When a new social app gains traction, I always think about how it will be used for influencer marketing. The newest app that has sparked interest recently is Clubhouse, the audio-chat iPhone app launched in April of 2020.
As a newer social platform, Clubhouse is not without its limitations when it comes to influencer selection, amplification, and measurement. Just being on the app isn’t enough to grow an audience, you also need to have something to say. That’s the unique opportunity of Clubhouse: the chance to evolve how influencers communicate about a brand.
What is the Clubhouse app?
Clubhouse was founded by Rohan Seth and Paul Davison— the previous creators of Talkshow, a defunct app that allowed users to publicize their personal text conversations— in an effort “to build a social experience that felt more human” than existing social media platforms.
Image source: Clubhouse
What makes Clubhouse so different from other social platforms is the exclusivity, and not just because the app is currently invite-only. Because there is not a publicly accessible archive of Clubhouse conversations, no backlog of talks on users’ profiles, and no direct-messaging component available to users, every Clubhouse chat room conversation is an event— one that if you miss, you’ve missed for good.
Despite the exclusive nature of this invite-only app, Clubhouse has grown consistently since its launch from about 600,000 users in December 2020 to 2 million by the end of January 2021. Then, following a live talk by Tesla founder Elon Musk that maxed out the platform’s chat room capacity of 5,000 people on January 31st, Clubhouse had another user boom to over 10 million by the end of February.
How does Clubhouse work?
Clubhouse is just as exclusive as it is inclusive, once you have accepted an invitation to the app you are able to join clubs— audio-only virtual chat rooms— and toggle between being a talker or a listener.
Talkers are those who host virtual conversations on any topic of their choosing and are most often celebrities or influencers.
- The most popular talkers include Drake, Mark Zuckerberg, Vlad Tenev, and Oprah.
- Any Clubhouse user has the opportunity to be a talker, although their virtual conversation may not attract large numbers of listeners until they have name recognition on the app or hype up the conversation on other social networks.
Listeners are offered a collection of chatrooms to choose from, covering no shortage of topics on everything from foreign language practice to therapy to a 24/7 lo-fi beats channel.
- Listeners are free to drop in on any ongoing virtual conversation.
- Joining a chat room as a listener is akin to tuning into a podcast episode already in progress or like eavesdropping in on an industry-specific conference call.
While the talkers and moderators (common during pre-planned top tier conversations, not so much elsewhere) converse on the virtual stage for their talk, listeners are free to silently join and leave chatrooms at their will and are welcome to “raise your hand” and request the digital microphone— although there is no guarantee that the talker or moderator will hand it over.
In real-life, this may look like how Venture Capital firms offer virtual open office hours for new startups to pop in, collaborate or bounce ideas off the VC representatives, then hang out to listen in on other startups’ conversations.
Any Clubhouse user has the ability to host their own conversation in an effort to attract an audience of listeners, but the most popular talks are led by those users with existing fanbases or professional recognition.
Here’s the opportunity for influencer marketing. Due to the spontaneous nature of Clubhouse— users can simply start a room and begin speaking instantly— the platform has the potential to deliver a unique content creation opportunity. With live, on-demand, collaborative audio streaming capabilities, Clubhouse is the most community-driven platform out there for influencers to share their voice and is rich with exciting new marketing opportunities.
How to get a Clubhouse app invite
In the months since its launch, the exclusivity of Clubhouse has shown to generate intrigue around the app. By keeping its doors closed to the public, Clubhouse has managed to portray an air of mystery about itself all the while attracting a consistent increase in users who have all been required to pass invitations along to one another.
There are currently only two ways to become a Clubhouse user:
- Accept an invite from a friend who already has a Clubhouse account— new users receive an automatic 2 invitations that they may send to whomever they like. However, as users become more active on Clubhouse, they receive more invites.
- Join the wait list for a chance to be eligible for acceptance to the platform.
Fortunately for the rest of us, Clubhouse does not plan to keep its doors closed forever. CEO Paul Davidson plans to eventually open the app to everyone, including Android users.
