Why Marketers Should Pay Attention to Clubhouse
By Conor O'Malley |
Increasingly, marketers are learning that social media trends and trajectories are ever-changing. Platforms continually introduce new features and update their algorithms, which cater to younger generations that see their online identity as true self-expression. Despite Facebook’s dominance, Entrepreneur warns against such overreliance: “From a practical standpoint, we should never have relied so heavily on Facebook in the first place. Or any single channel, for that matter.” Enter Clubhouse, the hot new social app of the moment. We take a look at why marketers should keep this new platform on their radar.
Clubhouse, an audio streaming app, is a different kind of social media platform. It features live, sometimes extremely long and ongoing audio chatrooms, where hosts speak and participants listen. Vulture describes it as “a never-ending trade convention, like miles of influence language and motivational mixers, where the best time is had when you sneak off elsewhere with friends.” Based on in-depth conversation instead of surface-level observation, Clubhouse is creating unprecedented opportunities for its users and marketers. It offers an element that other social media platforms don’t: exclusivity (and a sense of belonging), a depth of loyalty and real, human engagement, and the unpredictability of an exciting live event (ie. how Snoop Dogg accidentally left his Twitch stream on for 7 hours recently). As marketers move their focus to Gen Z and beyond, these features and traits will grow in importance to audiences, and so will Clubhouse.
It’s not unusual for a major app to begin in an invite-only beta stage. It’s difficult to scale a product to its eventual bandwidth quickly, and even Facebook (then ‘TheFacebook’) and Gmail employed this strategy during early growth. Exclusivity generates interest, and by restricting access with invites, a company can slow down app usage as it troubleshoots new ideas and hires staff to accommodate growth. More than a business strategy, invite-only is integral to the nature of new, popular digital platforms. Fast-growing communities built around invite-only subgroups mean that whoever is on your platform is engaged.
Vulture also describes Clubhouse as a place to “make connections, and talk shop,” where “the best rooms are peaceful ones in which people commiserate over shared experiences around identity, taste, and work.” A partner at Andreessen Horowitz explained the venture capital firm’s investment in Clubhouse in a blog post: “It’s a fresh experience that brings humanity and context to online social engagement.” And unlike the one-sided nature of podcasts, which read ads like radio testimonials, Clubhouse has the benefit of natural, human engagement.” As AdAge reports, there is almost unlimited potential for reaching your ideal audience, because on Clubhouse “there seems to be an audience for everything.” The human element of Clubhouse — real people, talking live — means that charity drives are already finding a place on the platform, as well as job interviews. The up-and-coming app also gives fans the opportunity to engage with their favorite sports leagues and teams. One can only imagine the juggernaut that is sports-talk radio being greatly improved with a fun, engaging platform that creates more interaction with fans.
Of course, there is unpredictability in live streaming audio, beyond the control of brands. The authenticity that grows out of invite-only status and live, specialty conversations between experts and obsessives creates both a fruitful and tricky space for marketers. As AdAge reports, “several ad agencies are trying to determine how brands can embrace the app in an authentic way…. At least for now, during its early stages, Clubhouse is refreshingly equalizing when it comes to featuring a diverse set of voices which, in the end, may be its key differentiator.”
As Clubhouse rises in popularity, the platform’s authenticity — combined with the unpredictability and appeal of live conversation — means that users will continue to deepen their engagement as the opportunities and features of the app develop. It’s no wonder that a growing number of marketers are looking for ways to embrace this new, exciting platform that offers opportunities for its users to make valuable connections.