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Do you ever wish you could casually toss around ideas with friends who live thousands of miles away (or friends quarantining next door)?
What about meeting new people who share your ideas and interests?
How about recording those conversations for podcasting, content ideas, and interview quotes?
Well, that’s pretty much the gist of the new – and super-exclusive – voice-based Clubhouse app.
As an invite-only platform, for now, us peasants can’t be sure exactly what features Clubhouse will offer upon its public release and how we can use them to their full potential, but we do know a few things so far.
So, in the interest of keeping you informed and ahead of the game, let’s jump into what we know about Clubhouse along with a handful of possibilities for building your upcoming strategy.
Alright, first we need to point out that there are two Clubhouse apps.
Clubhouse.io is a project management platform, specifically designed for software development teams. It includes all the features a software team might need for tracking their individual projects, bugs, writing, and collaboration.
If you don’t design software or apps, you probably won’t be too interested in that Clubhouse (although it seems cool if that’s your industry).
Clubhouse, however, is billed as a social media platform for people of all industries.
Unlike other platforms that require you to stare at a screen, the Clubhouse app is 100% voice-based. Aside from the moderator’s job of keeping speakers organised, you can use Clubhouse more passively than other social media platforms.
At least, that’s what the founders intend, as mentioned on the sparse Clubhouse homepage:
“With no camera on, you don’t have to worry about eye contact, what you’re wearing, or where you are. […] Instead of typing something and hitting Send, you’re engaged in a back-and-forth dialogue with others.”
The first question that comes to everyone’s mind is probably something like “why Clubhouse when I can just use Zoom without video?”
Clubhouse is supposed to be impromptu. You can schedule active room times, but Clubhouse wants to break away from the more formal nature of apps like Zoom with more free-flowing conversations.
Think of the highest earning podcasts like Chapo Trap House. People love those formats because they feel like casual conversations between friends – and that’s exactly what they are.
Venture capitalist Leo Polovets even compared Clubhouse to podcasting:
“It’s almost like a podcast with audience participation,” Polovets said.
Right now, Clubhouse isn’t for you or me. The Clubhouse app is currently invite-only.
As of May 2020, Clubhouse reportedly had 270 daily users which amounted to roughly 18% of total users, a source inside the company told CNBC.
It seems like the founders are introducing high-profile users first to both work out the kinks and build hype for the platform. Smart!
How high-profile you ask? Think Jared Leto, MC Hammer, Hannibal Buress, E-40, Oprah, and Ashton Kutcher.
But those are just the public faces. Tons of other folks in elite positions are also using the app like casting director Leroy Church. Church held auditions for Dreamgirls on the Clubhouse app exclusively:
Apparently, anyone with an account can send up to five invites.
When it’s finally available to the rest of us normies, Clubhouse will be for everyone!
No, I know it sounds cliché and cheesy, but really anyone in any industry or no industry at all can find something valuable on Clubhouse.
It’s a voice-based app. How you use it and what you do is totally your call.
It really all depends on your interests and what you want to accomplish from a voice/listening app.
The Clubhouse app is pretty exclusive right now but that doesn’t mean people haven’t been blabbing about it on social media or blogs. Here’s what we know so far…
Real conversations in all their imperfect glory are the whole point of Clubhouse.
It’s especially important to point out the real-time factor here because it means you can’t record voice clips and submit them at your leisure.
In other words, no planning every little word so you can present your thoughts and personality in a certain way.
The real-time nature also implies that Clubhouse won’t function like WhatsApp or Telegram either where you can send voice messages – even in the moment.
Clubhouse encourages you to create at least one recurring room – such as a timeless topic on things like race in the music industry, software marketing news, a book club, or fan club for your favourite podcast.
You don’t have to create recurring rooms though. You can also launch one-off discussions for breaking news or ideas that arise in the moment too.
The founders created Clubhouse because they realised the emotions of spontaneous conversations were lacking on existing social media platforms.
And with so much happening in the world, we needed those familiar open conversations more than ever.
Clubhouse is by no means perfect or a replacement for IRL connections, but it does fill the disconnected void of other social media platforms.
Here’s something important podcasters and content creators should know right off rip: You can’t switch between a recording room and chatroom.
When you start your room, you need to decide then and there if you’ll record. This way, everyone who joins and speaks can be aware that their voice or words might show up somewhere later.
If you decide not to record a room’s conversations, you cannot transcribe or record the conversations later.
In the interest of open and honest discussions, your conversations totally vanish after you close the room.
In other words, no losing sleep at 3 AM worrying about what you said off the cuff in a Clubhouse room.
You still want to follow basic rules of respect and politeness, of course, but the autodeletion feature ensures that no one sounds stupid for asking questions or self-censors unnecessarily.
You’re expected to sit back and just listen in most rooms – unless you’re hosting.
Trust me, it’s for the best anyways.
With most social media platforms demanding action from each user, it’s easy to forget that sometimes we learn more just by listening and not saying a word.
Plus, there’s a good chance someone will mention what you wanted to ask anyway.
Even if you want to say something in another member’s room, you can’t in most cases.
Sure, some rooms are free-for-all conversations, but most are structured. If you want to add to the conversation or ask a question, raise your hand and wait for the speakers to invite you to speak.
The hierarchy isn’t ideal when already marginalised groups get cast aside.
But on the other hand, it also prevents people from shouting over each other or repeating conversations – because who wants that?
