Mercedes-Benz and Casey Neistat – Influencer Marketing done right

April 29, 2016 2:45 pm Published by

*This post was written by Ruan Fourie.


When we think of Mercedes-Benz we think of luxury and the high life. Casey Neistat is a YouTuber and he will happily admit that neither luxury or the high life is part of what he does. How does a luxury car brand like Mercedes and Neistat end up working on an advertising project?

Two words: Influencer Marketing

As other digital marketing efforts are becoming less and less effective, brands want to reach audiences that are engaged. Influencer Marketing is a great way of doing this, but sometimes the brand restricts influencers to what can or can not be done.

Problem is: Influencers know their audience best.

In a way it’s similar to how Hollywood works. Creatives create something for an audience, then producers, the production studio and network executives apply changes as they see fit, because they are, after all, fronting the bill.

Too many cooks really do spoil the broth, especially when the most vocal cooks don’t know what the people in the restuarant want to eat.

Mercedes-Benz have had multiple commercials for many cars over the years and most of these commercials cater to the same audience: High LSM males. If you’re in advertising you’ll know that target market well!

Mercedes commercials look fantastic, but for most of us it just leaves us wishing we could actually afford one of those beautiful luxury cars. The marketing team at Mercedes realised this, and so set out to reach a new audience – but to do this they had to try something they hadn’t done before.

Casey Neistat - Mercedes Benz CLA

This new audience is not the usual target – they are people like you and me, people like Casey Neistat, people who just want to have fun, people that Mercedes-Benz don’t really understand. This can be a problem, for any marketing team. Luckily the solution is obvious. Just find someone who understands the audience and let them create – no strings attached.

Casey Neistat stepped up to the plate and Mercedes-Benz armed him with the new CLA Class and bags full of money. Their instructions to Casey? Nothing.

“There’s a huge insecurity on my part that my audience might perceive this as: this is something a company is directing, or this is a company that wants to be something else, or this is something that a company is pushing in a certain direction.” said Neistat about his fears when taking on this project.

Right from day one, Neistat and his team did not hide a thing from their audience. They made a four-part video series to help showcase their process and the production of the CLA Class commercial. Like any good influencer, Neistat had all cards on the table where his audience could see them.

The resulting commercial is probably the best commercial that has even been made for Mercedes-Benz. Instead of making you feel like you need to earn more, the commercial makes you feel like you want to have fun.

It’s because of this honesty that influencers have with their audience, that there is a different type of connection. A connection that can change behaviour and influence purchasing decisions.

Casey Neistat skateboarding behind Merceds CLA

The audience also want to support the influencer, especially if branded content is not forced on them under false pretenses. Even though content might be paid for or sponsored, the audience will not mind if the content has been created for them. In fact, in most cases the audience will support the brand, because the brand supports the influencer.

This shows us that trust between brand and influencer is key. 

It’s only natural for a brand to be concerned about what will happen to their brand when placed in the hands of an influencer. Influencer Marketing is the future of marketing, but it will be critical for brands to identify influencers that understand branding and marketing as well as they understand their audience.

A real influencer builds his own audience using branding and marketing skills. If a brand can trust an influencer, and give them the creative freedom they deserve, not only will the campaign be a success but a mutually beneficial relationship will blossom between the two parties.

Once a mutually beneficial working relationship is created between brand and influencer, the influencer becomes a brand ambassador for life – and that is more valuable than any other form of media a brand can buy.


Webfluential is a global Influencer Marketing platform which provides the smartest marketing technology for brands to connect to social influencers. The platform makes it easy for marketers to create, manage and track campaigns with credible influencers and provides influencers with the tools to market their services and monetise their audience.

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Influencer best practice – Branded content on Facebook and Google

April 19, 2016 11:01 am Published by

Influencer Marketing guidelines toward branded or sponsored content has recently been addressed by both Google and Facebook. As an Influencer, we advise familiarising yourself with recent updates made to the branded posting guidelines issues by these two major networks.


