Clubhouse App: What You Need to Know About the New Audio App Sensation
First of all, are you “in”?
Or are you clamoring to get that coveted invitation?
You may have even seen complete strangers asking, “do you have an extra invite for me?”
However, if you don’t know what I’m talking about, there’s a new app in town and it’s called Clubhouse.
But, before you start scrambling to download it and join, you’ll need to know a few things first:
- The app only works on iPhones, at least for now. If you have a newer iPad connected to your iPhone cell number, it may also work, but there’s no guarantee.
- The “Clubhouse” app on Google Play is NOT the same app!
- You can download the app and reserve your name and handle, but then you’ll need to wait to be invited by someone who has your iPhone number in their contact list.
- You’ll know you’ve been invited when you receive an invitation text from the person inviting you. It’ll send you a link to download the app if you haven’t already done so, plus further instructions on how to be “let in.”
- You can sometimes be “waved in” by someone as long as you’re on each other’s contact list. This term means that the person who waved you in doesn’t need to use up an invitation.
- The app is still in beta and updates are happening often. Keep that in mind when listening to others professing to be experts. There are NO Clubhouse “experts” yet. 😉
- The founders are adamant about NOT wanting to run ads on the app. Monetization is a topic of discussion, but is yet to be revealed.
The Clubhouse App Tour
For now, let’s assume you just joined the Clubhouse app.
You’re feeling excited because the hype has been downright envious! You’ve read plenty of posts and comments about new connections and deals being made, courses being sold, influencers being born, and clients being won. Heck, you might have even heard someone sharing the stage with a movie star, singer, or favorite industry leader.
For example, if you’re old enough to remember the first season of American Idol, you may remember Justin Guarini as the wonderful contestant who came in second place to none other than Kelly Clarkson!
Well, I admit, I couldn’t resist…
But I digress…
For the next few minutes, I’m going to be your tour guide and show you around the Clubhouse app, in its current iteration.
Know the Clubhouse lingo
The Clubhouse app uses lingo that borrows language from a real, brick-and-mortar buildings with rooms, hallways (known as your “corridor” on the app), stages, and individual clubs.
What most people are reporting after a day or two on the app, though, is that it feels more like attending a large conference, with 100s of rooms you can pop your head into, see what’s going on, and decide whether or not you want to stay awhile and be part of the audience.
Rooms: Here’s where all the action takes place – it’s the white boxes that, if you’re just browsing, show up in your corridor (which is the pale yellow background) – you’ll see the titles of the rooms, names of some of the people in the rooms (some of them have talk bubbles), and you’ll be able to tell who is speaking, how many people are on stage, and how many are in the audience.
Once you click on a room, you’ve officially entered it and are placed automatically in the audience. No one will be able to hear you at this point. You will, however, hear the speakers and moderators.
Corridor/Hallway/Lobby: This is the app’s feed, where you’ll be able to scroll through the different rooms and scheduled room events and decide which you’d like to enter. I’ve also heard someone call the “lobby” the location where the audience is located (though this seems counterintuitive to the conference analogy!).
Stage: This is the portion of the room where anyone can speak. If you created the room or have been made a moderator of the room, you’ll be placed on the stage. It is up to the moderators on stage to bring someone up to speak from the audience. They can do this by pressing a link on the person’s profile or wait for them to raise their hands.
Audience: There are two levels of audience locations below the stage of speakers – 1) those “followed by the speakers” (they rank higher, most likely to encourage increasing people following each other) and 2) “others in the room” – these are attendees of the room that are NOT followed by any of the speakers.
Speaker: This is anyone that has been brought up to the stage portion of the room. They’ll show a microphone that’s unmuted initially on the bottom right portion of that person’s profile image.
Moderator: This is the person that starts the room or a speaker who has been given the privilege of being a moderator by another moderator. They have the ability to bring others on stage, mute those on stage, and bump speakers back to the audience. They also have the ability to close the room.
⚠️ CAUTION: Word of caution here. I’ve heard others say they’ve had others take over their rooms after someone made them a moderator. All moderators have equal “power” – you’ll want to make sure you know the people well that you’re granting the honor of co-moderating a room with you!
