Are we late to the party? No, it's just getting started!
Clubhouse is the new social media platform that everyone is talking about. It looks like something that just emerged, but in fact it has been around for almost a year now. Since March 2020 to be exact. The platform has taken internet users by a storm because it offers a totally different experience than everything we know on social fo far.
What Exactly is Clubhouse?
Clubhouse is an audio ONLY social media app. Users can join and host rooms on different topics from dating and relationships to politics and business. And of course, anything in between. The rooms can have up to 5000 active members who are either listening in the audience, or speaking on stage. No visual content.
Every user has a bio with unlimited number of characters (horaaay! 🎉) and can link their Instagram and Twitter accounts to their profile. There is no direct messaging feature, however, you could start a private room with one or more of your followers.
In the recent update from 31st Dec 2020, Clubhouse added interests. So, now you can select categories such as Health and Wellness, Lifestyle, Sports, Entertainment, Business, Politics and so on. Under each category you will find Clubs. To me Clubs are sort of like Facebook Groups. They are focused on slightly narrower topics. For example, in Lifestyle you can have a Club on Millennial Marriage. Or in Sports you can have a Club called Chelsea Fans. Members of those Clubs can start rooms within the the club on specific topics. I am a member of a Club called Digital Marketing. I've joined several rooms already on Social Media Trends, Digital Marketing in 2021, Instagram Strategies 2021 and more.
Who can join Clubhouse?
Clubhouse currently works on iOS devices only. That said, it is an app, so you can't log in from your Mac. The founders say this is not long term strategy and their product is not meant to be divisive or discriminatory. The reason why Clubhouse is accessible only to Apple users at the time being is rather security related. Android devices are, unfortunately, notorious for weaker security features and frequent malicious breaches of privacy. The app is still in beta phase and once it's ready to go live in its full glory, Paul Davison and Rohan Seth (the founders) promise everyone will have the opportunity to join.
Right now everyone with an iPhone or iPad can download the app and create an account. But that's about it. You need an invitation from an existing user to start experiencing the platform. No invitation, no Clubhouse account for you. Initially, when you get on the platform you will have one invitation to offer to your contacts. The more you engage (speak) in rooms and the more you moderate (manage) rooms, the more invitations you will be credited with.
How to Create a Room?
Creating a room is extremely easy. You press the green "Start a Room" button at the bottom of the screen. Then you can choose who can see and join your room. An Open room will be visible to anyone on the app. A Social room will be visible to the people you follow and a Closed room will be accessible only to people you choose. You can also start rooms under any Clubs you are a member of, if the settings of the Club allow it.
How to Create a Club?
Creating a Club is tougher than starting a room. Mainly because it is still a testing feature and the backend team creates Clubs manually, but also because having your own space on a fast-growing platform like that is a great leverage to have. To start a Club you need to fill in an application form. And for your application to be approved you need to be a level 3 House user, which in simple terms means, you need to have scheduled at least 3 weekly shows on the platform and regularly engage in rooms.
How to Get Followers?
Although Clubhouse is a very different social media to what we are used to, when it comes to engagement and building your community it still follows the textbook example. The more rooms you go in and speak on stage, the more followers you attract. That's genuine engagement. Don't fall victim of Follow for Follow rooms. First and foremost, Clubhouse just banned them with the update from 6th January 2021. Second, whatever follows you get from there, they won't actually be your targeted audience.
Your Hallway (the main page on Clubhouse) is made of rooms based on your interests, the Clubs you joined or follow, and rooms, which the people you follow are hosting or participating in. If you suddenly start seeing rooms on topics that don't interest you at all, that means you need to check who you are following and make changes.
To build your own community on Clubhouse you need to be active. Contribute to discussions in your areas of expertise. For example, if you are a musician, join rooms about record labels, entertainment law, music trends, auditions and so on. If you are a business person, join rooms on topics in your niche, as well as general business and marketing rooms. Give value. Don't think about monetising the platform straightaway. The more good tips and advice you give out for free, the more followers you will get.
If you are already on Clubhouse or you get on it soon, you have one more advantage. You are one of the first to claim their space. This same thing happened with every other social media channel when it started getting traction. In its early days Facebook was amazing for businesses. Instagram offered fantastic opportunities for organic growth. Twitter was easy to break through. Now, all these channels are so overcrowded that the newcommers have very slim chances of making it without spending tons of advertising money.
Clubhouse is a whole new stage where every professional service business can shine. It is a fantastic place to find support and create partnership with any other business regardless of the industry.
How to fill in your own rooms?
You don't want an empty room when you finally decide to host one. However, it is very likely that will happen. At least the first couple of times. It happened to me and my first room. Only my husband and my brother-in-law joined and a few random people came to check it out and left within 30-60 sec. Nevertheless, it was a good experience and now I have a better notion of how to make it work next time. Here are a few tips I can give you if you are planning to host a room.
Schedule the room for some time in the future (ideally a couple of days ahead)
Share with your audience on other social media that you are hosting a room on Clubhouse and encourage those who already have an account on the app to join.
Build your follower base - once you start the room, you can ping (directly invite) people who follow you to join the room. The more people follow you, the more people you can invite directly as soon as you start the room.
Create a room under a Club. If you are a member of a Club that allows rooms to be created in it, your best strategy is to host your room within that Club. All members will be notified that there's a room going on and it will show up in their Hallway. What's best about it, those are all people with the same interests as you or perhaps your ideal clients.
Be big on partnerships. Don't try to be a lone wolf and claim all the glory for yourself. This is a collaborative platform and those who manage to create good partnerships with other professionals and experts in their field or related field will be the most successful
Try to add an engaging topic for your room. A few keywords in the title, won't hurt its performance anyway. Q&A sessions are really doing well.
Be mindful of the time. A large proportion of the Clubhouse users (to date) are based in the USA. If you are based in Europe, take into consideration the time difference. If you want to attract a big audience into your room and you are based in the UK, don't schedule it for 9am. To get both the US and European audiences in your room, try early to mid afternoon. Evening sessions around 7-8pm are also a good choice. Similarly, if you are in the USA and want to get people from other continents joining in, don't start rooms in the evening. Chances are most of Europe, Africa and a big part of Asia are sleeping at that time. So, in short - international rooms best placed in the afternoon. Domestic rooms - either morning or evening.
Enjoy your experience on Clubhouse and don't try too hard. The whole point of the platform is to give you more freedom and take away the constant pressure of looking perfect all the time we get from any other social media. Good luck and don't forget to follow me @mariellablago.