Clubhouse: The New Drop-In Audio Chat App

/ February 16, 2021 | 9 Mins Read

Clubhouse: The New Drop-In Audio Chat App

Clubhouse, an audio chat app launched less than a year ago, has already caught the attention of tech industry bigshots like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg. Know everything you should know about the app.

Have you heard of the Clubhouse app yet? If not, then join the well...club. As I excitedly attempted to download the Clubhouse social app, I came to know that its Android variant was non-existent, though the firm plans to release it in the "near future."

So, like always, to get access to all things exclusive, I resorted to using my husband's iPhone to understand the ins-and-outs of this new app on the block--one that is creating quite a buzz since Elon Musk started using it

In this blog, I will dissect everything you need to know about Silicon Valley's hottest app yet that is being hailed as the "Medium for podcasts." If you are wondering what it is and why you should use it, don't sweat. We've got you covered. So without further delay, let us jump right in.

1. What Is The New Clubhouse App, Anyways?

The first and the most important thing you need to know about this app is that it is audio-based and invite-only. It was launched in March 2020 in the US. Quite simply, the Clubhouse is an audio-chat social platform that allows people to join 'rooms' with the objective of listening in on conversations occurring between hosts and guests.

Recently, Elon Musk got onto the platform to connect with his 'base audience' and spoke about a variety of topics under the sun--from space travel and colonies on Mars to AI and COVID-19 vaccines:

Elon musk on clubhouse

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Even though the app restricts usage to 5,000 people per conversion room, Elon's interview quickly by-passed that number (no surprises there). In a genius move, users in that room started live-streaming the conversation on YouTube. In addition to Musk, a couple of other high-profile celebrities are already using the app, such as Oprah Winfrey, Chris Rock, etc., driving more attention towards the app.

Key takeaway: This platform is doubling up as an effective marketing tool, right alongside Reddit, Quora, etc., that empowers people to interact and collaborate in real-time, share their stories, and bounce off ideas to a like-minded target audience, without putting in much effort.

2. What Purpose Does It Serve?

As a marketer, if you are still unsure about its purpose or how this app can fit into your social marketing bill, here's a lowdown of its diverse features and functionalities. With Clubhouse, you can:

  • Access conversational topics in the world of sports, tech, health, world affairs, etc.
  • Follow people with like-minded interests who want to talk--and hear--about topics of shared interest.
  • Be an active part of an exclusive community that comprises the likes of entrepreneurs, business elites, celebrities, CEOs, and the like.
  • Learn and network from experts within and outside of your industry.

Key takeaway: Clubhouse makes it possible for marketers to share the spotlight with an exclusive crowd, get answers to their questions in real-time, and learn about recent trends and developments through an easy-to-consume audio format.

Now that you have a basic understanding of the Clubhouse app, let's get onto the details of how you can use it and what are its purported benefits.

3. What Can You Do With The Clubhouse And What Makes It Unique? 

If you are wondering about what makes this app unique, keep reading. In a series of firsts, Clubhouse:

  • Emerges as one of the first live, interactive audio streaming social platforms
  • Does not have any images or videos that people can share; it only has profile pictures for users:

profile picture of clubhouse users

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  • Has conversation rooms within the app that are not permanent as people can launch or end them on-the-fly
  • Drives audio sessions which do not get recorded by the app. So your data remains safe and secure
  • Allows users to participate by virtually raising a hand where the moderator may grant permission for the user to speak, eliminating chances of chaos:

Apart from this, Clubhouse finds different kinds of applications for different professionals. Here are some examples outlined below:

  • Virtual events and summits: Owing to COVID-19, there has been a surge in the number of virtual events and summits taking place. Clubhouse can be used as the ideal live and exclusive social audio platform for driving virtual events and networking more intimately.
  • Content building: While content creators cannot record and transcribe conversations in Clubhouse, they can create a new room and transparently talk about the room’s intentions in the public title and description sections. Basically, this room can be used as a sounding board to ask relevant questions, interview members, and gather data on diverse topics. This information can then be used to build more accurate and reliable content.  
  • Networking and collaboration: Marketers can collaborate and network with other members for projects in a private capacity.

Key takeaway: Unlike other networking sites and communities, Clubhouse is still in its nascent stage. That said, it can be used by a host of professionals to connect, network, and learn from each other as well as from industry stalwarts, all at the click of a button.

The next big question then becomes:

4. How To Use The Clubhouse App?

What makes Clubhouse different from other social media platforms is that you can use the Clubhouse app by invite-only from an existing Clubhouse user. Note that new users get two invites, and can earn more as they experiment with the app. Plus, as mentioned before, it is only available to iPhone users:

Use The Clubhouse App

Alternatively, you can also reserve your name and wait for your friends to get onto the app. If you have many friends who are already using it, they can wave you through even if they don’t have an official invitation to send.

5. Top Use Cases Of Clubhouse For Marketers And Business Owners:

Clubhouse takes the guesswork out of social media marketing by allowing entrepreneurs and marketers to:

  • Connect, engage, and build relationships with experts outside of their industry and niche.
  • Drive real-time, high-value conversations across a variety of topics in spontaneous rooms.
  • Instill a sense of exclusivity and cater to a more targetted audience by allowing marketers the freedom to choose who they want to invite to join the app.
  • Network, build authority, and expand knowledge as well as expertise.

