You know the drill: whenever Elon Musk tweets about something, it immediately goes viral and sets off a universe-sized craze. Dogecoin, Bitcoin, Signal, and now Clubhouse.

On February 10, Elon tweeted this:

Since then, the number of Clubhouse downloads has skyrocketed. In just a couple of days, it amassed over 5 million downloads worldwide, including Oprah, Jared Leto and Mark Zuckerberg.

Naturally, it didn’t go unnoticed by social media marketers trying to seize a hot opportunity. The question is - is there one?

NetHunt has hopped on the app everyone is talking about these days to find out if it could be the next Instagram of social media marketing and whether or not you should be considering this channel for your SMM strategy. But first things first…

Clubhouse
Source: Team Lewis

What on Earth Is Clubhouse?

Clubhouse is a new social media app that allows you to communicate with people from all over the world using just your voice.

Unlike a lot of other social media platforms, the main goal of Clubhouse isn’t to connect its users with their friends. Instead, the app provides them with an opportunity to expand their network, discover like-minded individuals, connect with thought leaders, and learn from each other in real-time.

Clubhouse
Source: The Tab

All the Clubhouse communication is taking place in Rooms - special voice-chats with moderators, speakers, and listeners, where everyone can participate in the conversation simply by unmuting themselves. Anyone on the app can either join an already existing Room or create their own one.

Thanks to the sudden surge in popularity of the app, the user base of Clubhouse continues to grow exponentially; more and more interesting people are joining every minute. With new users coming to the party, Clubhouse rooms and clubs’ scope is increasing, too. According to The New York Times, you can already find a wide range of different conversation formats on this drop-in audio chat app, including “celebrity talk shows, D.J. nights, networking events, speed dating, theatrical performances and political discussions.”

On the other hand, Vogue describes the app as a bringing together of “of live podcast-style conversations, panel discussions, networking opportunities” and more.

Still a little unsure as to what Clubhouse is? Don’t worry, so were we. The concept can be a little bit confusing at first, especially if you haven’t had a chance to look around the app yet.

To help you wrap your head around what Clubhouse is, we will explain what it is not. The two most common analogies people use to describe the new app are Twitter and podcasting. However, ‘Podcasting meets Twitter’ is an inherently wrong statement. Clubhouse is neither.

How is Clubhouse different from podcasts?

Marketers who have been utilising podcasts as a part of their content marketing strategy shouldn’t be alarmed - Clubhouse isn’t going to disrupt the podcast industry, it’s just not the same:

  • Conversation rooms within the app are neither permanent nor recorded, as soon as moderators end it, it’s gone.
  • Clubhouse communication is inclusive and interactive, anyone can join the conversation and not just the hosts.
  • Everything is happening in real-time.
  • As of now, Clubhouse doesn’t offer any voice effects, editing or transitions - it’s just you speaking.

How to Join Clubhouse

One of the reasons why everyone’s been buzzing about Clubhouse is the app’s exclusivity. Not everyone has a chance to enjoy the app. If you want to give Clubhouse a try, you need to meet two conditions:

  1. You must be an iOS user - the app is yet to become available on Android-powered devices; at the moment, it’s only compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
  2. You must know someone ‘on the inside’ - as of now, you can only enter the app if one of the existing users gives you a Clubhouse invitation.

If you happen to check both boxes, it’s all Gucci. You can download the app and start working on extending your social media marketing strategy to the shores of Clubhouse now.

If not… There are several options:

  • Ask around. Every new user gets two invites they can share with their contacts. Besides, the app gives out free invite top-ups for active users. There must be someone who can help you out.
  • Use Telegram or Reddit to find people who’d give you an invite. You can always look up some relevant discussions online and maybe someone would be kind enough to give you their invite. Just be careful! Clubhouse registration is phone number-based, which means whoever invites you to join needs to have your digits.
  • Buy a Clubhouse invite. Now, this is extreme. But if you really want to get in ASAP and don’t have anyone who could let you in for free, it might be your only option. Make sure you don’t get scammed - there are currently lots of offers on eBay, but, unfortunately, not all of them trustworthy. The safest way to purchase Clubhouse invitations is by turning to a trusted service, e.g. InviteClub.House.
  • Wait. This one isn’t that exciting but it’s the safest option. You can download the app and reserve your username. Once someone from your contacts gets in, they can promote you to the front of the waitlist.
Clubhouse
Source: Clubhouse

The last option isn’t as bad as it sounds. At the end of the day, Clubhouse isn’t going to stay invite-only forever:

We’re working hard to scale Clubhouse as fast as we can and open it up to everyone soon.
[joinclubhouse]

According to the app’s creators, the only reason why Clubhouse is invite-only isn’t that they want to promote elitism, but because they can’t handle the inflow of new users at the moment and need to doze the number of new users registering for everything to work well.

