If you’ve been reading the news or surfing social media lately, you’ve probably heard of the new social media audio app called Clubhouse.
In the past few months, Clubhouse, which allows users to listen to or speak on audio calls, received a $ 100 million rating and has grown to more than 10 million active users. Now, unsurprisingly, tech giants like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn are building similar features to join the chat streaming action.
If you’re feeling some déjà vu after competing for Snapchat Stories and TikTok’s musical overlay features, you’re not alone.
When a new social media app goes viral, you can almost guarantee that at least one of the social tech giants is testing a similar, competitive feature. And every time marketers ask themselves: “Which of these social media channels should I use in my strategy? And is it even worth investing in this trend?”
The good news? Strong competition for a social media trend like streaming chat signals that it is not going to go away anytime soon and it may be worth investing in. So all you have to do is figure out where to experiment with the trend.
Below, I’ll give you a breakdown of Clubhouse’s four biggest potential competitors, as well as some marketing tips to help you find the right platform for your brand.
Do you need to brush up on your clubhouse skills before diving in? This post is a roundup of what clubhouse is and why competitors are trying to get into the promotion.
What we know about Twitter Spaces
Twitter Spaces was gently rolled out to a small group of beta testers in late December and fully rolled out in May 2021. The feature, which is very similar to Clubhouse Rooms, allows users with over 600 followers to host a space – or an audio chat room that anyone on Twitter or just a few preselected followers can invite.
The Spaces experiment was announced late last year after the success of audio apps like Clubhouse. At the time, Kayvon Beykpour, Product Lead on Twitter, told TechCrunch: “We believe that audio is definitely resurgent in many digital spaces right now. … It will be fascinating to see other platforms explore the area, but we think it is critical for us too. “
This is how Twitter Spaces works
Although Twitter Spaces is still under development and will roll out more features in the coming months, those who already have access to the full feature can create a Space by holding down the post button on their Twitter app and the new one Select or tap on the Spaces icon and the choice to create a space instead of a fleet.
For now, when a space is launched, it is public and can be seen in your followers’ fleet bar, as shown below. In the near future, Twitter plans to enable planning and room map features that allow people to schedule chats in advance or sell tickets to a private room.
Currently, users who start a space can invite up to 10 hand-picked speakers. From there, they can adjust who is speaking based on who is raising their hand and which speakers have to leave earlier. At the moment there doesn’t seem to be a cap on the number of people who can tune in and potentially ask for a speech. In the future, Twitter plans to expand the functionality and allow co-hosting privileges that allow two users to host and operate a space.
Upon entering the space, the UX is similar to the clubhouse in that you can see who is speaking and who created the space before you see a list of other listeners. You’ll also see a down arrow at the top that lets you minimize the chat but still hear it, plus an “Exit,” prompt to speak, share, and a heart symbol – so you can signal that you’re having fun with the discussion.
As in the clubhouse, users are muted when entering the room and must obtain speaking permissions from the space moderator if they want to say something.
Takeaways for marketers
Spaces is still evolving as new users gain access every day. However, this feature could work well for brands that want a wide audience and a fully public platform.
While Twitter’s audience exceeds 330 million monthly active users, the app is also available to all smartphone users. Meanwhile, Clubhouse is still by invitation only and cannot be accessed by Android users despite its rapid growth.
For Twitter and brands looking to build a follower community on the platform, Spaces could also be a natural transition. Right now, users are already using Twitter to reply to text-based threads and tweets related to their interests, industries, beliefs, and passions. Now you can loudly share your thoughts in Spaces without worrying about character restrictions. This could further appeal to Twitter’s community-centric audience and help brands take community marketing to the next level.
What We Know About Instagram Live Rooms
Shortly after Facebook’s CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg spoke in a clubhouse room, the social media company reportedly experimented with a similar audio feature. Although we’re not sure yet if and when Facebook will introduce a competing feature, his company Instagram is adding chat rooms to its live feature.
What sets Instagram Live Rooms apart from Clubhouse or Spaces is that it streams full video chats instead of audio discussions.
Prior to March, Instagram Live allowed two Instagram users (a broadcaster and a guest) to stream their video call to the public or followers. For viewers, the experience was like watching two people video calls without being able to participate. Now Instagram has increased the guest capacity of these rooms from one to three. This is what the format looks like today:
An Instagram announcement on March 1 said: “There have been special moments at Live over the past year, including briefings on science and COVID-19 guidelines, celebrity interviews and record-breaking rap battles. Creators of all kinds – from fitness trainers to musicians, beauty bloggers, chefs and activists, all have relied on Live to create moments and bring people together to reach their communities in creative ways. We can’t wait to see the creativity that will emerge from this much sought-after update. “
“We hope that doubling Live will open up more creative possibilities – start a talk show, jam session or work with other artists, do more engaging Q&A or tutorials with your followers, or just hang out with more from you from friends, “added the Instagram statement.