Party Hat: This symbol is added to your profile image on the bottom left when you’ve entered a room immediately, and can be seen while you’re in a room. It designates that you’ve only been on the app for up to seven days. It’s a way to indicate to others that you’re new and still navigating the app.
Clubs (you’ll see the green house icon next to the club name): These are similar to Facebook groups. There are specific rules set by the founders on forming your own club. Learn more about this with this Clubhouse app guide. If you want to be seen quickly as a leader on the app, many are suggesting you form your own club and name it something that will attract your ideal audience.
“Ask a question or make a contribution”: Many moderators appreciate it when they bring someone up on stage and then the person (when called upon to unmute their mic) succinctly asks a question or contributes to the conversation. I have found that the moderators will often use this phrase when addressing a new speaker.
“PTR – pull to refresh”: You’ll often hear moderators say this phrase in order to have you refresh your room (or feed). There are many reasons they do this, but mainly it’s to make sure the order of speakers waiting to talk is accurate so the moderators don’t overlook anyone.
“Reset the Room”: This phrase is often used to bring the topic of conversation back to the originally intended room topic. With multiple moderators, speakers, and audience members coming in and out of the room or adding to the conversation, it’s easy to see how things can get off-topic.
“Dropping Gems”: Probably self-explanatory, but it’s what a lot of moderators and speakers will say when they’ve taught or learned something wonderful.
“Hit the + sign”: Moderators will often ask audience members and other speakers to invite more of their followers to the room by hitting the + sign at the bottom of the app.
“Pass the Mic”: Moderators will often say this to alert that they want another moderator or the next speaker in line to prepare to speak next. There are many other ways I’ve heard moderators welcome the next speaker to begin talking, this just happens to be one of the most popular.
First things first on the Clubhouse app
The first thing you’ll be presented with upon entering the app is to follow the person you invited and to start following others. You’ll also be asked to choose “interests.” This is a fairly new feature that helps the algorithm determine which rooms you’ll be shown in your corridor.
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see any that don’t excite you. The founders have assured everyone that they’ll continue to add more topic interests. If you decide to skip this step, you can always go back and add interests later by hitting your profile image at the top right and then hitting the gear icon.
Next, although you can skip adding your bio, I don’t recommend it. Take a few minutes to at least add the first three lines of your bio as that’s what’s visible anytime someone clicks on your profile image. It takes an extra click to see the rest of your information.
What you need to know about your Clubhouse bio:
- While inside the Clubhouse app, the only way others can learn more about you is to click on your profile image and read your bio. Here is where you can shine, make it count!
- Place the most important, compelling information in the first three lines as mentioned above.
- You’ll want to connect your Twitter and Instagram accounts as those are the only live links in the app. Many people are using those accounts to direct message (DM) new connections as well as to provide a landing page for their offers.
- You can edit your bio as often as you want.
- Use your iPhone’s notes app to create your bio. Most people use emojis generously.
- I recommend you look at several profiles to get ideas for what you’d like to highlight in your own profiles.
- After setting your name and @handle, you can only change them one more time, so make sure it’s exactly the way you want it. You can also set a creative alias, but you can only create this one time. The creative alias is what shows up under your name, otherwise, the app uses your first name that you chose previously. You can change your profile picture, however, as often as you like. UPDATE: You can now remove your creative alias back to your regular name one time.
- Pro tip: Use tools like YayText or LingoJam.com to create bold text and italics to make certain parts of your bio stand out.
- Pro tip: Use URL shorteners or pretty links if you want to add extra links since they won’t be clickable, but you can make them memorable.
- Pro tip: Many influencers are recommending that you create more than one bio in your notes. Use the most relevant one depending on what room you’re entering.
- Pro tip: Many people use the profile picture as a way to show off artistic creations, demonstrate a point, or even indicate that they’ll “brb” (be right back).
- Pro Tip: If you’d like to add a ring around your image, besides manually doing it in software programs like Canva, there’s a free app I discovered (and I’m sure there are many more) called Clubhouse Glow by Roman Mittermayr to make it easy for you to customize this ring and make various versions. As of this writing, I just updated my own profile picture to include an image using this app.
