What is an influencer and what attributes make them one too influence?


Our VP | Strategy Director, Stephanie Stabulis sits down with us to give us the latest insights on what a ‘true’ influencer is and the motivation behind their influence that can have a direct impact on campaigns.

Continue reading to learn more about how best to find the right fit influencer in order to see the campaign results you seek…


Stephanie Stabulis, VP | Strategy Director: 

I’m the #1 supporter that data, and platforms that rely strictly on data to make decisions about who to use for influencer marketing, is only 50% of the puzzle piece of assessing whether or not to consider someone an “effective” influencer.

There is a “soft side” to validation – a side that requires a HUMAN to review things that technology cannot detect such as authenticity, believability, organic-ness, and creativity. A side that we PREACH at HireInfluence.

Authenticity, believability, organic-ness, and creativity – are great buzz words when it comes to influencer marketing. But in order to really use them to your advantage and understand how crucial they are to assessing influencer effectiveness, we have to explore what they mean in relation to influencers and ultimately the results they are capable of producing.

Being an “authentic” influencer means staying true to who the influencer is at their core – and most of who an influencer is is very much tied to what is motivating to them to create. “Believability” is tied to how much trust is placed in the influencer’s word and recommendation – likewise, motivation or “motive” in this case, is very closely tied to how much trust audiences place in the influencer’s word.

Influencer marketing was created as a response to the insurgence of online influencers – influencers were not created “to market”.

Now that we understand more on how to find an influencer & what exactly makes them one to influence, we move on to the 4 patterns or ‘motives’ of influencers:

There are 4 patterns or “motives” that we have found to be true in motivating people to become and embrace being an influencer. These motives are top indicators that influencers have a deeper and more meaningful connection with audiences, giving their word more power.


1. They became an influencer on accident. 

They didn’t wake up one morning and say, “I want to be an influencer”. They simply made a choice to create something that created value for a lot of other people and continued to be demanded – and the rest was history. In one of my favorite interviews with Blogilates instructor Casey Ho, she mentioned how her first YouTube video was created because she had accepted a new career position and those who took her pop-pilates class asked if there was any way she could still instruct their favorite class.

Casey had not anticipated that in creating that video, social media would “do its thing” and create a new world for her. Kandee Johnson also had a similar start to her YouTube career after friends asked if she would show them how she does her makeup.


2. They love creating. 

Many people style clothes, cook, design. travel, adventure, etc. because it’s what they love to do. It’s a passion that they would continue to engage in even if no one was watching. Social media has this innate ability to connect like-minded people with the same interests to grow a community. But it’s rooted in the person creating as an online extension of themselves in their identity or the legacy they want to leave on this world.


3. They are aspirationally different.

Social media was used and adapted more rapidly by young adults since Facebook launched in the early 2000s. You have this entire generation of people who spent their late teens, early twenties and early thirties consuming social content online – a time in our lives where many people face situations that require change, transformation or growth.

We look for guidance from someone who is already doing it and we find that in people who are our “aspiration” – they reflect the qualities of the type of people we want to be. These kinds of influencers are not as reliant on the value they create for consumers but lead a lifestyle as an example for others.

Understand that consumers are smart and can still infer the “how” on their own from watching others.


4. They have a desire to serve others or build communities around ideas or beliefs that are life-changing. 

An “authentic” influencer, for example – is an influencer who can continue to create content that has value for audiences to meet their audience demand. A believable influencer is an influencer who has authority because they have created and built community around a particular interest. Organic creative campaigns tap into these motivation factors and focus more heavily on value, the consumer, co-creation, emotional connection, etc. They consider how the brand fits into the relationship between influencers and their audiences.

It’s why influencer selection is only 50% data, and 50% of the expertise of understanding what to look for in content that can help us measure what data can’t – authority, audience connection, authenticity, motivation, and creativity.


So, where does money fit? 

Motivating factor 103. For the money. Money is a lower-ranking factor for a more powerful influencer – and that shows through the kind of content that an influencer creates.

When money is a more central motivating factor, audiences can sense it and authenticity, trust and believability decline rapidly.

Many brands believe that influencers should be willing to accept less money if it’s not “about” the money OR be more open to performance-based pricing on campaigns.

Let me explain why, when it comes down to REAL influence, the inverse is true.

1. These influencers are more effective thus from a results perspective, the more believable and authentic an influencer,  the higher view rates and conversions.

2. They are in limited supply, and demand is high.

3. These influencers spend more time per campaign, on fewer campaigns. Creation is more time consuming than promotion – so if you are tapping into motivational factors and creating WITH influencers, there is more care and thought driving the campaign than any recommendation or review could give. Often this warrants higher premiums.

4. With time and creation as a focus, great influencers are looking for compensation for time spent outside the performance of their content. For these influencers, hybrid models of activation + performance compensation are the best way to entertain performance-based pricing. Bear in mind that some influencer’s do not entertain performance pricing to maintain their own authenticity – as it incentivizes influencers to push audiences more than what is natural for word-of-mouth marketing.

Final Thoughts

Beyond the data, the “soft side” qualities of the influencer you associate with yourself matter not only in increasing campaign effectiveness but it is a key factor in how consumers come to view your brand and ultimately whether or not they will purchase or convert now or in the near future.

If you’re looking for an influencer marketing agency that puts ideation, innovation, and creativity at the forefront, contact us today!

Until next time.