Why Clubhouse App Might Be the Next Major Social Media Platform

4 months ago 233

Have you heard people talking about the Clubhouse app? Wondering why people are obsessed with this social platform and what it could mean for you?

In this article, I’ll explain what Clubhouse is and why it might become a breakout social platform. I’ll also share my experience and why I believe Clubhouse has staying power.

Why Clubhouse Might Be the Next Major Social Media Platform featuring opinion by Michael Stelzner, founder of Social Media Examiner.

My First Weekend in Clubhouse

This app might be the ultimate gift born during the global pandemic of 2020.

It was a chilly Saturday. My city was in full lockdown. I was missing engaging with people.

I posted on Facebook, “Blast from the past!…” and showed an image of me with three of my friends. It was from 5 years ago—when I started the Social Media Marketing Talk Show on a live video platform called Blab (now defunct).

I was longing for the days when it was easy to connect online.

Replying to my post, TikTok expert Michael Sanchez said, “Good ol’ Blab days!” Then he offered to show me something new.

I took the bait. Michael pointed me through a door to a new place. That began a 9-hour weekend adventure. But now it’s become so much more.

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My first day on the app was a 3-hour, adrenaline-pumping experience.

What was I doing? Mostly participating in engaging discussions with people I didn’t know.

As I fell asleep Saturday night, I started dreaming about the possibilities. I randomly awoke at 2:30 AM and decided to pull up Clubhouse.

I was surprised to see a room called “Personal Branding Masterclass.” I entered and raised my hand. I was welcomed up on stage.

One hour turned into two. I talked with people from Los Angeles, Boston, and all around the world. They had been in that room for hours. They were exhausted but didn’t want to leave.

After getting a bit of shuteye, I discovered the room was still active. I found out that Lewis Howes started it the day before and it was still going strong, 20 hours later!

My experience is not unique.

Michael Sanchez explained how in one session, he chatted with a well-known Silicon Valley angel investor, listened to a music mogul, and spoke with the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

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Sanchez said, “The conversations and knowledge I’m able to accumulate just by logging in daily is literally worth thousands of dollars in masterclasses.”

What Is Clubhouse?

Clubhouse is a live audio app that allows people to listen to or actively participate in live discussions. Nothing is recorded. When the room ends, that conversion is gone forever.

It’s like a never-ending conference covering eclectic topics. You just enter a room and start listening. Or if you’re like me, you spontaneously host your own room and people magically show up (and they really do). The conversations can last for hours.

I decided to randomly show off the app to a few of my friends and we had nearly 30 people wander in and start asking questions about podcasting.

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What makes the platform fascinating is what’s been stripped away. There’s no private messaging and no written comments. It’s ONLY audio. Your voice is your instrument. When you use it to provide value, you can go far with this platform.

As you enter a room, you hear ongoing conversations. If you raise your hand, you might be called up on stage to join the discussion. As you contribute to the conversation, you might be made a moderator. This allows you to call others up on the stage.

Below you’ll see Sharayah, who asked a question that Cliff Ravenscraft helped her answer. It’s not uncommon for 5–20 people to be up on a stage and hundreds in the audience.

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The expected on-stage behavior is to mute yourself until you’re called on or until you have something important to add. As this happens, the room transforms into a naturally structured conversation, where the moderators control the dialog. As long as someone is moderating, a room can run for hours.

Like a podcast, you can listen while you’re multitasking. If you’re running out of good podcasts to listen to, let this app fill your need for valuable spoken content.

What makes the app super-sticky are the diverse and well-spoken individuals who host rooms and participate in discussions. Outside of known celebrities—like MC Hammer—there are many well-connected people you’ve likely never heard of, leading rich dialogs. Anyone can start a room.

As of this writing, it’s an invite-only experience to get into Clubhouse, currently available in the App store for iPhone. Each person is granted only limited invites. Experienced members told me that more activity on the platform unlocks more invites. This has created a special exclusivity that makes for a carefully curated community (and a lot of curiosity).

Don’t worry if you can’t find an invitation. Download the app and set up your account. Someone who knows you might be notified in-app automatically and grant you access.

A note about the content experience: Your perception of the available content (known as rooms) on Clubhouse is dependent on who you follow. To visualize this, if you follow me (@stelzner), you’ll likely discover a lot of marketing-related content. To diversify your content experience, you can search for keywords you’re interested in and start following people who appear in the results. The truth is there are hundreds of rooms going on at once. You just don’t see them because of your network.

