What is Clubhouse? A Page-by-Page Walkthrough and What Marketers Should Consider.
TikTok who? The most buzzed about social platform of 2020 is getting bumped by the latest 2021 shiny object, Clubhouse. Not until I actually was able to join in January thanks to a friend’s invite that I realized the mere toddler of a social platform (launched April 2020) was actually a viable idea that could really take off.
What is Clubhouse?
Clubhouse is an all-audio social platform.Think live, interactive podcast. No video, no typing, no back channel chats. It’s completely about listening in or sharing through audio. The platform’s user experience is currently simple and very straightforward — just a handful of screens that allow you to find events to jump in on, create your own event, and connect with others. There truly is fresh air to just how simple it is, and not bloated with more than it needs.
How do you use Clubhouse?
As the platform is still invite-only, I wanted to be sure you have context to the experience and outlined each of the navigation structures (as of February 2021). I know it helps to actually see the platform instead of just discussing a hypothetical thing.
Clubhouse is a very organic experience and don’t label their sections, so I’ve split out each screen into the following unofficial names: Home, Explore, Events, and Rooms. Scroll through the screenshots below and it may become clear how simple this application is. Clubhouse is focused about connecting a few interesting people in a room and having them talk.
- Home screen: the first page you access when you open the application includes the main navigation and sub navigation to get started.
- Explore screen: (select the microscope on Home) organizes all the “search” functionality in one place; dig into the Clubhouse community to find people, topics, and communities that may interest you to follow. Click a follow or tag an alert to join them in the future.
- Events screen: (select the calendar icon on Home) see all the events currently happening and upcoming. Jump in and out of events/rooms (I’m still not sure which is correct, Clubhouse seems to use them both) as you please. Scroll into the future to see what’s planned, and set an alert if something catches your interest for later.
- Room screen: once selecting an event to listen to, this screen is your reference and navigation to that event (though this minimizes down to a simple room navigation bar if you want to keep exploring Clubhouse while listening). Press the “leave quietly” or peace hands to bounce out. Press the hand icon to join the stage to speak to the whole room.
Why Clubhouse is picking up fast
Passive social media
The biggest aha — this is passive social media. You can listen, consume, and contribute without having to completely focus your attention. A moderator yesterday was washing his dishes while chatting. You can listen while getting ready for the day, while you’re working, or commuting. No other social platform can stretch this far with our attention.
The thinker movement
A lot of innovators, future thinkers, and change makers are active on the platform, which means the sails may lift quick, temporarily. If you can get in on it early, great. It also makes me concerned if noise will deteriorate it over time. What happens when Clubhouse becomes more accessible? Will topics not dig in enough? Will people not consider it as much of a safe space as they do now? Where there be a breaking point the platform can’t keep up?
Not hiding behind an avatar
It would be very hard to not be who you truly are in this space. This may help to have less trolling, as when thoughts are verbalized instead of typed, we (hopefully) think twice before opening our mouths.
Good timing for a world craving connection
It’s entering the market at the absolute perfect time — we’re hungry for connection, we have more time, we’re tired of scrolling, and we want impactful quality content. Post-pandemic though? We’ll have to see if popularity continues.
What Marketers Need to Consider
You need to tread smartly
Take an audit of your thought leadership — the actual humans at your company. Do you have someone on staff who represents your company well? What topics make them share passionately about? Take that and start branching into a mind map (see quick example below).
Talk through these questions: Who are they connected to or friends with that is also interested in that topic? Is it a client, customer, or vendor partner? What industries would find the information valuable? Connect the dots and evaluate — do you have enough to contribute a thoughtful 1-hour discussion to the community? What’s the series and cadence you think the company can keep?
An example of this practice:
Event Management Company > Sr. Events Manager + Pop-up Shop Client
> Topic: How to Coordinate Last Minute Small-scale Events
> Topic: Getting Buzz and Feet Into a Pop-up
> Topic: What I Learned at My Worst/Best Event
Use your words wisely
We haven’t seen this happen yet, but what if something is said that you can’t go backwards on? Be sure to be authentic, without putting the brand or you in jeopardy— this isn’t private discussions unless you set them to be with specific connections. You can’t edit live audio. You don’t know who is listening. You don’t know who will take that information elsewhere. Don’t forget this.
Brands should look to creating intimate fan experiences
I accidentally came across this GREAT Netflix brand moment (screenshot below), and it wasn’t even hosted by Netflix— it was actually a small Bling Empire cast interview with a popular podcaster. But its a brilliant showing for how entertainment can extend a direct connection to their audience.
Think Comic-Con panels in Clubhouse. The creators, actors, and musicians in the entertainment industry that would have a following. Think about the fashion designers discussing their process. The artists sharing with collectors their next project, aligned to a release. The opportunities are here to connect with an audience in an intimately new way, if planned well.