We live in a world filled with texting, responding to emails at all hours and infinite scrolling. With the rise in social distancing and remote work this past year, it’s no surprise that people are craving human connection and that the market is ripe for an audio-based social network.
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Enter Clubhouse, the new and fast-growing social platform that creates connections — and that’s garnered more than 4 million new downloads in the first few weeks of 2021 alone — through small-group audio messaging.
What makes Clubhouse unique?
Clubhouse is a conversational platform. To become a Clubhouse user, you need to secure an invitation from an existing member, so there’s an exclusivity factor at play as well.
Once you’re in, you have the chance to join different rooms where people host audio chats. These rooms can be very specific and topic-driven (like a lecture or TEDx talk) or can be more sociable, like an audio cousin to old-school instant messenger groups or online chat rooms.
The app’s convenience and flexibility have been instrumental in its rising popularity. I particularly use it mostly on the go and have experienced it both as a moderator and speaker as well as on “radio” mode as a listener. It’s this passive, nonintrusive nature that has kept me coming back to it almost daily and what I hear people find the most compelling.
As a brand, how can you tap into Clubhouse’s popularity and use it to benefit your business?
Connecting on Clubhouse — for now — means really focusing on personal interaction and on communicating authentically with the people you come into contact with. To build a following on Clubhouse, you need to be prepared to invest time and do the following:
- Start by giving.
Brands aren’t currently able to create their own profiles on Clubhouse, which means you have less opportunity for direct selling and for advertising your products. However, brands can have individuals represent them, create rooms and organize chats that align with their areas of expertise.
For example, a brand that sells organic baby food could have a leading nutritionist from their staff host a room focused on healthy meals for families. The brand could further amplify their reach by partnering with an influencer in an adjacent space — a mom whose audience includes other health-conscious parents or a chef influencer who can offer a unique viewpoint regarding flavor or seasonings.
Brands can also make headway on connecting with their audiences by sponsoring rooms or chats set up by leading influencers. This collaboration can give them the chance to speak on a panel in the group, be mentioned or have a product highlighted by a speaker.
- Tell stories that resonate.
Clubhouse thrives on conversation. Its engagement isn’t driven by hashtags or gaming algorithms. It’s about telling stories, collaborating and sharing ideas.
If you’re considering Clubhouse, now is the perfect time to revisit your brand’s message architecture and ensure it’s connecting with and making sense to the right people.
When you have your messaging polished up, use it as a tool to connect rather than to sell. Find a niche where your brand’s experts can serve as thought leaders and boost their influence and visibility on the platform.
- Network on- and off-platform.
Clubhouse rooms have been one of social media’s most egalitarian spaces so far, with “regular” people easily able to jump into rooms with famous people ranging from Elon Musk to Oprah Winfrey to Vanilla Ice.
Because Clubhouse has offered its membership as invite-only, the people participating on the site tend to be more serious about creating connections and finding like-minded collaborators. You’re likely to find people who are in similar niches and can partner on services or who may be looking for exactly what your brand provides.
Clubhouse users also have the ability to connect their accounts to Instagram and Twitter. As you build Clubhouse relationships, you can migrate them to a platform where your brand can speak directly, as well as through your thought leaders and influencers.
What does the future look like for brands and influencers considering Clubhouse?
Audio is trending hot in the social media world, and brands should think strategically about how to be relevant. Clubhouse and Discord, along with mainstream social networks (Facebook is already building its own audio-driven functionality), are creating a new realm of authentic connections through their audio buzz.
Brands, their leading internal experts, and their influencer partners need to be prepared and well-versed on what Clubhouse offers. When the platform rolls out its already-teased influencer partnership functionality and brand partnerships, you’ll want to have established connections and earned credibility as a leader in the space.