Clubhouse: popular kids’ hangout or a true asset for brands’ community building?
Find out how Clubhouse differentiates itself within the sea of social media apps
Clubhouse has turned its voice-only design from a potential constraint into its key strength
Users are able to multi-task while staying on the platform as background chatter (like in a coffee shop!)
Because the app is so new and fresh it took some time, but many brands are now using Clubhouse
Wherever there are influencers, advertisers aren't far behind
Just this week Clubhouse announced a new monetization feature, Clubhouse Payments, as "the first of many features that allow creators to get paid directly on Clubhouse"
Now might be a good time to consider building an online community to add value and deepen the connection with your audience, here's how
Clubhouse is the latest entrant into the ring of popular social media apps. The pandemic fast-tracked broader usage and many A-list celebrities have adopted the platform pivoting it into a more mainstream space and conversation. Clubhouse is an audio-only network that has become a disruptor to more mainstream social media channels and has provided a breath of fresh air and a much-needed distraction for those of us suffering from video and zoom fatigue.
It's a welcome change for many of us as the app is built on a voice-led, live, concept and hosts conversations around very impromptu and diverse topics. The topics vary and the app is still limited however as more people continue to get invited a broader array of lifestyle and societal conversations will continue to blend into the feeds.
Clubhouse exclusivity: pro or con?
The MAJOR problem with the app is that the allure still is around its exclusivity. You can't join unless you're invited (and using an iPhone) and for many who have heard of Clubhouse but haven't joined or been invited it's a big problem for major expansion.
The "voice only" advantage
One notable differentiator for Clubhouse is that it's managed to turn its voice-only design from a potential constraint into its key strength. Users are able to use the app as passive background chatter while doing other work and listening in which is a breath of fresh air for many multi-tasking marketers such as me.
Real-time conversations: the heart of what makes Clubhouse tick
The reason Clubhouse is different and exciting is because it's synchronous. It's happening live and never again. If you're not there, you will miss the conversation forever. Traditional social media channels are asynchronous. You can access and revisit content and review or engage at any time that works for you and catch up at your own pace. Rooms can be recorded if permission is granted, but that is seemingly rare as the value is in the authenticity of real-time communication and conversation.
As an excited and relatively new Clubhouse user, I'm trying to figure out the value of the platform for my clients as well as myself. This got me thinking about how brands can use Clubhouse to build an online community to add value. Clubhouse is a platform centered firmly on creators, not brands, at least for now. A creator can certainly be a brand leader working to expand thought leadership and build community or interest for a brand but within the Club the conversation is around authenticity and the person and NOT the bigger brand.
How brands">brands can use Clubhouse to add to build an online community that adds value
I asked several of my friends and industry colleagues for their opinions on the platform and I found their answers to be useful and inspiring and noteworthy. Below are several responses relevant to the conversation of how brands can use Clubhouse to add to build an online community to add value.
Amberly Hilinski, Director of marketing at SodaStream International said "Clubhouse is weighing the reward of facilitating and respecting relevant content you don't own. Long lead earned media for brand owners who have the privilege (or budget) to think in terms of years and not quarters. As the inevitable stampede of influencer dollars roll in, I worry how the conversations shift and how many truly "tune-in" worthy guests are booked."
Margaret Molloy, CMO of Siegel + Gale said, "Time is the primary challenge for many thought leaders, a major consideration is whether we want to dedicate the effort to build a following on another platform. This is especially true for B2B leaders with an active social graph on LinkedIn and/or Twitter already. Clubhouse is centered firmly on creators, not brands, at least for now. A creator could be a brand employee hosting a community as a thought leader/community builder, however, it's about the person, not the corporate brand."
Ashley Stevens, Brand, Content & Experiential Marketing Expert said, "Brands can use Clubhouse as an extension of another online community or event. It's a great place to "continue the conversation" and develop more personal relationships with current and potential clients.
Rob Durant, Founder of Flywheel Results said, "Brands cannot use Clubhouse the way they have used other platforms. There's no automating it, There's no outsourcing it, There's no editing it, There's no photoshopping it. People only get to know you when you show up and are fully present. That being said, Brands, even B2B Brands, CAN use Clubhouse. They just need to facilitate conversations instead of dominating them."
Danielle Guzman, Global Head of Social Media at Mercer added, "Clubhouse is an opportunity for brands to rethink how they engage with their audiences. Most brand social channels are broadcast channels, very few have conversations with their audiences, because of resource constraints, lack of know-how, compliance reasons, and other concerns. Platforms like Clubhouse and the audio tools that Twitter, LinkedIn, and other platforms are working on will challenge corporates to review & redesign how they social up on social media.
It's taken some time, but brands are now joining the Clubhouse conversations. Many of my colleagues remained dubious of the long-standing return and the overall future of the platform and insisted that brands should concentrate efforts in places providing maximum return. Clubhouse lacks analytics and tangible metrics to measure the investment of time and energy for brands.
I remain interested and active on the platform for now I'm cautious that it's the "popular kids" hangout and the allure and interest is largely based around buzz. Certainly, brands can and should listen into ongoing conversations and get ideas on the audience tuning in and having conversations. Brands who listen to ideas and have a pulse on the culture and content their market is exposed to will have a long-standing advantage and edge.
Wherever there are influencers, the advertisers aren't far behind. As it stands today, Clubhouse still is limited with around two million active weekly users on the app. It offers what every advertiser wants - a highly targeted, used in one contained place, but the question remains of how and when to get advertisers involved.
Just this week within Clubhouse's blog post, the startup announced a new monetization feature, Clubhouse Payments, as "the first of many features that allow creators to get paid directly on Clubhouse."
This is the first step towards monetizing Clubhouse and the first of what many assume will come towards steps to monetize the platform.
As Twitter, LinkedIn, and other audio apps emerge Clubhouse will quickly have to adapt and make some changes if it wants to become a mainstream platform for brand marketers. It will be interesting to see how it all unfolds over time!
Marissa Pick is a social & digital strategist and Senior Marketing Director at Marissa Pick Consulting LLC. Marissa can be found on Twitter @marissapick.