Influencers on Clubhouse
Unlike on Twitter or Instagram, where you can see a preview of the content a user has published on their profile before choosing to follow them, to get a peek of what users are up to on Clubhouse you have to tune in to one of their live chats. This poses a new problem for influencers looking to make a name for themselves on the platform. How can you market yourself in a space that requires real-time interaction to grow a following?
Unsurprisingly, many Clubhouse users have been able to overcome this barrier in increasingly innovative ways. The current top Clubhouse influencers include:
Rohan Seth and Paul Davison
Source: Read This Twice
It comes as no surprise that the top influencers on Clubhouse are also its original users, cofounders Rohan Seth and Paul Davison. In addition to sliding into chatrooms as listeners, Davison also hosts a weekly presentation for new users where he talks through any new app features and general user etiquette.
Source: Read This Twice
After the founders, the next most followed Clubhouse user is philanthropist Felicia Horowitz. Horowitz hosts the app’s popular Virtual Dinner Party, a Saturday night chatroom that draws hundreds of live viewers and a famous lineup of guests that changes alongside the theme. Past Virtual Dinner Party guests include former Yankee CC Sabathia who discussed reopening sports leagues during COVID-19 and CNN host Van Jones who discussed criminal-justice reform.
Source: Read This Twice
The multi-faceted artist and celebrity digital strategist Bomani X has long been a familiar name in the music world, and has successfully made a name for himself on Clubhouse through hosting the popular Wednesday night Cotton Club— users just need to change their avatar to a picture of their favorite jazz musician.
Source: Read This Twice
Erika Batista had a long, international journey before carving out a name for herself as one of Clubhouse’s top influencers. In addition to hosting the popular French speaking weekly hangout, Maison Club, and the OG Latinx club, Casa Club, she is also busy on the app hosting the On Deck Club— a popular club for talking about creators and networking On Deck members.
Influencer Marketing Opportunities on Clubhouse
Due to its live audio-only nature, influencer marketing opportunities on Clubhouse only exist during live talks. Even though you can schedule a Clubhouse room in advance as an event, influencers and influencer marketing agencies should rely on integrations with other platforms and cross-promotion with other social followings for influencer campaigns. For example, burgeoning Clubhouse influencers should start by notifying their followers on other platforms when they will be going live on Clubhouse in order to attract an audience.
Influencer integrations for brands on Clubhouse include:
- Tap into a popular, relevant Clubhouse user to do a sponsored audio read
- Influencers can create a Clubhouse room and an accompanying Instagram post promoting the date and time of the live event
- Utilize multiple influencers to co-host a Clubhouse room with a brand related theme
- Host a panel or Q&A session between an influencer and brand rep with active audience participation
While there are a limited number of Influencers on Clubhouse, this should significantly increase in the next month or so with the launch of Clubhouse's Creator First program. By applying to this program, creators are provided with the right tools and promotional elements to effectively grow and monetize their Clubhouse presence through sponsored content.
There are still a limited amount of metrics around Clubhouse so brands should be cautious before investing too heavily into a Clubhouse Influencer strategy, but there will likely be more relevant talent to utilize for campaigns in the coming months, making a test worthwhile for applicable brands.
Influencer Marketing Limitations on Clubhouse
Influencer marketing on Clubhouse is not without its limitations. Keep these limitations in mind so you can more easily overcome them when starting out with influencers on Clubhouse:
- There are no paid amplifications on Clubhouse, resulting in lower initial impressions and engagements compared to other platforms
- Due to its newness, there are a limited amount of influencers on Clubhouse, but with 10 million weekly active users and counting, top Silicon Valley investors and influencers are excited about the prospect of additional opportunities on the app
- A lack of API results in limited influencer and audience insights, making it harder to source the most relevant talent from both a data and audience standpoint
- The only available metrics are influencers’ followers and the number of active users in each Clubhouse room
Clubhouse is a new app, and like any new app comes with the exciting challenge of activating successful influencer marketing. When you utilize the intricacies of Clubhouse and capitalize on the excitement of a new platform, you can reach new audiences using influencer marketing strategies.
To learn more about creating influencer marketing campaigns on Clubhouse (among other platforms), contact our team of experts, we’d love to connect.