Should you care about Clubhouse, the new audio-based social media app?
Clubhouse is an audio-only social media network. Although the platform is already wow-ing users, it's not without controversy.
By Nick Bennett
Everything old is new again! Clubhouse is a new social media network focused entirely on voice. That’s right. Voice. Or as my dad would call it, “radio.”
What is Clubhouse and how does it work?
What makes Clubhouse special is what makes it different from other social media platforms out there.
No endless feed of photos and videos. No memes. Just open digital rooms of people talking that you can come and go from. You can enter a room and listen in or raise your hand to contribute and the speakers can pull you on stage.
Alternatively, you can create a room of your own and start a conversation. Meet up with friends or meet new people to share thoughts, ideas, stories, learn, and debate. Room topics range from relationship advice to e-commerce to entrepreneurship to economics to bitcoin to hiring.
And that was just what I saw in my first pass.
IMPACT’s paid media specialist, Jason Linde, sums up the experience nicely.
"A great space to collaborate on really any topic you want. We took advantage of joining in with some thought leaders last weekend. Smoother than I thought it would be with an open chat room. I assumed we would be tripping over each other to chat but that wasn’t the case."
Clubhouse is only available on iPhone and is currently invite-only. The plan is to open up the social network to everyone as they continue to build their infrastructure.
Should marketers care?
From our perspective, it looks like the biggest opportunity for marketers with Clubhouse is as an alternative to traditional podcasting. Marketers have been trying to crack the podcasting formula for a long time now. Some have the playbook down but it really all depends on your brand or the size of your hosts following.
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Clubhouse takes all of that out of the equation. You open a room and you start talking. No one cares how big your following in real life is or what brand you represent as long as you have something interesting to say.
IMPACT’s Facebook ads specialist, Ali Parmelee, had this to say about it
“Think of Clubhouse like real-time podcasts where you could even have a chance to raise your hand and ask questions.
It’s a great way to test out topics too for podcasts, webinars, blogs, etc. To see how much interest is there and our vernacular with everything.
It’s all audio—no video and there are rooms and groups. The rooms are scheduled topics, and you can start rooms for impromptu brainstorming too.
It’s crazy because you can have a bunch of newbies and really seasoned vets in a room. You are listening unless you get invited up to speak. For example, last weekend Jason [Linde] and I were in a room on Google Data Studio and listening to a bunch of peers share their thoughts on ways to use it, competitor platforms, how to do specific things.
It can be hit or miss, but I am really enjoying it right now!”
As of right now, other than this, the specific marketing applications seem limited. And that is OK!
The value for marketers may not be entirely in lead generation. It seems like it is becoming a great place to learn from each other, especially while we don’t have in-person events to attend.
What do others think of Clubhouse?
Some people really love it:
Three hours later in a room I actually care about I believe @joinClubhouse is the future.— Artnome (@artnome) January 19, 2021
I am pleasantly surprised at the breadth of conversations on @joinClubhouse— Ana Clements Voice (@AnaClements) January 18, 2021
Thank you for a really well organised App and notifications.
Really enjoying it 🌟 Thank you for the invite @Joseph_Solari pic.twitter.com/FL0Vr7hYGE
I week ago, I didn't know anything about @joinClubhouse. 1 week later, after diving into the app, I'm blown away. It's amazing! Shoutout to @polina_marinova + @APompliano for encouraging @JuliaLaRoche + me to join. Shoutout to James Carmichael for the invite. 👇👇👇 pic.twitter.com/y2iWbJhgFz— Alec T Coughlin (@Alec_Coughlin) January 19, 2021
And some people don't:
just joined clubhouse I hate it already— Amanda Nielsen 🐶 🌸 (@amanda_nielsen) January 19, 2021
On top of that, Clubhouse's rollout has not been immune to problems or controversy, as some are reporting lack of moderation or oversight of abuse — an important issue we've seen play out across other social media networks, with a greater degree of scrutiny in the past few years:
I come as the bringer of bad news bears- I think trivia is over for the foreseeable future.— Rhian Beutler (@rhiankatie) December 21, 2020
I can't continue to bring positive things in wake of the continued lack of action by CH in the face of anti semitism, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, racism ( etc etc).
Should your brand be on Clubhouse?
Remember, you don’t have to jump onto every new social network, and it’s OK just let this one pass you by. In fact, that's exactly what Marcus Sheridan is doing which he summarized so well in his recent LinkedIn post.
This is especially true if you’re an agency. If a client comes to you asking for help with Clubhouse, ask them “why?” Uncover their goals and how they think this platform will help them and if their audience is actually on Clubhouse.
But only if you plan to connect with them in an authentic and unforced way. Marketers are notorious for ruining everything. Don’t be that marketer.
Wondering where to begin?