It’s the talk of the iPhone app store, but you need an exclusive invite to get in. That’s right, we’re talking about Clubhouse — the latest trendy social media app on the market. Though it’s early access only at the moment, it promises to succeed by bringing the concept of “chatrooms” to a whole new level.
But what makes Clubhouse different from other social media apps? We’d tell you to check it out and find out for yourself, but the fact of the matter is that accessing Clubhouse at the moment requires a personal invitation from someone you know — and each member has limited invites to send out.
We looked into the ins and outs of Clubhouse, as well as how it can serve the e-commerce community by providing online retailers a new platform for sharing their vision.
What is Clubhouse?
Clubhouse is basically a social media network centered around audio-chat. Members can create rooms based around various interests: sports, spirituality, knowledge, wellness, entertainment, and just plain hanging out.
It’s unique in its inherently personal nature. Not only do we get to know people by voice, but most rooms allow people to participate and interact in a discussion-like forum — though a structured one. When entering a room, there is a virtual stage inhabited by the moderators — in other words, presenters — and then the listening participants are listed below.
Participants can “raise a hand” to ask questions with the click of a button or even just choose to leave rooms discreetly.
Though Clubhouse is available for the iOS App Store only, it’ll likely make its way to Android based upon its early access success. And, with any luck, it’ll easily be the “next big thing” in the social media market.
Why are people flocking to Clubhouse?
The concept of Clubhouse is quite simple: to connect and interact with people who have similar interests. In the ever-muddled world of Instagram and Facebook, which are seemingly more populated with ads and influencers than with organic interactions these days, it’s a breath of fresh air for many.
Still, Clubhouse has its micro-influencers as well. These are content creators who use the platform to nurture their audience, develop their community, and reach new audiences.
Many also use it as a networking opportunity. Clubhouse can be seen as a way to build new collaborations, as well as obtain new business. It’s no surprise either. Many brands find their mission is most impactful when vocalized, and Clubhouse gives those brands an opportunity to shine.
Clubhouse for eCommerce
Though the opportunities Clubhouse can provide for e-commerce brands are still largely speculative, we can assume some benefits just on the platform’s overall nature. Furthermore, the limited number of users, and therefore open playing field, means e-commerce brands should use this time to shape it to their needs.
One thing is evident though, and that’s that a brand’s success on Clubhouse will depend on where it is in its lifecycle. Naturally, the main opportunity with Clubhouse is exposure, so it’s probably most beneficial to startups and smaller businesses.
What’s clear is that blatant promotion and attempts to sell are frowned upon in Clubhouse, so the key is to show value or give someone else the opportunity to show value as a lead-in to your plug.
Even rooms that provide pitch opportunities still follow a specific format, typically preceding these with a keynote speaker or a Q&A session.
In other words: If you’re going to discuss your product, serve it up as a solution to a problem the discussion is trying to address. Show that you’re educated about the topic at hand and let the audience seek your advice before putting your offering in the forefront.
Alright, so you’ve got your oh-so-exclusive invite to Clubhouse from a fellow entrepreneur. Where do you start?
The most basic step is to ask yourself what purpose the app will serve for you. Are you looking to build a community, generate more engagement on other social media platforms, or find indirect ways to generate sales?
All of these are valid reasons, but your approach will vary depending on the one you choose.
One thing these reasons do have in common is the need for followers and a virtual podium on which to share your message. Start with the latter and you’re sure to achieve the former, but if you have an existing following you’d like to transfer onto Clubhouse, the order may shift.
Jumping right into moderating may work if you do have an existing audience you’ve migrated to Clubhouse, but that likely won’t be the case for most. To build up your audience and your credibility, seek out opportunities to participate and engage first.
When you make a Clubhouse account, one of the first things you’ll be asked to do is choose from a variety of interests. Select some interests closely associated with your niche and/or industry. In addition to these, seek out interests related to business, marketing, and e-commerce. They’ll help you stay apprised on the latest Clubhouse trends for brands while giving you a competition-free space.
Once your interests are selected, you’ll be given a list of suggested rooms based on those interests. It might be tempting to jump into some of the most popular rooms, but those might offer little to no audience participation. Seek out mid-size chatrooms where your voice is more likely to be heard.
Don’t just connect with people you see as potential customers. Make an effort to also establish relationships with people who are willing to collaborate with you. Finding fellow small business owners with interests that supplement (but don’t compete with) your offering could lead to synergistic success.
Seek out people who have similar-sized followings, complementary specialties, and similar interests to collaborate on. Make sure to turn on notifications for when these people are in a room so you can go join them.
If they’re moderators who quickly see that you deliver value to the conversations, as opposed to long-winded or off-topic monologues, they may be interested in deepening the connection or offering you a facilitation spot.
Fill Out Your Profile
Sounds simple, but you’d still be surprised by how many bland, uninspired, or even just plain empty bios there are. Stand out by writing a descriptive, hardy bio. The first three lines should stand out the most and drive home your expertise, particularly since they’re the default view in Clubhouse.
You can change the bio each time you enter a new room so it will suit the discussion, but your main purpose should still be at its core.
Make sure to also connect your business Twitter and Instagram profiles so that people can contact you directly (since that’s not allowed in Clubhouse) and learn more about your brand. Lastly, use a professional profile picture that still embodies your likeness, but also speaks to your brand (that means no logos).
Maximize Your Time on Clubhouse
Though a rather simple interface, it can still be easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of possibilities in Clubhouse. There seems so much to do in so little time, but there are ways you can ensure your time on Clubhouse is used productively:
- Get notified: Enroll in push notifications for rooms that you follow. This way you’ll know when the next meeting is starting.
- Check your calendar: DAILY! There are always interesting discussions to be involved in. Check your Clubhouse calendar each morning to see which ones you plan to participate in.
- Be impactful: Join rooms where your story or expertise can benefit audience members in some way. If you have a success tactic that worked for you in your own marketing, marketing audiences love that.
- Upgrade to larger rooms: As you grow your following, join even bigger rooms that are relevant to your niche. Still seek out rooms with a small number of moderators though, as they’re more likely to encourage audience participation.
- Engage, engage, engage: It can be intimidating at first, but use the “raise your hand” feature when a topic arises that you’d really like to speak to. Start by asking questions as opposed to just giving input so you can establish yourself as trustworthy and interested.
- Nail down your intro: Come up with a quick introductory spiel about who you are and what you do so you can set the framework for your question — also so moderators can get acquainted with you. Some people do mention their company’s name as it relates to the context of the discussion, and even throw in casual references to their product line if it ties into their comment.
Clubhouse is a long game — the crux of indirect marketing. However, if you find yourself in an industry where relationships are crucial, it’s an important avenue to consider. Most importantly, enjoy your time on Clubhouse. Even if you don’t see it as an outlet for your business, it can still be a valuable platform for e-commerce and marketing knowledge direct from professionals.
Finding the right balance on Clubhouse is key too. Many of the moderators you come across will seemingly spend every waking moment on Clubhouse, but this doesn’t have to be you. The FOMO might hit hard, but it’s not worth putting your direct business efforts on the backburner to scratch that itch. Scope it out, forge some new relationships, and take the opportunity to make your mark on the early landscape if you can.