If you’ve been on social media, marketing news sites, or the HubSpot blog lately, you might have heard of Clubhouse.
The almost a year old social media platform that allows users to get into audio-only chat rooms has grown from 600,000 to 10 million active users in just a few months. Although the app is only available by invitation, more and more people are getting daily access to discussions about their industry, hobbies, and other interests.
Users also love Clubhouse for its entertainment factor. If you browse the clubhouse, you may find celebrities like Joe Rogan chatting with fellow influencers. Audio-only music productions, comedy evenings; or even stand-up comedy events.
However, as a marketer explores Clubhouse’s vast and highly creative audio rooms, you may be wondering if and how you can use this as part of your marketing strategy.
At this point, most of the clubhouse content is still very experimental. However, an important issue is that users want to hear from people – not just brands.
As Clubhouse users crave authentic human discussion, they are likely to move away from spaces where promotional content takes precedence over relatable conversation.
While building brand awareness in an ultra-personal app like Clubhouse takes time, energy and a lot of community management, we are already seeing brands begin to connect with the broadcaster’s growing audience.
To help marketers who are just starting to learn about clubhouse, I’ve been browsing the app for the past few days to see how brands reach users. Below, I’ll highlight four common brand awareness tactics and give some recent examples.
How brands use the clubhouse
1. Fireside chats or questions and answers
When I first heard about Clubhouse and explored the app, many of the rooms I walked into felt like audio-video-only calls or webinars where only the hosts started with speaking privileges. To me, it’s not surprising that branded room creators and moderators have started using Q&A, panels, and fireside chat formats to create interactive yet well-managed discussions on the platform.
When viewing a brand-related panel or interview, it is often formatted in two ways:
- The moderator, who works for the brand coordinating the space, provides thought leaders or influencers connected to their industry issues. This moderator can also allow viewers to ask questions or allow the speaker to come on stage.
- An employee or leader of a brand acts as an interviewee or panel member, while an influencer who does not work for the brand asks questions or moderates questions from the audience.
Regardless of the role the brand member plays in the chat, these rooms have very similar formats. They usually start with the moderator announcing who they are, who they are talking to, and what the theme of the room is. From there, the moderator either asks questions to the speakers or grants speaking permissions to other users who raise their hands.
Below, I’ll highlight two examples of rooms I’ve seen. Since the clubhouse is still only available by invitation and serves as a safe place for communities to discuss thoughts, topics or ideas, I will only jot down important parts of the conversations and room formats. I didn’t include these rooms either.
Below are two recent examples of fireside chats:
A recent interview with Coinbase Co-Founder and CEO Brian Armstrong was held in one of the clubhouse rooms shown below. During the room, Sriram Krishman, a moderator for the Good Time Club, asked Armstrong questions about how he got started with Bitcoin and grew his business. They also discussed the future of cyber currency. Krishman also invited the audience to raise their hands and ask Armstrong questions to have more discussion on the complex cyber topic.
In spaces like the one mentioned above, users can learn more about a brand like Coinbase and ask their leading questions about the company or industry. Through this experience, Coinbase and other brands could increase both awareness and credibility of the company with an audience that tunes in to hear their canned raw discussion.
HubSpot also recently set up a chat-style room by the fireplace where our Chief Marketing Officer Kipp Bodnar, CTO and Co-Founder Dharmesh Shah and Sr. VP of Marketing Kieran Flanagan invited celebrity clubhouse influencers like Bomani X to talk about “The Future of Marketing and “to discuss clubhouse. “
During the panel, Bodnar asked the clubhouse influencers some questions about how they grew their audience on the platform. What have you done to optimize your profile, rooms or clubs? and brand awareness etiquette. He also took similar questions or comments from a large group of listeners, including a founder of a weight loss company, a scientist, and a Rubix Cube enthusiast who wanted to build clubhouse communities.
While HubSpot’s executives haven’t yet claimed to be clubhouse experts, they have created a space to highlight what they know so far and engage listeners with some of the top-notch early adopters of Clubhouse’s app with millions of followers connect. This is a great example of how the brand positions itself as a marketing thought leader, even as they experiment with a new, unique platform.
2. Sponsoring room events
While people may not want to step into a room where a product or brand is discussed positively all the time, they can join an interesting conversation or clubhouse event sponsored by a brand.
