The invite-only social platform Clubhouse wasn’t born out of the COVID pandemic, but it grew up quickly as much of the world faced social distancing and stay-at-home guidelines.
The app’s popularity skyrocketed as we all sought human connection in a difficult time. PR pros pay attention to where early adopters and influencers flock, so many have wondered how Clubhouse and PR efforts can align.
If you’re unfamiliar, think of Clubhouse as a platform to engage with the community of your choosing in audio-only rooms — from VC or investors, business leaders and practitioners to sports, religion and hobby enthusiasts. While some rooms might be a free-for-all of unregulated dialogue, others might be moderated and require “raising a hand” to speak up.
The casual Clubhouse user might appreciate the opportunity to meet people and learn about new topics, but PR pros are more strategic. Can Clubhouse help elevate your SaaS brand, subject matter experts (SMEs) and thought leaders? Yes, but the outcome might be different than you expect.
What You Can Do
Hypothetical scenario: you have a CEO determined to share their perspective on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives at their company. For this example, Clubhouse is an incredible opportunity to digitally rub shoulders with other business leaders, share their experience by “raising a hand” in a moderated room and, most importantly, learn from others.
The reason this scenario works so well is that it’s about collaboration, has a clear outcome in mind and is tied to a popular topic.
On the flip slide, let’s talk through another opportunity. Your team believes their new product is going to set the market on fire. The CEO tasked you with creating a room, assigning a moderator and pitching a tech journalist for a live interview. You’ve checked all the boxes and promoted the event on social. While you can’t expect every person to join, you’re expecting an audience (albeit a small one). Moments before the room goes live, Elon Musk decides to create a room to talk about… something futuristic. Your hypothetical audience has now evacuated to hear Musk instead.
…And What You Should Do
There are, of course, scenarios that happen outside of these examples. The latter, however, points out some flaws in Clubhouse’s reliability as a platform for PR and marketing efforts.
If LinkedIn is an extension of the office, Clubhouse may be more like your favorite after-work bar. People may be less willing to engage in something too focused on products or the day-to-day of work. Additionally, because discussions from rooms aren’t recorded, the Clubhouse audience might suffer from a strong sense of FOMO. If something better is happening at the same time, your audience will likely not stick around.
If you’re a PR or marketing pro, there’s no doubt someone is asking you about how they can get involved in Clubhouse. The app’s Series C raise means it will likely be in vogue for a while. When considering what engaging with Clubhouse means for your PR, consider:
- What’s my ideal outcome? If it’s collaborating alongside other business leaders to discuss obstacles and opportunities, you’re likely in the perfect position for success. You’ll be able to expand your network as a thought leader with others pursuing the same goals or a potential lead who’s interested in hearing more about your brand.
- Can I measure success? On a qualitative level, speaking up in a room of 100+ people might check the box. But PR pros and marketers often want a full report on analytics. You’re looking for a webinar platform or opportunity and this isn’t it.
Is Clubhouse a pandemic oasis that will dry up once we can go to in-person events? Maybe, but this won’t happen overnight. Meanwhile, Clubhouse can still offer business leaders the opportunity to engage with people and expand their network.