popular kids’ hangout or a true asset for brands’ community building?

30-second summary:

  • Please find out how Clubhouse differentiates itself within the sea of social media apps
  • The Clubhouse has turned its voice-only design from a potential constraint into its key strength
  • Users can 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 an excellent time to consider building an online community to add value and deepen the connection with your audience. Here’s how

The 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. The 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 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 significant 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 crucial strength. Users can use the app as passive background chatter while doing other work and listening, which is a breath of fresh air for many multi-tasking marketers.

Real-time conversations: the heart of what makes Clubhouse tick

The reason Clubhouse is different and exciting is that 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, which is seemingly rare as real-time communication and authenticity of conversation are valuable.

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. The Clubhouse is a platform centered firmly on creators, not brands, at least for now. A creator can undoubtedly be a brand leader working on expanding thought leadership and building community or interest for a brand. Still, the conversation concerns authenticity, the person within the Club, and NOT the bigger brand.

How 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 valuable, inspiring, and noteworthy. Below are several responses relevant to how brands can use Clubhouse 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. As the inevitable stampede of influencer dollars rolls in, I worry about how the conversations shift and how many truly “tune-in” worthy guests are booked.” Long lead earned media for brand owners who have the privilege (or budget) to think in terms of years and not quarters.
  • 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 building a following on another platform. This is especially true for B2B leaders with an active LinkedIn and Twitter social graph already. The Clubhouse is centered firmly on creators, not brands, 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 said, Brands, even B2B Brands, CAN use Clubhouse. They 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, and 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.

Clubhouse lacks analytics and tangible metrics to measure the investment of time and energy for brands. It’s taken some time, but brands are joining Clubhouse conversations. Many of my colleagues remained dubious of the platform’s long-standing return and overall future and insisted that brands should concentrate efforts on places providing a maximum return.

Closing thoughts

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 are largely based on buzz. Certainly, brands can and should listen to ongoing conversations and get ideas on the audience tuning in and having conversations. Brands that listen to ideas and 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. The clubhouse is still 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.

As Twitter, LinkedIn, and other audio apps emerge, Clubhouse will quickly have to adapt and change if it wants a mainstream platform for brand marketers. Just this week, in 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. 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.

Tyson Houlding
I’m a lifestyle blogger with a passion for writing, photography, and exploring new places. I started this blog when I was 18 years old to share what I was learning about the world with family and friends. I’ve since grown into a freelance writer, blogger, and photographer with a growing audience. I hope you find inspiration and motivation while reading through my work!