Clubhouse is an interesting newer social media platform based around audio, rather than written content. Operated as a mobile app, it allows for similar convenience to Facebook and other social platforms. Despite being an invite-only setup, it has expanded beyond 10 million users in its first year. Participation is based around audio rooms that act like something between a Facebook Group and a podcast that’s accessible in real-time as it’s recorded.
In this article, we look at how Clubhouse is distinctly different and how marketers can use it successfully.
Personal Content Focus
Unlike other social media platforms, Clubhouse has been embraced primarily for personal discussion and the sharing of different discussions. While brands are involved, there is considerable pushback against overly commercial promotions. This is always something to bear in mind for marketers’ intent on using Clubhouse to promote their brands, products, or services.
Human Connection is Emphasized
Sharing opinions among like-minded people is a strong focus. Some rooms allow the free sharing of thoughts and ideas, which can work well. However, these aren’t particularly noteworthy or commercial-based at all. Nevertheless, pay attention to people craving for connection. This technologically driven world often keeps people apart and Clubhouse reflects this desire. Brands need to fit into this ideology, rather than stand apart from it.
Brands can begin to get involved by running rooms where they have organized Q&A sessions that users can participate in. To avoid the room devolving into many overlapping voices with little direction, a moderator controls the audio in the room. They’re able to mute or unmute users based on who is up next to ask a question.
It is possible to submit questions ahead of time with the moderator choosing the best ones from the attendees. Then he or she can bring the users onto the microphone to ask their questions. Effectively, they’re given the stage briefly, with their emphasis and the inflection in their voice heard.
One of the strengths of this audio social platform is that a person’s passion or level of interest comes across far better when they’re speaking in a room. In turn, this serves to allow other people in the room to share their passion around the topic too.
Brand Ambassador Interviewed in a Fireside Chat
Rooms within Clubhouse cover many different topics. They can provide long-tail access as people in the room regularly discuss various subjects under a room’s broad theme. Off-topic discussions are quickly shut down in favor of relatable ones.
Sometimes, a non-branded room that’s topic-focused will have a brand ambassador or an employee come in for a Fireside chat or interview. This is not unlike a podcast guest, but here questions can be asked in real-time by attendees in their voice, or they can be submitted ahead of time. Depending on how it’s run, the result can feel more intimate and interactive than a podcast recording made weeks ago.
These aren’t seen as overly promotional as long as it’s a genuine discussion with helpful insights provided by the guest. Similarly, drawing the discussion toward their latest product can be done, to a limited extent. However, brand reputation with the attendees is likely improved (or not) through their initial responses that may affect brand loyalty.
Roundtable or Panel Discussion
In a similar fashion to a live expo, it’s possible to organize industry roundtable discussions on Clubhouse too. These allow for a collection of guests to appear at a roundtable or panel discussion. For people who are interested in hearing from a disparate group of voices, these occasional discussions allow employees from various companies to share the spotlight. For employees, they’re also a good training ground to get used to speaking publicly and representing the business before doing solo interviews.
These discussions can deepen the commitment to the industry. For businesses that understand how difficult it is to get customers to commit to investing in their products or services, keeping them interested is important. Also, if the sales funnel is elongated, then the use of Clubhouse can provide more touchpoints for the consumer on their journey to eventually becoming a buyer.
For example, an outdoor gear company could participate in a roundtable about the future of outdoor apparel for consumers. Guests might include designers, fabric specialists, and other people who are integral to bringing new outdoor apparel products to market from conception to launch.
These discussions can increase the understanding of what’s involved behind the scenes. Customers can have more confidence in their purchase based on the commitment to quality that’s evident from such discussions.
Room Event Sponsorship
Just like with regular event sponsorship, it’s possible to sponsor a planned event in a room too. The subjects covered at the event could be organized in advance to allow time to share details about a new product or the latest advances from the brand. Yet, it doesn’t need to be overly promotional and risk turning off the attendees.
Sponsorship can include bonuses, prizes, and gifts for the best answer to a quiz or other approaches to keep things interesting. Sponsors can be highlighted in the room event’s description and promoted at the start of the audio stream too.
Another way to make a brand come across as more human for a better feeling of connection is to participate in informal conversations. The concept here is not to actively promote the brand or a new product on Clubhouse. Instead, it is an open discussion based on what the moderator and people in the room wish to discuss. This is an opportunity for the brand to learn more about what people care about. It can even suggest new product ideas based on what was discussed too.
These are widely accepted because they’re not heavy on the promotional and light on the usefulness. Instead, it flips the script with a flexible, unscripted discussion that retains the interest level because the people in the room don’t know what’ll happen (and nor do the guests).
Is Clubhouse Worth It for Marketing?
Clubhouse is an interesting concept. While it has grown quickly, it has some way to go before it’ll come close to reaching the penetration level of LinkedIn or Facebook. With that said, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. For the smaller brands that find it difficult to get airtime and have insufficient money to keep pace against the larger ad budgets of larger peers, this new social platform allows for exposure at no or minimal cost. In terms of brand awareness, it can also make early adopters and others keen on certain niches or industries aware of their business for the first time.
For major brands in a dominant market position, Clubhouse offers a more intimate way to reach people serious about their types of product or service. The human contact and more personal interaction on the platform will benefit them because they’ll seem less corporate or more relatable.