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Steve is the Founder & CEO of MuteSix, a leading performance marketing agency that has scaled the world’s fastest-growing e-commerce brands.
CEOs, business leaders and celebrities alike can’t seem to stop talking about Clubhouse, the buzzy, invite-only audio chat app that launched in April 2020. The new social media platform started to infiltrate the tech community late last year and is now valued at a reported $1 billion with millions of users. Industries spanning beauty, food and fashion are now flocking to the app, and Facebook is already rumored to be working on a competitor.
Clubhouse has given thought leaders and experts a space to connect in a setting that is arguably more casual and interactive than LinkedIn. Its format of “rooms” allows individuals to join, host and listen in on discussions. I like to think of it as a cross between a webinar and a podcast.
As with any emerging social platform, savvy brands will be the first to capitalize on an untapped marketplace. However, what sets Clubhouse apart is the lack of opportunity for the visual content (whether paid or organic) that performs so well on apps like Facebook and TikTok.
Through this post, I’ll outline why it’s essential to develop a Clubhouse strategy now while explaining how to utilize this voice-chatting app as a successful marketing tool.
There is no paid advertising on Clubhouse, but advertisers can still reap the benefits.
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While Clubhouse is composed of individual users versus company profiles, the app is brimming with opportunities for brands to connect with consumers more intimately. Advertisers can view rooms as audiences, and instead of pushing a product in a branded ad, an executive or founder can become the value prop as the room’s host.
Studies have shown that consumers are loyal to brands they follow on social media because they feel a personal connection. Clubhouse allows companies to go a step further and stimulate that same sentiment using a human “face” (or, in this case, a voice), providing a vertical for brands and consumers to connect as if they are friendly acquaintances.
Clubhouse users can provide valuable feedback for brands.
Joining a room on Clubhouse can feel a lot like hitting “play” on your favorite podcast — only in this scenario, you have the option to contribute to the conversation. This direct and open communication line can be as valuable to brands as customer reviews and satisfaction surveys.
Brands should lean in and listen to what consumers are talking about, interested in and engaging with. Businesses could tap into user insights to influence advertising strategy, product development, brand initiatives, CSR programs and much more.
While this two-way conversation model may seem simple enough to approach, I would advise companies to proceed with caution and ensure their spokesperson is as authentic as possible when interacting with consumers. As we’ve seen in the past, misusing a platform like TikTok or Snapchat, or not understanding what consumers want to see from brands, can lead to a PR nightmare, so it’s best to tread lightly. It’s crucial to take users’ expectations into account and engage with them in a way that does not come across as ingenuine.
The takeaway: Brands should consider Clubhouse as an essential part of their 2021 marketing strategy.
It’s too soon to see the full impact that Clubhouse will have on the social media and performance marketing landscape, and there is no playbook yet for brands that want to build their presence on the app. But brands can and should be paying attention to the buzz.
To get started, CEOs and brand leaders should be hosting rooms, joining conversations, networking, and connecting with consumers openly and honestly. Without any boundary between your company’s thought leaders and potential customers, there is a real possibility to form a meaningful connection that may have previously been unattainable.
My prediction is that Clubhouse will remain free of advertising for the foreseeable future. We won’t see a “Clubhouse for Business” tool launch anytime soon, but channels do not always need to be directly profitable to be an impactful part of a larger, holistic marketing strategy.
Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?
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Author: Steve Weiss, Forbes Councils Member
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