See ya, Instagram! Farewell, Spotify. So long, X Factor and goodbye Loose Women. Everyone is desperate to be invited to this exclusive audio-only social media platform packed with celebrities, talent shows and very, very good thought-provoking conversations…
It’s been so long since we queued for a nightclub. Do you actually remember how good it felt to get inside? All that waiting out in the cold, trying to look sober and staring at the VIP line, long-forgotten.
That’s how we feel about Clubhouse. Although don’t let the name fool you. This club, you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home, and you know how we feel about things that we can enjoy from home RN.
If you still haven’t heard of it, it’s the new and *highly-exclusive* members-only social media app that launched to save us from the hell-hole that was 2020 (remember that? whew). It is still currently only available to those who are invited *urgh* and you also have to be a member of the IPhone crew.
Clubhouse, at its fundamental level, is a voice-based social media platform that is currently in beta testing and open to a select few users via peer-to-peer recommendation. The exclusivity is the key to its appeal: you have to get an invitation to use the app and it is only open to iOS users for the time being. The platform is devoid of any visual cues – no text, images or videos.
The social network was launched less than a year ago by two Stanford University alumni, Rohan Seth and Paul Davison. “It’s a place to meet with friends and with new people around the world – to tell stories, ask questions, debate, learn and have impromptu conversations on thousands of different topics,” the founders say in a blog post.
Clubhouse shot to mass appeal – as many as 12,000 Indians have already downloaded the app, said a report published by data analytics firm Sensor Tower. The app raised $1 billion in its Series B funding last year, led by US-based venture firm Andreesen Horowitz. It’s most notable claim to fame was last week, when SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk hosted an audio chat on the platform and later shared notes on Twitter upon realising that many people couldn’t join the event. That was enough to cue thousands to flock there.
How do you join?
Since the app is in an extended beta testing right now, you need an invite from an existing user to board the social media bus. Every Clubhouse user gets two invites that they can pass on in the grapevine – the invites are reportedly being sold for money through various forums, such is the cachet around the network. The app is currently open only to iPhone users. Those who haven’t been invited yet can download the app and register their usernames in the database. The app reserves the login details for you, which can be used when the platform opens up curtains for mass usage.
Why Clubhouse Matters for Businesses and Marketers
Clubhouse delivers a social experience very similar to an audio-only virtual event on a massive scale. There are currently approximately 1 million users on Clubhouse, and at any given time, there are a few thousand rooms where people from around the world are holding conversations about different industries, professions, and interests.
The voice-only constraint is similar to podcasts, which are played on demand, but the ephemeral nature of Clubhouse’s content plays on FOMO (fear of missing out). The conversations happen live and aren’t recorded for playback. If you’re not in the room, you miss what’s happening. This means people are spending a lot of time on the app, anticipating and looking for conversations about topics they’re interested in—whether to listen or share from the stage.
If you’re a marketer or business owner, this presents an amazing opportunity to establish yourself or the brand you work with as a go-to resource and promote products, services, or events.
Opportunities to share your brand story or your founding story, connect with customers, get product feedback, run impromptu focus groups, and generate marketing awareness are ready for the taking on Clubhouse.
Successful Use Case Examples
Simply by providing a lot of value, you can become very well-known for the quality of your advice and develop real-world connections that lead to business. In the Startup Club room, an intellectual property attorney was answering questions from the audience. By the end of the 2-hour conversation, she’d connected with approximately 20 new clients.
What’s more, the nature of Clubhouse lends itself perfectly to building brand awareness through word-of-mouth campaigns. Former CEO and President of Focus Brands (the parent company of Cinnabon) Kat Cole hosts a weekly office hours room to help other businesspeople and entrepreneurs find their way in business. For a few weeks, she would say, “Hey, if anyone wants some Cinnabon, just send me your address. I’ll send you Cinnabons.” For the next 2 weeks, pretty much every Clubhouse room Ed was in was talking about Cinnabon.
Brands are also beginning to sponsor rooms. Bite Toothpaste recently sponsored a room where the company’s founders shared their founding story and gathered approximately 30 new customers.
