There was a collective cheer among social media fans when the Clubhouse app recently went live, but that cheer was followed by a collective groan. Another social media account to manage?
Yes, there's a new platform on the block -- and real estate investors should get excited.
What is Clubhouse?
Clubhouse is an audio-only social media platform that is currently available to iPhone users (Android development is in the works). At any given time, there are hundreds of conversations going on around the world on a myriad of topics, ranging from entertainment to technology to business and entrepreneurship -- including real estate investing.
Some liken the new app to listening in on a telephone conversation but without the creep factor. Everyone who's talking on the app wants you to listen and even interact accordingly. There's an option to listen quietly or weigh in with a question or comment when the host unmutes you -- kind of like when someone calls into a radio show. Ever fancy yourself a talk show host? You can start your own room on Clubhouse and start talking.
How does it work?
Right now, Clubhouse is by invitation only -- you've got to know someone who's already "in" and get an invitation texted to you. The exclusive nature of the platform got a lot of buzz, which was exactly the point. The word has spread, and now more and more iPhone users are Clubhouse members. Need an invite? Ask your friends and family -- chances are good someone you know can get you in.
Once you're in and open your account, you can follow people and indicate your interests so you can be alerted to conversation "rooms" and when they're open. Whether you join a room or start one of your own, there are many conversations on any manner of topics going on around the clock and around the world. You can catch a conversation on something every time you open the app, plus you can explore upcoming rooms and add them to your calendar to be alerted when it's time to tune in.
Why real estate investors should join
Clubhouse aims to be a networking space in real time. But it's more than just connecting with other like-minded real estate investors -- deals can be made and already are.
Case in point: Space Tank is a Clubhouse room hosted by Beth Azor, a South Florida CRE owner/developer. (Find her on the app at @bethazor.) Azor started the room to give small-business owners the chance to pitch landlords in the hopes of getting pop-up rental space for little or even no money; think of it as Shark Tank for commercial real estate investing. Some landlords are small, while others are quite big -- Simon Property Group (NYSE: SPG), Tanger Factory Outlet Centers (NYSE: SKT), and Kimco (NYSE: KIM) are among the group -- making this a huge opportunity for business owners.
Not prepared to make that sort of deal with your own commercial property? No problem. There's plenty of other opportunities for you to network in Clubhouse. Simply type the words "real estate investing" in the search box on the app, and you'll find a number of rooms and related "clubs" that are already racking up thousands of members.
Now, thousands might not seem like much in comparison to the millions of people who are on TikTok and Instagram, and that's exactly the point. Clubhouse is in its infancy, and you could get in on the ground floor of the next big thing in social media.
Is Clubhouse really worth your time?
In a word, yes. Clubhouse is worth checking out for its networking opportunities. At this early stage of the game, you also have the chance of growing your own influence on a new platform, like Azor is doing.
Plus, Clubhouse is easy to use with minimal hassle. Apps like Instagram and TikTok are great for investors to show listings and create short videos sharing real estate investing tips and strategies. But they require getting your properties -- not to mention yourself -- ready for the camera. Podcasting is another option that takes out the visual component, but there's the sound equipment, editing, and uploading of a finished podcast to deal with. Clubhouse takes all of that out of the equation -- all you need is your iPhone.
The bottom line
Social media marketing is a powerful tool in real estate investing. And when a new platform makes its debut, you owe it to yourself to spend some time on it. Clubhouse might not be the right fit for your needs -- or it could be the very thing that takes your business to the next level.