You know that time between Christmas and New Year when people don’t know what day of the week it is? Well I used that time to rewatch Friends, as well as hang out on Clubhouse, catching up with my own friends and making loads of new friends as well. 

What is Clubhouse?

Clubhouse is a new, live, audio-only social media platform that is currently in beta for iOS only, and invitation only at this stage. Clubhouse is creating a massive buzz in the digital marketing world as people are clamouring for a way in. 

To add further to the exclusivity and #FOMO, what happens on Clubhouse stays on Clubhouse. Nothing is recorded (although it’s quite possible that Clubhouse is recording the content for their own internal use), and it’s actually against the terms of service as a user to record the conversations. 

So grab a notepad and pen, as when the room ends, all the goodness you experienced vanishes forever. 

But beware, if you are lucky enough to score a golden ticket into the platform, then you should be warned that it’s a super sticky platform and you will most likely lose yourself for hours on end, as there are some seriously awesome people there that are sharing absolute gold. 

Some people are equating the value they are receiving to the equivalent of mastermind classes that they would normally have to pay thousands of dollars to access.

But you don’t have to just listen, you can also raise your hand to be invited to join in on the conversation or even help moderate the discussions. 

On top of this, you can also create your own “Room” around a particular topic and lead and moderate the conversation yourself. 

How do I get an invite to join Clubhouse?

As it is currently an “invite-only” iOS app, you need to find someone who is on the platform that has a spare invite and ask them to invite you (but don’t bother for now if you don’t have an iOS device). 

They need to have your phone number within the contacts on their phone in order to invite you, so make sure you give them your phone number if they don’t have it already. 

The other way in is to download the Clubhouse app. They then allow you to reserve your username, whilst you await an invite. What can happen then is that Clubhouse may notify some of your friends that have your phone number in their contact list and provide them with the option of adding you (without using up one of their invites, or them having one spare to give to you). 

I got this notification for a few of my friends, but haven’t had it for all of the other people I know that are waiting, so this appears to be a bit random. The one thing that seemed to be consistent though was that I was actually “on” the app when they tried to join, so my recommendation would be to phone a friend (or two) that have an approved account (and have your number in their contacts) and then try to join when they have the app physically open. I can’t promise it will work, but I think it will increase your chances. 

When you join, you get a single invite, so use it sparingly. You can earn more invitations to share with your friends by being more active on the platform. 

As invitations are super hard to come by at the moment, don’t be offended if you ask a friend for one and they are not able to provide you with one. I already have a rather long queue of people waiting for me to get more invitations so that I can add them. 

Why would I join Clubhouse?

Here’s what I have discovered as the major pro’s for Clubhouse to date:

  • You get direct access to amazing people and conversations and the only price you have to pay for this (at this stage) is your time. The value of this goes into overdrive if you get the opportunity to ask a question or float an idea specific to your business and you get advice from experts. 
  • You can build relationships with people really quickly through the conversations you have and the ease of finding out more about them via their profile and linked social accounts.
  • It’s super easy to set up a room, start a conversation and start building a name for yourself and an audience on the platform, particularly given that the platform is still in its infancy and it isn’t as noisy as some of the other more established platforms (as yet).
  • Because it’s audio-only, you can navigate out of the Room you are participating in at anytime and still listen. You can even open up another app and still continue to listen, which makes it great for multi-tasking. 
  • Because it is audio-only, you don’t have to be camera ready to participate – this probably should be the top reason!

How does Clubhouse work?

Someone (anyone – it could be you) starts up a “Room”. They can create a room that is:

  • Open – open to anyone
  • Social – open to people you follow, or 
  • Closed – people you choose 

Then you select a topic and “let’s go”, the room is created. 

The title of the room is super important, as this is what people will see when searching through the main feed (called the “Hallway”) and it will also show up for anyone who has notifications set up for you, so you would want to make sure that it is enticing enough for people to want to join your room. 

You can’t edit or change the room’s title or description once you start a Clubhouse Room, so choose wisely.

