Four years ago, Tiffany Aliche attended a session at #FinCon14 in New Orleans. Taught by Ellie Kay, the session was called “Making 6 Figures as a Brand Ambassador.” It was the one session she attended that year because it was her dream to work as a Brand Ambassador in the personal finance space.
Fast forward to 2019 where Aliche has a virtual community of over 700,000 Dream Catchers, women from 100+ countries. Her financial advice has also been featured in The New York Times, the TODAY show, Good Morning America, CNN, Time, and Forbes, and she is a regular guest on The Real.
Aliche is also one of the most active Brand Ambassadors in the personal finance space. How did she do it? We sat down with her to talk about just that.
What is a Brand Ambassador?
A Brand Ambassador, also known as a spokesperson or influencer marketing, means a brand has reached out to an influencer and will pay them to speak on behalf of the brand.
They want to you to represent them because they find somehow that you are in alignment with a message they want to tell their audience or they want to reach out to your audience. –Tiffany Aliche
This could be any sponsored content like a commercial, a tweet, an Instagram post, an email, a radio interview or a blog post. At the root, it is a relationship an influencer forms with a brand to represent them.
Brand Ambassador tip: Do the work building your personal brand
Aliche heard Kay’s session at #FinCon14 and asked Kay for her feedback. Kay mentored Aliche and told her key words to look out for when a brand is reaching out, such as “We love the work you are doing,” and, “We want to see what a partnership might look like.”
At the time, Aliche had around 3k-4k followers. Her brand was basic financial education and the community. She said she had to do the work for audience development and growth.
Aliche then prioritized serving her community, pouring into them and making sure they were okay.
Her first spokesperson email, with the verbiage Kay mentioned, showed up shortly after.
Brand Ambassador tip: Get an agent
According to Aliche, navigating with brands alone can be difficult for 3 reasons:
- An influencer could unknowingly lock into an exclusivity contract. This means they could not work with any other brands for up to a year. It is important to have someone familiar with this space to look over a contract to make sure it serves the best interests of the influencer.
- A good agent will negotiate their cut. Often, an agent will take 15%-20% as their fee. This might be a deterrent for an influencer to get an agent. Aliche says to keep in mind that a good agent will negotiate for a higher price, and it will pay their fee at no loss to their client. Sometimes a good agent can double or triple the ask.
- The talent will get to be the “Good Cop.” Having an advocate negotiating and fighting for higher rates allows the talent to give off positive vibes. Aliche called it, “The Happy Talent.” The agent will then be the “Bulldog” who comes in and negotiates on their behalf. This also helps an agent brag on their client, instead of a talent having to brag on themselves.
Through the mentorship Kay provided, Aliche asked Kay to represent her on her contracts. Together, they have negotiated hundreds of thousands of dollars in influencer marketing work.
Brand Ambassador tip: Saying no
When it comes to who Aliche chooses to work with, she has said no more than she has said yes.
Her golden rule used to be that she would not share a product or service if she would not personally use it. That rule changed after a phone call she got from her baby sister, Lisa.
Aliche sent out an email recommending a product of a client. Lisa called her saying she signed up for the product The Budgetnista had recommended. Aliche said her heart stopped.
Though the financial product she had recommended was something Aliche would use herself, she realized she was nervous at the idea of her younger sister using it. She also realized that she was more conservative with her baby sister.
From then on, Aliche changed her “Golden Rule” to the “Lisa Rule”–if she would not be comfortable sharing a company or product with Lisa, she would not share it with her audience.
There is no amount of money you could pay me that is worth selling out my audience. –Tiffany Aliche
Brand Ambassador tip: Determining rates
In the beginning of becoming a spokesperson, Aliche relied heavily on her agent to determine her rates. Now, she has reached a level where she sets her own rates to charge what she is worth.
Aliche is at a point where she can’t say yes to everything that comes in.
If you are asking me to set aside time from something else I’m working on or asking me to leave home and my family, then you are going to pay a good amount of money. –Tiffany Aliche
Brand Ambassadorship is only one stream of income for Aliche. She makes enough taking care of The Budgetnista and the Dream Catchers, that she doesn’t have to say yes to working with every brand.
Each year, Tiffany increases her rates based on the value of what her time is now.
Brand Ambassador opportunities abound
Influencer marketing comes in many different forms. The work on social media is often very obvious. Even then, companies may try to get more work for free, like a tweet or blog post. This goes back to the importance of having an agent.
However, there may also be parts of an influencer’s brand that can be considered for sponsorship. For example, Aliche has nation-wide chapters of her Dream Catchers. Companies and brands have sponsored entire chapters. This benefits both the chapter and Aliche.
Aliche also says sending an email to her 500k email list would count as Brand Ambassador work. If a company is hiring her as a spokesperson, she would never send an email for free.
A third example is her annual Live Richer Challenge she hosts every year. Brands have sponsored these as spokesperson work.
Again, a Brand Ambassador means a brand will pay them to speak on behalf of the brand. For any message delivered in any way.
Brand Ambassador tip: Know your numbers
If Aliche could go back and tell her younger #FinCon14 self one thing, it would be, “Know your numbers.” A brand will want to know the audience metrics if they’re paying an influencer.
Aliche gathers data about her audience every year via her Live Richer Challenge. Once she has the information about their demographics, she creates a one sheet detailing all those numbers. She suggests using a tool like Canva to present the information in a professional design.
No matter how small you think they are, get your numbers together and be able to present them to a brand. –Tiffany Aliche
Aliche’s one sheet outlines social media followers, average open rate on her email, click through rate of her links, visitors to her website, etc. These numbers tell a brand 2 things they are looking for:
- Who the influencer is going to attract
- If they are going to be effective as their Brand Ambassador
To listen to the full interview with Tiffany Aliche, listen to episode 69 of the Money & Media podcast. Also on this episode, Joe Saul-Sehy has an exclusive interview with freelancer and entrepreneur Cat Alford, who will present a Big Idea Talk on Saturday afternoon at #FinCon19.
Catherine Alford is a nationally recognized family finance expert who partners with top brands to educate, encourage, and inspire people to take on a more active financial role in their families.
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