Is Social Media’s New Darling Clubhouse Worth the Effort?
On audio-only social app Clubhouse, the path to monetization remains largely undeveloped. But it still holds massive potential for creating revenue streams for all kinds of businesses. Here are three steps for starting to generate revenue from Clubhouse.
The Clubhouse audio-only social media app has been buzzing with popularity over the past few months with a valuation of $4 billion post-series B in just over a year since launching.
Brands and business leaders have a lot to gain from jumping on board. Although there’s no clear, widespread infrastructure for turning content and connections into revenue, the app does seem to be moving more swiftly toward monetization than other social media platforms like Twitter. Clubhouse recently enabled creators to receive tips through a “Send Money” feature, for example and is in the process of rolling out new ways for creators to make money in India as well. Therein lies the opportunity for early adopters to get in to establish themselves, make connections, grow their followings, and benefit from what appears to be future platform monetization enhancements.
Even beyond the payments feature and other potential enhancements, there is a massive opportunity to create revenue streams from Clubhouse. The app has experienced explosive growth in just the past few months, with about 10 million users today — up from 600,000 in December 2020, with numbers expected to grow exponentially with the recent release of an Android version of the app. The user base and capability to generate interest for your products and services are already there. Now, it just comes down to getting creative and developing ways to genuinely build a following and derive value, revenue, and ultimately ROI from the app.
Before diving into what those strategies might look like, let’s consider what might be standing in your way. Businesses on the path to monetization must first understand that the biggest difference between Clubhouse and other established social media platforms is that Clubhouse doesn’t yet include the option to create business profiles or boost content higher in search algorithms. Every account must be tied to a real human being, which means business leaders can’t rely on brand power alone to attract and build a dedicated following.
However, Clubhouse does offer its account holders a means to start Clubs. Think membership, fans, and communities built around people coming together to socialize, learn, and share common interests. Business leaders must put themselves front and center and be interesting enough on their own to get followers’ attention and engage them further to eventual conversion. This is best done by starting at the human level, offering valuable content while developing their own voice spoken by real people, not just a brand looking to push their products.
Clubhouse is ripe with revenue-building potential for all kinds of businesses. Here are a few steps you can take to start converting Clubhouse followers into customers:
Educate People to Build Clubhouse Credibility
Share your expertise, encourage people to ask questions and get to know you, and then give them a way to connect with you via your profile after the conversation should they wish to learn more. Whether you’re a consultant, marketer, data engineer, or just love thinking about leadership in general, you can share your knowledge in an authentic, non-commercial way with others on the app and spark an interest in what your brand can offer.
First, create rooms for people interested in what you want to talk about. If you’re an accounting software looking for new customers, for instance, something like, “Don’t Leave Money On The Table: Take Advantage of Tax Savings” would be a good search-friendly name to draw the right people into that room.
The next step is to highlight your expertise to offer value to attendees in an educational way. The unique thing about Clubhouse is that it allows you to share your authentic voice in a free-form style. Instead of trying to glean value from a blog post, a scripted video, or a pitch, users can hear you highlight what you know and what you have to offer firsthand. You could even offer to help people at no cost off-platform to further engage potential prospects. Engaging potential prospects might seem like a slower burn on Clubhouse than most social networks, but it’s all about building credibility in your own voice.
Generate Testimonials through Real Conversations
Something important to note about Clubhouse is that brands should never think of it as a means for promotion. It is an app built for conversation, and that should remain the focus, even when you’re trying to monetize it. Non-promotional product endorsement might sound like an oxymoron, but when you create the space for users to offer authentic reviews, it has the power to work.
For a real-life example of how this can work in practice, look at what happened to our company, .CLUB Domains. In a Clubhouse club about digital real estate investing (e.g., domain names), the moderator started advising people to purchase a .club domain for their personal name or club on Clubhouse to use in their profiles as a means for people to connect and post content outside of Clubhouse. Before we knew it, more domain-focused clubs started having active discussions about registering .club domains. These conversations and testimonials occurred genuinely and organically with no prompting from anyone at our company, yet they caused a buying frenzy, pushing our domain sales up by more than 300%.
The key is to foster relevant, interesting, engaging conversations rather than focusing on products and services. Remember, it’s people talking and seeking to learn; let your brand work its way in naturally.
Drive Leads to Your Website
Clubhouse doesn’t allow for regular engagement outside of rooms, such as direct messaging or sharing resources such as photos or videos. You must have a brand presence outside of the Clubhouse app where you can offer that extra value.
One mistake I see many companies make when trying to create this kind of off-app presence is feeding their communities into other third-party platforms. For example, a host could say, “If you like what you heard, follow us on Facebook!” When this happens, companies are giving up control and ownership. Even if followers like them on Facebook or other social media sites, algorithms prevent those users from seeing most of the things the brand shares.
Instead, turn that pipeline around. Don’t lead users to another third-party app; lead them from Clubhouse to your website. Design website landing pages with quality content to direct users to where they can easily engage with you further or access more information. Create email lists of your room visitors and send messages containing valuable information and opportunities to connect. This step will be vital in any monetization strategy because it turns a follower into a prospect and is often the first step in a conversion.
Then, you can educate and engage the prospect further down the line to convert them into a customer.
A good example is a very popular club, “Good Time Show,” led by Aarthi Ramamurthy, head of international at Clubhouse, and Sriram Krishnan, general partner of Andreessen Horowitz’s a16z Silicon Valley venture capital firm.
The show features interviews with heavy hitters like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg. The hosts use a website at TheGoodTimeShow.club to share upcoming schedules, speaker bios, and much more info that would not be easy to present within the limits of the Clubhouse app itself.
Clubhouse could be a great addition to your social media stack, especially in the current climate, in which customers are seeking authentic interactive voices, services they can trust, and places to hang out in real-time. You just have to use your zeal and creativity to make it work for you and your business.