It’s unclear what happens when you block someone and they speak in a room you’re a part of.
Will you still hear them? Will they still hear you? Will it just be blank?
We also don’t know what “community standards” will look like on Clubhouse. What topics are off-limits entirely? Will any words or phrases flag auto-censors like Facebook?
These are genuine questions for the future when Clubhouse opens to the public.
Your Clubhouse hallway functions as a newsfeed where you can see all the active rooms for discussion and scheduled rooms you follow.
If you have a timeless topic like a fan club, class, or ongoing news discussion, you can set up recurring rooms on a set schedule. For example, your room might open every Friday afternoon to cover news from the previous week.
Moderators prevent the room from descending into chaos by controlling who can speak and when. For large rooms, moderators are a must.
Imagine if everyone tried to talk at the same time – especially when a controversial topic comes up. No one would manage to finish a sentence.
The stage lets you know who’s in line to speak and when. If the mod decides you can speak, they’ll add you to the stage where you’ll wait for your turn.
Like the founders said themselves, the Clubhouse app will either be the next big thing by July or fizzle out around the same time.
With so much hyper surrounding Clubhouse, it’s natural to be suspicious of its future – especially where $100 million in investments is concerned.
Niche cult followings can’t make up for mass appeal. Plus, Clubhouse faces no competition right now.
Bottom line: If you end up loving Clubhouse, try not to get too comfortable just yet.
The question on every marketer’s mind: What can you do with an account on Clubhouse?
Even if you’re one of the lucky few to have an account today, the most you can really do is listen in on other conversations and maybe throw in your two cents. You can’t really use it to hang out with friends or collaborate with.
But that will eventually change. Here are a few potential ways you could squeeze fun and value out of Clubhouse after it’s widely available.
Now, keep in mind you shouldn’t record or transcribe anyone’s words without their permission – even on a social media platform.
Aside from that, it’s only natural that listening to raw conversations will birth fresh content ideas and topics.
Keep Trello, Evernote, or an old school notepad handy to jot down spur of the moment ideas and concepts to write about or research later for content.
Once Clubhouse opens to the public, it’ll be the perfect place to tap into unfiltered conversations among your audience along the same lines as Reddit.
Clubhouse might not be as anonymous as Reddit, but the impromptu nature makes up for that.
Start taking notes now on what types of conversations, topics, and groups of people you want to listen to via different rooms.
Alright so, Clubhouse isn’t an event platform per se, but the real-time voice-based nature of Clubhouse just begs to use it for scheduled events and conferences.
Clubhouse could also serve as a great tool for breakaway workshops and discussion groups at larger events – which is pretty clunky via Zoom and other existing platforms.
It’d also be useful for networking with attendees post-event.
I know I’m personally excited to use Clubhouse for its interview potential. People love Marc Maron’s WTF podcast because his interview skills are on point: It feels like you’re tapped into a genuine conversation with the guest.
Most interviews – especially via Skype and online – are stuffy and formal. Clubhouse breaks the rules here.
Aside from hosting scheduled interviews, the Clubhouse app will also be useful for gathering quotes from subject-matter experts mid-conversation (provided everyone is okay with transcription/recording).
Podcasts are beloved by their loyal followers – especially during lockdowns – because they feel like your friends.
In some ways, it sounds sad: putting a podcast on to feel like you’re in the middle of a conversation with friends. But this is also why podcasts like Chapo are so successful – they resonate particularly well with niche audiences.
I foresee Clubhouse becoming a go-to tool for certain podcasters. The main hosts can start their raw conversation and keep guests on the stage, listening to the convo and ready to jump in when asked to speak.
Niche Clubhouse rooms will become a great place to identify new influencers, sure.
However, you could also schedule a recurring room to check in with your influencers, introduce new ones, and keep everyone updated on changes.
Influencer marketing is impersonal enough already. Clubhouse offers a great way to “meet” in a way that wasn’t possible before.
Audio marketing is really the final frontier of content marketing (at least until VR and AR take off).
In June 2020, Twitter launched a feature for tweeting recordings of your voice or other audio, making it one of the first non-music/podcast platforms to prioritise audio content.
Voice search and voice assistant devices continue rising as well.
Clubhouse offers the perfect opportunity to start building your strategy and curating content. With permission, clips from Clubhouse conversations would be perfect for sharing on other platforms like:
Since Clubhouse is whatever you make of it, it’s a great platform to boost your personal branding.
Make sure you start by optimising your profile right away:
When you start having awesome conversations with new people, it’s only natural that you’ll end up following each other on other platforms.
Plus, people listening in on your rooms who find themselves interested in your opinions and ideas will want to keep up with whatever you’re up to.
Via your Clubhouse profile, make sure to link your Twitter and Instagram pages if you use those platforms. That’ll add clickable button links.
Who knows, in the future Clubhouse might let you clip convos and share to your linked profiles inside the app too.
Finally, Clubhouse is just a great way for your team to stay connected while working remotely or across different locations.
It doesn’t have to be all business either.
Keep a private room for your day-to-day work talk, another for after-work fun, and one for brainstorming.
Whether Clubhouse itself succeeds or not is another story – but one thing is certain. People are tired of staring at their devices all day. Even without pandemic restrictions, we all have friends and family across the world who we can’t physically see as much as we’d like.
Apps like Clubhouse offer a more passive alternative that feels more like hanging out and less like a formal meeting. There’s no reason we won’t see plenty more like this in the future.