Clubhouse 101: What it is, how it works, why it’s awesome + my thoughts
You have probably seen everybody that you follow talking about Clubhouse. Whether they’re on Facebook asking for an invitation, sharing their username, or on Instagram telling you to join a room they’re hosting. So what is Clubhouse? I’m here with Clubhouse 101: what it is, why it works, why it’s awesome, and my thoughts.
Clubhouse 101: What it is, why it works, why it’s awesome + my thoughts
Want to listen to the podcast version of this post? I’ve got you covered!
You might be asking yourself a few things if you’ve seen people talking about Clubhouse. What the actual what is Clubhouse, how do I get in, and is it even worth it?
I have SO MANY thoughts here.
The basics: Clubhouse 101
Clubhouse is a live audio platform. So, if you like podcasts, you’re probably going to enjoy Clubhouse. It’s a great addition to your repertoire if you like audio-based stuff, and you can listen to it just like you do a podcast. BUT it is live ONLY.
Clubhouse as a whole is a clubhouse. Inside the clubhouse, there are clubs. Then, inside of clubs, there are rooms. You can host a room that isn’t part of a club, but usually people host rooms nested under clubs.
As you follow people on the platform, when they are in rooms, you will be alerted in the space that’s called your “hallway.” (Remember, we’re using the analogy of a house here).
It’s really good to follow a bunch of people on the platform who might be hosting rooms that you’re interested in. That way, when you go into the platform, they’ll show up and you can join in.
All the info about Rooms
The rooms have topics that tell you more about them. And you can find some BIG names on the platform and in rooms that you can join. When I pop into the app, I’m seeing a room called The Power of Social Media with names like Grant Cardone and John Lee Dumas. You’ll find everything from social media tips to creative brainstorming and more. I’ve even seen people hosting recurring rooms, like a walking club room every morning.
Once you’re inside of a room, there are three sections.
The first section is speakers. That could be anybody who has been pulled onto “the stage.” Anybody with a green bubble next to their name is a moderator who is hosting this room. Anybody else in the speaker section has been pulled up to add a tidbit to the conversation or ask a question.
By the way – everybody in that speaker section has the ability to unmute and speak at any time. But, anything below the speaker section doesn’t allow you to talk at all.
People Speaker’s Follow Section
The section right below the speaker section is people that speaker’s follow. So, if I popped into this Morning Video Creation Brainstorming room that I’m seeing on my Clubhouse right now, I know several of the speaker’s there follow me on Clubhouse, so I would sit in that section.
The “General Population” Section
Below the section of people the speaker’s follow, there’s a section for the general population who are just listening to the conversation.
What happens in a Clubhouse Room
There are speakers who are all speaking on a certain topic, and everyone else can listen to them speak.
If you aren’t a speaker but the moderator asks for questions, feedback, or commentary, then there’s a button for you to raise your hand. If they are pulling people up to the stage, then they could accept you and pull you up to the stage to become a speaker. Then, you’d be able to ask a question or add to the conversation in some way.
Some rooms don’t let people come up to the stage but others do. That’s just the format that Clubhouse takes. A lot of them do let you come up to the stage. I’ve seen a lot of review rooms – like Instagram Bio Reviews – that are specifically created for people to share their Instagram Bio and get feedback.
Some quick thoughts on the interface…
The content is NOT recorded, so it doesn’t go anywhere after it’s live. And the only way to interact with people on the platform is to speak with them on the speaker’s stage.
Personally, I think there should be a way to engage with speakers besides on the stage. I don’t know if you remember Periscope, but it was a live video platform. It did save the live content, and I don’t doubt at all that Clubhouse will save the calls eventually too.
If you use Instagram Live and you’ve seen the heart button in the bottom right corner that you can click to make hearts fly up the screen, then you know about a Periscope relic. That idea was 100% taken from Periscope. So, I think Clubhouse is missing a way to give “snaps” at the very least to something that was said.
A lot of times, the rooms are hosted Q&A style with a speaker panel. You can learn a lot from listening to answers to other people’s questions, or asking them yourself.
You have to link your phone number to your account – but that doesn’t mean you have to use your main phone. Currently, it’s Apple-only. You could totally use an old iPhone from Facebook Marketplace just for Clubhouse, or get it on an iPad.
