Clubhouse stepped in as the social media app for building connections amid lockdowns and social distancing. For those who aren’t familiar with the buzz yet, the invite-only app connects people through audio chat rather than the direct messages, status updates, or photos and videos typical of other social networking platforms. Part radio, part Zoom, part podcast, Clubhouse has taken the world by storm in recent months.

The app continues to grow in popularity, up from 600,000 users in December 2020 to more than 10 million today. It’s now valued at $4 billion, up from $1 billion in January. What makes Clubhouse so attractive?

Part of that answer lies in the novelty of connection via audio message — it’s a breath of fresh air for people who spend their days communicating via Slack messages and Zoom calls and scrolling through photo and video updates on social media. Part of it also lies in the ease of use, as the iPhone-only app is simple and user-friendly. What highlights the value of Clubhouse even more, however, is its stickiness factor: People who sign onto Clubhouse keep coming back. More than a social networking app, it’s a community-building tool, and it’s clear that investors, influencers, and users alike believe in its future.

Consider how many well-known individuals have already made appearances on Clubhouse. It’s not just entrepreneurs signing on to chat with their followers — it’s big-name influencers and celebrities like Elon Musk, Serena Williams, Mark Zuckerberg, Drake, and more. For a platform that’s only a year old, this is an impressive feat.

Even other major players in the social media networking space are paying attention. According to the New York Times, Facebook is already building a product to compete with Clubhouse, a trend it started by mimicking Stories from Snapchat and, more recently, Reels from Instagram. Facebook, investors, and users aren’t sleeping on this platform, and neither should any brand marketer.

How businesses can get the most out of Clubhouse

If you haven’t already started conversations on Clubhouse, now is the time, as the buzz is fresh and the app is growing fast. Create clubs where like-minded followers of your brand can connect. Build online communities, foster connection, and reap the rewards with the following strategies:

#1: Choose members and build a follower base

After establishing a club on Clubhouse, focus on choosing members and gaining followers. Members are your internal team or the talent you bring in to speak to audiences. For example, ESPN’s members would be anchors of top shows and those who create the most buzz on social media. For members, you want experts in the field from whom audiences will be excited to hear. You can build clubs around each member’s area of expertise, then invite followers to rooms (events) within each of these clubs.

When your audiences follow your clubs on Clubhouse, they become followers of those clubs and see updates each time the club hosts a new room. You can invite your followers from other social media platforms to follow your clubs or join specific rooms on Clubhouse. You can also share links to rooms on other networks. For example, you could announce an upcoming room with a link on Twitter. Followers who click the link will go either directly to the event or to the calendar listing on Clubhouse.

#2: Purchase domains for a presence outside the app

Then, you must consider how you will connect followers to your brand outside of Clubhouse and convert listeners to customers. Clubhouse is an excellent place for authentic connection, but it’s not the place for sales conversations or for sharing valuable content like video, images, or articles.

Instead, register multiple domain names associated with your clubs to create a presence outside of the app where interested followers can learn more and engage further with your brand. You want to secure all the relevant names before other people snatch them up, and then build a simple website with a calendar and a means to collect emails. For example, you can get domain names for big-name influencers and individual divisions of your team. Nike, for example, could secure domain names for Nike running, football, baseball, basketball, etc.

An excellent way to tie these domains to your Clubhouse presence is to have the domain be a landing page on the broader company website that includes information and details about your clubs, a schedule of speakers and events in those clubs, and a link directly to the clubs from the landing page.

#3: Host a conversation to highlight expertise

Once you’ve set up your domains and organised your contributors and audiences, it’s time to host a conversation with key talent that represents your brand. Circling back to the hypothetical Nike example, the brand could host a conversation with Serena Williams (who already uses the app) for others to listen in on, much like a podcast. Or the room could be a collaboration between two or more brand ambassadors in the same sport before a big tournament or event.

The key is actively participating and sharing knowledge and expertise in a helpful, rather than sales-focused, way. You don’t want your speakers to outright promote your products and services — that’s inauthentic and, frankly, uninteresting. Build conversations around topics that are attention-grabbing and designed to attract an audience, and focus on providing value over selling. Use conversations to generate trust, further interest, and highlight expertise.

#4: Roll out marketing and news releases

Another great way to use the app is to gain attention and build excitement around big marketing campaigns or news releases. You still don’t want to come off too sales-focused: Clubhouse is a conversation platform, so marketing needs to stay focused on conversation. You can get more exposure (for free) on campaigns and news releases, but you need to go about it creatively to garner attention.

For example, you could go behind the scenes of your product or service to interview customers and discuss the problems you’re trying to solve. Or you could host audio “watch” parties around product releases to get more attention focused on your brand. Just focus on being authentic, informative, and helpful. Give people value they can walk away from the conversation with that’s not just your product or service.

The Clubhouse app is fresh and fast-growing. Now is the time to hop on board, and it could bring massive opportunities for your brand to connect with customers. Especially at a time when we’ve been more distant than ever, apps like Clubhouse that foster real connection and community-building will be the key to thriving in 2021 and beyond.

Photo by Erin Kwon on Unsplash

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