I'm fortunate to have friends and coworkers that keep up with social media trends. In the hectic world of channels, streams, grams, tweets, and snaps, the directions can be hard to nail down until it's too late. Thankfully, my peers and I strive to be actual social media marketers. We aren't afraid of new platforms launching every year or new features changing and replacing one another constantly. The challenge to keep up is part of the fun.
In 2011, I started a social media agency to help local businesses build a following and leverage the new native ads launched by Facebook in a meaningful and non-intrusive way. I remember being in the same waiting room as a phone book salesperson, and she made a convincing argument that social media was a fad that would die soon - but phone books would be forever.
Before Tik Tok took off, my coworker Sierra had already started the conversation and began introducing their unique video formats into our employee advocacy programs. When Clubhouse App started issuing invites to a select few entrepreneurs worldwide, my friend Rachel offered me one of hers. She had already begun to build a following and speaking and moderating talks on relationships, start-ups, and product engineering. We paid attention to the signals around us all three of these times and chose to invest time in learning more. Each was a risk that paid off in different ways.
What is Clubhouse?
Clubhouse App delivers a social experience very similar to an audio-only virtual event, but the ephemeral nature of Clubhouse's content plays on FOMO (fear of missing out). The conversations happen live and aren't recorded for playback. If you're not in the room, you miss what's happening. People spend a lot of time on the app, anticipating and looking for conversations about topics they are interested in - whether to listen or share from the stage.
How will Clubhouse change the social media landscape?
Three things are currently setting Clubhouse apart in significant ways:
Their unique approach to an audio-only social setting removes the pressures and overstimulation of video and photo.
They've fabricated exclusivity and a membership hierarchy through a system of user-moderators, speakers, friends of moderators, friends of speakers, a virtual stage, and limited invites (that seem to be increasing over time, rewarding early adopters.
The lack of a paid ad platform allows for innovative community building and challenges brands to reward those they engage with instead of pushing messaging onto unsuspecting targeted audiences.
Here's that list again with a few extras:
It's audio-only, relieving the pressures of video or events.
It's a democratized platform.
It enables remote participation, which is very hot right now.
Consumption hours are enormous!
Should marketers leverage clubhouse in their marketing strategies?
Investing in a social media platform as a marketer can be a tough decision. Many fads have come and gone that never move the bottom line for your business or brand. Person-hours built a Facebook following before introducing the ad platform that made your ability to reach even your organic followers almost pointless. Brands supported Vine influencers only to watch the platform and its recognizable stars vanish practically overnight. How do we know this won't be another of these social one-season wonders? You don't know for sure. But as a first mover, it lies on your shoulders and the platforms how this shapes out? If we as marketers approach Clubhouse with lessons learned from the past (and Clubhouse does the same), this could be a HUGE and game-changing win-win! Want some tips to get started? See below!
Five ways to build Clubhouse into your 2021 marketing strategy
1. Rethink influencers. Leverage A Clubhouse Moderator.
As I mentioned above, one of the unique things Clubhouse has done well is to building exclusivity and hierarchy in a completely democratized system. There are already self-made Clubhouse veterans who are moderating hours' worth of conversations, engaging thousands of followers at a time. Instead of trying to start from scratch, use one of these proven leaders in the space to ensure you are speaking the correct language, pulling the right levers, and not making newb mistakes on this year's hip new channel.
2. Don't promote. Be core to the culture!
No one wants to be sold to on Clubhouse. The minute someone feels your persuasion to buy, their guard will immediately go sky high. Instead of finding sensitive ways to promote your products or services, aim not to. You're going to attract buyers with your engaging voice, unique topics, and dynamic addition to the core culture of the app way more than if you spout out proof points or testimonials.
3. Build in accessibility to your executives. Transparency and approachability are key!
Now is a chance to expose your executive leadership in a thoughtful way to your target audiences. What better way to build credibility for your company than to give users around the world the ability to interact directly with your thought leaders? How cool was it when Tesla CEO Elon Musk took user questions and had discussions with everyone from college kids to stockholders? It was VERY COOL even to listen to from off-stage! Challenge your SEO, your CMO, your CXO, your senior leadership... and put them in the position to open up and show the app what they're made of!
4. Don't aim to replace events. Compliment them. And think longer-term than just one-time topics (like episodes of a Netflix series).
As we leave the vaccine stage and enter re-emergence, events will make a strong comeback. Travel has already begun to rebound quicker than airlines can repopulate their flights and staffs. Although the world will never fully retract from the virtual acceleration, the pandemic caused, events, and in-person experiences are not dead. I doubt they ever will be. Use Clubhouse as a way to expand your in-person activations and extend them. Consider offering a way to engage remotely in real-time or after hours and either provide recaps or expand on topics covered. Increase your event ROI and build a more immersive experience for all. One unique approach to building a following is to institute repeat appearances with an ongoing narrative. Think series, not single episode.
5. Bring people together with relevant conversations.
You know your market and your industry. Enter into Clubhouse as the expert that you are, speaking specifically to the problems your audience is aiming to solve. The internet is overflowing with content, and the only way to differentiate yourself is to cut through the noise and give the users what they want - something they can activate. If you're going to host a talk - bring the heat. If you trust your audience enough to give them data, insights, and information they can't get without you, they'll want to work with you more. Leave it all on the stage!
I hope you've found this helpful! Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or personal recommendations on how this app can work for you!