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Listen Up! Audio-only App Clubhouse Bursts on Scene in 2021

Jess Crawford

Social media apps have exploded in the last decade – from photo sharing apps and websites like Instagram, to microblogging sites like Twitter and networking sites like LinkedIn, social media is an integral way we communicate. Despite the abundance of social networks, the creators of Clubhouse saw a gap in the market and sought to fill it. Clubhouse is a social media app that, instead of focusing on photos, videos, or written posts, allows users to interact via live audio. Users can join “rooms” where they can participate in conversations with other users or hear a subject matter expert or panelists present or debate a topic.

We spoke with CONNECTIVE Agency founder Manuel Valencia about his experience with Clubhouse and what he finds valuable and engaging about the app.

Manny joined Clubhouse in early 2021 after receiving an invite from a friend. At the time, users were only able to join the app with an invitation from a current user, a policy that Clubhouse has since lifted.  He has joined rooms that focus on topics ranging from professional interests, like marketing, community service, entrepreneurship, and mentorship to Latin culture and world soccer. In the rooms, he’s able to connect with people from all over the world and hear unique perspectives over shared topics of interest. “[It’s people] from all over the world, talking with different points of view, but about the same topic with the same passion,” he said.

Something that Manuel noted makes the app stand apart from other social media platforms is that it exists in a synchronous format, instead of the asynchronous setup of its competitors. This means that users participate in live conversations. Synchronicity allows users to create communities and more closely mimics the feeling of being in a real face-to-face conversation, similar to the small circle of people you might stop and talk with in the hallways after a speech or keynote talk. This format helped the app grow quickly as it was released at the onset of  COVID-19, which left ‘connectors’ desperate for community and conversation.

At the height of the pandemic, as the app’s growth skyrocketed, “[the app] was the place where everyone wanted to be because they heard that conversations were happening there, business was happening there, networking was happening there, and we were all stuck at home not able to do those things in real life, so the next best thing was Clubhouse,” Manuel shared.

Clubhouse also invites users to “attend” rooms in a low-to-no pressure format simply as an audience member. “It also has allowed people to be together, in this time of COVID, in a way that is very reminiscent of keynote talks, conferences, workshops,  seminars,” Manuel says of Clubhouse’s stage feature. The feature allows users to hear speakers, raise hands, ask questions and go into rooms to discuss the content in a way that mirrors an actual event.

“[Clubhouse] doesn’t just hold these big ‘keynotes’ or small group conversations, but everything in between. I think that’s what has made it successful.”

Clubhouse doesn’t only provide the space for people to speak and exchange ideas, but it also has created a way for experts to host thriving businesses on the app. Users can compensate speakers for their time and expertise, in a more direct way than other social media platforms which users have monetized, like Instagram or YouTube, where creators can make money with affiliate links and ads. Clubhouse’s format means that experts can charge set amounts and can get direct compensation from users benefiting from their knowledge. This is becoming increasingly popular with top pros like consultants, coaches, subject matter experts, as the app supports one-on-one chat rooms that can allow for personalized meetings and help.

“Great, insightful conversations happen all day long on Clubhouse,” Manuel says. You can find perspectives on so many specific topics and hear from people who can provide tangible help and expertise in a way that feels like an in-person conversation. “I think Clubhouse fills an important need in the market,  and it’s really great for socialization, particularly as more people are working from home. If you are starting something new, whether it be a project or a business, you can find experts on the app who are willing to help and answer questions, so it’s a great place to learn.”

Manny is also the founding member of the Dallas Marketing Club on Clubhouse, and he hosts and moderates regular weekly rooms on topics in marketing, storytelling, business growth, and entrepreneurship. Next time you’re on the app, give him a ‘Follow’!


Clubhouse Numbers and Info to Know:

  • Active Clubhouse users spend an average of between 11 to 22 hours on the platform per week.
  • 86.2% of marketers think Clubhouse is a promising marketing channel, and 42.9% say they have generated business from the platform.
  • As of early Fall 2021, Clubhouse said it was facilitating over 600,000 rooms per day.
  • ‘Replays’ is a new popular feature on Clubhouse that lets users listen to live conversations later.