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Everything Small Business Owners Need to Know About Clubhouse

5 min read • Mar 16, 2021 • Kayla Voigt

You’ve probably heard of the new, audio-based social media app Clubhouse. Launched in April 2020, this exclusive, invite-only app already boasts big celebrity names like Elon Musk, Tiffany Haddish, Jimmy Fallon, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. 

But if you can snag an invite, should you? Like most social media apps, network effects matter. The value of an app to your business depends on whether or not the audience matches your ideal customer profile, not whether or not you’re personally interested in it. 

But for small businesses and entrepreneurs, it could be the next big thing.

With more than 10 million users already, it’s rapidly become one of the fastest-growing social media apps around. While Gen Z may claim TikTok, it’s the grown-ups who want to hang out on Clubhouse.

How Clubhouse Works

“Our goal was to build a social experience that felt more human—where instead of posting, you could gather with other people and talk. Our north star was to create something where you could close the app at the end of the session feeling better than you did when you opened it because you had deepened friendships, met new people, and learned,” writes founders Rohan Seth and Paul Davison on the company blog. “Each night in Clubhouse, there are now thousands of rooms filled with people hosting game shows, recapping NBA games, singing opera, discussing philosophy, meeting other musicians, sharing travel tips, running support groups, and meditating together. They’re hosting daily talk shows, performing standup comedy, playing guitar, and giving history lectures. The thing we love most is how voice can bring people together.” 

Organized around topics of interest about everything from entrepreneurship to creative marketing to scientific breakthroughs, users can enter different “rooms” and participate in the conversation, dropping in whenever suits their fancy. The audio-only app is divided into 2 styles of rooms: where you can listen and where you can speak. 

Some popular rooms include:

  • If You Want to Be Rich, Think Like This, a Q&A club run by Shark Tank star Daymond John 
  • Future of Work, an entrepreneurship-focused room for anyone thinking about what work looks like post-COVID-19
  • Sisterhood of Influential Entrepreneurs, a networking space geared toward Black women to share their experiences and help one another
  • Small Business Saturday, hosted by business coach Bria McNair, gives small businesses a place to network and say hello

New rooms pop up every day as the app continues to grow. Conversation is free-flowing and largely unscripted, and you can bounce between rooms relatively easily. “Unlike Twitter, Clubhouse is a closed, hierarchical platform: A moderator oversees discussions and has the ability to let someone chime in or to kick out the unruly. In addition to the ‘clubs’ sorted by topic, 2 or more users can join together and start their own chat room,” writes Steven Kurutz for The New York Times. “Clubhouse has been variously likened to a podcast with audience participation; the 2021 version of AOL’s Instant Messenger; and an old-fashioned party line.”

There’s only 1 rule: The audio doesn’t leave the app. Clubhouse doesn’t record conversations, and they’re not saved.

How It Works for Your Business

Clubhouse is the first business-oriented social media app since LinkedIn. At least while it’s still populated by entrepreneurs, celebrities, and creatives. While there have been some complaints about moderation and privacy, the app is still in its beta phase and plans to launch sometime in 2021 to the general public.

Right now, the app is still new, which leaves plenty of room to be creative. Whether you want to use it to learn more about running your own business, network with like-minded small business owners, or try to generate more business is up to you. 

Clubhouse doesn’t offer any advertising options like other social media, so consider it more like an extension of your blog, podcast, or website than an opportunity for driving traffic. 

You can use Clubhouse to:

  • Learn and network from experts: Clubhouse offers unprecedented access to top-tier influencers, celebrities, and business experts like never before. Unlike a podcast, you can directly interact, ask questions, and more.
  • Build thought leadership: Offer your own advice, answering questions and joining the conversation, which in turn drives more interest in your business.
  • Find new opportunities: Networking in real-time requires conversations, and unlike LinkedIn, it feels much more real. Ask around in chat rooms for certain skill sets and you may just find your next employee—or put yourself out there if you’re looking for a partner, investors, or other opportunities for your business.

“The exciting thing about the app is that every chat room is a living being, and you’re never quite sure where the conversation will take you. Go all in, and see how you can learn new skills, offer valuable information, and gain interest in your business,” writes R. Kenner French for Forbes. “I’ve participated in chats about marketing, AI, finance and business, and it has been eye-opening how much free advice industry leaders give away in these casual conversations. As an entrepreneur, you can learn about a wide range of topics that can help you solve a problem or strengthen your business just by searching keywords.”

How to Get an Invite

You need to be in-the-know to get an invite, but that’s quickly changing.

“Right now, the app, which is still in the beta stage, has the rare (and likely fleeting) feeling of a small world,” writes Steven Kurutz for The New York Times. “It’s still a surprise when you bump someone you know, or when, say, Senator Tim Kaine pops up in a chat room.”

According to the Clubhouse website, the app plans to open up to the general public soon. If you can’t grab an invite from a friend or colleague, then you might just have to wait.

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Kayla Voigt

Always in search of adventure, Kayla hails from Hopkinton, MA, the start of the Boston Marathon. You can find her at the summit of a mountain or digging in to a big bowl of pasta when she's not writing. Say hi on Instagram @klvoigt.