Clubhouse is the newest social network.
Buzzy and exclusive, Clubhouse has potential to be the next big thing. But with limited access, ephemeral content, and no business tools, how do you engage in the platform if you want to do more than have a conversation? Here’s how Clubhouse works, what brands can do to engage on Clubhouse, and how to get your audience to go the next step and purchase.
Clubhouse App: How to Get Started
New to Clubhouse App? Wondering how to use Clubhouse? Clubhouse is so hot right now but it may not be right for you. Let’s check it out.
What Is Clubhouse?
Social media always coming up with something new and here comes Clubhouse. It’s new, it’s buzzy because it’s exclusive, but not necessarily because there’s any new features or mechanics.
This new platform lets people chat in real time, share stories, collaborate, and bounce ideas off of each other using their voice without the need for a lot of other equipment. It’s basically real-time group phone calls that happen in the app, just using your phone.
Set a topic, anyone can join, you share as people listen in. Real-time podcast with an audience? Voice-only webinar? Public conference call? Audio town hall? It’s kinda like all those, a big, open voice-only chat room. But interestingly there’s no history — calls/sessions aren’t saved (just like Snapchat). But unlike Snapchat, this content is meant to be shared and collaborated on in the moment, not hidden.
All of this goes into what I’ve been saying that engagement is the new media impression.
Engagement is the new media impression.
People like people more than ads. It’s true.
Engagement matters as much, if not more, than someone’s reach, follower count. It’s why influencer marketing works. People want relationships and they pay attention to relationships more than they ever will for interruptions by ads. And Clubhouse is all about the content and the relationships around that content.
Think about it like this: Clubhouse rooms have an unlimited time limit and they can keep going after you leave. Unlimited time spent with your brand on a relevant topic? Now you see the value potential.
It’s a public, ephemeral voice meeting app. Zoom + Snapchat / acting like a podcast with unlimited guests. It is social by nature because everything happens in the moment, all together. Definitely FOMO if you miss it.
The new water cooler?
Yes, and that’s the allure. The secret sauce. What makes Clubhouse magic is what made Snapchat so buzzy when it launched: FOMO. Because it’s happening right now, right here, only here in the app, never again, you will miss it if you don’t join now. There’s urgency, there’s the desire to not lose access to the moment to this audience, this information that is in this session right now. This is a double-edged sword because it makes the hosts, content, and audience precious but it also demands you stop, interrupt your day, do it now.
Is this a “false scarcity?” While some of the scarcity inherent in Clubhouse is real, a lot of it is manufactured. (ie: If you want to JOIN a room and talk, you have to show up live, but there’s no reason these conversations couldn’t be recorded or transcribed so Clubhouse is creating false scarcity manufactured by the “rules” of the app.). Some people love it for this reason, but this as a key mechanic of the app may prove difficult to scale or manage in the sessions as they grow.
After having the app for a few days, I had to shut off notifications because they are always popping and it was honestly stressing me out to keep choosing which ones to join in the middle of what I’m doing vs skipping. Now I look ahead and schedule the ones I want and fit my schedule.
But why so buzzy?
I think there’s a couple of things that make Clubhouse so exciting right now:
- It’s low pressure. No makeup, no video requirement, no pressure. Join in your bedroom, join at the grocery store, join in the car. chat. The end. It’s a break from what we all have been doing on video chat for the last year, but without the requirement to be present on video.
- It’s limited access. You can’t scale exclusivity. It’s nothing other than the limited-invite access, not the actual business model. Because it’s limited and exclusive (and FOMO), everyone wants to get in but you can’t unless you know someone. Which is fun for now, but begs the question of the sustainability of the buzz once they open it up.
Use Cases for Brands, Business Owners and Marketers
As you should, you might be asking yourself, “OMG, there’s so much chatter about Clubhouse…another social media platform…what should I do?” and “OMG, I have to do one more thing? I already do Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok, and Vero.”
