(By Mike McVay) The latest social media craze is not TikTok. It’s Clubhouse. It’s not at TikTok’s level, but this social media platform is adding thousands of users every day. The allure of Clubhouse is that almost every room you enter is like attending a breakout session at a conference, a family reunion, a party with friends and just about every other gathering of people that you can envision. My enjoyment of the app has been to use it as if I am participating in a conference session.
Imagine that you’re walking through a room full of tables with multiple laptop computers open and engaged on every table. On each computer is a Zoom meeting, with the camera off, and you can stop and participate in any meeting that you want. Many different topics are available. You can explore through active rooms of many topics, or you can stick to those topics that you have been alerted to, because you noted your interests when you signed-up.
I joined Clubhouse on January 20th, so I’m very new to it. My first session that I hosted was titled “Lori Lewis teaches Mike McVay Clubhouse.” Lori, the highly respected and greatly recognized social media consultant, led the room. We had a fairly large group of radio people who either wanted to learn clubhouse, or to watch me be embarrassed, as Lori taught me Clubhouse. There are many times when I feel as if I am a speedbump on the Information Highway. Imagine my joy when I realized that Clubhouse was not intimidating and it was easy to learn and navigate. I almost immediately started thinking about how it can be applied to what we do in media.
My use of Clubhouse is multi-layered at this point. I want to learn from others by hearing their perspectives, learning how people feel about specific topics, and seeing what’s trending. Professionally, it is a form of marketing for me, if I am in a room with a lot of others, I’m being heard and my icon is being seen. If I’m leading a room, that combines marketing with learning from others.
Imagine if you want to test new music with Program and Music Directors. Post the notice. Bring in those people whose opinions you want, but lots of others in the public will be able to hear what’s being discussed. It’s a great way to trial new product or preview new concepts. It’s a fabulous way to market new music and introduce new artists. Introduce new air talent or entertainers. Imagine having a gathering of your listeners or fans and being able to meet them and talk to them. It works for podcasting exposure, too.
Imagine the uses for Clubhouse during winddown of this pandemic when an event or a concert is cancelled. The word would spread like wildfire if any of the big-name artists were guests in a room where fans could join in. Imagine someone like me, a consultant, a talent coach, a marketing consultant, hosting a room where they can share knowledge and answer questions.
The educational opportunities within Clubhouse don’t have to end with our own business. I sat in on a room where Eli Manning, the retired Quarterback from the New York Giants, was talking with several other NFL players and several agents. The discussion was the business of football. I heard several things that are applicable to radio as well as other audio platforms. A more recent room included the author Simon Sinek. He spoke about his recent book, a recent Ted Talk that he spoke at and he offered thoughts on where and how leadership goes off-track. He added how to rectify such situations. He answered the question of WHY which comes from one of his Ted Talks. A priceless experience for free.
Marketing, done in a subtle way, is the obvious opportunity. That’s valid for the introduction of personalities and the station. It gives the audience a direct line to the talent. It’s the old-fashioned request line on steroids. It’s like being at a station appearance or at a remote broadcast. The audience has access to you and you have access to them. This platform should enable you to have greater connectivity with your audience. I’ve strolled through multiple radio rooms, music rooms, marketing rooms and several Clubhouse Town Hall’s. None have failed my expectations.
We don’t really know where and how big this platform will grow. My father used to always answer questions like this one by saying “Water finds its own level.” Meaning that Clubhouse is going to go wherever it goes, but my belief is that where it’s going is to be a place where individuals can create unique rooms to eaves drop on what others think of their music, their station, products, services and what’s worth investing in and what isn’t worth investing in. It gives independent artists an opportunity to expose their brands. It gives radio stations a chance to have spur of the moment focus groups. It can be educational or simply recreational.
I don’t know that I can see direct monetization of the Clubhouse experience, but the same type of businesses that do advertorials can use Clubhouse for grassroots marketing. You can be that somewhere there is someone who is figuring out how to use Clubhouse for direct marketing. Is Clubhouse here to stay? It’s too soon to tell. Many of us were excited about Tumblr when it started. Jimmy Fallon tried to connect Tumblr to his show. Unfortunately, that platform is ranked 36th among all social platforms. Many of us were ecstatic about Periscope. It was the first live streaming app. Truly a pioneer. It’s going dark on March 31. If Clubhouse remains welcoming, easy to navigate, and provides its users with a remarkable experience, it will succeed.
How will you harness the positives of this new tool and put it to work for you?
Mike McVay is President of McVay Media and can be reached at [email protected]