Clubhouse—an audio-only social media app—is emerging as a big trend in online professional networking. But for business owners, is it worth joining and spending your time on it? The short answer: It depends on your business and what type of networking and marketing are most valuable to you.
The invitation-only platform operates like an interactive podcast, allowing users around the world to connect in real time in “rooms” hosted by experts across many different industries. Anyone can start a room and invite people to join them in a conversation and welcome drop-ins who are interested in the topic being discussed.
Clubhouse’s growth has soared: It had 600,000 registered users in December 2020, surging to 10 million by February.
While Clubhouse may not be time well spent for every business owner, it could be valuable for those who typically benefit from speaking at and networking through live events such as conferences or webinars.
“The value is the engagement and trading ideas with leaders in your field,” says Bruce Hogan, CEO of New York City-based SoftwarePundit. “If you want to start the first conversation about X or Y, there’s a land grab opportunity for early adopters.”
Here are three key tips for how business owners can make the most of Clubhouse:
1. Create a profile and look around.
The site is currently invitation-only and available only in the Apple Store, but an Android version is expected to launch later this year. And it’s easy enough to get an invite, says Melissa Litchfield, founder of Litchfield Media, a digital marketing agency in Savannah, Georgia. You can simply ask someone you know who is currently on the platform for one, or you can join the Clubhouse Waitlist through the app. Litchfield runs a virtual bootcamp called “Clubhouse for CEOs” to teach business owners how to navigate the platform and form clubs around their interest.
Her top advice? Create a Clubhouse profile with a high-quality photo of yourself and a concise 20-word introduction that states who you are, what you do and what makes you unique. Other users can view your profile on the app, so it’s important to succinctly promote your expertise. For example, Litchfield’s intro: “I help online female entrepreneurs scale and market their products and offers with Facebook and Instagram ads.”
2. Don’t pitch—offer insight and experience
Clubhouse isn’t about actively pitching your products or services, and in fact, being overly promotional will hurt your credibility, Litchfield says. Instead, it’s about adding value to the online community by sharing your insight, experience and expertise. Once you gain a reputation for being informative and helpful, sales can follow.
“With audio, you don’t have to curate this perfect picture of yourself,” she adds. “It’s all about showing up and sharing what you know.”
In fact, there’s no direct messaging to other members of Clubhouse, but you can link to your Instagram and Twitter accounts—and connect directly through there.
“It’s all about showing up and sharing what you know.”
For example, Litchfield recently co-hosted a Clubhouse discussion with an attorney client about protecting trademarks. About 190 business owners listened in on the presentation and question-and-answer session. One hour later, the attorney had 30 new followers on Clubhouse and 60 on Instagram, as well as 12 direct messages on Instagram and six inquiries on her website. In all, she netted five new clients.
3. Build your network
Although you’re not marketing or selling services directly through Clubhouse, you certainly will want to build your following through the app. This allows you to grow your network and potentially attract more people to the conversations you’re having.
Jason Lockhart, CEO of Kitchen & Bath Marketing Solutions in Grapevine, Texas, acquired five new clients in his first two months on Clubhouse by moderating panels for interior designers. “If you add value to the conversation and you’re helping people, you’ll get noticed, and they will want to know more,” he says.
Chris Spear, who operates a personal chef business in Frederick, Maryland, wanted to grow the following for his podcast—Chefs Without Restaurants—targeted at people in the food and beverage industry who don’t work in a traditional channel. Spear hosts a room on Clubhouse every few days, discussing industry topics like customer acquisition and billing. Besides gaining more than 1,300 followers since joining a couple months ago, Clubhouse has helped him vet potential guests for his podcast and grow his audience. Downloads for Chefs Without Restaurants have grown about 20%.
“With Clubhouse, you’re in rooms you’re interested in or know a lot about,” Spear says. “That gives everyone a chance to shine.”
While Clubhouse is still new and expanding, it might be worth checking out to see if it can help you network and grow your business.Print this article