We’ve summarized the updates below for our community of influencers to read. At Webfluential we pride ourselves for being in the forefront of this growing industry, and therefore want to make sure we communicate all the rules and guidelines as they come into play.

Google guidelines for bloggers

In a blog post released on the Webmaster Central blog Google advises bloggers to add the nofollow tag to links that were created in exchange for goods or services, stating that these links are against the Google guidelines on link schemes.

“Influencer engagement isn’t necessarily about receiving links but more about reaching the audience of a particular blogger or online ‘personality’,” says Henry Ellis, head of SEO agency Tamar.

There has been speculation on how Google can determine the difference between an organic link and a link that has been placed in exchange for goods or services. Nonetheless it would be advisable for all marketers and influencers to familiarise themselves with Google’s guidelines on the matter.

Top Tip from Webfluential:

Use the nofollow tag on links in your blog posts about brands, and disclaim to your audience that content is sponsored in a note at the end of your post, be that on social or native channels.

Facebook updates Branded Content Policy

Facebook used to prohibit third party advertisements on Facebook pages without their prior permission. Branded content will however be allowed since a new update to branded content policies was announced on 8 April, also in a blog post: “Today we’re updating our branded content policy to enable verified Pages to share branded content on Facebook.”

If you want a refresher on the Facebook branded content policies, you can read all about it here.


Both announcements by Google and Facebook are clear indicators that Influencer Marketing is on the rise. We live in an exciting era, but in order for us all to move forward together and produce the best content for brands that honour the platforms the content is created for, we must be sure we’re keeping in line with the rules and regulations that surround our Influencer Marketing trade.




Webfluential is a global Influencer Marketing platform which provides the smartest marketing technology for brands to connect to social influencers. The platform makes it easy for marketers to create, manage and track campaigns with credible influencers and provides influencers with the tools to market their services and monetise their audience.

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How To Make Money Online: an influencer’s guide

April 14, 2016 10:00 am Published by

As Webfluential grows we want to continue to empower all our influencers and give them the means to monetize their blogs/ social channels. This month we feature a few of our top business bloggers/ influencers in an Q&A. They have all mastered the art of being successful online entrepreneurs, which is why we’re asking their advice on how other influencers can grow and become successful online.

Here’s what they had to say:


G_b0X1eDJonathan Pollinger, the creator of Intranet Future writes about how businesses can use social media to achieve their objectives, even without a budget. When it comes to social media it’s safe to say Jonathan knows it all.


Q: What’s your advice to influencers who would like to turn their blog/ social channels into a successful online business?

A: Get active! Publish blogs; post and tweet regularly and show a genuine interest in your community by engaging with them. Follow, like, share, comment but above all, talk with them.



Q: How can influencers make their blogs more appealing to marketers?

A: Publish and post original thinking and or practical advice and tips. Too many marketing blogs and posts are regurgitated news and comments or waffle. Provide value.


Q: What are your top three do’s and don’ts for influencers?

A: Do

  1. Plan and schedule your posts and tweets.
  2. Listen and find out what your community values.
  3. Engage with your readers and take a genuine interest in them.


  1. Just be online. Get out and meet your community face-to-face as well, through talks and networking.
  2. Steal other people’s thoughts and ideas.
  3. Assume that everything you write and comment on is correct. Do your own research.



George Honiball  is an entrepreneur consultant with 20 years experience in business consulting and line management. He shares his extensive knowledge of both social media and business on Twitter.

Q: What’s your advice to influencers who would like to turn their blog/ social channels into a successful online business?

A: Keep your content relevant, interesting and establish yourself as a subject matter expert.

Make sure that you post content at the right time! Thursdays and Fridays are generally quiet, while Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the best. Know your followers and engage with them online. Encourage feedback and respond publically to questions or comments.

