How entrepreneurs are growing a following on ClubhouseApr 03, 2021
Over 3.6 billion people are on social media platforms in 2021. As the COVID-19 pandemic caused worldwide lockdowns and ensuing social distancing, we saw a further rise in social media usage. Online platforms are allowing us to connect and to fill up our otherwise-empty social calendars.
Enter Clubhouse, an invite-only audio-based social media app. It is the newest and most highly-talked-about social media platform. Clubhouse was launched at the beginning of the pandemic, in April of 2020, and was already valuated at 100 million USD before the summer, rising to 1 billion USD by the end of January 2021.
A billion-dollar valuation for a social media app that is less than a year old is impressive. In comparison, it took Facebook over a year to approach a similar valuation and it took Twitter over 3 years.
Building a following on Clubhouse is unlike building it on other social media platforms. There is no content distribution option. No feed. Nothing to post. The only way to create content on Clubhouse is by participating in live conversations. Unless you are already well-known, the size of the following you can build on Clubhouse is directly correlated to the amount of time you spend on the platform – not only by listening but by participating, talking and engaging with others.
As entrepreneurs, we like KPI’s and enjoy streamlining and speeding up processes. I spoke to a few fellow entrepreneurs to uncover what they do to grow their following on Clubhouse when organic growth (hosting rooms, being on stages, asking or answering questions) does not feel like it’s enough.
Here are 4 “hacks” I learned from them:
Yes, it is a thing on Clubhouse already. Platform founders have made it known that they will be cleaning up the app and removing the bots. However, whether they actually do remains to be seen.
One of the people I spoke with bought 200 bot-followers for $40 – but mentioned he has since uncovered cheaper options. He did it as an experiment to test it out and was fascinated when looking at the accounts his bots followed. Easy way of finding out others who are buying a following!
Being on stage of a busy room gives you instant clout and means people are following you even when you are not speaking. Staying on a stage without participating, with the sole aim of collecting followers, is called “parking.”
In one of the rooms I observed for 2 hours, there were 12 people on stage but only 4 participated by speaking – a “parking” strategy at its finest.
Parking grows your following even when you sleep. Being parked on two stages through two separate devices 2X’s the growth. Some growth strategies are more intense than others; being logged in on 2 devices all day and night may fall into that category.
I was fascinated to find out about silent rooms. These are rooms where no conversation happens. The goal is to look at each other’s bios and follow each other. In other words: there are rooms strictly designed to gain followers without having to…well, do anything.
Some of these tactics are against the app’s Terms & Conditions; some are fair game. If numbers matter to you, then you will likely be tempted to hack your way through the app. But consider this: Clubhouse is arguably the most authenticity-rooted social media app we have. Instagram content can be photoshopped. LinkedIn content can be co-created. Twitter feeds can be based entirely on an individual’s curation. TikTok can be heavily filtered, edited, cut up and is equally subject to algorithmic biases.
On Clubhouse, it is you and your voice, unfiltered and unaltered. Your thought leadership (or lack thereof) will be on full display the very moment you stop hacking and start speaking. And then the question becomes: how will listeners perceive your personal brand once they stop looking at the size of your following and start listening to the depth of your expertise?
Marina Byezhanova is the co-founder of Brand of a Leader. She has given talks across the globe & has been featured in media outlets including Forbes, Inc., Success Magazine, Yahoo!, the Financial Post & more.
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