By now, you've probably heard of the new, audio-based, invite-only social platform but we're pretty sure you haven't joined it yet. What is Clubhouse? Who created it? Who uses it? Why? In this article, we tell you everything you need to know about Clubhouse... But we can't give you an invite.
What Is Clubhouse (And How to Get Started on the Invite-Only App):
What Is Clubhouse?
Clubhouse is an audio-based social media platform. Its creators describe the platform as "a new type of social product based on voice." All this means is that you can join in on different conversations on different topics. Kind of like wandering around a house party and listening in on everyone's conversations, occasionally throwing in your own comments. Some users described the experience as a mix of panel discussions, networking opportunities, or like a podcast but live. The audio stays in the app—you're either there to listen or you miss out. Conversations aren't saved and if you try to record them to share them, you'll find yourself kicked out of the party.
Who Created Clubhouse?
Clubhouse was created by Silicon Valley's Paul Davison and former Google employee Rohan Seth. US capital firm Andreessen Horowitz funded the project in May 2020, to the tune of $12 million. The Clubhouse app is currently only available to iPhone users but they plan to expand.
Who Uses Clubhouse?
Most of the people you find on Clubhouse are going to be celebrities like Ashton Kutcher, Drake, and even Oprah. Outside of celebrities, Clubhouse has focused on making itself available to social elites and was a status symbol for Silicon Valley VIPs after it launched. These days, the app has started actively courting influencers and has more than 600,000 registered users, according to Taylor Lorenz of the New York Times.
How to Get Started on Clubhouse
The app's creators say that they want to build community slowly and work to get the app and its features ready for larger numbers of people before opening it up to the masses. Because of that, there are only two ways to get started on Clubhouse:
When someone finally gets to join Clubhouse, they're given a single invitation they can then send to someone else using the recipient's phone number. Obviously, this means that users are going to be inviting people they know (unless they sell their invite to the highest bidder on Reddit which theoretically means there are three ways to get started on Clubhouse). After you've joined Clubhouse and have done some broadcasting and moderating, you'll get more invites you can share.
While Clubhouse's creators say they're going to be expanding to the general public soon, there isn't a timeline for that to happen. And the app is still iOS only. If you're an iPhone user, though, you can download the app and reserve your username. If you have friends already using the app, they'll get a notification and get the option to let you in—even if they don't have any invites to send.
How to Use Clubhouse
You can, of course, join Clubhouse just to rub elbows with celebrities, listen in on conversations, and enjoy the entertainment value. But if you're an influencer or business owner, you're probably more interested in how to leverage Clubhouse to generate leads, increase brand awareness, boost sales, and forge partnerships.
Where Clubhouse really shines is community building. Using the app, you can share educational content with your followers, host virtual events, gather insight and get feedback, find others to collaborate with, network with experts, and more. Clubhouse offers users the ability to engage with professionals across niches and industries and helps you create a vibrant, spontaneous conversation about your pet topic. Of course, drawing people to your Clubhouse rooms requires that you set up a compelling profile.
Setting Up a Profile on Clubhouse
The first thing you'll want to do once you're on Clubhouse is set up a profile. This will let other users know more about you and what they can expect from your content. Like other social media platforms, your Clubhouse profile should include a high-quality photo that shows your face and looks good in several different sizes. Use a profile image that has a clear background, preferably with a pop of color that will make your profile image stand out against the neutral tones Clubhouse uses.
Next, you'll need to write a bio. The first three lines of text (roughly 125 characters) will show up in rooms on the app, so make sure that those lines convey all of the most important information about you. Beyond that, Clubhouse offers plenty of room to elaborate on your bio. Since Clubhouse uses a plain-text editor, you won't be able to customize or format your text, so keep that in mind when crafting your bio (you can use an outside editor if you want to add paragraph breaks or emojis). You can add links to your Twitter and Instagram accounts as well as add URLs in your bio. The links in your bio won't be clickable and users won't be able to copy and paste them, so make sure the URLs are easy to remember and type out into a new browser tab.
In your bio, we recommend that you include:
- Topics you're interested in
- Your expertise (aka, the value you bring to the table)
Clubhouse Tour: The Hallway
TikTok has the For You page, Instagram has the Explore page, and Clubhouse has the hallway. The hallway is the main feed in Clubhouse and where you'll find conversations that are happening right now. Your clubs and scheduled rooms might also be listed at the top of the hallway for easy access. Across the top of the hallway, you'll find the main menu where you can search for members, invite people to Clubhouse, check out the calendar, review notifications, and view or edit your profile.
