Is Clubhouse a sustainable community building platform?
Around the world, community managers are considering the prospect of migrating their communities from older apps to newer and more sustainable community platforms. Clubhouse is one platform that has generated recent buzz thanks to its unique voice-based approach to community building.
For those who haven't yet encountered the Clubhouse craze, Clubhouse is an exclusive platform where users can create or join voice rooms, where you can talk with or listen to other users. Within a voice room, there are no images (aside from user avatars) or text posts, just users discussing a variety of community-driven topics. The app has recently gone viral thanks to its go-to-market strategy launching with celebrities, and its unique voice-only feature. While Clubhouse provides an exciting entry point into a new era of voice and video communication within a communal space, we explore whether it actually provides all the tools necessary to grow a thriving long-term online community?
What are the features of a sustainable community building platform?
Ideally, the platform you’re looking for should encourage organic growth. Your online community should show sustained engagement on a small scale before it reaches a larger member base. There may be challenges in the beginning and it may take time before a community takes on a true life of its own but one key thing to remember is that the total number of members in a community isn’t necessarily as important as the number of active and engaged members.
If the platform you have chosen has allowed you to successfully build a small community, then you should consider scaling and eventually monetizing. With an interesting community concept and the right tools at your disposal, you can turn your sustainable community into a business. For now, let’s take a look at which features can help get you there.
Focusing on engagement will strengthen brand loyalty, which will keep your community members active for a longer period of time. Whether it’s via chat threads, events, or other features, constructive dialogue results in increased engagement. An active health community that is enjoyable for its members and can also be potentially profitable.
A good community platform should not only allow you to manage your community from one simple dashboard but show also give you the right to the data you produce in your community in case you want to migrate it in the future. Data from within your community can also be used to help build and enhance the member experience, for example it can give managers detailed insights into members' interests and behaviors (trends), making it easier to provide more customized experiences. Data can also help you build comprehensive target market profiles for outreach to new potential members.
To improve your community internally, regular reports into your community’s performance, interactions, engagement, and shared content are necessary to cater your community to your members’ needs and to keep a proactive approach when growing your community.
An effective notification system keeps members engaged and managers alert to relevant updates. Instead of relying on email, managers should have the option to message their members within the platform. This keeps users inside the community, and interacting more with each other.
When it comes time to monetize your community, you need a platform that is safe to use. Online payments should be integrated securely, whether for paid memberships or ticketed community events.
Is Clubhouse a sustainable community building solution?
Clubhouse has proven to be an exciting app in the world of online networks. Celebrities and influencers rub shoulders with invite-only users in a new space that’s powered by dialogue. It can be great for making valuable connections, lending your skills and services to a project and sharing valuable advice and experiences.
That said, Clubhouse has its drawbacks when it comes to sustainable community building. Likened to a never-ending podcast, community managers should be aware of the technical limitations that can interfere with building a sustainable community.
For one, moderation tools are lacking for managers looking to build and grow online networks. In a statement released in October last year, Clubhouse noted that there had been “several intense conversations on topics of identity, ethnicity, gender, racism, and religion,” which in turn led to a number of serious incident reports. There were questions and concerns raised from the Clubhouse community about how the platform planned to scale safety and moderation. The statement detailed that the app “plan[s] to empower conversation hosts with better moderation tools as [they] grow.”
Features such as blocking, muting, in-room reporting, and finishing conversations have been introduced since then, yet more tools will be needed to ensure that Clubhouse can function as a safe community space. User reporting could still be more detailed and community guidelines should be accessible from every room.
There is also currently no true mechanism in place to identify and follow users based on location or interest. While it’s invite-only now, when the app opens to the public, members will need a better way to find the relevant people they want to follow. After all, connecting users with shared interests is key to nurturing an active and engaged community experience.
Most importantly, there are currently no features in place that allow you to monetize a community on Clubhouse. This is understandable, the platform is in its early days. However, many community mangers who already have thriving communities are readily seeking avenues to source revenue to sustain their community's growth. Ticketed events for exclusive talks with industry experts could be one way in which Clubhouse could easily help people make money on their platform.
There is also not much versatility in terms of content sharing, considering you cannot share non-voice content or collaborate on a project over a shared document. The platform is limited to vocal discussions, when many online communities are much more multifaceted than that. It would be hard to coordinate an entire event, including communication with admins and members, having to leave the app to use additional community management tools. For Clubhouse to become a more suitable community building platform, more communications features should be considered, such as the ability to send out announcements, emails, or newsletters through the app itself.
An alternative to Clubhouse that provides more sustainable community building features
When it comes to building a sustainable community over a long period of time, Panion offers a broad range of features that drive engagement and ensure successful growth. The platform stands out for its AI-driven matchmaking, which connects like-minded users according to their behaviors, interests and preferences.
Privacy is important when it comes to community building, and Panion has made sure that community managers can protect their privacy and information, as well as their members’. The platform does not request unnecessary personal data nor does it sell, rent, or lease personal data to third parties. There is also no advertising on the platform, with a focus on providing a safe space for purpose-driven communities that want to give their members choices around how they are notified and what data they want to share.
Panion boasts many unique features for managing and sustaining an online community in the long term. The platform offers community managers the tools to host online and offline events as well as spontaneous member-driven gatherings. Community managers and members can also dig deep into the searchable and filterable member directory, in order to find more meaningful and relevant connections. Foundational features like creating a community or inviting members are made easy, and community-wide messaging and message boards help you interact with your members and admins when coordinating events and projects. Voice rooms are soon to be introduced, adding another dimension to the already-rich community engagement experience.
Panion’s data and analytics dashboard helps community managers better understand the wants and needs of their community as it grows. This includes the option to track popular interests and your overall community health score, as well as identify the most engaged users to offer them more responsibilities. Community managers can therefore understand which of their engagement efforts work best and use that knowledge to guide their strategy moving forward.
When it comes to monetization, Panion has several plans in place that help community managers get the most from their online network. Membership fees allow community managers to charge their members for access to certain portions of their community. Meanwhile, ticketed events can be set up to strengthen the revenue streams that are needed to assure community sustainability.
Clubhouse is certainly an interesting platform if you want to explore a dynamic way to engage with an audience. Despite having some exciting selling points, time will tell if it can evolve into a true community management platform. Until then, you’ll have to sit tight and wait for that coveted invitation!
While you do, consider Panion as a sustainable community building solution. From starting your first community to engaging members and monetizing, it’s a platform that helps you build a thriving community every step of the way. To get a feel for the platform try joining another Panion community or even create one of your own.