Your Clubhouse Welcome Room
The first interaction you’ll discover is that you’ll be invited into a private room (denoted by the lock icon at the top right) and, if the person who invited you is on the app at the same time or has their notifications turned on, they’ll be asked if they would like to welcome you into the room.
What I’ve observed when welcoming someone into a room:
- The room has a title (room titles are located at the top and have a finite amount of characters) indicating that someone is about to be welcomed on to the Clubhouse app for the first time. The party hat icon is also in the title denoting the newness of the invitee. Other than the “welcome room,” titles are typically created by the person opening/starting the room.
- The inviter tends to get into the room first. If the invitee prefers not to join the room, the inviter will be notified and can then leave the room. This action will close the room.
- If the invitee DOES decide to join the room, that person will experience what it means to be on stage and speak along with the inviter as they are automatically put on to the stage. UPDATE: The last time I welcomed someone into the welcome room, they were automatically put into the audience and I had to bring her up on stage.
- I was surprised to see that others could enter the room since it was closed. What I discovered after welcoming Melonie Dodaro into her welcome room is that others who have the invitee’s telephone number on their phones are also given a chance to welcome the invitee. They are considered to be trusted friends, which is the foundation of why the app uses telephone numbers as an indicator of friendship. You can find Melonie on the Clubhouse app at @MelonieDodaro.
- This is a time when you can shine as a friend to your new guest on the app. When I’ve been welcomed or been in a room with others to welcome someone new, I noticed how great it felt to be shown around the app. It’s a simple gesture, but shows your commitment to helping others quickly acclimate to the technology, Clubhouse room etiquette, and nuances of this new environment. I thoroughly enjoy the experience and would be happy to welcome you and show you around. Feel free to come find me! I’m at @DrSandiEveleth.
Anatomy of the Clubhouse app
Check out the images below for diagrams and descriptions of the Clubhouse app. Portions of the images have been blurred out.
This is the top portion of what you’ll see when setting up your profile image and bio.
This is the corridor (or hallway) with events listed at the top and rooms listed in the feed.
This is an example of a small room showing most, if not all, of the options/components.
When you swipe left, you will see this area showing you what followers are available to chat in a room.
Here is a list of upcoming events that you’ll find when you click on the calendar. You can schedule your own room event for a later date by clicking on the calendar with the tiny plus sign at the top right of the upcoming for you page.
Clubhouse app etiquette for audience members and speakers
- When entering a room, it’s wisest to stay in the audience for a few minutes to get a “read” of the room and see what etiquette the moderators expect of you.
- Most moderators prefer that you do NOT give your back story, no matter how relevant it may be to the room topic – they will look at your bio while you speak and expect others to do the same.
- You’ll often be asked to state your question in the format of “my question is…” or help others by saying “my contribution is…” and follow up each with your question or statement. The moderators, other speakers, and audience members greatly appreciate this. You don’t have to be perfect, just be respectful of everyone’s time.
- Don’t use your time on stage to pitch your product or service, unless asked to do so.
- When you’ve been pulled up on stage, as of the time of this writing, your mic is “hot” – meaning you can be heard immediately. The founders have mentioned they may change this (I hope they do), but, for now, make sure you quickly hit the microphone icon on the bottom right to mute yourself. For the most part, it’s best that you don’t unmute yourself until the moderator asks you to do so. If you’re in a smaller room, many moderators will allow for the speakers to keep their mics unmuted but, if there’s background noise, it’s always best to keep your mic on mute.
- When you want to leave a room, it’s best NOT to announce that you’re leaving, even if you’re a moderator or up on stage. Many people still do this, but I’ve heard many moderators speak against this. To leave the room, just click on the link at the bottom with the ️”peace out” icon and the “leave quietly” verbiage. As you can tell from the link, the founders intended to have you leave the room without any fanfare. If you announce that you’re leaving a room, it tends to disrupt the flow of the conversation.
- Make sure you attach headphones with a mic when you plan to speak for optimum voice quality and reduction of background noise. You’ll also want to be in a location where your connection to the internet is strong. What a disappointment it would be if you were able to ask your favorite influencer a question only to discover that they can’t hear you… and your chance is lost for good! I watched this happen today, in fact.
