In between the tons of social media apps being developed and launched, ever so often, one app disrupted the whole competitive space. After TikTok, several had been wondering what could it be… Clubhouse is showing strong signs of being the next one.
Clubhouse is the new hip-place that celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Drake, Serena Williams, Ashton Kutcher, Zendaya, Elon Musk, Lindsay Lohan, Virgil Abloh, and many more are walking into, and the club is exclusive, so you may not get in.
Recently, you may have heard Elon Musk making appearances on the app and a few days ago inviting Kanye West and even the President Of Russia for a conversation on the app.
Its exclusivity and novel format of socializing is what is inducing FOMO among several younger groups. While it’s working in the app’s favor, its exclusivity is not a marketing tactic, it’s more of a discrepancy.
For a substantial chunk of the initial phase, the two founders were the only people running the joint as full-time employees, they were managing the platform end-to-end, from infrastructure scaling, feature development, gathering product feedback, to general company building.
While they are actively hiring and expanding the team, the founders also mention it’s important the communities grow at a steady pace rather than overnight blasts, so the platform remains composed, and is tuneable as the userbase grows.
The general version would be released as the company and team scales, and the right features are built to handle that kind of userbase. Given the growing popularity of the app, it could be a while before its release on the full scale, as the developments would also require moderation and effective enforcement of guidelines. Furthermore, the app is only available on iOS now.
Clubhouse is a voice-based social media platform for drop-in audio chats. Users can walk into “rooms” and be a part of different conversations, hear stories, debate about topics or learn, with friends, or anyone around the world.
The Rooms that are live will show up on the Home screen, users can view the Title. If a club is hosting the conversation, users will also see the club name, names of speakers, and listeners that the user follows, and the count of participants.
Stage is the section where speakers would appear when they are visible. Users can ‘raise hand’ when they have questions or want to speak and when moderators are open to taking questions. They can also ‘Ping’ or invite other users (others who follow you) into the Room.
Users can find people to follow, send invites when they’re available, check the upcoming calendar for approaching events and shows, and check out new members from the contacts joining in and invites to new clubs in the Activity Feed.
Along with hopping into a Room, users can also create one by tapping the big green button to start a new room, then choose the type of room, and hit go.
Types Of Rooms
Welcome: Created for new users after they’ve signed up, the new user’s friends would be notified to join the welcome private room. The room is essentially for a couple of friends greeting the new user, but can also be turned to public.
Open: Any user can join the room, and this is also the default setting for any room in Clubhouse. This type is popular for hosting social conversations.
Closed: Only the people who are specifically added to the room by the host can join in.
Social: Only the people the host follows will be allowed in the room. The host can add moderators and open up the room to more people too, and the people they follow would be allowed to enter the room.
Types Of Roles
Speakers: By default, the person who creates the room is the speaker. Only speakers are allowed to speak in a room. All other participants join the room as listeners and must be invited up to the stage if they wish to speak.
Moderators: Moderators are speakers with the ability to add, mute, and remove other speakers. They guide the conversation and manage the group of speakers.
Listeners: Listeners are the audience on mute, and can only enjoy a conversation but not contribute to it.
The app is currently invite-only, anybody can join Clubhouse but only by either getting an invite from a current user or by signing up on the waitlist.
Up until 2019, they were working on individual ventures and experimenting with several formats and distinct themes of socializing and bringing people together. Rohan has also had a stint with Google and Paul has been with Pinterest.
In 2019, they reconnected over a project Rohan was working on, to help his daughter Lydia. They decided to team up and develop a product in the audio space, which resulted in the launch of Clubhouse in March 2020.
The core idea was to build a humane social experience, where instead of posting and indirect interactions, a user could just walk into a room or gather people in a room and talk. The userbase on the app has grown from a few beta testers to more than two million users around the world.
The content surfacing on the platform on a basic level is just conversations. But the Clubhouse community has been fairly creative, and until now we’ve seen musicians, scientists, creators, athletes, comedians authors, artists, sports fans, and several others from various walks of life connecting with people having mutual interests.
The idea of ‘no matter what, or how educational, entertaining, inspiring, productive, motivational or engaging your interest is, there is a place for you’ has only been tapped by Reddit on an inherent scale as a social media platform, until now. Clubhouse takes it a notch higher with a voice-based approach.
Musicians can host gigs, comedians can do a live show, sports fans can talk about their favorite teams, artists and creators can discuss their creative process, general users can just chat and have personal conversations to fill the socially distanced void.
Social activists, non-profit organzations, and anyone involved with charitable activities or initiatives to bring about social change can have a meaningful dialogue and debate over current social issues, and ways to positively impact the society.
The app is already hosting several such conversations subjected to social justice reform, anti-racism, and more discussions on constitutional laws, and vices of the society.
Celebrities have participated in several conversations, whether it is discussing a topic, talking about an upcoming venture, or just interacting with fans which would otherwise not be possible on a different platform or medium.
Podcasts, debates, live shows, virtual gigs, panel discussions, the platform has got it all.
Don’t start thinking the radio ads can finally be repurposed now, advertising on the platform may not work in that sense, or the conventional ‘sponsored posts in between content’ way.
Features or formats for advertising on the platform have not been developed yet (that are known of). But the functionality has several use case applications for brands to leverage the new app on the block.
Several elements of the pre-social era can also be integrated, the days when a voice was more poetic than a visual. Going virtual for a product launch with a room full of consumers who are genuinely interested in the product *sneezes in higher conversion rate*, hosting a Q&A with consumers to gather product feedback, holding panel discussions around subjects relevant to the brand, tapping voice-based branded content, and building innovative experiences, are a few of the ways marketing can progress on the platform.
As the platform grows, presumably it would also have branded content policies and disclosures for marketing campaigns, but in the initial phases brands can experiment with different ways whilst abiding by the current regulations enforced, and advance by conceptualizing novel formats and reimagine marketing campaigns.