Clubhouse is a bit like a social network, but it’s not Facebook.
Here’s why it could capture some of your attention:
- It offers the ability to connect and engage with professionals (we can use that term loosely if you want) with a shared topic interest
- Synchronus vs async: Unlike other platforms where people post-and-run, everything happens real-time including the engagement. And it’s not saved after the moment; it’s over.
- The focus is on conversations rather than production. Yes, it’s like a fancy conference call around a key topic but with mostly strangers.
Clubhouse is maximizing the focus on what is making podcasting explode: audio. And the soothing connection of voice. While other platforms focus on visual and written media (such as captions, images, and videos), Clubhouse is dedicated to an voice-only format.
But this presents a few challenges for brands. Let’s say you commit to this platform and dive in.
Here’s some considerations for your engagement on Clubhouse:
- No trace: There is no record of your content. Nobody will find your conversation on a Google search or Clubhouse search. As brands build engines to generate content as part of their strategy, it’s an investment for the long term, to be discovered in a way that leads to increased reach and awareness. Right now, that can’t happen.
- Attendance is fluid: Go and start a room. But that room keeps changing. It’s dynamic. You want to talk about a topic, you have a set presentation, list of points. Twenty minutes later, new people are in the room asking the same question you answered at the beginning of your session. Which is either helpful to reinforce or the definition of insanity.
- It’s not small forever: Right now it’s trendy because it’s small, it’s intimate. That’s why people like it. What does it look like at 500k or 1M users? How would a person manage a room with one million people raising their hands wanting to talk? It may not happen but there has to be a significant evolution of the community management tools or creators will leave in frustration.
- It’s free: Sometimes the path to monetization ruins an app, or maybe that’s the way to formally bring brands in. At the same time, what if Zoom or Spotify turn on a similar feature, it’s a feature that kills this whole app — and their build-in base around meetings and audio are already there in those apps — with scale. We wait and see.
Not to be scary, but it’s a set of considerations for this new platform, Clubhouse.
As with any new platform, you can get creative on how to create awareness and drive business. Clubhouse is no different and with a little thought you can leverage Clubhouse as an incremental channel for your call to action.
So what are the opportunities?
Here’s some ideas on who and how to engage on Clubhouse:
- Content Creators: Unfortunately, you can’t record or save a broadcast on Clubhouse; however, you can start a new room and curate content in the room’s public title and description. Use this room to ask questions, interview other members, Q&A, on various topics, and put together articles about the results. Or take your white paper, lead magnet content, go audio with it, and provide value here that creates interest for people to take the next step for your online course, learning materials, webinar or other.
Pro tip: Once you start a Clubhouse room, you can’t edit or change the room’s title or description so you can’t decide to begin recording once the room has started. This is a decision you must make when setting up the room so you can add the appropriate notices for people.
- Coaches and Trainers: It’s unlikely to get all your current audience in Clubhouse due to the limit on invites, but finding new audience for your online education, coaching or training business could be a good play. Additionally, as you network and meet other Clubhouse members, they could naturally follow you over to your other channels and communities.
- Content Groups: If you have a podcast, live show, or are running a Facebook or LinkedIn Group, leveraging Clubhouse to build communities related to your content brand could be as simple as extending your current content to Clubhouse as an extension of your distribution plan. It can be another way to add value to your current audience (if they are on Clubhouse) or find new audience to drive to your other channels.
- Events & Virtual Events: On a budget? Hey! Here’s free Clubhouse! You can do your webinar here (if you don’t need visual aids) or use it as a top of funnel lead generator to your next event. As we see the continued surge around virtual events and summits due to the pandemic, Clubhouse offers a frictionless engagement opportunity to invite app participants into your mix that can accompany or even replace your virtual event platform and even in-person events for attendees to connect and engage with each other.
