Clubhouse is the latest social app to gain major traction and buzz in the tech and marketing worlds. As hordes of iPhone users flocked to the app and begged their peers for invites, the thought leadership flood gates opened and the opinion pieces came rolling.
A slew of pundits lamented on how Clubhouse will change the future of brand marketing and challenged the future of the podcasting industry as a result of the app’s rise. We’re even seeing Facebook, Twitter and other competitors unveiling their answers to the social audio craze. But is there long-term value for B2B marketers and content strategists, or is this simply another channel we’re being forced into?
What Is Clubhouse, Exactly?
Clubhouse is an audio-based, invitation-only social app that allows people to “talk, listen and learn from each other in real-time.” The app has been around since the spring of 2020 (although it launched in September) and has quickly gained momentum in the media mainstream. Initially limited to iOS users, Clubhouse has gained the fandom of celebrities like Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey and Dane Cook (if you can call him a celebrity). They’ve praised the app for its ability to bring people together in a more transparent and collaborative environment. Others like the fact that it’s more sporadic and authentic in nature.
You can chat one-on-one with users, or you can browse and join conversations that focus on the topics that matter to you. You also can join targeted groups that have ongoing conversations. With Clubhouse, you essentially have fingertip access to thousands of groups and conversations—and they can be as big or small as you want.
Who Is Using Clubhouse?
Clubhouse is so fascinating because its approach to audience acquisition is so targeted yet so broad. Let me explain: The core experience is built upon exclusivity. You can only create an account if a current user invites you, and you only have a specific number of invitations that you can extend to others. This is extremely powerful when you’re trying to drum up buzz and inspire the formation of very targeted (and loyal) groups, which is where many conversations are hosted.
But if you zoom out, the actual user base of Clubhouse is vast. There are the aforementioned celebrities who host sporadic interviews, plus podcast hosts, entrepreneurs, tech execs, brand leaders and even your everyday users that just want to feel “in” on the latest social craze.
This vastness leads to so many opportunities for you to network, learn and, most of all, uncover new ideas. One day, you can tap into the Clubhouse app to listen in on a panel about podcast monetization. Later, you can “raise your hand” to contribute to a conversation about crytpocurrency. Before you go to bed, you can tap into the app and find renowned DJ deadmau5 is doing an impromptu Q&A. With a simple search, you can see what chats are happening on any given day. Or you can search for groups and conversations that align with any topic you could possibly want.
You truly never know what you’re going to get! That’s part of the fun, but it’s also part of the misery. Reports of hate speech, racism and misogyny in rooms have spotlighted the inevitable dark pockets that come with such an open forum, which is encouraging some users to leave the app entirely. And while there are reports that app download and usage rates are falling, Clubhouse is now available to Android users, which opens it up to a whole new base of potential users.
What Are the Benefits to B2B Marketers and Content Strategists?
The foundation of B2B marketing and content strategy is audience understanding. You must research your target audience, listen to your target audience and, whenever possible, speak with your target audience. Sure, analyzing your current customer base is great, but it’s important to look beyond that scope at broader issues impacting their professional lives and the decisions they make.
Clubhouse gives you more clarity about your target audience and adds a richness to the quantitative research you do. It allows you to listen in on collaborative conversations with like-minded professionals and hear their innermost thoughts, feelings, goals and challenges. Better yet, these insights are being shared in a friendly, open environment that inspires more candid (see: honest) feedback. When you’re in a more professional, buttoned-up interview, your buyers may feel hesitant to share what they really think.
This feedback, as any B2B marketer and strategist knows, can be used to fuel all facets of your content marketing:
- Persona development
- Buyer-focused and campaign-specific messaging
- Content ideation
- Email nurture messaging
- Social and advertising messaging
As a content strategist and someone highly focused on the retail industry in particular, Clubhouse has been very helpful for me. It has helped me meet new people in the space; connect and ask questions of some of the industry’s top brand executives; and identify new topics to research and cover in my content. Clubhouse is a central location where my target audience gathers regularly, which gives me an ongoing stream of insights and ideas. The best part? Over time, I’ve been able to build relationships in the retail industry and joined a few groups as a moderator. It has helped me stretch my skill set and get comfortable speaking on a new forum.
How to Make Clubhouse Work for Your B2B Organization
Clubhouse is a very fun, exciting and energetic app. There’s a lot of activity happening, every hour and every day. Because of this, it can quickly become a time-suck if you don’t think critically about how you spend your time. Here are a few quick tips to navigate this brave, new world of social audio efficiently:
- Make sure your audience is there. You can find this out by searching a few keywords in the app. See what groups and conversations are taking place.
- Start by listening. Join a few meetings that seem like a good fit for you and your business. You can tell within a few minutes whether the conversation is productive and valuable, or if it’s just a bunch of sales pitches. (Believe me, people love to do this and hijack conversations.)
- Raise your hand. If you’re sitting in on a great conversation, don’t be afraid to raise your hand! Moderators will bring you up to the digital stage so you can ask a follow-up question or share your opinion. This is a great way to build your own personal brand or strike a conversation with one of the panelists. If you’re trying to build relationships in your industry, onboard influencers or even find potential partners, this is a great tactic.
- Initiate follow-up conversations. Topical rooms are a great way for you to get connected to people in your industry. If you really liked what a particular moderator had to say, don’t be afraid to follow them! You can then take the future of the relationship in your hands. Ask to have a follow-up conversation or connect with them on LinkedIn. The choice is yours!
- Use your time wisely. Some people have gone all in on Clubhouse. And I mean all in. They’re hosting rooms several times a week. They’re actively engaging in more conversations. They’re promoting them on other social networks. I don’t know about you, but I simply don’t have that much time! If you feel the same, don’t push yourself. Passively listen to conversations when you can and use those experiences as additional insights. Don’t be afraid to lurk or jump from room to room. Your time is valuable, and you don’t need to become a power user to get major perks from this app.Have you used Clubhouse to gather buyer insights and intelligence? Learn how you can aggregate your findings with other sources to create powerful personas.
Alicia Esposito is VP of Content for Retail TouchPoints. Formerly a Senior Content Strategist for Content4Demand, she oversaw the content and editorial strategy for B2B clients in a variety of industries. She also helped company partners and clients with their content strategy and creation efforts and has a passion for crafting immersive and relevant content experiences using new approaches to storytelling, interactive formats, influencers and more. When she’s not dwelling over all things branding, messaging and content strategy, she’s spending quality time with her family, binging on Netflix or eating guacamole.