Android users can relax, too. You don’t have to buy an Apple phone to make Clubhouse a part of your social media marketing strategy:

‘From the earliest days, we’ve wanted to build Clubhouse for everyone. With this in mind, we are thrilled to begin work on our Android app soon, and to add more accessibility and localization features so that people all over the world can experience Clubhouse in a way that feels native to them,’ the app’s makers explained in a January 2021 blog post.

The Potential of Clubhouse for Social Media Marketers

For a regular user, the benefits of Clubhouse are obvious - you get to connect with new people, have fun and learn new things. But what about marketers? We’ve already underestimated TikTok saying it’s a platform for kids, and don’t want to repeat our mistakes.

Here’s how Clubhouse can help you with your social media marketing efforts:

  1. It has true virality. If you make your room public, it’ll be accessible from the main page. This means everyone interested in the discussion can join. Just like on TikTok, you don’t necessarily have to have a large following in order for your rooms to do well. You can attract a lot of listeners even if you’re a small account. All you need to do is to come up with an interesting topic to discuss and be able to hold an engaging conversation. People on Clubhouse tend to migrate from one room to another until they find something interesting to stay and listen to, so it’s all in your hands.
  2. It helps to build brand awareness. Thanks to the virality of Clubhouse, you can boost your brand awareness with minimum effort. Just by hosting rooms (or even by simply participating in other rooms as a speaker) you can attract a lot of attention to your brand and direct the traffic to your other social media platforms (Twitter or Instagram), or your website.
  3. It’s a great tool for strengthening your relationship with the target audience. One of the key reasons why businesses embrace social media marketing in the first place is because it allows them to be closer to their target audience. Clubhouse takes it all a step further! You can chat directly with your target audience, hold virtual summits, panels and Q&A sessions. Not only will it let your target audience see there’s an actual person behind the brand, but it will also help you build a more robust relationship with them as you converse.
  4. It’s amazing for content creation. Even though no data from your audio lives get saved, you can still create content. You can host shows, audial presentations and other interactive events on Clubhouse. Besides, you can create a room to use it as a sounding board to ask relevant questions, interview members, and gather data on diverse topics. This information can then be used to build more accurate and reliable content.
  5. It’s not saturated. While this benefit isn’t going to last for too long as more and more people and businesses are joining the platform, at the moment you have a unique chance to get the first mover’s advantage and establish your brand on this social media channel as a thought leader in your field.
  6. It allows you to collaborate with other brands and people. Finally, you can expand your network by leveraging someone else’s following. Collaborate with other people in your industry to deliver meaningful content for your shared follower base. As of now, there’s no way to monetise your rooms, but soon enough Clubhouse is expected to catch on sponsored conversations, and you want to be at the forefront of it.

The Downsides of Clubhouse for Social Media Marketers

Unfortunately, there are certain downsides of Clubhouse, too:

  1. The number of people you can potentially reach out to is limited. Not everyone can access Clubhouse. Yes, we’ve already heard about the exclusivity of the app (iPhones only, invites only, real-life elitism but make it virtual), but there’s more to that. After users in China clocked the appeal of Clubhouse and started joining the platform to talk about politics more freely, the Chinese government has promptly blocked the app.
  2. You can’t search for Rooms. Clubhouse search feature only allows the users of the app to look up People and Clubs, which limits the visibility of your rooms by a lot.
  3. No place for visual content. Even though we’re all excited about the new audio-format, it would be crazy to deny that people are used to the visual content and respond to it best. Not only your visuals are a huge part of your branding strategy, but it also comprises a large section of your regular content, too.
  4. There’s no record of your content. You can’t save your conversation and let other people discover it, nor can you get Google to crawl it and rank you on the SERPs. Essentially, when creating Clubhouse content, you keep it platform-exclusive.
  5. The future of the platform is unknown. It’s too early to talk about what’s going to happen next - no one can predict which turn Clubhouse will take once more people join it. One of the coolest things about the platform is that it’s quite intimate. With a limited number of users on the app, you can give attention to all your listeners. This, however, won’t be possible once rooms get populated with 10K+ users, all of who expect to be heard.
  6. It gets repetitive after a while. Because people come and go, you’ll likely have to repeat the same things over and over again, answering the questions of users who join the room some time after its start.