Obviously if you use it on a phone without service or an iPad, you’ll only be able to access Clubhouse using WIFi. For example, last night I participated in a Clubhouse and I needed to drive home in the middle of it. Using my phone, I could still join in on the Clubhouse as I was driving.
You need an invitation to join.
Clubhouse is also invitation-only right now. From what I’ve listened to with the founders, they don’t intend for it to be exclusive always. They are just a very small team who are trying to grow the app slowly to work out any bugs and listen to feedback.
Once you join, you get one invitation. As you participate on the platform, they tend to award you with invitations. You generally get three at a time. That being said, I’ve only gotten rewarded three twice. And in the last week or so, I have been super active on the platform but haven’t been given any other invitations.
It’s not a consistent invitation system. And, the invitations can only be sent via phone contacts. It’s not like you can just grab an invitation and send it to anyone – they have to be in your phone. And that’s really interesting. As someone who has an audience, it’s been difficult to share invitations with my audience because I can’t just give my phone number out.
I had three invitations to give out, and I offered them on my Instagram story. They went in six minutes. I had the people who wanted them message me their phone number, I added it to my contacts, copied the invite code, and sent it to them via Instagram. That way I didn’t have to text them from my phone number.
There is a hack to getting invited/getting into Clubhouse.
If someone who is already on Clubhouse has your phone number in your contacts and then you request to join, then when you request to join, it should send them a notification asking them to let them in without using a Clubhouse invitation.
Just this morning, it popped up and said that one of my friends requested to join and I was able to let them in without using an invitation. If you know of a friend who is already on Clubhouse but doesn’t have any invitations, you can make sure that you are in their contacts and request to join.
So it is exclusive right now, but it’s not intentionally exclusive for the long term. They just don’t want to grow so fast that they can’t keep up with their own growth. Which is admirable for the tech company!
Why Clubhouse is AWESOME.
I have already gotten one AMAZINGLY magical opportunity because I’ve been on Clubhouse. I can’t tell you exactly what the opportunity is, but you’ll know soon enough. Just know that I have gotten an incredible opportunity that I can tie directly to Clubhouse.
Because Clubhouse is new, you can be in rooms with people who are HUGE in your industry and in social media. There have been multiple times when I have been speaking on a stage with people who have been my idols. Even when I’m not a speaker, if I’m given the opportunity to ask a question, I can show my expertise a little bit, too.
Clubhouse gives you the opportunity to interact with people who you can’t on other platforms that are already oversaturated.
I can’t WAIT to tell you about the opportunity I got – but just know that I got an opportunity that I have been trying to get for YEARS. And it ALL came from Clubhouse, because I was able to consistently show up as the expert in my field in front of people.
The networking opportunity is unmatched right now.
How you can make Clubhouse work for you.
Let’s say that you see Amy Porterfield is hosting a room. She is not going to ask random people to be a speaker in this room with her, but she might ask some of her friends. Now, you’ve got Amy Porterfield’s friends in this room. So, it might be Amy Porterfield, Maria Forliio, and Grant Cardone hosting this Clubhouse room together.
If you don’t know them, then they probably won’t ask you to be a speaker with them. But, when they start asking for questions, you can “raise your hand” and be pulled up to the stage. Then, when you’re asking a question, you can also share your expertise!
Ask questions that show your expertise
This is a strategy I use when I’m at events and in networking situations in general. There have been several events where I have taken the mic to ask a question even when I didn’t have a great question so that I could share my expertise.
You got pulled up to the stage to ask a question after raising your hand. You should ask a question in a way that sheds light on what you do, who you are, and your expertise.
Amy, Maria, and Grant are hosting a room all about marketing. I might raise my hand, go up to the stage, and say:
“Hey, I’m Jessica Stansberry, I help content creators and entrepreneurs be better on video and market their business better to grow their brand, and I had a question about Facebook ads. I know that both of you run Facebook ads pretty consistently, and I’d love to know what you’re seeing right now as a trend for what is working and what isn’t with Facebook ads.”
That made me sound smart while I was asking a question. If you can position yourself to sound good while you’re asking a question, it can be helpful to your brand!
