Lately, everybody’s been talking about Clubhouse app, but what is it? Are the rumors true that it will be the next big thing on social media? While you’re waiting for your invitation to arrive or figuring out how to best use it, here’s a detailed explanation of how Clubhouse works and how businesses can capitalize on it.
Celebrities like Elon Musk, Drake, Oprah, and more, are actively using and promoting Clubhouse. The celebrity endorsements paired with the exclusivity of the app have created a global FOMO and a lot of attention.
In May 2020, after only launching a few months earlier and supporting just 1500 users, the app was valued at $100 million… and it didn’t even have a website at that stage! Fast forward to February 2021, Clubhouse is now worth more than $1 billion with 2 million active users and has recruited more than 180 very wealthy, powerful investors.
What is Clubhouse?
In a sentence, Clubhouse is an invite-only audio chat app. However, it’s so much more than that.
The basic concept is that once you are invited onto the platform by an existing member, you can listen in on other people’s conversations or start your own. These conversations take place in digital rooms that anyone on the app can join.
The chats that take place range from celebrity monologues to philosophical discussions and from heated debates to relaxed conversations between friends. Unlike other social media apps, there are no photos, no posts, and no videos, just audio. It’s like a live podcasting platform where listeners can join in on the conversation.
A distinguishing feature from other live-streaming apps is that once the conversation is over, there is no trace of it left on the app. Whereas on Twitch, for example, live streams are recorded and app users can watch and listen to the steam whenever they want. This hasn’t stopped people recording Clubhouse conversations and posting them to Youtube though…
When you join the app you will be asked to select a bunch of topics that you are interested in like music, tech, sport, or comedy. The more topics you list in your interests, the more rooms and individuals the app will suggest to you to follow or join.
Clubhouse is an evolution of Zoom and HouseParty, whilst simultaneously following conventions from older forms of media like talk-back radio. The exclusivity created by the invite-only mechanic has created a FOMO phenomenon that is responsible for the epic growth the app has experienced.
Would this app have been so successful if the pandemic hadn’t normalized conference calls and created a fierce desire for human interaction? Who knows, but it seems like they launched at the perfect time and the world is responding with undivided attention.
Who owns Clubhouse?
Clubhouse was founded by Paul Davison and Rohan Seth who are two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs that studied at Stanford University. Both Paul and Rohan are a little press-shy so there’s not a whole lot of information about them on the internet.
However, we know that Rohan was an engineer at Google for 6 years and that he co-founded a company that created social media mobile apps called Memry Labs. On top of that, he also founded a non-profit research accelerator that focuses on developing personalized genetic treatment called the Lydian Accelerator.
Paul Davison also worked at Google before joining a database startup called Metaweb that was later acquired by Google in 2010. He then went on to become the founder and CEO of Highlight. Highlight was an app that let users passively share their personal information with other app users that were close by via push notifications.
So, it’s safe to say that they both had a strong lineage within the app-building community and that Clubhouse was not their first attempt at creating a ground-breaking social networking application.
Not surprisingly, the silicon valley duo had access to celebrity, technophile, and billionaire friends who became early adopters of the app. The early endorsement of the app from celebrities and thought-leaders like Elon Musk, Ashton Kutcher, and Oprah was critical in developing the FOMO sensationalism that surrounds the app.
How will Clubhouse monetize itself?
The plans on how Clubhouse will be monetized seem to be fairly open-ended at the moment. Andreessen Horowitz who recently invested 10 million dollars into the company and another $2 million in shares is said to be involved with the monetization strategy.
At the moment, what we know is that over the next few months Clubhouse plans to release updates that will help creators get paid on the platform via subscriptions, tipping, and ticket sales. There will even be a ‘Creator Grant Programme’ that aims to support up-and-coming Clubhouse creators that are already gaining popularity and influencer status on the app.
Clubhouse is free for all users and doesn’t run any ads. So, it’s likely that they will be taking a cut from subscription, tipping, and ticket sale transactions that take place on the platform.
What opportunities does Clubhouse present for businesses?
Where there are massive amounts of human attention and interaction, there are always opportunities for businesses. While the app’s ecosystem is still developing and will most likely look much different in 12 to 24 months, there are already several ways you can use the app to boost your business.
Build an audience
The ‘build it and they will come’ motto applies to Clubhouse at the moment. You can host or join rooms that are based on topics related to your business, products, or services. Providing that you aim to educate, inspire or entertain anyone that tunes in, you can quite quickly build an audience that is interested in topics related to your business.
It’s then up to you to subtly or not so subtly direct them to your website or other social media platforms where they can engage with your brand further. You can promote any activities your business might be doing and offer listeners exclusive discounts that only they can use. Sometimes simply talking about what you do in an articulate and entertaining way can lead to people wanting to work with you or buy products from you.
Develop intimacy between your brand and consumers
Clubhouse allows you to personalize your brand more than ever by allowing people to listen to your thoughts and ideas about your industry. Unlike on other social media platforms where anything you say can be seen by the entire internet, Clubhouse gives you the chance to speak with smaller groups of followers.
This can produce an intimate conversation with your fans and allows you to create a genuine and authentic relationship with them. It gives you the chance to hear feedback directly from people who have engaged with your business and it gives your customers a chance to feel like they have contributed something to the business as well. Needless to say, Clubhouse offers a perfect platform for personal branding too.
