What is clubhouse? [+Should Marketers Care?]

In 2020, you may have heard your favorite influencers talk about a mysterious new social media app called Clubhouse.

But if you don’t have a large online following of your own, you may be getting access to the app right now.

Until a few months ago, Clubhouse was a platform where celebrities, company executives, Silicon Valley investors and some of the world’s leading influencers of the internet could have uncensored audio group chats about their lives, hobbies, work or industry.

Now that the clubhouse is getting more and more media coverage and a growing number of non-celebrity users by invitation only, you might be wondering, “What the hell is this? And how do I get into the action? “

In the following we explain where Clubhouse comes from, what it actually is and what advantages and disadvantages it has in your marketing strategy.

What is clubhouse?

Clubhouse is an invite-only social media app that allows users to launch or visit “rooms” – or chat rooms with audio only with friends, followers or the public. To join the app, users must have an iPhone and receive an invitation from a clubhouse member.

The clubhouse was launched in March 2020 by Paul Davison, who previously worked at companies like Pinterest and Google, and Rohan Seth, a former Google engineer. According to a post by Davison and Seth, Clubhouse was created after a handful of social media app experiments.

“After many iterations in the audio field, we launched the Clubhouse in March of last year,” wrote the co-founders. “Our goal was to create a social experience that felt more human. Instead of posting, you can meet and talk to other people. Our North Star was to create something where you close the app at the end of the session can and feel better than. ” You did it when you opened it because you grew friends, met and met new people. “

Initially marketed to world-class influencers, celebrities, Silicon Valley investors, and industry thought leaders, Clubhouse was recently opened to a more general audience. Some of the app’s first high profile users are Drake, Daymond John, Elon Musk, and Oprah Winfrey. Early on, you could hear these remarkable users chatting in rooms about their interests, hobbies, causes, or industries.

Despite Clubhouse’s exclusivity, the company was valued at $ 100 million and received a $ 12 million investment from Andreessen Horowitz within a year of its launch.

Clubhouse has recently been offering access to a larger pool of users, with each new member being able to invite two of their own friends. This has resulted in the user base growing from 600,000 active users in December 2020 to more than 2 million today.

“In the past week, two million people around the world – musicians, scientists, creators, athletes, comedians, parents, entrepreneurs, stock traders, nonprofit executives, writers, artists, real estate agents, sports fans and more – came to the clubhouse to talk, study, Laughing, chatting, meeting and connecting. It’s the most exciting we’ve ever been part of, “the clubhouse team wrote in a blog post on Jan. 24.

Why most of us are learning about clubhouse right now

Are you hearing about Clubhouse? You’re not alone.

As mentioned earlier, Clubhouse was originally aimed at high profile industry elites such as celebrities, CEOs and top online influencers. For a while, these types of users were the only ones who could send and receive clubhouse invitations. In addition to the invitation only, the app is only available for iPhone users.

Clubhouse’s early exclusivity made it interesting and alluring for the everyday social media user, but the app’s awareness and user base grew slowly but steadily.

Now that the app is becoming more accessible to social media users, it is becoming more popular online and in the news media. At this point, marketers are also wondering if and how they could use clubhouse – or something similar – in their strategy.

In fact, many professionals, executives, and nonprofits can be heard in rooms discussing a topic related to their brand, industry, or mission.

For example, in a room I recently visited, there was a group of lawyers who wanted to offer training in patent protection. While this content intrigued the audience, it could also have made every lawyer more aware of it:

Legal room in the clubhouse

In addition to marketers, large social media companies are also trying to leverage Clubhouse’s audio social media trends.

Shortly after Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, spoke in a clubhouse room, the New York Times reported that his social media company was allegedly building a similar audio platform. Meanwhile, Twitter has just started making Twitter Spaces – a drop-in audio feature with its app – available to a small group of beta testers.

Right now, Clubhouse looks like a promising way to network and build a community online, and its audio-social format is already being adopted by competitors. At a time when we see a handful of new online platforms every year, is Clubhouse really a pioneer in social media? Or is it just another over-hyped app that you shouldn’t waste your marketing efforts on?

Below, I’ll briefly describe how the platform works, then weigh the pros and cons of using Clubhouse for marketing.

How clubhouse works

While we’re posting a detailed guide for the Clubhouse platform that we refer to later in this post, here’s a brief description of how some of the key features work.

