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Should you include Clubhouse in your B2B marketing?

It’s the new invite-only app that’s got everyone talking. And after almost a year since Clubhouse burst onto the social media scene this exclusively audio-led platform is being touted as one to watch for B2B marketers.

But what is the new platform all about? Can Clubhouse really deliver ROI to B2B marketers? And is its popularity skewed because people are craving more ways to connect while stuck at home during the pandemic?

We cover all this and more…

How does Clubhouse work?

Over the last 12 months there has been an audible boom in the number of podcasts being launched. But rather than just passively listening, as with podcasts, you can actively get involved in the conversation with Clubhouse and connect with other people who may be listening and speaking.

The conversations, which are held in virtual rooms, disappear when they are finished and can’t be recorded. This more closely resembles natural human interaction.

The nature of Clubhouse, being a platform that focuses on individuals sharing their business experience and expertise, presents an opportunity for businesses to build brand awareness through word-of-mouth campaigns.

For example, Restaurant Brands International (RBI), holding company of Burger King and Popeyes, has been one of the first major brands to leverage Clubhouse for strategic marketing purposes. By hosting events like an “Open Kitchen” call with CEO José Cil, RBI has generated awareness of its organisation, established its executives as thought leaders, and driven buzz around what its restaurants are doing.  

Clubhouse has already achieved a $1 billion valuation in its first year, joining the likes of Uber and Snapchat as iconic-status start-ups. The number of users has grown rapidly recently, from just 3,500 users in May 2020 to around two million weekly active users today. At any given time, there are a few thousand rooms where people from around the world are holding conversations about different industries, professions, and interests.

Clubhouse or Cliquehouse? As it stands, only iPhone users can access the app and you need an invite from someone already on the app to join. Exclusivity is currently a large part of Clubhouse’s appeal, but this could work against the platform in time. The creators have, however, said that it’ll be opened up to the public at large, including Android users, in the future.

8 ways to use Clubhouse for your B2B marketing

The app has several unique features that makes it potentially appealing to B2B brands. Here are eight that you can take advantage of:

1. An interactive experience

Clubhouse is an evolution from podcasts, enabling real-time interaction. Unlike podcasts, people can jump in and offer their thoughts in real-time. This allows you to build your network and strengthen relationships, whilst also having genuinely helpful business conversations with other experts in your industry.

2. Connecting with an already-engaged audience

Clubhouse lets people decide who they want to listen to, meaning you’ll be reaching an already-engaged audience. By naming your room in a way that clearly defines the benefits listeners will get from joining, you can be confident anyone listening is interested in what your brand has to say.

3. Building brand credibility

Clubhouse brings industry experts together on a single platform. By hosting your own room with relevant discussions, panels and conversations, you can position your brand as a thought leader and build credibility. Inviting the audience to participate with questions and comments will also drive organic engagement and boost brand awareness.

4. Creating a community

You can create a ‘club’ for your brand, which is a space that allows you to host more intimate conversations. People can then follow the clubs that interest them, receiving updates whenever there’s an open room or event being hosted that they might like to join.

5. Sharing your brand/product/service

Clubhouse focuses on people sharing their business experiences and expertise through casual conversation, expert panels and Q&A sessions. So this gives you the opportunity to raise awareness of your brand/product/service without the pressures of a ‘hard-sell’.

6. Using sponsored rooms and brand advocacy

Clubhouse allows room sponsorship, with options including room branding, e.g., ‘sponsored by X’, shoutouts to a specific vendor product/service or via thought leadership interviews. There are no restrictions on brand advocates either – so you can join discussions in any room and promote your business. But you should make sure this is part of your strategy before wading in.

7. Receiving immediate feedback

Some rooms are designed with the sole purpose of getting feedback on a new product or service. With real-time interaction from an engaged audience, Clubhouse offers a platform to share news, promote an upcoming event, connect with customers and hear the valuable opinions of your audience.

8. Hosting events

Clubhouse also plans to introduce ticketing, where you can use paid or invite-only tickets for targeted events or virtual roundtables with internal teams or clients.

Is Clubhouse right for your business?

There’s no doubt that Clubhouse has the potential to be an effective B2B marketing tool, particularly with the pandemic hampering real world face-to-face meetings and events. But, before you dive in, it’s crucial to make sure that Clubhouse is the right platform for your B2B efforts. Here’s how…

Check out Clubhouse yourself – the best way may be to get an invite and check it out for yourself. Are your target audience interested and active on Clubhouse? If you have a very niche market, chances are it’ll be difficult to get enough interest on the platform to make it worth the time and money.

Think about your social media strategy – and similarly, think about what you hope to achieve using Clubhouse that you aren’t already getting from other social media platforms. Can you justify the investment?

Right now, although rapidly growing, Clubhouse is not a busy space. A LinkedIn poll from this March, for example, revealed that 35 per cent of people don’t know what Clubhouse is. That has potential upsides and downsides for your brand. You could own a space where your competitors currently aren’t, giving you a head start and 100 per cent share of voice. Alternatively, you could invest resource into a platform where your customers aren’t either.

Factor in longevity – Clubhouse may be the hottest social media magnet of the moment, but will it stand the test of time? Social media stalwarts like Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and younger platforms like TikTok are continuing to up the ante with their own evolutions, many of which share similarities – look at how Instagram Reels replicated TikTok with their short, entertaining videos.

Twitter has already started rolling out live audio chat rooms, called Twitter Spaces, so before you go all-in on Clubhouse, weigh-up which platform will deliver the best return on your investment.

Consider brand accessibility – while the exclusivity of Clubhouse is currently piquing interest, narrow usage means it has the potential to become cliquey and divisive – which is something few brands want or need.

No hard sells – currently, Clubhouse doesn’t offer any in-app advertising. While this shouldn’t deter marketers, it does mean that they should think hard about what it is they want to do and achieve. For many brands, this has meant sponsoring rooms and partnering with influencers – or moderators, as Clubhouse calls them. These have proved some of the most effective ways to market somewhere that isn’t yet a place for hard sells.

Ready to give it a try?

The platform undoubtedly gives you a fresh, trendy place where you can engage with customers, build a community and grow credibility.

And currently, no other social media platform offers the opportunity to drop in on exclusive content such as new product launches, thought leadership panels and collaborative conversations with brands and brand representatives.

That said, with other social media platforms starting to replicate similar audio features, you need to know that your audience are already tapped into Clubhouse and will be receptive to your content before committing.

It might be worth conducting some surveys with your customers to see whether they’re using Clubhouse or plan to do so. You could even put a post out on your other social feeds to gauge whether it’s worth your time or investment right now.

But whatever happens, with audio content only likely to grow in popularity, it makes sense to set an audio strategy in place that works across all your social networks – if only to keep your brand ready to pounce on the next opportunity.

If you need any help with your audio marketing strategy, or any other support with your B2B marketing and PR, contact Rachel Arquati: +44(0)1285 626000 / r.arquati@clearb2b.com.

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