- Sales (anyone in Sales): If you have a sales pitch that provides value that people can use now, think about repurposing that pitch for an audio-only format. While there’s no brand or business accounts, you could use a single account and hot swap the presenters during the call, or share your invites with your sales team, to build out your sales network that uses the Clubhouse format to create awareness and engagement around your pitch.
- Projects and Networks: Because anyone can start a private chat with one of their connections, Clubhouse is a good option to have private conversations regarding networking or collaboration opportunities. Once the chatroom is closed, nothing is saved, the entire conversation private and protected.
Any topic that requires some explanation and works well as a talk, walk-through format and is easy enough to follow with a few points and some Q&A is a good way to think about what you can do with Clubhouse. Your current sales process, educational materials, or even repurposing FAQs for Clubhouse’s format.
Think about it like that table after the conference session where you sit down and start talking next steps or the bar outside the tradeshow venue where attendees are striking up conversations about the topic of the day and connecting on the points that matter.
Be thinking about your CTA and how to direct people during the conversation. And make sure you set up your tracking to see how people follow through from Clubhouse and taking the next step to see if your experiment is working.
But without links or recordings or hosting of evergreen content, how can you create strong calls to action?
Here’s how to create strong calls to action on Clubhouse:
- Your handle and avatar: While these aren’t explicit calls to action, making these consistent with your other social media channels to create continued strong recognition for your brand.
- Your bio: Links aren’t allowed, which means they aren’t clickable/tappable but you can still list your CTA in your bio along with a website mention. Keep your URL short and recognizable to get a better chance of that off-Clubhouse visit.
- Connect your social profiles: Clubhouse allows you to connect your Twitter and Instagram profiles (which are linked and click out of app). Easy option to connect these for the win.
- Your content: Your content can be, in itself, selling your product or service by talking about the val prop, utility, how to use, tips, tricks, best practices.
- Verbal mentions: People don’t come to Clubhouse to hear you selling, they come for value. So deliver value. But you can always include casual verbal CTA mentions throughout your discussion/presentation to reference research you are discussing, your website or other’s websites for more information, or even phone numbers and social media profiles to connect with you to take the conversation further.
- Room title: When you start a room, using part of the room name to represent your brand, product, service, or related content franchise is a good use of space. Follow that portion with the key topic of the room to get the two connected in your audience’s mind and create that mental relationship.
- Crash a room: If you are representing your brand, product or service, sometimes the best marketing is crashing another room, appropriately of course, and sharing points in support of a topic that your product or service is relevant to and can solve for. I’ve been in rooms where an individual is invited to share, speaks to the topic, and also elegantly weaves their product or service solution into the narrative. Do this well by looking at upcoming rooms and scheduling the time in sessions that make the most sense and are relevant to the topic and audience.
Remember: It’s audio-only, so you can monetize like you would with a simple podcast format. Treat it like radio or streaming music where a verbal mention of a website, maybe including a coupon code and unique URL can get the listener from Clubhouse to where you want them to go next!
Is Clubhouse really new?
No, not in essence, but because it’s FOMO, new and buzzy, it’s a good place to jump in if you can because attention is high. You can arbitrage attention in this environment, likely with a low resource investment if you are working with similar content formats already and can find a fast way to repurpose and extend your value-delivery content and lead magnet materials to this channel.
Clubhouse in Closing
Overall, I think Clubhouse could work well for brands built on relationship engagements that usually require 1:1 personal selling and require explanation or education, like SaaS, media, digital education products, financial services, and so on.
Think about how you cold-start your relationships for your brand or business. Do you use email? Phone? Conferences? Clubhouse offers a conversational, low pressure, value-oriented format for community building and content engagement — that can drive relationship-based, value-driven connections.
See what potential you can create with Clubhouse.
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I’m Tuck Ross, and I’m in marketing.
With 18+ years leading marketing and digital for global companies, I’m sharing what I’ve learned to build your programs better.
And follow me on Clubhouse at @tuckross