Clubhouse Tips and Tricks

Granted that the platform is relatively new, there isn’t a tried and tested strategy to perfect your Clubhouse game. However, there are some things you can do in order to make your time on Clubhouse as a marketer more fruitful.

How to Find Relevant Rooms, Clubs and People to Follow on Clubhouse

Clubhouse is full of cool people, but not all of them are useful for you within the framework of your social media marketing strategy. If you want to use Clubhouse for SMM, make sure you build a network of relevant people.

The best way to do that is by exploring the relevant categories.

Clubhouse
Source: Clubhouse

How to Grow a Following on Clubhouse App

You need to show up and participate in Rooms. Being a passive listener might bring some benefits to you in terms of the knowledge you acquire, but it won’t get you any new followers. If you want people to notice you, you need to get out there and show them who you are.  

On Clubhouse, followers isn’t just a vanity metric, having more followers can actually benefit your account. Every time you host a room or speak in one of the rooms, your followers will get a push notification signaling about it. The more people get this push notification, the more of them will click on it, the more will join, and the higher your room will be on the homepage of the app.

Therefore, you need to make sure you work on growing the number of followers. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Optimise your bio for search. Remember, people on Clubhouse can’t search for rooms but they can search for people to follow. Use relevant keywords, tell a little bit about your company and what kind of rooms you’re planning to host - engage your audience from the start!
  2. Use a creator alias for your brand name. Clubhouse encourages people to use their real names, but you do get an option to add a nickname that will be shown to other users. Include your business name there so that your current customers could find you and follow you.
  3. Be active on the platform. Whenever you aren’t hosting your own rooms, participate in relevant rooms hosted by others. If you show you have expertise in the field and have a lot to share, you’ll get followers rolling in.
  4. Use other social media channels for promotion. With more and more people joining Clubhouse, it’s likely that your followers from other social media platforms will be on Clubhouse, too. Invite them to follow you there!

How to Get More People to Join Your Rooms

Of course, you should take every opportunity you’re given, so it’s mandatory you fill out the Add a Topic field. You get 60 characters to explain what you’re going to talk about, so make sure you come up with a snappy title for your room.

But it’s not all about the traffic from the inside, but also about the traffic from the outside. Clubhouse does give you an opportunity to share links to your upcoming rooms with other users, but the standard link is rather boring. If you want more people to pay attention to your announcement, you should opt for a fancier option.

Clubhouse
Source: Clubhouse

A new link-sharing tool called ClubLink allows hosts to better promote their events by offering a more customized social media preview featuring a photo that includes the room name, who’s attending, the date and time (using the host’s time zone) and even profile icons of the hosts themselves.

Clubhouse Alternatives

If you want to give the audio format a try but can’t be asked to look for a Clubhouse invite, or simply aren’t convinced by the advantages of the new social media app, you can use Clubhouse alternatives. Of course, they don’t have the same hype surrounding them, but they’re still something.

  • Twitter Audio Spaces. Audio Spaces will allow users to enter a virtual room where you'll be able to connect vocally with your Twitter followers or allow them to listen in. For now, the feature is still in beta, but the official launch is scheduled for early 2021.
  • Discord. When people don’t know how to explain Clubhouse to someone, they use the term ‘kinda like Discord’, so you get the gist. Originally created as a space for gamers to connect with each other, Discord has recently undergone a rebranding, and is now more inclusive - today it’s "your place to talk". Like Clubhouse, on Discord you can create separate "channels" with topics of whatever you like.
  • Riffr. A social platform for ‘micro-podcasters’, Riffr allows you to share your voice notes up to 3 minutes in length.

The Afterword

It’s difficult to tell whether or not Clubhouse is going to stay for a long time. It could very well be that after almost a year in quarantine, we’re just starved for human-to-human communication, so we’re desperately trying to fill the void with real-time voice notes to strangers.

At the same time, it could be that Clubhouse inventors have just come up with a revolutionary social media format and just because it’s a breath of fresh air in the world of the visual, it’ll stick for a while.

Either way, we know that Facebook has already started working on developing a Facebook-powered audio-centric social media, so why wouldn’t you and your marketing team give Clubhouse a try too?

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