With the rise of influencers, Walk Fresh invited Social Media Superstar/ Illustrator/ Agency Co-founder David ‘Slaying Goliath’ Tshabalala to talk about working with brands and other influential things.

Estimated Reading Time: 4 mins

As a creative, becoming an influencer might be the perfect platform to make a living from your content. The Good Life can be filled with perks and healthy cheques if done right. 

But what is an influencer?
[From mediaupdate.co.za]

Content Creators, HypeBeasts, Youtubers, Felebs… 

Whatever we call them, influencers are the closest thing to idols in a generation that worships on social media. Part creatives, social commentators and designated guardians of popular culture – influencers are a way for brands to tell their ongoing story to audiences with an insatiable appetite for tailored content and ‘connections’.

“What brands buy into, is an influencer’s human element. Brands NEED authentic stories that can help communicate their stories (marketing) in a relatable way.” – David Tshabalala

Okay. But what’s the big deal?
A picture of the big deal...[From https://www.southafricanmi.com]

Influencers have the unique value of being popular within a specific audience, but not actually being celebrities. They’re brands, but not necessarily brand-brands like Nando’s or Coca-Cola. 

Because of their human element, influencers are brands that connect with their audience in a way that no celebrity or brand-brand ever could.

The beauty, fashion and skincare industries were the first to capitalise on the power of human super-brands on social media. Pretty soon, every prominent name could be used as part of a brand’s marketing strategy.

As noted by Lethabo Mokoena, founder of sneaker-cleaning and shoe care service @WalkFreshSA:

I’m used to billing people for my business’ services, but when someone asks me to appear as an influencer, I never know what to charge. Sometimes I’ll opt to setup a shoe care station at their event, just to see some numbers that actually make sense to me.

So they don’t know how to charge?

Despite their priceless marketing potential, many influencers start on the backfoot. Brands come to them with set budgets and attempt to soften them with perks before offering to pay them peanuts.

…[From nuts.com]

The dilemma becomes especially difficult because influencers have to consider stiff competition when negotiating with big brands. 

  • To make such decisions easier, David hired a manager to better prepare his business for interactions with brands. 
  • David also hired a manager, because he can’t be trusted to make sound business decisions when it comes to working with brands that he already loves.


Influencers are human beings with their own flaws or weaknesses. And while many business brands could never survive these shortcomings, for a human brand – it’s what makes them more relatable. Ultimately adding to their authenticity.

Is that all I need, a manager?

Well in any situation, a manager works best when they know what they have to do. If you know that you have to book meetings, negotiate with potential collaborators and handle some of your marketing – yet can’t do everything because you’re a content creator too – then it makes sense to get a manager to help with all of that.

Otherwise, you’re gonna need something a little more special to hit the big time. 

That human element is the crucial difference between influencers and celebrities. Celebs may need to change their bodies, lives and personalities to appeal to an impossible standard – one that hopes to capture as many of us as possible.

An influencer can find their niche in just about anything, and that’s all you need to be doing. 

Changing the world. [From spin.com]

The fact that you connect only with people who love your work, or are just like you – means that you’ll always be valuable to brands wishing to connect with them.


If you’re ready to start trading likes for money bags, here are 3 quotes taken (out of context) during the discussion:

Collaboration is the biggest trend that we’re missing right now. By figuring out how to collaborate with each other, influencers can make millions of marketing rands.
My platform of choice is instagram – but remember that anything can die, y’all remember Snapchat?
Your reputation is what people say about you when you walk out of a room. Everyone has a brand. Even if you’re always late, that’s your brand. 


Influencers are steadily changing the entertainment, celebrity and marketing landscapes. In a society that’s becoming increasingly vocal about their preferences, freedoms and narratives – an influencer is the business world’s best bet at communicating with the masses.

For more money tricks, social commentaries and straight up wins —> follow @hivejoburg, @WalkFreshSA and @Slaying.Goliath.

Written by: Lungelo Hlela (I am Multeemedia) // Images taken by: @dayphotolife // Featured image by: @nickvanrenen for Audi South Africa  

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Lungelo Hlela is a Digital Copywriter based in Johannesburg, South Africa. When he’s not writing for brands, most of his work includes themes about social issues, history and popular culture. Follow him @lungelosam for more of his existentialist ramblings and romantic ideals.

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