Will Clubhouse live up to the hype? Will it last? Frankly, no one knows. But what is clear is that audio is coming into its own. Twitter is rolling out Spaces, and Fireside is waiting in the wings with an interactive podcast app. So, whether you believe Clubhouse is here to stay or not, there is a heck of a lot you can learn from it.
It’s friendlier than LinkedIn and less algorithmically controlled than Facebook. It’s growth is driven by its exclusivity and it’s a place that taps into community and niche. But above all its audio.
Whilst our Serious Social last week focused on the opportunities for brands on this latest social network, I’d like to focus on some questions you should ask yourself before your brand starts to speak.
It goes without saying that you should think strategically about Clubhouse (or, for that matter, any upcoming network). Ask yourselves where the value is, how it fits with you marketing approach and if your audiences are present. Decide on your goals, set out your distinctiveness and follow the frameworks to develop a solid plan. So far, so good.
But when it comes to audio, you need to go a step further. You need to tune-up your brand so it’s fit to be heard. Here are three core questions you must ask yourself before you drop in for a chat.
Can you speak and be spoken to?
It’s not simple for a big multinational company to rest its brand on the shoulders of an individual. Certainly, the voice of the leadership team is not always positioned to be the voice of the brand, nor are they always ready to engage directly with customers in an open forum.
Clubhouse is all about authentic and interactive conversation. It’s a place where customers can speak directly to the brand. And the company spokespeople will have to respond. Unscripted. It takes confidence.
There is another way to have a voice. And that is through celebrity, thought leaders and influencers. Like TikTok, for many well-known brands, the voice of the company will rest with creators and paid influencers. It will allow for audio conversation through association. But you’ll need to think carefully about who will be a good fit and how long you are likely to want them representing your company.
Either way, as marketers, you’ll need to prepare for your voice to be heard and to be clear on your personality. It needs a lot more thought and time to trial and test first.
D’you have something to say
Aaaah content. The big challenge of modern marketing. The last thing any company needs right now is even more content to create. Well Clubhouse is not the same. It is interactive, and fluid. So you need to think differently. You need to have something to say, but you don’t need to say it all.
In reality, Clubhouse is long form content. Most rooms last 30 minutes or more, and some run for hours and hours! A brand cannot jump in and hope for the best. You need to plan structure to ensure the very best experience for the audience.
The benefits will come from getting deeper into the Club. Developing niche communities and a regular rhythm of conversation. You may want to think about episodes, regular sessions and a clear purpose for your club or rooms.
Think about a guiding scripts, conversation starters and comms guidelines. Of course, should you go down a more entertainment or episodic schedule with say musicians, comedians, hosts etc. then the style will change.
Think about the audiences you want and the relevance of content to them. Topics may be obviously associated with the brand, or adjacent. A food brand may do cook-alongs, a B2B company could host intimate roundtables, a sports brand might run a guided meditation. Like all social, the value comes from a commitment to regular quality content.
Where is the value?
Right now, Clubhouse is free. There are no paid ads or sponsorship. There’s also no analytics, no metrics and no clear markers for measuring value. Moreover, the content is ephemeral. You cannot save a fabulous discussion. You can’t shatter the content into other social media. The numbers are small, and the potential reach capped at around 5,000 for each room.
Instead, you need to consider Clubhouse your marketing sandbox. It is a test and learn space. A place to get closer to customers and understand the things that work or don’t work in audio marketing. It’s a first-mover advantage, at very little risk and a small content budget that will help you to understand how your brand can tap into the audio trend.
And whilst you think about your voice, your content and the value, you should be on Clubhouse. As a marketer experimentation is key. It will allow you to be agile when audio networking really does start to lift its voice and be part of the wider marketing mix.