Have you heard about Clubhouse? It’s the hottest social media platform in the digital world right now. It doesn’t pose a threat to the Big Three—Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter yet. And it could fizzle out, but for now, Clubhouse is soaring. The question is: should you be trying to get in the door?
What is Clubhouse?
Clubhouse is a voice-only app created by Paul Davison and Rohan Seth in the early spring of 2020, as the pandemic covered the globe. By May 2020, it was valued at $100 million. Today, Clubhouse is valued at $1 billion, with venture capitalists lining up to invest.
Within less than a year, the app has gained more than two million active users and the attention of high-profile celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Elon Musk, Drake, Jay Shetty (author of Think Like a Monk), Chris Rock, MC Hammer, Paris Hilton, Tyrese Gibson, Kevin Hart, and Ashton Kutcher, to name just a few.
According to Clubhouse execs, the app is
“a new type of social product based on voice [that] allows people everywhere to talk, tell stories, develop ideas, deepen friendships, and meet interesting new people around the world.”
Clubhouse is like going to a social gathering. You might move around the room, listening to different conversations. Sometimes you’ll linger to catch the latest news, or you’ll drift away to the next discussion. From time to time, you might stick around and inject your tidbits of information or opinion. However, while you might be able to crash the neighbor’s cocktail party, you can’t get into Clubhouse without an invitation.
You cannot record any of the Clubhouse conversations. Once you leave a room or the discussion ends, that’s it.
How Has it Become so Popular?
As the pandemic continues making in-person contact almost non-existent, people have become thirsty for opportunities to talk, share, and connect. The canceling of live events has forced brands to pivot online or perish.
The creators of Clubhouse capitalized on a “moment.” As remote work becomes mainstream, the idea of spending another hour on Zoom became unpleasant. But an audio-only app offers a novel way to connect with people all over the world. Users report that they spend as much as five hours a day on the app, hands-free and with no video.
The FOMO Factor
Once you get into Clubhouse, you can only invite five other people, creating a tsunami FOMO, like being left outside the most exclusive club.
Following a recent discussion between Elon Musk and Vlad Tenev, CEO of Robinhood, there was a stampede for invites and not just in American markets. Invitations were put on sale on China’s Alibaba, even though you can’t download the app in that country. Tech workers, media professionals, and investors in Japan are grabbing up the app.
“…a dizzying bringing together of live podcast-style conversations, panel discussions, networking opportunities, and advantageous multiple-room use; the social media app mimics real-life interactions.” (Vogue)
How Does It Work?
Clubhouse is organized into themed chat rooms, each one focusing on a different topic. Individual rooms have a distinct style and size of participants. Some host informal conversations, while others host thousands of participants enjoying the lecture of a celebrity, thought leader, politician, or a panel of experts sharing information on a trending topic.
Rooms are moderated, with speakers designated in advance. If you want to speak, you need to raise your hand (virtually, of course), and the room moderator will call on you. Everyone can hear your question and the answer.
You can see all the participants in the room, and if you desire, can pull up their profile to find out who they are, along with a list of who they’re following on Clubhouse.
Your profile is your calling card. This is one reason Clubhouse could be an exciting addition to your social media marketing strategy.
Once the discussion in the room ends, the room disappears, and the conversation is gone forever. This makes users feel more comfortable expressing themselves, sharing, and connecting on a deeper level. No one can record the conversation in the room. There’s no record to follow you around social media.
If you don’t know someone on the app, you can download it, reserve a username and wait. If someone who knows you is a member and sees your name, you’ll quickly get an invitation to join.
Where Can You Find the Clubhouse App?
Clubhouse is currently only available for Apple devices, but its creators haven’t stopped. They’re going to ride the wave for as long as possible. After securing $100 million in a new round of funding, they’re looking to open the app to the general public and paying creators.
Is A Clubhouse Invitation Worthwhile for Entrepreneurs?
So, is all the fuss worth your time? It might be.
Kevin Harrington and Daymon John, of Shark Tank, hosted a room recently. Startups were able to pitch their ideas to a room of angel investors. Deals were made in real-time, live, for everyone to hear. Even if you weren’t part of the pitch, there was invaluable intellectual capital to be gained. Speakers who typically charge thousands of dollars to give a keynote speech are in a Clubhouse room speaking for hours and take time to answer questions.
There are conversations around developing productive routines and modeling behavior to improve teamwork, motivation, and a sense of sharing in the company mission. You can find the exact topics you’re interested in and gain insight from industry leaders on subjects to help you launch or scale your business.
Executives in Clubhouse say they have made thousands of contacts within their first week on the app. With live conferences and other networking events on extended pause, Clubhouse may be the only way to continue building your contact list. Rather than exchanging business cards, you exchange Instagram or Twitter accounts. As we all know, no matter the matrix, “who you know” still matters.
The goal of Clubhouse is to provide a
“social experience that is focused on connection, learning, authentic conversations, where people close the app feeling better than they did when they opened it because they have deepened friendships, met new people and learned.” (Clubhouse spokesperson)
How Can You Harness the Power of Clubhouse to Build Your Brand?
Clubhouse can potentially change the way you build your brand and conduct PR campaigns. It could be a short-term opportunity, or the app may manage to cause an everlasting disruption to the world of marketing. It’s too difficult to predict at this stage. Here are some ways to make it work for you.
- Find rooms that are in your niche and join the conversation. Reach out and make connections.
- Give advice or share your experience in the industry.
- Be careful about spamming, though. If every time you’re invited to join the stage, you only speak about yourself, you’ll find that the moderators don’t call on you.
- Focus on your expertise and experience, and invite participants to follow up with you later.
- Ask people to DM you with questions or if they would like private consultation.
- The Clubhouse app links directly to your Instagram account. The first three lines of your profile bio appear to users. Be strategic with your profile, using SEO search terms to attract organic contacts, build your brand and expand your market reach.
- As with all digital marketing efforts, consistency is vital. Show up every day and put what you learn to work.
- Once you know the ropes, seek out opportunities to co-host rooms.
If you’re ready to add this app to your social media marketing portfolio, you should jump in now. Clubhouse will grow, rooms will become crowded, and your chance to get “on stage” to join the conversation and expose your brand will become more limited.
We’re living in a rapidly changing world. It’s virtually impossible to predict what will happen next. At the same time, we’ve seen incredible innovations rising out of this sea of uncertainty. Will Clubhouse become too mainstream and too crowded to be a worthwhile tool in your social media arsenal? Only time will tell. In the meantime, it’s a pretty hot place to be, and it’s worth it to jump in to take advantage of all that the app offers.