Don’t be scared to ask for help. It’s better to learn from somebody else’s mistakes. Surround yourself with the right influencers. Don’t expect and demand favours without giving anything back. Do a lot of research before committing to specific products/services, providers or platforms.

Know who your competitors are. Don’t be naïve and think you are the first person to have come up with this idea. Look at their content, website and social media accounts. Buyers are becoming far more selective. They no longer respond to spam with special offers that are not relevant to them (“pray and spray”).


Q: How can influencers make their blogs more appealing to marketers?

A: Don’t rehash other people’s work. Create your own fresh, new content. It’s important to have an opinion. Pick sides but also understand other perspectives. Appreciate that there are many views but make clear what you stand for and believe. Be able to explain “why” eloquently and confidently.

Have fun and enjoy what you are communicating. If it’s boring to write it will be worse to read. Use practical examples of your life lessons. Don’t talk down but make your followers discover with you.

Give your followers a reason to come back regularly. Post different formats of content.  Write but also post pictures and even make videos. The quality does not need to be perfect.

Be real. If you say something that offends or is incorrect, admit your mistakes and rectify the matter. Acknowledge other views and opinions and be prepared to give as well. Forge mutually beneficial relationships rather than dictating, believing that you are the only source of all wisdom and knowledge. This turns people off immediately.


Q: What are your top three do’s and don’ts for influencers?


  1. Have fun! Be positive, optimistic, friendly and polite, even to your followers that disagree, criticise or judge you. Other followers will watch how you handle them to see what you are made of. You cannot hide anywhere on social media.
  2. Interact regularly with followers publically. Use humour but never try to be sarcastic.
  3. Be a responsible social media citizen. Follow back, respond to messages/emails. Try to be a solution and not a problem. Leave a positive legacy and try to make more friends than enemies.


  1. Be creepy. Disclosing too much or sharing very personal information can alienate rather than endear you to your followers.
  2. Be too serious. You must be able to laugh at yourself and acknowledge your weaknesses and faults. People like to see a real, fully rounded person with faults.
  3. Sell too obviously! If you are desperate to make that commission or close that final deal for the month you can be viewed as too desperate. You should only try to sell something that will help to solve another person’s problems.



The Money Shed is one of the UK’s largest community, website/blog dedicated to earning money from home. Jonathan Gutteridge created the blog and started his online money-making journey filling out simple surveys online. Over the years he discovered more opportunities to make money online.

Q: What’s your advice to influencers who would like to turn their blog/social channels into a successful online business?

A: Be friendly! No matter what social media channel you are using. Don’t just post generic content over and over again. Engage with as many people as you can!

Content is king. Without  content you won’t have the audience and without the audience you won’t be able to make any money.

Write good, organic, engaging content and over time you will gain an audience. The other big factor when it comes to making money from your blog is trust. Without trust, they won’t be clicking on your links!


Q: How can influencers make their blogs more appealing to marketers?

A: Make sure their blog is mobile responsive and works and displays well on tablets / mobiles / laptops, etc.

Show that you are willing to cover topics that are a bit ‘outside the norm’. This will mean that marketers will contact you for opportunities you hadn’t even thought of.

Post content regularly. At The Money Shed we put up a new post once a week and always see a good spike in traffic on that day as readers expect to see something new to read. If your readers don’t know your posting pattern it can be hard for them to know when to come back.


Q: What are your top three do’s and don’ts for influencers?

A: Do

  1. Be flexible in terms of the content you are willing to host.
  2. Be willing to do guest posts on other sites for free to help get the name of your blog out there.
  3. Develop a ‘personality’ for your blog in terms of writing style.


  1. Ever think your blog design is finished. Always look for ways to better the experience for the readers.
  2. Ignore PR. Even if the content they are offering you is paying peanuts make sure you reply and say ‘thanks but no thanks’. You never know when you might need them further down the line.
  3. Neglect social media. It can take seconds to strike up a relationship with someone and who knows what opportunities that might bring!

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