Finally, because Clubhouse makes it easy for people to find each other and assemble, it’s possible to connect with people you might not otherwise speak to for advice about partnerships, hiring, investments, and more. Mike Stelzner recalls he was in a live Shark Tank room when Grant Cardone offered to invest in a multimillion-dollar deal.
#1: How to Find People, Rooms, and Clubs to Follow
The key to a valuable and manageable Clubhouse experience is to be very strategic with the people, rooms, and clubs you follow. Following any of these too randomly can lead to seeing too many rooms and clubs you’re not interested in. If you’re careful with what and who you follow, the hallway will almost always show you rooms that match your interests.
The central organizing metaphor of the app is built around its name: Clubhouse. When you first open the app, you’re in the hallway and you’ll see a list of rooms.
These rooms will mostly be based on the people and clubs you follow but you’ll see trending rooms as well. If you’re new to the app, it will recommend some people for you to follow who are often contacts in your phone directory.
#2: How to Grow a Following on Clubhouse App
Growing a following on Clubhouse can have massive implications for your business. If your goal is to position yourself and attract a following, you need to be active on the app and show up on stages.
While it might be tempting to jump into large rooms, 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.
Be sure the rooms you enter are relevant to your industry and get to know the people who frequent them. As you get more active and show up consistently, the people who host those 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 you’re brought on stage, don’t use your time to tell people who you are, what you do, who you work with, and so on. Instead, focus on delivering value. Either ask your question or answer a question clearly and succinctly. Provide value and people on Clubhouse will click on your bio to learn more about you and follow you.
Collaborate With Others
When you create a room, be sure you’re not the only one on the stage. Partner with people within your industry who have a bigger following than you do. When your partners come on stage, their followers get a notification and are likely to jump into the room and follow you as well. Nicky estimates it’s possible to attract 500 new followers in a day using this strategy.
#3: Tips for Hosting a Clubhouse Room
When you create a room, you automatically become a moderator for that room. As moderator, you control who comes up on stage, you can mute people, and you can give other people the role of moderator.
As host, your goal is to bring order to the room and anticipate what the audience needs.
Sometimes, that might mean taking a short break, during which you prompt the audience to follow your moderators. When you welcome everyone back, you might prompt them to ping someone they know into the room.
You’ll also want to take advantage of the diversity in Clubhouse’s global audience. Include voices of people from around the world who have different perspectives to make your conversations more interesting, relatable, and valuable to your audience.
What Next? Competetion
ith its business booming, Clubhouse is hoping to expand and enable more users to join the platform. But its path is not going to be easy. Facebook, Twitter and entrepreneur Mark Cuban have said that they are already working on competing apps, separately.
According to The Verge, Cuban is planning to launch Fireside, a “next-gen podcast platform” along with Falon Fatemi. The platform will also have a live conversation feature similar to Clubhouse. The app is hoping to go live for the public this year.
In December 2020, Twitter had announced that it has started testing the Spaces feature. It is a voice-based chat room. From what has been reported so far, it looks like any Twitter user will be able to join the chat room (in theory). But the user’s entry will have to be approved by the person who created the chat room – a bit similar to Clubhouse.
According to a report by The New York Times, Zuckerberg’s Facebook is in the early stages of developing a competing product. The company has a history of cloning – often successfully – products from rivals. In 2016, Facebook-owned Instagram replicated one rival Snapchat’s key Stories feature. In 2020, ‘Insta’ as it is popularly known as, unveiled ‘Reels’, a short-video feature similar to the offering by TikTok. The Menlo Park-based company had also launched teleconferencing service ‘Messenger Rooms’ following Zoom’s success during the pandemic.Despite its initial success, Clubhouse is set to face intense competition from tech giants with an already-large user base. Only time will tell what the future holds for Clubhouse.
Clubhouse plans to invest in influencers, but a post-pandemic world could test users’ interest
Audio-only media, such as podcasts or radio shows, tend to be highly scripted or narrative-driven with specific time allotments to keep listeners interested. On Clubhouse, the freewheeling conversations are the exact opposite. The reason to tune in, according to Sam Lessin, “is not for content but for who is speaking.” A major celebrity or politician could drive a burst of traffic to Clubhouse, but unless there’s a devoted base of long-term users, that could pose a problem for the app’s future.