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What Is Clubhouse? (& How to Use It)

Updated on April 9, 2021
10 minute read

Clubhouse is the hot new app on everyone’s radar — but is it worth the hype? The invite-only networking platform lets users start or join audio-only “rooms,” with almost no topic off-limits. For brand ambassadors and creators, Clubhouse offers a new space for thought leadership, networking with relevant audiences, and industry insights.  Ready to find

Published April 9, 2021

Clubhouse is the hot new app on everyone’s radar — but is it worth the hype?

The invite-only networking platform lets users start or join audio-only “rooms,” with almost no topic off-limits.

For brand ambassadors and creators, Clubhouse offers a new space for thought leadership, networking with relevant audiences, and industry insights.

Ready to find out more about the Clubhouse app? We’re covering the all-important details in this blog post.

Table of Contents:

  1. What is the Clubhouse App?

  2. How to Get a Clubhouse Invite

  3. How to Get Started on Clubhouse

  4. Is Clubhouse the Right Platform for You?

  5. 5 Brands and Creators Seeing Success on Clubhouse

What is the Clubhouse App?

While Twitter’s claim to fame is text, and Instagram has a lock on imagery and video, Clubhouse’s hook is audio.

Yes, you heard that right.

Clubhouse is an interactive, voice-based platform where users can join real-time discussions in designated rooms. You can think of it as tuning into a TED talk or podcast — but with the option to jump in and chat.

Developed by Silicon Valley veteran Paul Davison and ex-Google employee Rohan Seth, the goal of Clubhouse was, “to build a social experience that felt more human — where instead of posting, you could gather with other people and talk.”

At the moment, Clubhouse is in “beta testing mode” which means you’ll need to secure an invite from an existing user before gaining access.

The app is also currently only available for iOS users on iPhone.

However, this element of exclusivity hasn’t derailed Clubhouse’s appeal. In fact, the app’s invite-only approach has created a huge marketing buzz, with invites to the platform being sold on eBay for as much as $125.

Since the app’s inception in March 2020, Clubhouse has increased its audience to 10M users (as of February 2021).

Source: Backlinko

And according to Statista, in January, the app played host to over 2M users weekly.

Source: Statistica

From celebrities (such as Jared Leto and Tiffany Haddish) to CEOs and industry leaders (like Highsnobiety’s Jeff Carvalho), Clubhouse already has some big-name users taking to the mic.

Source: Backlinko

For many, Clubhouse offers an opportunity to tune into conversations from thought-leaders that would otherwise be impossible to join — especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

And with a recent valuation of $1B, Clubhouse shows no signs of slowing down.

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How to Get a Clubhouse Invite?

In order to get a coveted Clubhouse invite, an existing member has to refer you.

However, users only get a limited number of invites, which are allocated based on activity within the Clubhouse app.

Once invited, you’ll receive a text message with a link to set up your profile.

If you’re not able to secure a direct invite, you can download Clubhouse from the App Store to reserve your username and be added to a virtual waiting list.

By doing so, your application will notify any of your existing contacts on Clubhouse  — giving them the option to wave you through the waitlist (without using one of their own invitations).

However, as this isn’t a typical waitlist process, the length of time it takes to get approved can vary hugely from person to person.

How to Get Started on Clubhouse

Once you’ve joined Clubhouse, you can follow other members, join rooms, and eventually, start your own. Here’s how:

Step #1: Set Up Your Profile

To set up a profile you’ll be prompted to add some basic information. Your email address, a profile picture, username, password, and bio.

You will also have the option to link your Twitter and Instagram accounts.

TIP: Clubhouse gives you plenty of room to add a thorough description (no character limit), so use this space wisely. Your bio will help determine if users want to follow you or not.

Step #2: Choose People and Interests to Follow

Your experience on Clubhouse is only as good as the people and topics you follow.

To better customize your “hallway”, select your topics from the “interests” page by tapping from a list that spans current events, marketing, storytelling, and more.

These topics will help determine the types of rooms and people Clubhouse will suggest you follow. The more selections you make, the more variety in rooms you’ll see populate your “hallway.”

Clubhouse will then ask to access your contacts to suggest connections to follow.

TIP: You can adjust your “interests” at any time by heading to your “settings” portal and selecting “interests.”

Step #3: Browse and Explore Your Hallway

By opening the app, you will be taken to your “hallway.”

Much like Twitter and Instagram, Clubhouse’s “hallway” is essentially your feed. It encompasses active and ongoing rooms based on the users, clubs, and topics you follow.

If you swipe left on your hallway screen, you’ll see a list of people currently online and available to start a room and chat with.

While there’s no “hallway” icon, a tap back from any page will take you there.

To search more people and clubs of interest, tap the magnifying glass in the left-hand corner to view Clubhouse’s “explore” page.

TIP: To see what rooms are starting soon, tap the calendar icon. If you want to be notified before a conversation begins, simply tap the bell.

Step #4: Enter a Room

At a glance, you can see a room’s name (usually the topic of discussion), the number of speakers, and people in attendance.

