a few short months. Although the app is invite only, more and more people are gaining access and tuning into discussions related to their industry, hobbies and other interests each day.
How does Clubhouse work?
What makes the app stand out is the lack of text, pictures and videos. It is audio only
Everything happens live, in real time
You can start a virtual room yourself or join one other people are speaking in
Generally, a certain number of people only can speak. Everyone else has only the option to listen
But you can raise your hand and ask to be allowed to talk
Within the app, conversations aren't recorded or made available to play back later. So you have to catch everything as it happens
It's not available on Huawei, Samsung, LG or other Android phones. And even iPhone owners can't just start dropping in on conversations after downloading it from the App Store. Clubhouse is currently by invitation only
At first, existing users have only two invitations to send out but they working on plans to open it up to the masses
Users love Clubhouse for its entertainment value, but what does this vast and highly-creative platform offer marketers in a professional capacity? And can you leverage it within your marketing strategy?
Currently, most Clubhouse content is still highly experimental. However, the main underlying thread is that Clubhouse's users crave authentic human discussion and want to hear from people not just brands, While building brand awareness on an ultra-personal app like Clubhouse takes time, energy and lots of community management, some brands are beginning to connect with the channels growing audience.
Here are four common awareness tactics that brands can use to leverage Clubhouse:
Hosting Fireside Chats or Q&As
A lot of rooms on Clubhouse can feel like audio-only video calls or webinars. Brand-affiliated room creators and moderators have now begun to leverage Q&As, panels, and fireside-chat formats to create interactive yet well-managed discussions. As a moderator (or host) invite thought leaders or influencers affiliated with your industry to participate. Also look to ask audience members to ask questions or come to the stage as well.
You can also serve as an interviewee or panel member while an influencer that does not work for the brand asks questions or moderates questions from the audience.
Sponsoring Room Events
While people might not want to join a room that discusses a product or brand the entire time, they might enter an interesting conversation or Clubhouse event that is sponsored by a brand. When you drop into a sponsored room, you might not hear speakers from the brand speak much, or at all. However, when reintroducing the room, a speaker might mention that the room or Clubhouse audio experience is paid for or sponsored by the brand. You might also see a sponsor listed in the room's title or description.
Participating in Rooms Related to your Industry
Another way brands can grow awareness is by having members of staff raise their hands and actively participate by speaking in rooms with large audiences. When speaking in a room, brand representatives don't necessarily need to talk all about their company. However, by adding to a conversation, talking about tactics they've tried at their role, and showing off their expertise, audience members learn to trust them and their company. As company members gain a following and fanbase, their brand might also gain a new audience.
Hosting Informal Chats
Because Clubhouse is all about discussion and authenticity, many brands have also tried to show their human side and seem more accessible to audiences by hosting informal chats with no obvious goal or topic. This method is more casual, and potentially less intimidating, for listeners who might not raise their hand to speak in a fireside chat with a full agenda.
While Clubhouse began as a platform where users could only hear from industry "elites," the app is now open to a wide range of creatives and every-day people who want to communicate or interact with others. Because of this, learning about a brand is likely not the first thing a user wants to do when logging on. It's key to remember that Clubhouse is all about authentic human connection, not branding or self-promotion.
Regardless of which strategy you may use on Clubhouse, remember to embrace the human side of the app. For example, rather than hosting a room where you explain your brand or products to audiences, consider hosting a fireside chat with a thought leader in your industry or participate in a room that allows you to discuss your industry with others in it.
While focusing on natural conversation and valuable room participation won't enable you to outright market your product all the time, leaning into the platform's conversational and personal nature could help you grow a following that trusts your expertise, and eventually, your brand.