Clubhouse has been in the news for a while now, especially since the launch of its Beta for supposedly two main reasons:
1.) It has provided people access to celebrities and their rooms, people who one could only think about seeing photos and pictures of on Instagram. Clubhouse already has a number of celebrities on its members’ list and many more are eager to join.
2.) Clubhouse has put to use a very unique aspect of our everyday conversations, our voices, and is based on the idea that people can still have discussions in which everyone can interact and contribute their share.
Think of Clubhouse like an actual club we used to have in the 90s. No not the dance clubs in the basements of London but the clubhouses and tea rooms where people visited for their evening drink, maybe beer or coffee and the buzz of mini-round table conferences could be heard right from the entrance.
Silicon Valley is particularly excited about this Beta. With the project headed by the seasoned entrepreneur Paul Davison and Google-experienced Rohan Seth, the idea of Clubhouse gained sincere support from the masses and managed to gather an investment of $100 million only during its on-going Beta launch.
Clubhouse promises to introduce a novel idea of ‘stop watching and reading content on social media platforms’. It is about hearing it and feeling what your fellow has to say, then perhaps if you find the chance, share your views and be a part of a healthy discussion. Let’s call it something like an open podcast. There may be a host in the podcast and a guest but you do not just get to listen to their views. You can ask the guest and even have a discussion with them.
Bringing such a novel idea to the table is what is making Silicon Valley ecstatic and people try like crazy to get their hands on the Beta, though it is still limited to iPhone users and can only be joined via an invitation for now.
The world of social media is very competitive and companies are looking for taking a lead on each other regarding the market acquisition and user base. While Clubhouse still remains in the Beta, there will be ones who would want to complete it.
We will explain all that you need to know to make your own Clubhouse-like app so buckle up because you are in for a thrilling ride.
Decide on what do you want the users to do with your ad or the other way around, what should your app be able to do for your users. Do want to make something more like a private chat room or would like to converge your focus on hosting large podcasts and open interactive sessions?
This will allow you to assess what sort of audience you are targeting, your plus and pain points and how do you rank on top of other alternatives in the market. Keeping these things in mind, formulate your strategy around the prime focus of your company and your ideology to achieve it.
The business model essentially means the way a company is going to operate and eventually make profits. These are the methods that companies use to make money by selling their offerings.
When it comes to social media platforms or any software for that sake, there are 3 popular business models and 1 unique model for Clubhouse-like apps:
a.) You monetize your product such that users have to pay a one-time purchase amount for your app.
b.) It can be a subscription-based app where you charge a monthly, quarterly, or annual subscription for the opportunities that you are offering.
c.) Your app can be a platform for digital marketing and you charge companies to get the word out about their products.
d.) You are offering your customers an opportunity to participate and hear from top-of-the-industry people. While it is possible that you can offer free private rooms for friends and mates, you can have paid subscriptions or ‘seminar fees’ for people above a certain number of fan-following. The celebrity and the company share the fees and it’s a win-win.
Depending upon what business model you choose, you should formulate a business plan that points out some key milestones you need to achieve and how you are going to manage it. The business plan will include key assumptions, targets and your strategy to achieve your targets.
Business plans are designed to be followed but if you can’t subject to circumstances, you can always make changes. It is nothing written in stone.
As we move down the lane, we are digging deep into the specifics and the approach becomes more precise. Following are the features you would want to include in your app:
Clubhouse offers to create rooms both private and public that people can join. So that is a must and the primary most thing.
Your Clubhouse-killer should be able to define roles in a chat room. People can be designated as hosts, guests, moderators, participants, speakers and so. This will help in managing the chat room and people can talk and discuss in a more organized way.
Since your Clubhouse-like app will use speech as a medium of communication, there are possibilities of crosstalk. This can be a pretty messy thing to handle. Now you want to make sure that one person speaks at a time and the chat room does not become a fish market while debating on a sensitive topic.