If you’re a little more organised or looking to plan ahead, then you can create an “Event”. This allows you to schedule a Room in advance, inviting co-hosts and guests, as well as allowing people to get notified when the room opens. The events that include people you follow show up in the “Upcoming For You” calendar section of the app. 

When the Room is in session there are three main tiers of how participants are displayed in the following order within the Room:

  1. Stage – Moderators and speakers
  2. Front Row – People followed by the speakers
  3. Audience – Others in the room

Within each of the tiers there is a bit of a hierarchy also, based on how long people have been in the room. Those closest to the top have been there the longest and if you leave and return, you go back in at the appropriate tier, but you go back to the bottom of the list within that tier. Also, if you were in the “People followed by the speakers” section and then the speaker you are connected with leaves, you move down to the “others in the room section”.

There are three buttons on the bottom of the screen when you are in a room. They allow you to:

  • Leave quietly – this is the button you use to exit the room and it’s cool to do so at anytime, as rooms are come and go kind of conversations (no offence taken)
  • Plus sign – this allows you to ping someone you are connected with to invite them into the room when you feel the discussion may be of value for them
  • Hand raise – when you raise your hand the moderators will be advised that you want to talk and they can then choose whether or not to promote you to a speaker

What is a Clubhouse Moderator?

When you start a Room, you are automatically added as a moderator (indicated by a green circle with an asterick alongside your profile in the Room). As a Moderator, you can add additional people into that role. However, you should only add people as moderators if you trust them, as once you add them they have the same level access as you and can boot you out of the Room if they want. 

Moderators can promote people to speakers and have the power to mute people, which is often required, as when you promote someone to a speaker they are automatically unmuted and if they have a lot of background noise, then this can detract from the conversation. 

Moderators play an important role in determining the success of the Room. Good moderators:

  • Moderate the discussion, including making sure that the Room stays on topic.
  • Calling on the various speakers to contribute, sharing airtime, as well as ensuring those people that have the appropriate expertise (if known) are called upon at the appropriate time.
  • Keep an eye out for when speakers take their microphone off mute, as this is an indication that they are keen to contribute to the conversation at that point in time.
  • Invite those people who raise their hand up as speakers, doing due diligence where required by checking out the person’s bio.
  • Turn on/off the ability for audience members to raise their hands.
  • Encourage speakers to introduce themselves or introduce them on their behalf if you know them well. 
  • Call out anyone you see in the audience that you feel would be good to contribute to the conversation and encourage them to raise their hand to speak.
  • Recap the discussion (called resetting the Room) periodically so that those people who are new to the Room understand what is going on and where the conversation is at.
  • Mute speakers as required to ensure a good experience for all.
  • Send speakers back to the audience when they are no longer actively participating in the conversation.
  • Encourage participants in the Room to follow the speakers.
  • Hand over the role of moderation to others as required, especially if you intend to leave the Room, but the discussion is still in full swing. It’s not uncommon for a Room to be started by one person and then handed over to another person. Some Rooms have been running around the clock for days on end because the moderators are adopting that strategy. 
  • Close the meeting at the appropriate time.

“What is the etiquette on Clubhouse?

For such a new platform, it seems to have developed a really good culture and a set of rules that people seem to follow, even though they aren’t super evident when you first join. I liken it to a bit of a campfire concept, where those that have been around for a “relative” while, take the newbies under their wings and show them the ropes, passing on the do’s and don’ts in an informal way that somehow just works. 

When you first join Clubhouse you get the party popper emoji added to your profile pic that indicates to others that you are a “newbie” to the platform. This emoji will automatically disappear after 7 days. 

Here’s what I have picked up so far in terms of clubhouse etiquette: 