Once you’re in a room, speakers and moderators will be at the top of the screen, referred to as the “stage.” Active speakers with the mic in their hand are indicated with a grey circle surrounding their profile picture.

Below the stage you’ll find a list of attendees broken into two categories, “followed by speakers” and below those, “others in the room.”

If you enjoy the room you’re in, you can ping a friend to join by tapping the plus sign in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen and searching for their profile.

If you’d like to request to hold the mic and speak, tap the hand icon in the lower right-hand corner of the screen.

The moderator will be notified and can decide to unmute and bring you on stage or ignore your request. Depending on the size of a room, a moderator might not have the bandwidth to accept all requests to speak.

Ready to leave a room? You can tiptoe out by tapping “leave quietly.”

Want to find out more about audio-first platforms? Check out our Beginners Guide to Voice Marketing now!

Is Clubhouse the Right Platform for You?

Like most social media platforms, Clubhouse has had its fair share of controversy and criticism.

Users have been vocal to report certain rooms as breeding grounds for harassment and unchecked thoughts and opinions. Citing racism, misogyny, and homophobia as topics of discussion.

Most notably, the app came under fire for its lack of moderation tools when Taylor Lorenz, a New York Times reporter, found herself the topic of discussion in a room.

Shortly after, Clubhouse updated their community guidelines and released a statement, saying, “this is a critical area of investment for us as a company and we are working hard to continue building tools and policies that are robust and that account for the unique dynamics of real-time voice conversations and group discussions.”

Tatiana Estevez — former head of moderation at Quora — raised a bevy of concerns about the app’s protection of women and BIPOC in light of Taylor’s viral Twitter thread.

The takeaway? Effective moderation for social audio is difficult to achieve, and even with a transcript, tone is difficult to assess.

For brands, this lack of moderation control can be a major turn-off. Plus, Clubhouse’s audio rooms are only available in real-time, which means once they’re gone, they’re gone.

As marketing specialist Elise Darma explains, this limits how much value (ROI) you get from the content you create.

Ultimately, the suitability of Clubhouse will vary on a case-by-case basis — depending on your industry, positioning, and individual goals.

5 Brands and Creators Seeing Success on Clubhouse

While Clubhouse recently announced its accelerator program to support emerging content creators with resources to help monetize and grow — these five creators have already managed to engage mass audiences and see rapid growth on the platform:

#1: The Roaming Republic

Who: Cassy Isabella

If you’re looking to talk travel, Cassy Isabella is one to follow.

The entrepreneur and founder of The Roaming Republic has created a handful of rooms on Clubhouse, solidifying herself as a renowned expert in her industry.

Her rooms include: The Roaming Republic, Black Travellers, and The Red Room, where users gather to chat about all things escapism.

#2: Glow Recipe

Who: Sarah Lee and Christine Chang

Naturally, the co-founders from Glow Recipe have leaned into the beauty industry corner of Clubhouse.

The duo have partnered with like-minded creators and brands to see major success and reach new users on the platform.

“Clubhouse has been an amazing outlet for us to connect with new audiences. Ever since the app launched, it’s been on fire with people from all different walks of life connecting on interesting topics, panels, and more,” shares Lee.

“We’ve hosted a few events on Clubhouse to date and have loved the conversations.”

#3: FOHR

Who: James Nord

As a thought leader in the influencer marketing space, Nord knows a thing or two about the importance of good brand storytelling and the impact of connection.

“[Clubhouse] feels like you’re at a big communal table with your new brilliant friends talking about things they are deeply passionate about and knowledgeable in,” says Fohr’s Founder and CEO, James Nord.

“Being successful on Clubhouse is going to be about creating content or curating conversations that are interesting and valuable to the users listening to them. Inspire, entertain, or educate people and the rest usually follows,” shares Nord.

#4: Beautycon

Who: Moj Mahdara

As the CEO and co-founder of Beautycon and the founder behind The Come Up club — a community committed to helping the beauty industry become more inclusive through education and funding — Moj Mahdara is an avid Clubhouse user.

You can catch Mahdara every Wednesday at 5pm PST/8pm EST leading discussions exploring a vast array of topics including, scaling, investments, marketing, and so much more.

“It’s really a stomping ground where people who are creative and have something to say can get on a stage and say it,” shares Mahdara (via Glossy).

#5: String Nguyen

Who: String Nguyen

Brand Strategist and Marketer, String Nguyen is Clubhouse’s go-to resource for marketing tips.

“Clubhouse has been great for tapping into different community circles. If you’re a leader and creator, Clubhouse is a platform to amplify your voice. So far, I’ve resonated with and expanded my own community,” shares Nguyen.

Nguyen has amassed a loyal following by regularly hosting panel discussions with actionable nuggets of knowledge.

When used to its full potential, Clubhouse can help brands and creators build an engaged audience and strengthen a position of authority or subject matter expertise.

The app’s momentum has certainly captivated users, but the question of how Clubhouse will evolve (in light of moderation and accessibility concerns) remains.

Will you be joining Clubhouse? Head to Later’s Instagram account and let us know!

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