Even if you aren’t a speaker in these rooms, you can use questions to position yourself as an expert and grow your following. Then, when people follow you, they will be notified about rooms that you’re hosting. And in those rooms, you will REALLY stand out as an expert.
Since there is no limit to following people on Clubhouse, this is a great strategy. There’s less of a risk if you follow someone there as well, considering there’s no DM structure. Gaining followers is easy because people want to follow others so they see more rooms.
Host rooms that REALLY highlight your experience
Hosting a room shows you as an excerpt from the get-go. You can host rooms by yourself, with friends, or with people you met on Clubhouse. Either way you slice it, it is positioning you as an expert. Then people can pop in and see your room.
When someone comes into a Clubhouse room, they tend to follow all of the speakers. Even if you’re just on the speaker stage to ask a question, you can usually gain a decent amount of followers. One day, I just asked one question in a room and I gained more than 100 followers.
People also tend to view the profiles of people in the “People Speaker’s Follow” section. They’ll follow people who seem interesting to them there as well. So, you want to have a good profile picture, a good bio, and participate as much as possible.
Once someone follows you, there’s a snowball effect. They’ll see the rooms you host and you’ll continue to grow!
There is an unmatched opportunity to network on Clubhouse. Especially in a world where networking is currently shut down.
Will it stick around? Should I even be on it?
Let’s talk about the cons of Clubhouse first…
There are really just a few cons.
I think there is a missed opportunity for people in the audience to use “hearts” or share that they like what is said. I’m definitely going to submit that as a feature suggestion.
The other con is that it can be a MASSIVE time suck. You have to be really intentional about your time using Clubhouse. If you host a room, then you’re there for two hours at the very least.
As someone who has an audience, I tend to get pulled up to speak when I go in a room with people who know me. I didn't intend to speak, but I’m stuck for an hour or more. The time suck aspect is one of my least favorite things about it. If you don’t have control over how you’re using it, it can be really detrimental to your productivity. That being said, if you are using it to just listen in the background, that’s a great way to use it.
During the day when I should be working, I don’t get on Clubhouse. I usually only join in when I’m driving, or in the evening when my kids are ignoring me anyway. If I’m passively doing something else, then I can hop on sometimes, too. Unless I’m hosting a room and I work it into my schedule, I try to avoid it when I need to be productive or I get sucked in.
For example: this morning, I saw a Video Creator’s Morning Mingle room. I saw it at 8:00 AM EST and it’s 12:00 PM right now. That’s four hours, and it’s still going. There are several people who have been in there the whole time. I was invited to be a speaker. But, I had to decline because I was fixing breakfast for my kids. And when I decline something, I feel terrible. So I went over to Instagram and sent a DM to the person who invited me up to apologize. Clubhouse doesn't allow you to message people, so going to Instagram is the only way to do it.
Should I be on it?
Think about your goals and what you want to get done. If networking and building relationships is one of your goals, then it would probably be a good fit for you. Just set some parameters so you don’t get fully sucked in to the world that is Clubhouse.
Do I think Clubhouse will stick around?
Yes… and no. I actually don’t think Clubhouse will be around long-term. I think Facebook (and/or some other platform) will develop a way to kill it.
Facebook actually had live audio a few years ago, and I really enjoyed that. But it was glitchy and didn’t work half the time. There also isn’t the exclusivity that Clubhouse allows.
I see it fizzling out in the same way that Periscope, Anchor, or Blab did. I don’t see it being massively long term. That’s based on past behavior I’ve seen from other platforms. I don’t expect it to be around in the next five or ten years.
I still think it's worth joining even if it isn’t a long-term solution. Anytime you can be an early adapter to a social media website, you’re going to benefit from that in some way. You'll be seen as a leader on that platform. Joining something early is NEVER a bad thing, even if it’s short-term. I built a lot of my audience on Periscope in the beginning because I was hyper-active for a short period of time.
I have about 800 followers on Clubhouse at the time I’m recording this. You can link out to Instagram and Twitter in the app and have a massive bio where you type links to other things. I would say that about one-third of those followers have came and followed me on Instagram or followed my YouTube channel.
In conclusion, I think Clubhouse is worth it right now.
If you can get on it, be intentional about its use, and control your time, then it is WORTH joining Clubhouse.
JessicaStansbry is my username on Clubhouse – come hang out with me if you’re on it!