One feature can be that all participants are muted and only a moderator can allow someone to speak. Or you can integrate an AI-based feature that distinguishes between voices and provides everyone a fair opportunity to talk in turns.
Payment gateways may be another integration if you are making your app paid or you have fess for participation in seminars. Secure gateways like Amazon Payment, WePay, PayPal, Braintree and Stripe become a necessity.
Polls and surveys can be another important tool in large chat rooms that can allow participants to share their opinions discretely on the topic of discussion.
Minutes – No, not the minutes on your SIM card but the ones taken during a meeting. In official meetings, minutes are a must and a similar feature can be a part of your Clubhouse rival. Now it is up to you if you want someone to write the minutes as in any official meeting or you implement an AI software that understands what the users are saying and record it in form of summarized mini-messages. Who knows, when you or your user may need to refer back to their conversations.
Some might consider it a risk to their privacy but you can always include it as an option that a user can turn On or Off.
Any app needs three primary components to run successfully:
I.) The UI/UX design
II.) The Frontend
III.) The Backend
i.) The UI/UX Design
The user interface design is important because that is what the user sees and experiences. He has no knowledge about the code that runs to bring it all to life, no matter however marvelously written it may be. So, it is important to have a specially designed clean and seamless UI design.
Develop similar but specialized designs for your website and mobile application and enable them to integrate with each other for better convenience. Think about how will a user approach your app and adjust the location of features accordingly to avoid unnecessary menu scrolls.
ii.) The Frontend
The application should have a well-equipped frontend that allows facilities like sign up from Facebook and Google and can link accounts. Functionalities like mute/unmute, noise reduction, and joining/leaving chatrooms should be conveniently integrated that provides a hassle-free, fast and seamless experience.
Your app should be compatible with each platform you use it for. It may be on an iOS or an Android or any other OS, it should be able to interact with the system easily. The users might want to multitask so it may be useful to enable the app to run while other apps are opened and closed on the device.
iii.) The Backend
The backend development is very important because your data centers and servers will have tons of data coming in and flowing out every second. This needs to be handled effectively because this can result in stuck conversations or latency problems.
Let’s take a page from the books of Zoom that implement a distributed architecture with data centers around the world. Multimedia routing and multi-media encoding take the stress off the devices so every user does not need to have an iPhone 12 Pro Max for a good experience.
There have been incidents of hate speech and harassment in Clubhouse chatrooms that have targeted celebrities in chatrooms but somehow there was no opportunity to report any breach of community guidelines.
This created a completely helpless situation for the victims that resulted in bringing ill-fame to the app as well. Learning to form the mistakes that Clubhouse made in the Beta, you should pay prime importance to community guidelines from the very start before it is even open for the Beta.
You do not want to get bad media all over without even getting started.
Security of information as well as the user data has become increasingly important in recent times. Protecting your service from any unwarranted intrusions is important so encryptions techniques and restrictions are crucial part of your app.
‘Data is the new oil’ is a very common phrase in the tech world and anyone developing any type of app especially social media platforms should be mindful of it.
Every room will be a hub of immense amounts of incoming data about the user identity as well as other demographic information. All these app analytics are very useful to research your users and understand how they use your app.
This will be further useful if your app runs ads as a business model. The marketers on your platform will be able to precisely target their audience and improve the company’s revenues.
Letting people know about your app is important because they will use it only once they know that it exists. Once you have done the developmental bits right, a robust and effective marketing strategy is important to ensure that your investment reaps results.
Invest in building your image around your core features especially the convenience of simply speaking like in a face-to-face conversation. The hassle-free experience without the need to type or being glued to the app is what users will prefer and that can be the center of your marketing campaigns.
The clubhouse is still in its Beta and this is an excellent opportunity for new players to penetrate the market while they can. Think about the ease your app will offer and take inspiration from how Clubhouse made it big so quickly and you will be in profits in no time.
Developing and maintaining a social media platform comes with a great ton of responsibility for the company and the developers. Make sure that you have the right people and make the right decisions.
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