UPDATE: I heard in one room that it’s actually better NOT to wear any headphones with a mic – that the sound is better when you speak from the phone’s own mic. Of course, the best sound is when you attach more sophisticated microphone setups to the phone. Remember, whether you wear headphones or not, make sure you are in a quiet room, especially if you expect to speak on stage.
- Don’t feel bad if, immediately after you finish your question on stage, you’re placed back into the audience. Many moderators like to hold the stage empty except for those about to speak.
- You’ll often be asked by the moderators to follow them, the speakers on stage, and to invite others to the room by hitting the plus sign at the bottom of the app.
Clubhouse app etiquette for moderators
I’ve also recognized moderators that seem to get more love than others in certain rooms. These are the practices that these highly regarded moderators provide for their speakers and for the room, in general:
- The moderators will introduce the upcoming speaker by reading the first three lines in his/her/their bio, and occasionally by picking out a fun fact also listed in the bio.
- The moderators will make a statement immediately after the speaker has completed speaking. This acknowledges that the speaker was heard, understood, and respected by that moderator. I can’t tell you the number of times that, upon completing their time on stage and turning off their mics, speakers have been left hanging with an awkward silence that I guarantee was noticed by all. This is quite uncomfortable for the person who just spoke and may prevent them from getting up on stage in future rooms.
- The moderators don’t leave the room. I’ve been in many of these big, lecture-style rooms that go on for many hours and, possibly days. What I’ve noticed is that, even though the person’s image is still on stage, it’s clear that they have stopped paying attention to the conversation. I was in a room the other night where the room went on for 12 hours (according to the main moderator, but I didn’t know this until several minutes into it) and I happened to come in at the last minute; when the moderator tried to hand over the mic to the other moderators (there were at least 6-10 of them), no-one responded! It was very awkward for him, and (in my humble opinion!) it made the other moderators look a wee bit lame! I felt like we were not important enough to hang around; as an audience member, speaker, or moderator, if I’m planning on leaving the room, I’ll either put myself in the audience then leave, or leave quietly from the stage. It feels like the priority of keeping the room open for hours or even days overrides the priority of being present for the other moderators, speakers, and audience members.
Opportunities for using the Clubhouse app
Here’s where the real magic happens inside Clubhouse. Depending on your purpose for being on the platform (and you’ll want to determine this early on, or you’ll definitely find yourself at 11pm asking “how could I possibly have been on here for 6 hours?”), you’ll find there are amazing opportunities here.
I’ve come up with the “4 Cs of Clubhouse” to serve as a reminder of the opportunities you’ll find inside:
It becomes clear almost immediately that the intent of the founders for this app is to make connections that you have not, or may have, otherwise, ever made.
When you hear someone’s voice, there’s an immediate ability to connect with (or repel!) them; you can sense their personalities, what their intentions are, their level of expertise, and more.
So, when you’re sharing the stage with them or listening to them from the audience, it feels like that connection happens faster than on any other social media platform. You’ll hear this time and again from many of the speakers.
As I’ve mentioned elsewhere in the article, the way to quickly be seen as an expert and attract the right potential clients/customers (if that’s your purpose) on and off Clubhouse is to create your own club. Once you create a club, you’ll then create rooms inside the club and you’ll be able to vary the topic. You’ll want to schedule regular times to meet inside the club. To apply for a club on Clubhouse, go here.
UPDATE: The founders have assured us that the process of creating (and being approved or rejected for) a club will now be expedited. Previous to this, it was taking weeks to be approved/rejected.
Whether you’re moderating a room or sharing the stage with others, when you’re able to provide value to others in the room, I mean GENUINELY help them without expecting anything in return, your reputation as providing top-notch content will quickly be recognized. You’ll soon be asked to co-moderate rooms or be invited onto the stage to share your expertise. If you’re seen as an expert after speaking on stage, the moderators will often make you a moderator for that room.
If your goal is to ultimately win over clients or customers, I did want to add “currency” in here to serve as a reminder that you may, indeed, build your business by being on Clubhouse. I’ve heard many members inside mention that they’ve made amazing deals just from connecting on this platform.
