Join the club: A brief overview of Clubhouse
What is Clubhouse?
Clubhouse is a new, audio-based social networking platform designed to connect users via voice chat, enabling them to ask questions and discuss topics of interest. Similar to Discord but with fewer features, Clubhouse is currently in beta, accessible by invite only and currently limited to iOS mobile devices.
Once a user has been granted an invite to join Clubhouse, they are able to select from a list of interests and can join chatrooms as they become available. When in a chatroom, a user will start as a listener and can virtually raise their hand to become a speaker. A moderator of the room then invites speakers “on stage” to address other participants to continue the conversation. Unlike other social forums, conversations in Clubhouse are not recorded and are not accessible after a chatroom has closed.
Who is using Clubhouse?
Clubhouse has quickly gained attention, in part because of its exclusivity and because of its use by high-profile executives in the tech industry. Tesla founder Elon Musk, for example, has used the platform to host discussions with other technology leaders, including the CEO of investment app Robinhood.
How might marketers leverage Clubhouse?
In the short term, Clubhouse may simply serve as a unique outlet and forum for hosting and participating in industry-relevant conversations. As the platform grows, however, Clubhouse could evolve into a goldmine of qualitative feedback and insights that marketers and advertisers can leverage. There are a number of potential use cases:
- Virtual focus groups. Marketers could host virtual conversations with key consumer groups in the same way they would host focus groups to learn about likes, dislikes, and behaviors. Success here would require establishing new protocols and a clear approach for moderating discussions, but this would open up a new method of collecting information directly from key audiences.
- Social listening. When paired with social listening and other data inputs, Clubhouse could become a powerful tool for understanding how consumers think and behave.
Although paid advertising features have not yet been announced, we anticipate it’s only a matter of time until they are added. If and/or when this happens, marketers could have a wealth of audience information based on their interests and engagement with specific chatrooms, similar to what is available to advertisers on Reddit, LinkedIn, and Google.
What does this mean for brands and advertisers?
Although Clubhouse has rocketed into the forefront of marketer’s attention with high-profile users and a $1 billion valuation, it’s difficult to predict if the platform will have the longevity of tenured social networks. Given reports that Facebook and Twitter have their own version of audio chatrooms in the works, Clubhouse will have to fend off competition and secure its position as it opens to more users.
Amongst marketers, Clubhouse is currently enjoying the benefit of shiny object syndrome as a new and exclusive app that hasn’t yet made it to the mainstream. With the promise of additional features and the eventual opening of the platform to more users, Clubhouse could grow into a social network staple for marketers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and other professionals.
In the meantime, start thinking about how your brand could leverage Clubhouse or a similar audio-based social network before jumping right in. Utilizing interactive audio applications to garner consumer feedback or share business updates with key audiences could be a unique strategy for some brands. Just make sure the platform’s features align to your marketing needs and assess how it could fit within your overall marketing strategy.