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The surging audio-only app Clubhouse doesn’t have built-in tools for creators to make money yet, but influencers have already found a way to use it to boost their businesses.
They are landing brand deals by networking on the app.
Clubhouse allows its users to join “rooms” where moderators can host conversations and invite other people to join their stage. The app emerged in 2020 and is now valued at $1 billion. Within the app, there are niches for different interests and industries — and the influencer industry has its own thriving community.
Rooms titled “Instagram Secrets” or “How to work with brands” have popped up on the invite-only app, building a network of industry professionals like social-media managers, casting agents, brand executives, and influencers themselves. And during a time when in-person networking is out of the picture, Clubhouse has both filled a gap and offered something new for the creator economy.
Within these rooms, influencers are pitching themselves to marketers or simply chatting about their careers and interests. Then, they move those conversations off of Clubhouse and into DMs or emails to start talking business. Some have used Clubhouse to get hired for campaigns on other platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok.
Kiara Aguillon, an influencer-partnerships manager at the agency Digital Media Management, has turned encounters on the app into business relationships. Aguillon works with brands like Netflix and Hulu on finding social-media talent.
In the fall of 2020, Aguillon was prepping for a holiday season campaign and looking for “fresh talent that was passionate about entertainment.” She happened to pop into a room where influencers were chatting with other influencers, and one of those creators mentioned that her goal was to build more relationships with brands.
“So we got to talking offline,” Aguillon said. “I learned a little bit more her, the types of brands she was working with, what she was doing in addition to just brand partnerships.”
Aguillon started pitching the creator for a couple of campaigns and one came to life. And now she’s in talks to cast the creator in another.
Aguillon has also become a Clubhouse star herself with over 38,000 followers on the app.
Marketers are finding content creators using Clubhouse’s network
Aguillon is not the only marketer tapping into the network of creators on Clubhouse.
“Over the past couple of months, I’ve connected personally with around 30 or so influencers who I’ve been able to have conversations with, invite to join our influencer communities, and consider for upcoming partnerships,” said Lara von Linsowe-Wilson, an influencer-marketing manager at Her Campus Media.
For Her Campus campaigns, von Linsowe-Wilson looks for student creators or recent graduates. Clubhouse helps her find emerging creators in the space.
“I’ve actually been in a few Clubhouse rooms where I am able to get connected with student influencers who are maybe just getting their start,” von Linsowe-Wilson said. “Oftentimes they’re smaller, they’re looking to figure out how they can navigate this influencer space at all.”
Lindsay Fultz, SVP of partnerships at the influencer-marketing agency Whalar, actively keeps her eyes peeled for new and emerging talent to cast in campaigns whenever she’s on the app.
“When I’m in a room, I am looking to my left and looking to my right, or looking up and looking down, and looking at their bios,” Fultz said. “And then going to their Instagram and going to their Twitter.”
Recently, Fultz worked on a campaign for a major brand and of the 24 creators included in the campaign, six came from Clubhouse connections. The highest performing creator for the campaign was one of those six, Fultz added.
And Alexis DeCarvalho, a senior account executive at the influencer-marketing platform Fohr, has a growing folder on her desktop titled “Clubhouse.” In that folder, she keeps creators’ media kits and contact information that she’s met on Clubhouse so she can easily access them when an opportunity arises.
But in order to be noticed on Clubhouse, it’s important to be vocal and stand out, marketers told Insider. They added that creators can do so by having in-depth bios (which help marketers discover them in Clubhouse’s search bar), connecting via DM during a room or a day after, and sharing their media kits.
Influencers are pitching themselves in rooms and landing deals
On Clubhouse, influencers also have the rare chance to directly pitch these brand marketers live.
“I’ve hosted rooms where most of the panelists are brand managers and influencer-marketing managers, and they’ve connected, hired people that come up and ask questions and kind of introduce themselves,” said influencer Lissette Calveiro (56,000 Instagram followers). Calveiro is an active moderator on Clubhouse, where she has about 4,000 followers and founded the “Business of Influence” club.
Calveiro herself has also landed brand deals through Clubhouse.
While in a room, Calveiro realized the person who just asked a question was the influencer-marketing manager for Byte, a direct-to-consumer teeth straightening brand. Byte had been on Calveiro’s radar already and she had been thinking about reaching out. She then sent that Byte employee a DM on Instagram, which led to a partnership, Calveiro told Insider.
Clubhouse conversations have helped break down barriers when it comes to pitching brands and connecting with the right people, Calveiro added.
“You’re not just pitching the abyss of this company, you have to find the right person who’s going to then eventually hire you,” Calveiro said.
Influencers said the majority of the deals that have come out of Clubhouse conversations were for campaigns on Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube. Making money on Clubhouse itself isn’t easy because the app doesn’t have tools for it yet, though some users may advertise their own products in rooms (such as experts advertising masterclasses or ebooks) and funnel sales.
But Clubhouse is actively working to make it easier for creators to earn. The company announced that it was looking into a native “tipping” program that would pay hosts or moderators. And The New York Times reported that audio-focused agencies were emerging and dedicated to landing sponsorships for some of Clubhouse’s biggest stars.
Soon enough, brands will likely find their footing on the app, too. One brand recently asked Calveiro about her Clubhouse rates for hosting a sponsored room, and the influencer-marketing platform Izea already has rates for Clubhouse creators.
“Where people are, brands will follow,” DeCarvalho said.