What is Clubhouse? Everything Marketers Need to Know

Brent Barnhart

May 2, 2021

Brent Barnhart

May 2, 2021

Trying to wrap your head around Clubhouse? You’re not alone.

The concept of an audio-only, invite-exclusive social network is enough to turn heads by itself.

And although there are plenty of skeptics, the buzz behind Clubhouse is difficult to deny as the app recently surpassed over 13+ million downloads.

Whether or not Clubhouse manages to stand the test of time remains to be seen. That said, unlikely success stories like Snapchat and TikTok have taught us the value of getting on the “ground floor” of trending social platforms.

So, what’s the deal with Clubhouse? How are marketers using it? Is monetization on the table?

In this guide, we’ll break down the basics of Clubhouse and what you need to know about the up-and-coming, audio-only platform.

 

What is Clubhouse, Anyway?

Clubhouse describes itself as a “drop-in audio chat” platform where “people around the world come together to talk, listen and learn from each other in real-time.”

In short, it’s a social network where users interact via audio. Clubhouse is home to a variety of public and private “rooms,” providing users a place to discuss anything and everything. Right now the platform is popular among businesses and influencers looking to lead groups and industry-related discussions. That said, Clubhouse is also fair game for informal, off-the-cuff conversations as well.

Much of the appeal and hype around business comes from the platform’s sense of exclusivity and intimacy. 

The fact that Clubhouse is invite-only and only available to Apple users (for now) is part of what makes the app so enticing. From marketing and tech discussions to crypto rumors and beyond, outsiders are eager to get in on the action.

The audio format of Clubhouse is also something totally different, requiring a real-time commitment on behalf of users as well. The act of showing up and participating in a Clubhouse room represents a true interactive experience versus passive posting. The private, “members-only” vibe of the platform inherently makes the discussions happening there seem like a bigger deal than your average Instagram Live or tweet thread.

Couple all of this with the fact that Reddit is working on a Clubhouse clone and Twitter Spaces is already gaining traction. Although it’s largely still unexplored territory, marketers and tech giants alike obviously see potential in audio-only spaces moving forward.

 

How to Join Clubhouse

As of April 2021, Clubhouse is exclusive to iPhone users. 

But if you’re an Android user itching to get on the platform, you probably won’t have to wait much longer.  According to Clubhouse themselves, an Android version of the app is in the works (rumor has it that the rollout could be as soon as May 2021).

Currently, anyone invited to the app receives two invites themselves. Unless you’re lucky enough to score an invite yourself (or you’re willing to risk buying one from a shady eBay or Reddit account), joining Clubhouse will simply be a matter of waiting. 

That said, there are plenty of folks giving away legit invites via Twitter and LinkedIn. When in doubt, ask your network.

 

How Does Clubhouse Work, Though?

Despite its unique format, many of Clubhouse’s features are typical of what you’d see in a standard social network. This includes a personal profile, friends, and groups (“clubs”). 

 

The platform’s public feed (known as the “hallway”), aggregates public Clubhouse rooms that anybody can join. Alternatively, you can create your own room based on a topic of your choosing. Rooms can be open, “social” (friends-only) or closed (invite-only).

Once in a room, you can see who else is attending and “ping” people from your contacts to join as well (granted they have permission). If you need to virtually step out of a presentation or room, the “Leave quietly” option allows you to do so without interrupting anybody in the process.

For any given room,  roles of speaker, moderator and audience are established to ensure that discussions don’t devolve into pure chaos. The ability to speak is based on the room’s permissions, who’s on the platform’s “stage” and who’s deemed a spectator.

While Clubhouse might represent something completely different for first-time users, the app is fairly straightforward once you get the hang of it.

 

Who is Active on Clubhouse?

With early adopters including Drake and Elon Musk, Clubhouse’s celebrity presence definitely managed to get some initial eyeballs on the platform.

And as it should perhaps come as no surprise, there’s a large presence of tech and business influencers. The potential for Clubhouse as a B2B learning hub is crystal clear, serving as a place to run exclusive classes and presentations beyond traditional online course platforms.

However, Clubhouse isn’t solely about tech or B2B. In fact, we’ve seen a recent rise of beauty Clubhouse and many direct-to-consumer brands getting on board with the platform as well.

Still in its infant stages, we’ll know soon enough who Clubhouse’s core audience will be as the platform continues to evolve.

 

How Can Brands Use Clubhouse?

Again, Clubhouse is still in the early stages of figuring out both its audience and identity. Monetization and ads are inevitable but the app’s founders are remaining cautious.

As it stands, both influencers and brands can leverage the platform in a few ways. Brands are already experimenting with sponsored rooms (think: a brand promotes and sponsors a discussion, not unlike a sponsored event or podcast ad). Users can likewise nurture private Clubhouse communities and use them as part of their courses, marketing groups and so on.

Recently, TechCrunch noted that the app is working on a Patreon-style support feature for Clubhouse creators and an in-app ticketing feature for paid events. The platform also looks to experiment with “tipping” for creators. We’ll have to wait and see whether Clubhouse rolls out traditional display ads, though.

 

Does Clubhouse Make Sense for your Brand?

If you’re skeptical of yet another social network popping up, we totally get it.

That said, the momentum of Clubhouse and the popularity of upcoming audio-only networks is telling. Understanding the basics of Clubhouse and navigating the platform now is a smart move for the sake of keeping up with the latest social media trends, if nothing else.

Curious if there’s a place for your business on Clubhouse? Make sure to contact Hello Social to iron out your social strategy for 2021 and beyond.

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