If you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other social media platform, you’ve likely seen the hype around the latest player in the field: Clubhouse. The audio-based social media app has garnered a lot of attention recently, from celebrities and non-celebrities alike. In May, 2020, the app was worth around $100M despite just having 1,500 users at the time. Clubhouse now houses over 600,000 registered users. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, the app currently has 2 million weekly active users and counting. Just last week, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg were chatting away on the app.
So, what makes Clubhouse special and what lessons can marketers take from this growing app? Below, we explain everything you need to know about Clubhouse, along with a breakdown of use cases and five valuable marketing lessons.
What is Clubhouse?
Clubhouse was developed by Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Paul Davison and former Google employee, Rohan Seth in April, 2020. Clubhouse is a conversation-based audio app that holds a variety of “rooms” that people can hop in and out of. Users can either listen to the discussion or “raise” their hand and join the conversation. A lot of the topics discussed are entrepreneurial in their nature, as people seek advice to grow their businesses and side hustles, but they also vary from business advice to productivity hacks, book clubs, comedy shows and even prank calls. Since these discussions are live, and therefore happening in real-time, once they come to an end, they’re gone forever. In short, the app is basically a mashup between a webinar, podcast and live radio show.
Clubhouse is currently in beta mode, meaning that it’s invite-only for now – the only way to gain access to the app is to be invited by a current user. It’s also only available on iOS. However, the website says “we are working hard to open things up soon!”
The Appeal Behind Clubhouse: Lessons for every marketer
1. The Resurgence of Audio
There’s no doubt that an audio-only app is an attractive sell to every user. It’s easy. The conversations are engaging. And no cameras are involved. You don’t have to participate in the conversation if you don’t want to. As many of us continue to face Zoom Fatigue, strolling through rooms to listen or join a live conversation is a no-brainer. Many people use the app passively as they work, drive, exercise or just as background noise.
As marketers, we know how important convenience is to attract and retain customers. As such, think of ways to simplify and streamline the user experience for your customers. Audio conversations are fluid. You can carry your phone around as you go about your day – just think about podcasts. Bring that ease of accessibility to your business, whether it’s to improve the user experience on your website, streamlining your online store’s checkout process, or great customer service experience through social media or email.
2. The Value of Real-time, Deep and Rich Social Conversations
Instagram Keyword Search + Curated Explore Tab (currently not monetized)
Clubhouse has reminded us how much people crave and desire meaningful conversations and especially during the time of stay-at-home orders, it’s no surprise that many are on the app all day. it’s easy to feel the FOMO if you are not constantly logged in as these rooms unfold in real time.
Create ways for your audience to engage with each other and with your brand whether it’s posing questions on your social media accounts, going live on Instagram or even sharing your brand’s behind-the-scenes online. People want to build authentic relationships with others and they even want brands to help them connect to other people.
Providing your audience with the opportunity to connect with each other will also impact your bottom-line. According to a recent SproutSocial survey, 64% of consumers say that their loyalty to a brand increases when they feel connected. As people build a stronger connection to a brand, they’re more likely to increase how much they spend with it.
3. The Power of Community
Through these conversations, people’s personal and professional networks are expanding. They’re reaching out to each other on Instagram. Some are even collaborating on initiatives outside of Clubhouse. Establishing a community is the secret here. On Clubhouse, people are united by their common interests by the room’s topic whether it’s on business, culture or arts.
As you build your audience, create an opportunity for people to bond over things they’re passionate about, which could also–bonus points–revolve around your product or service. Transform your business by tapping into people’s need for a real, engaged community through creating a sense of comradery and shared purpose, whether it’s on a Facebook group, a Slack channel or through in-person events.
4. The Allure of Exclusivity
Clubhouse is currently invite-only since it’s in beta mode, meaning that only a certain amount of people are able to get into the app at a certain time. The app is also only offered on iPhone. So, even if any non-iPhone users get an invite, they’ll be waitlisted until the app opens up to other servers. That excludes a lot of people and they’re feeling the FOMO once again as seen below.
In retail, this can be seen as creating a sense of urgency with messages like “limited time only,” “Hurry! They’re almost gone!” or “order now while supplies last.” Brands can use scarcity messaging to persuade people to fill out a lead form, purchase a product, join a paid subscription or take another desired action.
5. The Importance of Offering Real Value
People are on Clubhouse for hours on end because of the value being offered. Many rooms hold a Q&A format where people can jump in and ask the moderators (industry professionals, commentators and celebrities, alike) for their advice. As such, with the influx of people going in and out of rooms, the stream of tips and hacks never end.
In fact, this is how a lot of the Clubhouse users gained a large following including Swan Sit, former Head of Global Digital at Nike. In one room, Swan said she’s specific about the rooms she hops into and when she’s moderating, she’s offering as much value as possible. Her approach is succinct and to the point, and it’s paying off. So far, she gained over 550,000 followers – one of the fastest growing accounts on Clubhouse.
Case in point? Value is king and sometimes, it overtakes aesthetic. Take Instagram, for example. What first started off as a mood board for a lot of people has shifted into a value-driven platform, whether it’s through the in-depth captions or bite-sized informative graphics. As a marketer, create valuable content for your audience and remember to be consistent. It’ll pay off in the long run.
Advertising Opportunities on Clubhouse
As for advertising opportunities, Clubhouse’s monetization plans are still in question since the app is in its beta phase. However, we see much potential for influencer marketing initiatives, including partnerships with brands, creating sponsored rooms, offering a Clubhouse-only discount code or even launching your product or service from Clubhouse. Similar to any new social media platform, advertising opportunities are likely to evolve over time.
Clubhouse’s influencer marketing opportunities, on the other hand, are on the rise. The app is testing an invite-only “Creator Pilot Program” with more than 40 Clubhouse influencers. So far, the pilot includes promises of conferences with one of Clubhouse’s founders and an early entry to specific in-app tools and features. As Clubhouse continues to grow, the variety of audio creators is rising and their impact on the broader influencer ecosystem is simply just starting.
In the meantime, marketers should keep a close eye on the audio space and watch the growth of clubhouse unravel to determine which target audience they want to attract and capture.
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