The tiny little drop-in audio app called Clubhouse is still making waves and isn’t that tiny anymore. Case in point: I recently invited some influencers like Shay Rowbottom for a clubhouse chat and noticed how quickly a crowd gathered.
We’re talking about a few hundred people or so, but that’s way more than I’ve noticed at some of the pitch meetings in the past few weeks.
Shay talked about what it means to be an influencer today, the importance of authenticity, and how growing her platform on LinkedIn (which currently has around 600,000 members) was really an exercise of due diligence. She tends to produce videos that are wonderfully insightful and often funny, so I’m excited to see what she can do at the clubhouse.
Another luminary by the name of Alexa Carlin spoke during the chat about how an influencer has to have something that can be used to influence people in the first place. Will Huff, who runs a marketing club in the clubhouse, and HR expert Katrina Ghazarian have also joined. Wellness expert and podcaster Kristel Bauer spoke about how her drive to become a social media influencer came from personal experiences with her family and realized that she had a variety of tips and advice to offer.
I could refer to all of these experts because in my area of communication it is obvious when people don’t have too much to communicate and when they do. Some use smoke and mirrors to hide the lack of substance. What I like most about the clubhouse is that you can’t really hide behind a Twitter handle. It is your real voice that carries real information. You can command information from others and possibly read it off a cue card, but that sounds a bit strange in a live audio chat.
It was cool with my expert group that they could answer almost any question with new insights. I’ve been following Shay Rowbottom on LinkedIn for a while and she’s far from easy-going. There is a wealth of information arising from their business acumen and personal experience, and often interwoven in interesting ways.
What interests me so much about Clubhouse is that it will soon be the “sixth network” behind Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. (In case you’re wondering, YouTube is extremely social, measured by the thousands of comments you see and the connections it makes when people subscribe to a brand and stay loyal to it.)
The clubhouse has some competition, but it could become the audio equivalent of a social media juggernaut. I know some people seem to hate it, and the millionaire chats are annoying. If I never have to bend awkwardly from another room with a talking head explaining a marketing scheme to about 14 people, I’ll be happy.
And yet in my influencer chat it felt more like I had a group of experts who usually stand on a stage somewhere and join because they have some free time and an iPhone. I like the spontaneous way of keeping these interactive podcasts with a constant feedback loop of helpful information. Sure, the loop can be stale. I’ve been part of brilliant audio collaborations and had really lame sales pitches.
What will help the app grow is when people like Shay, Alexa, Kristel and the other experts in my room get together regularly, share their insights, and amass oversized followers. Looking forward to the first time Shay announces on LinkedIn that she is having a clubhouse chat.
As LinkedIn and Twitter started growing, I was trying to build my own network and ignoring what future influencers were doing. (And how could anyone know? Most of us were trying to figure out how to use hashtags and ward off the trolls.) Now we have the advantage of people like Alexa Carlin (who already has a club of 23,000 members) and what they’re watching to keep in touch with who’s joining their rooms and what they’re saying.
If they start to dominate, be careful. You will find out how to monetize interest, attract a large crowd, and create sharp business synergies.
I will continue to watch this room.
More importantly, I’ll keep watching the influencers.