Observations and advice for using Clubhouse
- You’ll typically be given one invitation to bring someone else into the app. Be careful with this because you are “tied” to this person. If they get kicked out of the app, you may also get kicked off!
- You’ll gain invites through various means. Rumor has it that moderating and subsequently closing rooms and clubs, and inviting people into rooms may result in increases in invites. I noticed this for myself the day after I hosted a room. Once the app opens up to the general public, this will no longer matter.
- Be intentional with the people and clubs you follow, and which interests you select. You’ll hear this a lot… because it’s true. Your feed is determined by the people, interests, and clubs you follow on the app. These can all be edited and changed.
- The appeal of the app, at least for now in its beta release, is the fact that you need an invitation to join and all the rooms are in live mode only. The only way you’re allowed to record a meeting is by stating that you’re doing so in the room title. I have yet to see anyone do this as most attendees will not enter a room if they think they are being recorded. There is a strong desire to stay on the app for fear of missing out on a valuable conversation, the opportunity to speak to someone you admire, or get advice from experts. The “fear of missing out” (FOMO) is real for many.
- Take some time to check out various rooms. The more people, clubs, and topic interests you follow, the more rooms will show up in your corridor.
- Attend the Clubhouse founders’ townhall meeting weekly to get updates and advice on the app. As of this writing, they schedule those meetings on Sundays at noon EST. The founders are Paul Davison (@Paul) and Rohan Seth (@Rohan). Look for the title “CLUBHOUSE TOWNHALL” in the “UPCOMING FOR YOU” section located in the calendar icon at the top of your corridor.
- The founders also hold a “NEW USER ONBOARDING” meeting every Wednesday night at 9pm EST. This is a great place to get a first-hand tour around the app from the founders, themselves, as well as more tips and even a dedicated Q & A session where you can get up on stage and speak with the founders directly!
- Attend several rooms in audience mode only. Try to “read the room” like you would if you attended a live conference. There are definitely different types of rooms.
- You’ll soon come to know that no one knows everything about the app, including me (i.e. there are no Clubhouse experts except for the founders!); we’re all navigating and learning.
- You’ll notice a faint tan circle around any speaker that’s currently talking on stage – it’s located just outside their profile’s image.
- When you’re up on stage in listening mode (meaning, your mic is muted!), you may “clap” if you hear something one of the other speakers or moderators have said by quickly unmuting and muting your mic. Just don’t forget to leave the mic muted after clapping!
- When you plug in or connect your phone via Bluetooth to your headphones, you’ll be given a choice to just talk or use them for music. Choose the talking mode as it’s optimized for voice (I was incorrectly told initially that it was best to use music mode, which is meant for musicians and singers who attach equipment optimized for music).
- You’ll notice many people add a circle graphic to their profile picture (I have done that, too, notice the green image) to help you stand out more. Yes, there are people that have monetized this by offering awesome-looking graphics.
- Different room types – I’m sure you’ll find many more, but here’s what I’ve discovered so far:
- Lecture style large rooms with many moderators: These are rooms where you may find leaders in your industry giving out free advice that would normally cost $1,000s or $10,000s; and, you have many of them in the same room! Often, the hand-raising option is turned off until a handful of speakers have had their chance to ask questions. The moderators will intermittently turn on this feature allowing you a chance to get up on stage with these experts.
- Large rooms with fewer moderators, but more open to Q&A from more speakers, where the hand-raising option is NOT turned off.
- Smaller rooms with a handful of moderators: These tend to feel more intimate, have more open discussions, and allow for more opportunities to speak on stage. I tend to enjoy these as I feel a lot less intimidated and tend to get on stage more often. I hosted a room like this and plan to host more to help my ideal audience gain knowledge from our industry.
- Follow clubs that make sense for you – you’ll discover that any rooms created inside a club tend to be at the top of your corridor (feed). Eventually, you may be invited to join the club. Once you join, check out that particular club’s rules (located at the top of the club) – you may discover you can create a room inside that club, even if it’s not your own club. This is a good way to get used to moderating a room that may get a higher attendance rate than if you started the room without a club.
