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Clayton Rannard of Collabstr: Five Ways For Influencers To Monetize Their Brand

Sell sponsored posts. The most common way to monetize your brand is to sell sponsored posts on your social media. Whether Instagram, TikTok or Youtube, brands always look for opportunities to get in front of new audiences.

As part of my series about “How Influencers Can Monetize Their Brand”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Clayton Rannard.

Clayton is the Co-founder of Collabstr, a marketplace where brands can find Instagram, TikTok, and Youtube Influencers. He is an Entrepreneur and Engineer experienced in creating software for the influencer industry.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit more. What is your “backstory”? What brought you to this point in your career?

I have always had an entrepreneurial mindset. In elementary school, I started a finger skateboard business where I would make and sell custom wooden fingerboards to other students. I remember how much I enjoyed running all aspects of the “business”. From that point on, I think I subconsciously knew that I wanted to be an Entrepreneur.

In university, I studied computer science. During that time, I also met my Co-founder Kyle. Learning how to code opened up my opportunities for starting a business. I now had what felt like a magical power: I could create something useful from scratch using just my brain and laptop. Before Collabstr, me and Kyle worked together on many ventures. Our most successful one was a software we created to audit anyone’s Instagram account for fake followers and engagement. This tool was our first experience in the influencer marketing industry and ultimately, it inspired us to create Collabstr.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you in the course of your career?

I remember the night we launched our Instagram audit tool. We made a post on Reddit and went to bed. We woke up that next morning to see that over 10,000 audits had been run in 7 hours! Needless to say, our server bill was extremely high that month. That moment when we realized we should put up a paywall and monetize the tool.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I’ve always felt good about providing a way for people to make extra money. Whether it’s a student making some extra side income posting on their TikTok, or a mom blogger on Instagram wanting to monetize her influence. It feels especially great doing that during tough times like the ones we are in right now.

You have been blessed with great success in a career path that many have attempted, but eventually gave up on. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path but know that their dreams might be dashed?

You need to enjoy the process. Like most entrepreneurs will tell you, there have been countless times where I wanted to give up. The only thing that has prevented me from doing so, is my natural desire to keep working on what I am passionate about. While you may have moments, days, or weeks where you feel like giving up, if you enjoy what you are doing, you will push through those times.

None of us can achieve success without a bit of help along the way. Is there a particular person who made a profound difference in your life to whom you are grateful? Can you share a story?

My friend and Co-founder Kyle. When you start a business, you face so many challenges and struggles, so having someone there with you for the ride is needed. Through our many ventures and experiences together, we both helped push one another to where we are today.

So what are the most exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

Definitely Collabstr.com. It’s an open marketplace where brands can find Instagram, TikTok, and Youtube influencers to collaborate with. Most influencer platforms charge thousands of dollars per month and require yearly commitments. For most businesses, this is inaccessible. We make influencer marketing, and the tedious process of finding influencers, simple and accessible to any brand of any budget. Cumbersome tasks, like payment between the brand and influencer, are handled by us. Making both parties are always protected.

What are your “Top Five Ways That Influencers Can Monetize Their Brand”. (Please share a story or example for each.)

1. Sell sponsored posts. The most common way to monetize your brand is to sell sponsored posts on your social media. Whether Instagram, TikTok or Youtube, brands always look for opportunities to get in front of new audiences.

2. User-Generated Content. UGC is a great way to make money without selling ads. You already create content, so why not using those skills to do the same for brands? With customer-oriented businesses on the rise, brands are always interested in finding UGC they can use and promote.

3. Sell your own products. You have built a following that is interested in you. Whether you have a business, you create art, or sell merch, you can make money from selling your products and creations to your own audience.

4. Referral links. A great way to earn passive income is through referral links. On Youtube, you usually see this with Amazon referral links to products used in the video. Tools like Linktree make it super easy to integrate links on other platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Moreover, most medium-large brands have a referral program in place that you can apply to on their website or by reaching out.

5. Join an influencer platform. This is a great way to maximize your chances of landing brand deals. As an influencer, you want to be as widely discoverable by brands as possible. Also, it usually requires no extra effort from you once you are on.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I would love to see coding be taught more in high school. Technology and software are becoming more and more prevalent, yet so many still don’t get the chance to understand the opportunities they offer. A goal of mine is to return to my high school and help teach the next generation of developers.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this. :-)

I’d love to meet Justin Kan. I really enjoy watching his content and hearing his outlook on the journey of building a company. He is very transparent and real with the highs and lows of building his video platform Twitch, which I find helpful and motivating being in a similar position.

What is the best way our readers can follow your work online?

I am most active on my Twitter, @clxytn (https://twitter.com/clxytn). I regularly post about our projects at Collabstr and I always look out for comments and reviews!

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In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis is an active mother of three as well as a designer, founder, social media expert, and philanthropist.

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