(This post originally appeared on The Guardian)
If you’re a small business owner and you’re not aware of Clubhouse, it’s time to start paying attention.
The iPhone-only app (an Android version is under development) has been exploding in popularity. Launched just last year, the app now has millions of members and has drawn celebrities from Elon Musk to Mark Zuckerberg and Malcolm Gladwell.
So what is it, exactly? Imagine a live podcast you’re doing where you can invite people to join, listen and then talk with you during the call. It’s basically a giant conference call you’re having with guests that you allow to speak. No DMs or instant messages, just your voice. Unlike most other popular social media apps, the Clubhouse community is exclusive – members can only join after being invited by other members. This cuts down (but of course doesn’t eliminate) bad behavior.
Slowly but surely, some entrepreneurs are jumping on board. For example, one online influencer who goes by the name of Shazzie has recently started a weekly Clubhouse chat where she’s pulling together other “business besties” to discuss how they make their money. Business coach Raimonda Jankunaite uses Clubhouse to offer advice and insights to her followers. Motivational speaker Dr Andrea Curry took her first steps on the platform just last month to engage more with her audience. Charlie Lee, a managing director of a foundation dedicated to a digital currency has hosted conversations about cryptocurrencies and other related topics.
Right now I’m not seeing a whole lot of small businesses on the platform. That’s because the app is in its early stages and is mostly attracting the curious, the content creators, the influencers and a few celebrities. But that will change as its popularity grows. As more people take notice, I expect to see big brands getting involved and when that happens, more companies of all sizes are sure to follow. In the meantime, it’s a good place for information and to build a network, particularly if you’re a solo entrepreneur or looking for a new audience.
If this sounds interesting, then you’ll want to make sure you’re using the app in the right way for your business.
“A good length of time for a program is 60 to 90 minutes,” writes social media influencer Meimei Fox in Forbes. “Co-hosting groups is critical, as well. Partner with people to host rooms on a certain topic. Roundtable discussions work best – not a hierarchy of someone speaking. When people can join in and speak, they stick around!”
Charelle Griffith, a marketing and content strategist, agrees. She also says that small business owners should be active on the platform and create their own “rooms” (which are the spaces Clubhouse uses for conversations). “Your room = your rules!” she writes. “Running a room means that you get to set the topic, which should ideally be demonstrating your expertise and interest your ideal client. You’ll also have the opportunity to ask others to join your room as a moderator if you choose to do so.”
Neil Patel, a social media expert, says that small business owners can use the app for a number of ways to grow their brand, including building communities, getting customer feedback, keeping up and discussing current news and trends in an industry, issuing announcements and connecting with potential investors. “If you use your time on the platform wisely, engaging in conversations and reaching out to the right people, you may see your brand’s community grow and strengthen,” he writes.
In the end, Clubhouse is just another online community of people not unlike Facebook and Twitter. If you think that there’s a potential audience of prospects and current customers for your small business then it could be something worthwhile. At the very least, it’s worth checking it out, once you find someone to invite you!