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Why Clubhouse Has Staying Power

I have my own ideas about the value of Clubhouse. Then it dawned on me—I’ll ask people in the app what they think.

I spun up a room called “Help me write about Clubhouse for Social Media Examiner.” Within minutes, without me doing anything, a few dozen people showed up. I interviewed them to help me crowdsource the rest of this article.

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People lined up on the stage. One at a time, I asked them why they’re using Clubhouse and why they keep coming back. Some were brand-new. Many had been on the platform for months. Nearly everyone I interviewed was a creator, marketer, or business owner.

Here’s why Clubhouse has staying power.

#1: It Has True Virality

Unlike most social platforms where follower counts are simply a vanity metric, followers are different on Clubhouse.

When someone you follow jumps up on a stage, the app notifies you in a simple but compelling way—even if your phone is locked. If you click on the notification, you instantly join the room as a passive listener.

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The notifications feature feels a lot like the early days of Facebook Live, where you could push a button and hundreds of people would simply show up.

As your network grows in Clubhouse, you’ll be able to draw larger crowds.

Here’s a pro tip: By simply asking questions and getting invited up on a stage, people will check out your profile and some will follow you.

#2: It’s Just Your Voice! No Need to Be Camera-Ready…

A big thing that stops people from embracing live video is turning on the camera. With this live audio app, that barrier is fully eliminated. Your avatar is all you need.

This means no matter how you look, you can join the conversation. Just rolled out of bed? No problem! You can participate in Clubhouse. At the grocery store? No worries! Just plug in your AirPods and rock and roll!

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Owen Video explained, “I’m really excited about Clubhouse… I don’t have to have the lights out. I don’t have to have my camera in focus.”

Other participants agreed with Owen’s sentiments and added they would never show up on camera without makeup. But audio was something they could do anytime.

#3: Rapidly Build Business Connections

Because so much of this platform is about your voice, it’s a powerful way to make business connections.

Just like those hallway conversations that take place at conferences, the same thing happens within Clubhouse. Rather than exchanging cards, people check out your Instagram or Twitter account and the conversations happen there.

I’ve already had many private conversations with people I’m interested in working with. If you start to think about the possibilities, there’s a great opportunity to use this platform to grow an agency or gain clients.

Travis Believes said, “I’m here because I probably made more connections with people in Clubhouse than ever before. I probably got 20 different clients in just a couple of months. I love the app so far.” Travis explained that he’s all about providing free value on the platform and that it has really paid off.

#4: It Empowers You to Use Your Voice

On many platforms, only the people with huge followings have a voice. Clubhouse levels the playing field. It’s no longer about the numbers—it’s all about what comes from your lips.

Naomi Nakashima said, “I like that it’s a leveler. I like that I can walk in and no one knows who I am per se, but they can tell what I know based on what I’m saying. And I can tell what they know based on the value that they’re bringing to that conversation, rather than how many followers they have somewhere—how big their name is. It really levels the playing field in that regard.”

When you don’t need to fight to build your social proof with vanity metrics, you really focus on using your voice.

Tiffany Washington said, “I think the platform gives you an opportunity to be otherwise creative with how you tell your story. And it strengthens your storytelling skills because you’re able to completely just focus on the words that are coming out of your mouth versus what you look like while those words are coming out of your mouth. And it also gives you an opportunity to reconnect with the power of voice in general and strengthen your connection with your own personal voice.”

#5: It Offers Real Human Engagement

Looking for someone to chat with? Wish you could overhear people talking about interesting topics? Clubhouse opens up small group discussions on a wide range of topics. It’s not unusual for people to share their failures along with their successes.

Dan Norton said, “It reminds me of almost like that coffee shop feel of just getting to sit down and have a chat, listening to some people share some amazing insights.”

#6: You Can Test Your Ideas

This platform provides a great opportunity to crowdsource content (like I did for this article). But it also allows you to explore expressing yourself in new areas.

Dan Norton said, “I think it’ll be a really great space to test out podcast ideas or even video or live video ideas because you get to see people’s immediate reactions. And if people are liking it, then maybe it’s something to go do.”

What Do You Think?

I’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s possible with Clubhouse. It’s almost something that needs to be experienced to fully grasp the potential.

Are you using Clubhouse? If so, add your voice to the comments below. How are you using it and why are you on the platform?

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