Clubhouse was designed to be “a space for authentic conversation and expression — where people can have fun, learn, make meaningful connections and share rich experiences with others around the world,” according to the platform’s official website. The social media network has garnered more than 10 million weekly active users worldwide, each of whom can invite a limited number of their contacts to join.
This exclusive invite-only approach, coupled with the rising need for professional networking opportunities during an extended socially distanced season, has quickly made Clubhouse one of the top (and most ubiquitous) apps on the market. Just one year post-launch, Clubhouse has exceeded a reported $4 billion valuation, making it a unicorn startup on par with Uber and Airbnb, and it continues to disrupt how professionals are meeting and connecting in the post-pandemic era.
In just the past few months, I’ve been on Clubhouse; I’ve found tremendous value in being part of its beta. Most of my interactions are with people I did not know previously with whom I share common business and personal interests. The benefits include providing an opportunity to further build my brand and to make new friends and contacts in a year when meeting new people was non-existent.
However, through this experience, I’ve seen that before you dip your toes into the Clubhouse pool, there are some tips businesses should know to ensure the experience is a marketable one.
1. Make your profile stand out from the start.
Since Clubhouse is audio-based, the only visuals available to members and moderators are shown through their profiles. There’s also no way to chat on the app (as of the time of this writing). Savvy users should therefore be creative and pack powerful content into their profiles to rise above the crowd of voices.
To do this, profiles should include eye-catching bios — I’ve found the first three lines are most important — professional-quality photos and even an intentional emoji or two, where appropriate. (Emojis can be a useful tool for finding members with similar interests and relevant clubs). In my experience, this is one of the top ways moderators vet profiles while deciding who to bring onstage.
It’s also important to connect your Clubhouse account to your other social media platforms (such as Instagram and Twitter) to expand your reach, cross-network follower counts and overall impact. Doing so should go beyond merely linking to your other social accounts; it should include thoughtful, cohesive branding and messaging across platforms that represent other facets of the persona you reflect within Clubhouse. This effort has measurable return-on-investment merit: Since joining in February, I’ve seen marked traction on my website and LinkedIn profile, and my Instagram has grown from 556 followers to more than six times that in just a few months.
2. Engage strategically vs. following widely and blindly.
Much like other social media platforms, Clubhouse tracks who you follow, what interests you share and what discussions you engage in to curate which rooms you can see within your “hallways.” Since the app places huge capital value on access, there is a lot to be gained here from strategic searching, following and engagement. So, be intentional with who you follow and how you speak up.
I highly encourage users to also “raise a hand” among new groups. I’ve found this allows you to identify yourself to the moderators and participants of any given room and is one of the most organic ways to increase your own follower count and influence.
That said, you must remain mindful of the etiquette and protocols unique to Clubhouse rooms in doing so. Users should seek to understand the visual hierarchy within these rooms (which denotes moderators, speakers, those who each follow and other attendees in the room) and engage in the conversation accordingly. The better your contributions, the more likely moderators will call on you again or even bring you onstage in other rooms, and the better your chances of expanding your reach to those who appreciate your insights. Since one-on-one conversations are only considered appropriate “offline,” you have a built-in opportunity to cross-promote your Twitter and Instagram accounts to connect with those you want to know better.
3. Embrace the community nuances.
Clubhouse is an entirely unique experience and opportunity to network and build social influence/thought leadership among heavy hitters in your industry. This means it also comes equipped with its own clever nuances and systems of order.
Since some rooms can last many hours (or even several days), it is totally permissible to come and go from rooms as you please. And because every moderator is inherently different, they will each have their own preferences for how to run rooms. I’ve also observed that a substantial chunk of the Clubhouse user base appears to consist of entrepreneurs, business leaders and branded influencers, so you might run into the occasional attempt to sell a course or secure a paid opportunity (though both are frowned upon and can even result in an ouster).
So, use discernment in sorting through direct messages, approach advice with the same caution you would in business, follow up with those who’ve positively impacted you, learn from those on stage and always stay out of the drama that may arise from time to time. The key to embracing what makes this app so different from the rest is finding an aligned, enlightening community that you can thrive within — and growing alongside it.