Heather Baker, CEO, TopLine Film recently shared her views on emerging social media platform Clubhouse, and its role within the business community.
Clubhouse is a social networking app that is centred on audio content exclusively and it’s revolutionising the social media landscape. From finding love to discussing taboo topics in the Arab world to bypassing China’s great firewall, people across the globe are flocking to get in on the action as Clubhouse rewrites the rules of social media, and attracts a huge amount of attention in the process.
Clubhouse has over 10 million users now, up from just 1500 a year ago, and it’s now in fundraising talks that would value the business at over $4bn.
While there is always a chance that Clubhouse has peaked and will tank over the next few months, it’s looking increasingly likely that the app is here to stay. And with the user base growing like mad but still relatively small, now is the time to think about how to use Clubhouse to grow your business.
There are some very simple processes and functionalities on Clubhouse and I suggest you browse YouTube for a video tutorial to get you up to speed on the mechanics of the app. This extremely enthusiastic one helped me get started. And there are a whole bunch of reasons why Clubhouse is great for B2B marketing that I recommend you get your head around too.
Using Clubhouse to grow your business
Clubhouse is still very much in its infancy which is precisely why you should be looking at how you can use it to grow your business right now. Think of the returns you would have gained by starting the first Facebook group, Instagram, TikTok or Twitter account in your niche? Now is the time to do that on Clubhouse.
Build your personal profile
One of the biggest opportunities offered by Clubhouse is the prospect of becoming an influencer or building your personal profile in your niche. Clubhouse is very much about the individual, not the business, so you would need to join as an individual. If you’re looking at how to use Clubhouse to promote your wider business, you might want to choose some of your subject matter experts and train them up on the app, and encourage them to build their personal brands.
To build your profile on Clubhouse, you need to attract followers. There are some basic steps you need to take, like choosing a suitable profile picture, optimising your profile description and connecting your Twitter and Instagram accounts. These are all important. But they are just mechanics.
The real way to build your profile is to participate. Join rooms, listen, raise your hand to be invited to stage, and when you speak, keep it brief and add value. I tend to find that every time I speak on Clubhouse, I gain at least a couple of followers, sometimes more. This might sound like a slow way to build your network, but if it was easy then everyone would do it and it wouldn’t be that special.
I tend to find that people on the stage in most rooms prefer being givers of advice (as opposed to receivers). That means that the easiest way to build goodwill and attract engagement is to ask for advice. At least initially.
Be a guest in an established room
The first step to becoming a guest in an established room is to start building your profile (see above). Make yourself known by making a valuable contribution, and then connect and follow up with room moderators on Twitter or Instagram to get on their radars. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask outright how they choose their guests. But if you listen in on enough rooms, most of them will give clues as to how these opportunities might arise.
Start your own room
Any Clubhouse user can start a room on any topic, opening it up to guests and listeners. You might find that your first few rooms are a little sparse but persist and you can really build a solid network for your room. Invite experts or influencers to join your room or host your room under an existing club.
The first room I hosted was small – only four members. The second time I did it, I asked some colleagues who were on Clubhouse to support me; I invited two guests with substantial followings and I promoted it on Twitter beforehand. This room attracted 25 members. And the larger your room, the higher it will rank in the Clubhouse feed, which means the more likely it will be to attract more members.
If you’re starting a room you need to think about what value you can bring to your listeners. You might want to make company announcements, share advice, interview an expert or host a round table. Whatever it is, make sure it is unique and interesting, and don’t stress too much if you don’t attract too much attention just yet!
Sponsor a room
Some Clubhouse influencers are creating sponsorship opportunities for their rooms. If you can find these opportunities they offer a great way to fast-track your Clubhouse success. But at the moment, there is no listing of Clubhouse sponsorship opportunities, so you need to listen out for these as they arise in rooms.
Join (or start) a club
You can follow clubs to be notified every time they start a new room, and you can be a club member, which is an approved participant within a club, who can create private rooms for the club. Clubs are great ways to network with others in your niche and to keep track of relevant rooms.
You can also start a club of your own, which is definitely worth doing, but it’s becoming harder and harder to do so as Clubhouse keeps changing the rules. If you can start a club, and you’re committed to using Clubhouse regularly, it is probably worth the investment of time.
Learn from experts
I recommend using Clubhouse to learn. You can follow experts, clubs and topics to help you find the right rooms to join, where you can ask questions, listen to experts and learn from the experiences of others.
Just do it
You can be as strategic as you want and do hours of research and planning, but really the biggest opportunity offered by Clubhouse at the moment is that it’s still uncharted territory. I therefore encourage you to just get stuck in and use the app, because the best opportunities are likely to emerge organically.