Perhaps you’ve heard of Clubhouse. This new media app has taken the digital world by storm. Even Elon Musk made a surprise appearance on the app in a conversation with Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev. But it’s possible you aren’t on Clubhouse because as of this writing, joining is still by invitation (or you are on an Android device that doesn’t support Clubhouse).

In the graph shown here, the growth of the platform is what every start-up goes to sleep dreaming of.
It’s clearly striking a chord with users everywhere. But what exactly is Clubhouse?

What is it?

Clubhouse is an audio-only social media app that uses the ephemeral nature of conversation, harnessing the power of just the microphone on your device to create its unique experience.

Imagine a live podcast, 1990’s party lines, virtual panel discussions, and the networking opportunities of a conference setting – and you’ll have a great idea of Clubhouse.

Founded in peak lockdown, Clubhouse went from 1000 users in May of last year to 600,000 in December of 2020 and today clocks in at just over 2 million users. So how do you get into this “exclusive” club? There are a couple of things to do first:

  1. Have an iOS device

  2. Download the app

  3. Reserve your username

  4. Get on the waiting list

Don’t become frustrated about the waiting list, as there are a couple of ways around it. The first is head to Twitter and ask using the #clubhouse hashtag if people have invitations they can spare. This can provide a very quick way to fast track your membership. Another occurs if you are already connected to a user via your contacts.  Because both you and they have each other as a contact, the app will ping them to let you in once your username is reserved.

Now that you are in, you’ve arrived in the part of the app you might think of as “the feed.” Called “the hallway,” this the location from which you enter virtual rooms, meet up and share with fellow users. Topics vary from business and marketing to meditation, to rooms where moderators run Dungeons and Dragons campaigns within the app.

The magic of this platform is that nothing within rooms can be recorded. As a result, once these conversations or events are over, all that’s left is the moment. This is a refreshing difference from other social media apps.

When you start your first room there are a couple of things to think about. First, while this requires much less tech or heavy lifting than a podcast might – it also is intended to sound that way. This isn’t a show so much as a conversation. In fact, the best rooms are the ones where the natural progression of a conversation takes the room and its users to some very interesting places. The other thing to consider is who will have access to your room. Is it open to everyone, a social room for just your friends, or closed so you will select who is allowed in?

Rooms are broken down into three parts, the audience (where you will begin unless it is your room). At this level, you are listening and an raise your hand if you have a question or can contribute to the conversation in some other way. If you are called on, you become a speaker and are brought “on stage” which gives you the ability to unmute your mic and contribute to the conversation. The room itself is run by either a single moderator or group of moderators who keep the conversation going and work to create the magic that makes Clubhouse interesting.

The other aspect of Clubhouse are the “clubs” which for now are approved at the app level by Clubhouse itself. Once you get approval to start a club they are broken into:

Founder – which is you
Admins – can create public rooms and approve requests
Members – can create private rooms in the club, not public-facing
Follower – can just listen in on the rooms

Now that you have the lay of the land, what can you do here? Will you participate? The race to figure out how to market on Clubhouse is real. Though it is clearly an interesting place to generate leads by creating rooms and sharing your expertise while prospecting the audience for potential clients, there are some great mastermind groups where you can level up your game in marketing, video production, investing and more. Audio for marketing continues to be a space of great interest and being able to leverage your expertise and your brand’s story could be a powerful play on an app like Clubhouse.

Contributed by Eric Hultgren, Director of Content and Social Media


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