Clubhouse Tour: Member Search
As of this writing, all profiles on Clubhouse are public. That means that anybody can find you using the member search. The search looks through name, username, and bio fields.
Clubhouse Tour: Sending Invitations
If you've used all of your invitations, you'll get a push notification once you have more available. To send an invitation, open up the Clubhouse app and tap the envelope icon from the menu at the top of the screen. This will take you to the invite screen where you can type into the search bar or scroll down to select a contact. Tap the Invite button next to the person you want to invite. The person you've invited will get a text message letting them know they've received an invitation to Clubhouse.
Clubhouse Tour: The Calendar
The Clubhouse calendar shows a list of upcoming rooms (events). Any users can add a new room or event to the calendar. When you add an event to the calendar, anyone who follows you or the club your event is part of will get a push notification.
Clubhouse Tour: Viewing Notifications
You can view your notifications by tapping on the bell icon at the top of the screen. This will show you a list of actions involving clubs and rooms you're following as well as actions taken by your friends on the app. You'll get notifications whenever someone follows you, someone you're connected to is speaking, you get a room invitation, or when a club you're following schedules a room to open. You can change your notification settings by tapping the gear icon in the top right corner of the screen.
Clubhouse Tour: Rooms
Rooms are where everything happens in Clubhouse. As you're scrolling through the hallway, you'll be able to see details about each room (room name, number of people and speakers, and some of the people already in the room) so you can decide if you want to join in. Clubhouse rooms that are listed in the hallway are open for anyone to join. Users can also start private rooms. If you want to find out who's online and available, you can swipe left from the hallway to see a list and which room they're in. When you join a room, you'll see a list of everyone on the stage:
Clubhouse Tour: Listeners, Speakers, and Moderators
You'll enter rooms as a listener so you won't be able to talk in the room. However, you will be able to check out who else is in the room by tapping on them. If you want to see what else is going on in Clubhouse, you can tap All Rooms at the top of the screen to check out what other rooms have started without leaving the conversation you're currently part of. You can even do other things on your phone without getting kicked out of the room. If you're ready to contribute to the conversation, just tap on the hand icon in the bottom right corner of the screen.
Once you're invited up as a speaker, you'll be able to mute and unmute your microphone to share your thoughts and comments or ask a question. The number of people able to speak is determined by the moderators. Sometimes, you'll see a small number of people brought to the "stage" to share before being moved back to the audience. Other times, the moderators will invite everyone on stage to participate in an open forum format.
Moderators are an important part of keeping rooms orderly. You're automatically a moderator if you open a new room. In a room that you haven't opened, a current moderator will need to promote you from speaker to moderator. Moderators can:
- Invite or accept requests from audience members to be speakers
- Mute speakers
- Promote speakers to moderators
- Toggle on/off the ability for the audience to raise their hands
- Send speakers back to the audience
Clubhouse Tour: Clubs
Clubs are basically interest-based groups that Clubhouse users can create and join. There are four types of membership within a club:
- Founder: A club's founder is the owner of the club. They can edit the description and rules and invite members. Clubhouse asks that club founds host at least one recurring conversation.
- Admin: The Admin role is given by the founder of the club to other club members. Admins can approve and remove members from the club as well as open public or private rooms.
- Members: Members can create private rooms as well as view and participate in both public and private rooms.
- Followers: A follower can follow the public club activities but has no authority to create rooms.
How to Start a Room on Clubhouse
Starting your own Clubhouse room is really easy. From the hallway, just tap on the + Start a Room button at the bottom of the screen. There are four room types to choose from:
- Open: Public rooms that anyone can view or join.
- Social: Rooms that are only viewable and joinable by those who the moderators of the room already follow. This means that as more moderators join, more people are able to see and join the room.
- Closed: Private rooms that only those who are invited can see and join.
- Club: Rooms hosted by a club that isn't on the events calendar.
Overall, Clubhouse seems like a great addition to the social media platforms that are already out there and we have no doubt that there will be tons of opportunities for influencers as the app's user base grows. In the meantime, while you wait for your coveted Clubhouse invitation, why not work on growing your Instagram followers, start a podcast, or build your own YouTube channel? Then, when you're ready to go live on Clubhouse, you'll have content that you can point visitors to off the platform.