The main tabs of the clubhouse

Upon entering the clubhouse, users will find a home page that highlights the running rooms related to their interests or followers. You will also find search, message inbox, calendar and notification symbols in the top navigation.

Clubhouse homepage

Tapping the Search or Browse tab allows users to scroll through a feed of suggested rooms, clubs, or people to follow. You can also use the search bar to find specific people or clubs. However, it seems that users cannot search for specific rooms just yet.

Tab

If users cannot visit a room while browsing the Clubhouse app but want to switch to a room later, they can tap the calendar icon to view or create their planned rooms.

Tab

Clubhouse room

Entering a room is essentially the same as attending a webinar or Zoom meeting with no video and a partially subdued audience.

Participants who can enter or leave a room at any time enter (or drop by) as automatically muted listeners. If they want to speak or ask questions, they can tap the “raise hand” icon in the lower right corner of the room page. Room moderators are then informed of the request to raise hands and can ignore it or unmute the participant.

Below is what clubhouse rooms look like:

Clubhouse room

Visually, the attendees of the room can only see the profile photos and names of the current attendees, with moderators and speakers at the top of the screen.

Users and moderators can also add people they are following to a room by tapping the “+” button in the navigation below. This will give their friends a notification that they have been invited to a room and can open the app and join directly.

Start a room

At the end of the home page, users can also tap “Start Room” to either start a “Closed” chat that is only open to certain people, a “Social” chat that is open to all following users, or an “Open.” “Chat that’s open Anyone in the clubhouse can stop by.”

Open a clubhouse room

Users can also tap the nine-dot icon in the bottom homepage navigation to have a private audio chat with specific followers who are online.

Clubhouse lower navigation

Room moderators who either started the room or were assigned a moderator role after the room started see a similar page that attendees see. However, you will also receive notifications of new room attendees and a list of attendees who raised their hands to speak.

One interesting thing is that a room only ends when a moderator kills it or when the final moderator leaves. In addition, moderators who want to leave a room without exiting can assign someone else as the moderator. This means that a room with multiple moderators can last hours or even days.

Due to the length of the rooms and the fact that attendees can get on or off at any time, you can regularly hear from experienced room moderators re-introducing what they are discussing and who is still speaking during a room event.

Clubs and Networking

In addition to creating rooms, users can also follow individual profiles of friends, influencers or thought leaders in their industry.

You can also join clubs or form clubs, which are groups of users interested in specific topics, hobbies, or industries. Check out some of the clubs that came up with a search for “growth marketing”.

Growth Marketing Clubs

Once users join a club, they can be notified when a club manager launches a room on their core topic. For example, if I were to join one of the growth marketing clubs shown above, I would be notified immediately if they were hosting a room with a growth marketing tactic.

The advantages and disadvantages of the clubhouse.

Benefits of Using Clubhouse

1. The clubhouse could help brands build trust and community.

In 2020, consumers began to prefer companies with authentic, trusted messaging over well-known companies with decades of brand loyalty. This shift is expected to continue until 2021.

Why? In a time of financial uncertainty and constant news events, consumers want to know that brands care about their customers and share values ​​with them. While creating a living, uncensored, uncensored, uncensored space sounds nerve-wracking about your brand’s industry, it can help make some brands appear more authentic and trustworthy.

“The clubhouse offers many opportunities to connect with celebrities, a variety of people in different industries, and even close friends,” said Krystal Wu, community manager for social media at HubSpot. “It opens the door to live conversations that enable people to be vulnerable within a community space. This type of connection is unique for delivering audio content to small to large groups of people. It is non-written content, in which everyone can participate. “

Brands that use clubhouse could gain credibility by discussing topics they are experts on. Or, they might earn trust because they made themselves available to listen and speak openly to their audience.

2. The content of the app is constantly evolving.

While the app initially sparked conversations about entertainment, business, and technology due to its initial target audience, the audio content on the platform has expanded and evolved

In fact, CNBC recently reported that some of the clubhouse’s most interesting spaces were brought to life by innovative black creatives who have experimented a lot on the platform.

For example, instead of having a chat or discussion, a group of black performers hosted an audio-only production of Disney’s “The Lion King”.