  • When you enter a Room, spend some time to “read the Room” before you participate.
  • Give massive value in the conversations you are privileged to be involved in. The phrase “givers gain” holds true on this platform for sure.
  • When you are a speaker, mute yourself whenever you aren’t speaking and take yourself off mute when you would like to contribute to the conversation.
  • When you are a speaker, you can turn your microphone on and off in quick succession to demonstrate applause. I have heard this referred to as the Clubhouse clap, but that sounds like an STD to me, so I am staying clear of calling it that. 
  • Follow the speakers you got value from so that you get notified whenever they speak.
  • It’s totally ok to stalk the speaker via their bio and linked social profiles whilst they are speaking. In fact, it’s kind of expected if you don’t know who they are.
  • If you are a speaker, it’s ok to ask people to PM you or follow a particular link in your bio to a resource if relevant to the conversation, but this shouldn’t be your primary objective.
  • Some speakers change their profile pics temporarily whilst they are speaking. This can be a useful hack when you want to demonstrate something visually, as this is the only visual real estate you have control over within the app. If you do this, you will need to tell people to “PTR” (or pull to refresh) so that they can see your updated profile pic.
  • Get active on the platform, the more you participate (e.g. starting a Room, speaking or moderating), the more invites you unlock.

What should I include in my Clubhouse bio?

Tips for creating your Clubhouse bio include: 

  • Use your real name, rather than your company name for your account. This is also a requirement within the Terms of Service. 
  • Include information on who you are, who you serve and how you serve them, highlighting the value you are most likely to bring to any conversations on the platform. 
  • Write your bio in a text editing software that allows you to add paragraphs, emojis and other special characters and then cut and paste it into your Clubhouse bio, as you can’t add emojis from within the app. Emoji’s that indicate your profession, where you live and personality add more depth and interest to your profile. 
  • Hyperlinks in bios don’t work, but that shouldn’t stop you from including (short, easy to remember) URL’s as relevant. 
  • The first three lines (roughly 125 characters) display as a preview when you are in a Room, so front load your bio with the most important info. 
  • Use keywords strategically throughout your bio to help people discover you in search, but don’t keyword stuff, as people will see right through that, and that’s not cool!
  • Link your Twitter and Instagram accounts so that people have a way to connect with you to continue on the conversation as appropriate.

What are Clubhouse Clubs?

In addition to Rooms, there are also Clubs. Clubhouse Clubs are used to create communities within the platform. Clubs can be created around particular topic areas and can be searched for and followed within the Explore section of Clubhouse. 

Club membership is probably the most confusing part of the platform. There are four types of memberships within a Clubhouse Club:

  1. Founder: The club owner. They are also admins by default.
  2. Admins: Appointed by the Founder or other Admins. They can approve or remove members and open private or public Club-branded Rooms.
  3. Members: Approved participants within the club. A member can create private Rooms for the club, but not public Club-branded Rooms, but this will only notify Club members who follow them. They can also see and participate in both private and public Club-branded Rooms and nominate other Clubhouse members to join the club.
  4. Followers: A Follower is not an official Member of the Club. A Follower can follow public club activities but they can’t create Rooms for the Club. They’ll be notified whenever a member or admin of the Club schedules a public Club-branded Room.

You can set up your own Clubhouse Club. These are still an experimental feature at present. You have to fill in a form to apply to set up a Club (1 per user right now). I hear that it is taking approximately 3 weeks to get a club approved and that you would need to be already hosting a weekly show to even get considered. 

There are plans to create a self-serve Club feature with the app in future.

What are Clubhouse notifications? 

Like most apps, you can choose to get notifications on activity within the platform pinged directly to your phone, even when not using the app. These are on by default, which is helping draw an audience to the platform whenever there is activity related to those people you are following on the platform. You can adjust the frequency of this.

You can also choose to be notified when particular people you follow are talking by visiting their profile and clicking on the bell icon next to their name. 

Where do I get more information about Clubhouse?

Clubhouse has a Knowledge Centre, that you can access within the FAQ section within the Settings of your profile. Within your Settings you can also see what’s new, report an incident, and view the community guidelines, terms of service and privacy policy. 

Have you joined Clubhouse?

If you have joined Clubhouse, then feel free to follow me. Just click on the search icon in the top left hand corner of Clubhouse and search for Loren Bartley (username: @loren_bartley), I would love to connect with you. 

Whilst you are at it, search for John Kapos (@chocolatejohnny), Lisa Monks (@lisamonks) and Cliff Ravenscraft (@cliffeotc) and follow them as well. They are friends that joined the first ever Room I set up and helped show me the ropes and they are all great examples of people who are giving loads of value on the platform.