Brands are already starting to sponsor Clubhouse rooms much like they would sponsor a popular podcast. You can have your brand name and a short bio read out at the start of a conversation. This is great for brand awareness and if people are curious to find out more, they will actively go looking for more information about your business. It’s an effective way to tap into established audiences that are interested in niche topic areas.
Networking is already a huge part of what goes on within the app. You can easily find rooms that focus on topics related to your business. Once in the room, you can connect with people and discuss how you can work together.
A good tip is to follow business owners, celebrities, and thought leaders that you know you would like to collaborate with. The app will then notify you when these people are hosting, moderating, or speaking in a room. Then, it’s down to you to participate in the conversation to get noticed and to start a dialogue with the people that you would like to work with. If you can’t talk directly about collaboration on the app, you can try approaching them off the platform to discuss collaboration opportunities further.
If you host your own rooms regularly, you could be the one getting noticed and find that people approach you for collaboration opportunities. Either way, you’re going to have to participate in relevant conversations to get your name and your business known on the app.
Learning from others
It’s tempting to find the most active and direct ways to grow your business. However, there is also an opportunity to sit back and listen to other business owners and thought leaders to learn from them. You can find out how they succeeded or overcame problems that you might also be facing.
What makes learning on Clubhouse better than say, learning from podcasts or youtube videos, is that you can search for and tune into conversations that directly relate to you. You also have the ability to shape the conversation by asking questions so that the advice given is even more relevant to your business.
If you find the right conversations you can effectively use the platform as a free online course focused on your niche topic, taught by some of the world’s best minds within your industry. Inevitably there will also be a lot of fake experts, so it’s down to your due diligence to find the right speakers.
Finally, we can’t talk about business opportunities on Clubhouse without talking about investment opportunities. Due to the network of users that grew from a select few in Silicon Valley, the app has a significant number of cash-rich members.
There have already been several six and seven-figure investments that have been closed through conversations on Clubhouse. Sharktank has even started hosting live sessions where people can pitch their business ideas to some of the show’s famous investors. In one session, Grant Cardone agreed to a multimillion-dollar investment during the Clubhouse conversation.
Again it’s all about finding the relevant rooms to join and contributing.
Best practices for businesses and brands wanting to use Clubhouse
If you’re interested in using Clubhouse to promote and grow your business, there is no substitute for spending some time on the app and figuring out what works and what doesn’t. So, get on it!
The app and how it is used is constantly developing. So, the sooner you get to grips with it, the quicker you can figure out a way to use it to generate growth for your company.
However, while you are waiting for an invitation to the app, here’s an overview of how to use Clubhouse for your business.
Create inclusive conversations
The basis of the app is to create discussions where anyone can join in and contribute. So, while it might be tempting to prepare a 30-minute script that talks solely about why your business is so amazing, it’s unlikely to go down well with other users. You’ll quickly be talking to yourself.
Instead, starting a round table discussion where people can bounce off your ideas, feedback on their experience with your product, or ask questions about what you do, will get a better reception from other Clubhouse users.
Utilize your bio
When Clubhouse users are checking out who’s speaking and who’s listening in on a conversation they can look at your profile picture and your bio. So, it’s important that you use it to communicate your values and what you stand for. The platform’s search engine also uses bios to pull up relevant profiles. So, including some relevant keywords for your business area or topics is a good idea to increase your visibility.
Don’t be afraid to sell yourself and provide clear instructions on how to find you off the platform too.
Participate in other groups and conversations
It’s essential to participate in conversations and join other people’s rooms if you are going to build a following on the app. People need to hear your voice to understand what you’re about to help them decide if you’re worth a follow. Sometimes all you need to do is raise your hand and ask an insightful question. I did exactly that in a room that was talking about tips for online marketers and gained five followers within seconds.
Co-host rooms to expand your audience
Finding like-minded businesses and individuals is a great way to create a synergy where each host gains access to the other host’s audience. You can start an interesting conversation about your industry and grow an audience together. You can make it a one-off, or if people really like the partnership you create, you could make it a regular thing that will help you to create a loyal following that will be eager for the next conversation to air.
As of now, there are no social media analytics tools connected to Clubhouse, but you can use the App's native reporting section to measure your performance and find insights. You can use the Clubhouse Cycle Time and Lead Time Reports for insights or connect with Clubhouse to your Google Sheets, but we're sure more reporting options will be available in the near future.
At the moment, the Clubhouse landscape is evolving rapidly. As more people join the app, the topics discussed are expanding and people are finding new ways to use the app.
For businesses, the biggest opportunities come from the chance to create an engaged audience and to network with other like-minded businesses and individuals with the aim to collaborate.
The biggest difference between Clubhouse and other social media platforms is that it’s more personal and intimate. It’s a chance to communicate directly with people interested in your industry, business, or products.
The individuals and business representatives that seem to be finding the most success on the platform are those that are not afraid to share their knowledge, experience, and thoughts on a topic. Those that are providing real value to listeners are gaining a loyal following.
Who knows how monetization will change the basis of the conversations on the app. What is for certain is that, as with most trends, the sooner you get on board the better.