While there isn’t a recording of the clubhouse performance directed by Noelle Chesnut Whitmore, Kam DeLa and Bomani X, here is a screenshot of the event showing each room presenter as the character they played:

The Lion King in the clubhouse

Image source

“What started as a casual conversation about clubhouse has grown into something much bigger. We have so many talented people who put their time and energy into this achievement,” Whitmore said in a press release. “Our goal is to bring a little joy to people through these events. I never thought that this would get such a great response.”

In another example, a cocktail brand called Loop hosted a space where attendees were encouraged to have a cocktail and engage in a casual conversation with no specific topic. While this strategy is less structured, it allows people who want to learn more about the brand or just chat with fellow cocktail drinkers to connect.

Since the clubhouse is still relatively new, there are still no great expectations in terms of content. This means anyone from any group, industry, nonprofit, or brand can experiment with it and learn what really appeals to the app’s growing audience.

3. The app is prepared for thought guidance.

The clubhouse’s user base consisted of influencers and thought leaders. This means that users are likely to come to the app to hear the latest tips, exclusive information, or discussions directly from industry experts.

For example, the planned room shown below features Brian Armstrong, Co-Founder and CEO of Coinbase.

Coinbase founder interview

In einem Clubhausraum wie dem oben gezeigten können Benutzer mehr über eine Marke wie Coinbase erfahren und ihren führenden Fragen zum Unternehmen oder zur Branche stellen. Durch Räume wie diesen könnten Coinbase und andere Marken sowohl das Bewusstsein des Unternehmens als auch die Glaubwürdigkeit beim Publikum steigern, das zuhört.

4. Das Publikum möchte Online-Communities und Audio-Inhalte.

Im letzten Jahr wandten sich Menschen, die zu Hause feststeckten, Webinaren, virtuellen Veranstaltungen und anderen Online-Erlebnissen zu, um mehr über ihre Interessen zu erfahren, von anderen in ihrer Branche zu hören oder sich einfach nur mit Menschen außerhalb ihres Haushalts verbunden zu fühlen.

Während virtuelle Ereignisse für viele von Vorteil waren, beschäftigten sich die meisten von uns schließlich mit Bildschirmermüdung.

Da zu viel Zeit geistig anstrengend sein kann, haben die Verbraucher auch Podcasts oder kamerafreie Webinare angesehen. Jetzt könnte dieses Publikum auf die reine Audio-Natur von Clubhouse vorbereitet sein.

“Die attraktivste Qualität von Clubhouse ist, dass es eine Pause von der Nonstop-Bildschirmzeit ist, in der wir alle leben”, sagt Kelly Hendrickson, Marketingmanagerin für soziale Medien bei HubSpot. “Das Clubhaus ist auch ein wunderbarer Ort, um Gespräche zwischen Nischengemeinschaften und Themen zu führen.”

Während sich Verbraucher mehr denn je nach persönlichen Verbindungen und Live-Inhalten sehnen, versuchen viele Marken, stärkere Online-Communities aufzubauen und effektive Strategien für digitale Veranstaltungen zu starten.

Letztendlich könnte das Nur-Audio-Layout von Clubhouse Marken dabei helfen, eine engagierte Community von Fans auf einer interaktiven, authentischen und Live-Plattform zu treffen und aufzubauen.

Nachteile des Clubhauses

1. Die App hat immer noch ein begrenztes Publikum.

Letztendlich ist einer der größten Markenmarketingfehler von Clubhouse auch das, was es so faszinierend macht: Exklusivität.

“Ich bin im Allgemeinen gegen alles, was nur auf Einladung möglich ist, da es eine Kultur der” anderen “schafft”, sagt Hendrickson. “Wann immer Sie auf dem Laufenden sein müssen, um am Tisch Platz zu nehmen, wie können Sie auch inklusiv sein?”

Während das Clubhaus für Community-Vermarkter einzigartige Gruppen-Chat-Möglichkeiten bietet, wenn mehr Leute beitreten, ist das Publikum für einige Vermarkter derzeit möglicherweise noch zu begrenzt. Darüber hinaus ist die App für Android-Benutzer immer noch nicht verfügbar.

“Clubhouse behindert seine Fähigkeiten tatsächlich, weil es viele talentierte potenzielle Benutzer gibt, die alles verpassen, weil sie auf Android sind”, sagt Wu.

Wenn Sie nur Inhalte für ein möglichst großes Publikum erstellen möchten, sollten Sie sich jetzt mit der Entwicklung einer Clubhaus-Strategie zurückhalten. However, if you’re only looking to experiment and see if you can reach the audiences it already has, it might be an interesting platform for your team to try.