Moving on, let's look at some specific feature-specific use cases you can use with the Clubhouse app, starting with:

Use Case 1: The Clubhouse App Hallway

If you wish to find an active and ongoing chat room, you can use the main feed within the Clubhouse app, named the "Clubhouse app hallway." To access the chat rooms, you will need to follow some Clubhouse clubs and scheduled rooms.

All in all, the Clubhouse hallway comprises the following elements in the main menu: 

A. The list of Clubhouse clubs and rooms joined:

The list of Clubhouse clubs and rooms joined

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B. The Calendar feature to get access to different rooms and find upcoming schedules on diverse topics:

The Calendar feature to get access to different rooms and find upcoming schedules on diverse topics

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C. The Notifications bell feature allows you to see your notifications, understand who is following you, see if someone who you are connected with is speaking in a room, see if someone has invited you into an ongoing room of interest, and find members:

The Notifications bell feature allows you to see your notifications

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D. Invite a contact or search for a member: Remember that the platform extracts information from the member’s name, username, and biofields. To invite someone, make sure that they are saved as a contact in your phone.

Plus, you will need to provide Clubhouse access to your contacts. On sending an invite, the person will receive a text message letting them know you’ve invited them. They will also get a phone number which they will need to accept the invitation.

E. The Clubhouse profile: You can upload a profile picture from your camera roll and write an interesting bio, allowing others to know more about yourself:

The Clubhouse profile

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Here are some best practices to follow when filling in your Clubhouse profile:

  • Ensure that your profile defines the true value you bring to the platform.
  • Make sure to detail the list of topics you would like to talk about.
  • Use the right keywords strategically. However, don't engage in keyword stuffing.
  • You can post your Instagram, Twitter, and other links in your bio. However, ensure that they are easy to remember because users will not be able to copy and paste those links. To link your Twitter and Instagram accounts to your Clubhouse profile, follow these steps:

Step 1: Head to your Clubhouse profile and scroll to the bottom.

Step 2: You will see the Twitter and Instagram logos alongside the words: “Add Twitter” and "Add Instagram," respectively. Simply, click on them, and you’ll be prompted to log into your Twitter and Instagram accounts.

F. The Clubhouse App Settings: To make changes to your account, on your Clubhouse profile, tap on the gear icon on the top-right corner:

Clubhouse App Settings

Here, you will be able to access information on a host of useful topics such as FAQs, Community Guidelines, etc.

G. The Clubhouse Rooms: You can see a list of public rooms in the hallway or start your own private room with one or more of your connections:

If you want to understand who is online, simply swipe left on the hallway and you will be able to see a list of people who are available in addition to seeing which room they are currently active in.

There you go. That was an in-depth run-through of the various features you can use on the app and extract its full value. Now, let's move on to addressing the main question in everyone's mind:

6. How Is Clubhouse Different From A Podcast?

For all intents and purposes, Clubhouse is a heady combination of talkback radio, virtual calls, and Houseparty. Here's how it differs from your usual brand of podcasts:

  • People involved in the conversations use their iPhones to communicate live.
  • Users don't get to see each other. In other words, it is very much like listening in on a phone call.
  • The app does not use professional editing, sound effects, transitions, or advertising (for now). 
  • The conversation style ranges from casual and flexible interactions to a more formal setup with big group discussions taking place. 

7. How To Sign Up?

Signing up on the platform is fairly easy. Here's a quick run-through of the signup process:

Step 1: You download the app. Once it opens, you need to enter your contact number:

You download the app. Once it opens, you need to enter your contact number:

Step 2: Next, you will need to input your real name:

you will need to input your real name

Step 3: You will need to pick a username:

You will need to pick a username

Step 4: That's it. Once you register for the eventual username, you will need to wait to get an invite from an existing Clubhouse member:

wait to get an invite from an existing Clubhouse member

Step 5: Once they send you the link, you can go to joinclubhouse.com/app and sign in with your number.

Once your account is ready, you'll be able to choose a bunch of interest areas, and based on those interests, Clubhouse will follow some people for you or recommend personalized rooms that may cater to your interest areas:

you'll be able to choose a bunch of interest areas

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Here is a screenshot of the main Clubhouse screen. The envelope icon on top is for sending invites to your friends and family should they want to use the app:

Here is a screenshot of the main Clubhouse screen.

8. What Are The Downsides?/Controversies 

One of the major downsides of using the app is setting the right guidelines for avoiding serious issues such as hate speeches and abuse:

major downsides of using the app

Content moderation is also a big pain-point. To tackle this, the platform had to institute community moderation guidelines in October:

 community moderation guidelines

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9. The Verdict: The Clubhouse Social App - Where Podcast Meets Convention Panel, 24x7

Without a shadow of a doubt, what's working for the Clubhouse app right now is its exclusivity and the fact that it is an audio-format-only social media platform. The latter serves as a refreshing change in a sea of content- and video-led social platforms.

That said, the future of the Clubhouse remains unclear. Should the app focus on getting more people onto the platform, or should it restrict usage? Plus, will be communities eventually get monetized? Will eCommerce brands eventually show up, turning it into yet another eCommerce engine? 

The answers to these questions remain a mystery. For now, your guess is as good as mine. If you do have someone who is already on the app, considering that the app now has 6 million followers, get in on the Clubhouse trend before the platform explodes and becomes the next big thing in the dynamic world of social media. 

Sam Makad is a business consultant. He helps small & medium enterprises to grow their businesses and overall ROI. You can follow Sam on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.

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