- Eventually, if you want to attract your own audience, you’ll want to apply for your own club. Check out the Clubhouse guide for more details.
- If you’d like to moderate a group, but you’re still not sure, you can always find others that would like to moderate with you. It gets easier with time.
- Just be yourself on the platform. Your voice will attract the right people to you.
- If you’d like to be notified when someone you follow is speaking, just hit the bell to the left of the word “following” after you follow them.
- Understand that not everyone will use the app ethically (in my opinion). I’ve heard some stories that others are charging people to get their invite, as well as charging people in large rooms to move ahead of the speaker’s line.
- Once room titles are set, they cannot be changed.
- You can schedule room events by clicking on the calendar icon at the top of your corridor, then clicking on the calendar icon with a + sign at the top right.
- If you allow notifications for the app, don’t be surprised if you start to receive dozens or more notifications during the day and even in the middle of the night. The amount of notifications is dependent on how many people, topic interests, and clubs you follow. There are several types of notifications – see the Clubhouse guide for those specific notifications.
- When you have a number or just a dot on your bell at the top of your corridor, when you click on it, you’ll see the notifications in a list. There are several types that you’ll quickly discover, such as scheduled room notifications, if someone has followed you, or if someone has pinged you into a room.
- ⚠️ CAUTION: The founders recently banned “follow for follow” rooms as well as banning the practice of adding a blue checkmark in your profile image. This occurred during a recent update.
Recent updates to the Clubhouse app
- There have been a few technical updates to the app (which happen often), such as faster loading times, bug fixes, options for moderators to have more control, ways to report trolls, and more. When the app updates, you’ll typically receive a notification the first time you load the app after the update. You can also always go back and check the updates by clicking on your smaller profile picture at the top right of the corridor, then click on the settings icon also at the top right. Once there, you can click on the “What’s New” link to see all of the updates.
- A feature I’m thrilled to see added is the ability to hide rooms you don’t want to see. To hide it, just swipe left-to-right.
- They have also noted that they are constantly trying to improve the algorithms. Since the app heavily favors creators (those who create rooms and clubs), they are going to reward those who create a club and moderate rooms often.
- I’ve noticed that I will gain followers each time I appear on stage to speak or right after speaking, even when I’m not a moderator of the room. In addition, it’s true that the more followers you have, the more likely that your rooms will attract a larger number of attendees since they will see the rooms you’re in or moderating in their feed (corridor).
- I have found that moderators who introduce attendees before asking them to open their mics while on stage tend to be well-received and appreciated for this introduction. I’ve talked with a few people that have had the same experience and enjoy it. It makes for a more welcoming experience. Again, see what your preference is if you decide to moderate a room.
If you’ve made it this far, welcome! Try not to feel overwhelmed with all of the information presented here. I guarantee, within 1-2 days of about an hour or two per day of navigating the Clubhouse app, you’ll have it figured out.
I just wanted to give you a head start so you won’t feel like a complete newbie! You’ll have a slight advantage over others that haven’t learned anything about the Clubhouse app.
Clubhouse app action items:
- Bookmark this article to refer back to it when needed. Updates will be added as changes are made to the app, or as more ideas are generated for maximizing the use of the app for your business. Understand changes will happen and possibly render some of this information outdated when changes do occur.
- Refer to the Clubhouse guide for more details and for all the updates as they roll in.
- Be intentional with whom you follow, what clubs you follow, and the interests you choose.
- Have fun and try not to stay up all night because, yes, it’s addicting! I’ve become much more intentional on what my goals are for using the app, which has allowed me to schedule the time I’m actually on it.
Many are saying that Clubhouse may be the next major social media platform due to its uniqueness as an audio-based app. What do you think, will you try out the new Clubhouse app? Let us know in the comments below.
Author Bio: Dr. Sandi Eveleth is a digital marketer that helps eye care professionals maximize profits with high-end patient specialties. If you would like a tour around Clubhouse, feel free to seek her out at @DrSandiEveleth and she’d be more than happy to give you a tour. You can also find Sandi here on LinkedIn.