When you walk into a sponsored room, you may not hear much or no brand speakers speaking at all. However, when reintroducing the room, a speaker can mention that the room or clubhouse audio experience is being paid for or sponsored by the brand. A sponsor may also be listed in the title or description of the room.
Below is an interesting example:
Below is an example of a scheduled event sponsored by Yummy, a California-based grocery delivery app. During the spatial event, slated for June 5, attendees will battle for a $ 100 gift card by playing an audio talent like singing or music.
By sponsoring an experimental performance competition on Clubhouse, Yummy can not only see how creative clubhouse content can benefit their brand, but also a large pool of clubhouse users interested in audio entertainment or music for their delivery service advertise.
3. Allow team members to participate in rooms related to your industry.
Another way to raise brand awareness is to have chief officers, executives, or even general employees raise their hands and actively participate by speaking in rooms with large audiences.
When brand reps are speaking in a room, they don’t necessarily have to talk about everything about their company. However, by adding to a conversation, talking about tactics they tried in their role, and demonstrating their expertise, viewers learn to trust you and your company. When the company’s members have a following and fan base, their brand can attract new audiences as well.
Below are two examples of brands advocating for space participation.
Tax Nation LLC.
In a recent space titled “Marketing That Works 2021 (So Far),” presenters asked the audience to raise their hands and offer their best marketing tips.
During the room, Cory Hughes, Vice President and Managing Partner of the tax preparation business, Tax Nation LLC, was selected to speak. He mentioned his company by name and stated that they create marketing content based on “stories” and positive feedback from “happy customers”.
After Hughes clarified his point, several other listeners joined in to agree on how important his tip was.
In addition to providing valuable advice to attendees, Hughes naturally mentioned his company and satisfied customers without sounding like he was trying to hook up his tax preparation product.
Start Scale Sail
In another room titled “Scale Your Business With Digital Products”, entrepreneurs, marketers and consultants shared tips for growing brands based on their experiences.
For example, Natasha O’Banion, CEO of Start Scale Sail, a business automation and consulting company, said she was a huge fan of quiz content, adding that her team’s successful leads were generated through interactive content.
Although O’Banion didn’t affiliate her company by name, her explanation of how she’s used quizzes in her own strategy led to questions and more discussion from other participants. Since she made valuable contributions, listeners with similar interests in generating digital leads might be interested in following her, or even learning more about her brand.
4. Hosting informal chats
Since the clubhouse is all about discussion and authenticity, many brands have also tried to show their human side and appear more accessible to the audience by hosting informal chats with no apparent goal or topic. This method is more casual and potentially less intimidating for listeners who may not raise their hands to speak in a fireside chat with a full agenda.
Below is an example:
One brand that houses welcoming, casual spaces is DRK Beauty, a website and trading platform for people with color that regularly publishes content on mental health, fashion, beauty, lifestyle and culture.
At the end of each week, the DRK team organizes “Weekly Wine Down” rooms so that at the end of a long week you have the feeling of visiting a bar with colleagues or friends.
While DRK rooms, which are often hosted by Wilma Mae Basta, CEO of DRK Beauty, don’t have a set topic or agenda, the team often introduces themselves as speakers, starting a casual conversation about what they’re thinking, and allows other viewers to express their hands and ring the bell at any time.
While DRK Beauty Rooms are typically not aimed at promoting the brand’s website, DRK nonetheless allows audiences and potential web visitors to learn about the people behind the company in a casual, authentic environment. This makes the brand appear approachable, authentic and trustworthy. Three things social media users will appreciate when researching brands in 2021.
The key to the clubhouse? Be human.
It’s important to remember that the clubhouse is about authentic human connections, not branding or self-promotion.
While Clubhouse began as a platform where users could only hear from industry elites, the app is now open to a wide variety of creatives and everyday people who want to communicate or interact with others. Because of this, learning a brand is probably not the first thing a user wants to do when they sign up for the app.
Whichever strategy you use in the clubhouse, remember to keep the human side of the app in mind. For example, instead of hosting a room where you explain your brand or products to the audience, consider having a fireplace chat with a thought leader in your industry or attending a room where you can discuss your industry with others in the industry.
If you focus on natural conversation and valuable space sharing, you may not always be able to market your product directly. However, if you lean on the conversational and personal nature of the platform, you can build a fan base that trusts your expertise – and ultimately your brand.
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