This is how Instagram Live rooms work
At the moment, the Live Rooms feature is still being rolled out, but will soon be available to global Instagram users.
When Live Rooms is fully implemented, any user can tap their Stories icon, swipe left to the Live setting, select a track or foundation to promote on their stream. Then they can tap the “Rooms” icon and select guests for their broadcast. Viewers can also request to join rooms that are already in progress, as shown below:
Takeaways for marketers
While Live Rooms could be an interesting prospect for brands that already have a following there, they seem to have some limitations. While Twitter Spaces and Clubhouse, for example, allow more than five guests – apart from the moderator, only three additional guests are allowed in Live Rooms. This can make it more difficult to pick up questions or comments from audience members who want to add to the conversation.
Another factor that can be an advantage or disadvantage depending on the brand is the visual nature of live rooms. Because speakers are required to appear in front of the camera, some brands have more options to show products or pictures. In the meantime, other brands looking for more open dialogue just need to find speakers who are comfortable with video appearances.
One solid feature that could make Instagram Live Rooms more competitive for brands is Instagram Shopping. In 2020 Instagram added new shopping features that allow brands to share links to products in live streams that can be purchased directly on Instagram. According to Instagram’s announcement, these features will be available in Live Rooms to allow brands to monetize their live chats.
Clubhouse rivals from Facebook and LinkedIn
At this point, Facebook’s clubhouse alternative is still in the very early stages of development, while that of LinkedIn was confirmed in late March. At this point in time, there isn’t a lot of detail on what LinkedIn or Facebook’s final audio platforms might look like when they launch. However, reports suggest that both will have very similar audio-only user experiences like Clubhouse.
For example, here’s a look at the audio chat that UX LinkedIn is testing, as reported by TechCrunch:
Suzi Owens, a LinkedIn spokeswoman, confirmed that LinkedIn is testing a new audio feature with the UX shown above.
“We’re doing some early testing to create a unique audio experience that is tied to your professional identity,” said Owens. “And we’re exploring how we can bring audio to other areas of LinkedIn, such as events and groups, to give our members even more opportunities to connect with their community.”
When it comes to Facebook, not much has been publicly announced about its feature. However, TechCrunch reports that the feature could be part of the Facebook Messenger app. Here is a very early model of the feature that was recently leaked on Twitter:
While Facebook confirms that the above mockup was part of its “exploration” process, tech company TechCrunch announced that the image does not accurately represent the final version of the feature.
Takeaways for marketers
At this point, marketers should keep these options on their radar and be ready to consider these alternatives when they hit the market. While clubhouse users who enjoy networking and discussing their industry might well make the switch to the version of LinkedIn, the sheer size of Facebook could mean their in-app audio chat experiences could get more listeners than you get at Clubhouse would find.
Which audio social media platform should marketers use
As we’ve seen with Stories and Short Form Music Video Features, every social media platform wants to take advantage of audio social media trends. Since each version is pretty similar to all the others, you might be wondering which channel to invest in.
Which platform will be the longest and most successful is currently still in the jury, especially since the functions of Twitter and Instagram have not yet been fully launched. However, as all social media competitors implement their new features, there are a few factors you should consider to determine which one is right for you, such as:
- Potential range: While Twitter and Instagram have the largest audiences by far, Clubhouse is growing rapidly. If this app were to launch an Android version anytime soon, it could potentially grow due to its current craze and popularity.
- Your following: Do you already have a large following on a platform that has chat streaming functionality? If so, you should start there before investing time in any other app that you don’t have an audience for.
- Media formats: The Clubhouse and Twitter chat streams are designed to be audio only while Instagram Live Rooms show video. If you prefer to stay out of the camera, you may want to avoid one of the apps that require your camera.
- Other functions: While Clubhouse allows users to form clubs or groups of users with similar interests, Instagram enables brands to place Instagram Shopping CTAs in their live streams. As you explore each platform, be aware of the smaller features that differentiate them, in case any of these tools could help your brand.
Want to learn more about the latest social media trends and expert insights? Download the HubSpot Social Media Trends Report 2021 for free below.