2. Clubhouse could have strong audio-app competition.

Facebook and Twitter could be just the first platforms to create a similar audio drop-in experience. And, while this hints that Clubhouse creators have stumbled upon a platform many social media users want, the big-name competition could also pose concerns about the platform’s future.

For example, if Facebook or another major competitor can create something similar that’s less exclusive and allows iPhone and Android users, people might leave Clubhouse for a platform with a larger audience or more credibility in the social media world. If this happens, marketers who invest heavily in a Clubhouse strategy might need to do a sudden pivot.

While this shouldn’t scare you away from testing the platform if you think it’s right for your brand, the competition is still important to keep in mind. If you are considering Clubhouse, continue to follow its competitors and determine how you could pivot your strategy to those platforms if your audiences start to flock there instead.

3. Clubhouse can feel like an “unedited podcast.”

“Another challenge I think brands and individuals will have with Clubhouse is how it feels like an unedited podcast,” says Hendrickson. “That means you’re hearing all the great meat, but you also have to listen to the trimmings. It will be interesting to see if long term, people are okay with that in their content.”

If you’re planning to experiment on Clubhouse, consider practicing a few conversation starters, how you’ll enter the call, and determine what you’ll do if you run into dead air, boring conversation, or off-topic discussion that draws attention away from your Room’s goal.

Although Rooms are live and unscripted, having a gameplan will help you moderate an effective, higher-quality conversation than users might find in other Rooms.

4. Brands could be too vulnerable.

Certain generations, like Gen Z, crave authenticity from people and brands they follow on social media. With an app like Clubhouse, brands could create Rooms or Clubs related to their industry that include thought leaders, prospects, and even clients that want to talk with them in a live, unfiltered way.

However, while Clubhouse’s high level of unscripted authenticity has intrigued both marketers and prospective users, it also could put brands in vulnerable positions. Wu describes this as “a balance between good and evil.”

Within a year of its launch, Clubhouse’s live nature has already led to brand-related controversies.

For example, in February, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, dropped into a Room with Robinhood Markets CEO Vlad Tenev and raised his hand. When he was invited to speak by the Room’s moderators, Musk began intensely questioning Tenev and asked him to explain why his stock-trading company stopped its users from buying and selling GameStop and other manipulated stocks. You can hear the line of questioning in the video below:

While Robinhood’s CEO remained calm and collected throughout the chat, some brands might not have well-trained speakers who would react as calmly or professionally to this surprising scenario.

Additionally, although Clubhouse doesn’t allow users to record, many either downloaded screen-recording apps or filmed their phones with another video recording device. Because of this, Musk and Tenev’s conversation was covered by the media within hours.

Even though conversations cannot be replayed or recorded in the Clubhouse app itself, marketers on the app must remember that they’re live and anything they say could easily be streamed or quoted in seconds. Because of this, Room hosts should prepare themselves so that they can answer both easy and challenging questions from audience members. Moderators should also determine what they’ll do or how they’ll react if an unmuted audience member says something controversial or unexpected.

Is Clubhouse right for you?

In its current state, Clubhouse could offer some major awareness and community-building benefits to brands. But, because of how new it is, it also poses some challenges and cons to companies that want to reach the largest audiences possible. Ultimately, while some companies might thrive on it, others might realize that it isn’t the best platform for their goals just yet.

As with any new social media platform, you’ll want to spend some time on Clubhouse and see what the app has to offer before putting time and effort into using it.

At this point, it could be wise to see if one of your friends or colleagues can send you a Clubhouse invite so you can familiarize yourself with the app. If you can’t log on, be sure to continue following the news around it.

As you surf through the app or read Clubhouse news coverage, ask yourself questions like these:

  • Are topics related to your product or industry widely discussed on the platform?
  • Are there any thought leaders or company experts you could host a panel or two with to boost your awareness or credibility on Clubhouse?
  • Are our competitors using Clubhouse? And, if so, can we create stronger Room experiences than they can?
  • Do you already use marketing strategies that could be adapted to an audio-only platform, such as live video Q&As, webinars, or virtual events?

With questions like those above, you can determine if you’ll be able to create scalable and engaging content for this social media platform.

Can’t get access to Clubhouse just yet? Don’t worry. We’ll continue to cover it on the HubSpot Blog so you’ll be ready when you do.

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