Honest Qualities of an Influencer

Social Skills Training for Teenagers and Adults on the Autism Spectrum: Becoming an Influencer. Wouldn't it be nice if when you spoke, people listened? Like if you said, "I love Dove soap," ten people switch to Dove soap? 

This is what many people call an Influencer in the business world. 

The influencer is the person who influences people. They talk people into buying things, doing things, being things. They are often worshiped in some way, and everyone loves them. When you see them, you want to be them. 

Image result for Like Mike if I can be like mike

Many articles exist on how to win people over, how to sell people, like how to be popular for dummies. But those are written by people who think like those people already. This one is going to be a more honest look at influencer qualities, and as usual, some of it may come out harsh. This is designed to help people with high functioning autism to understand social dynamics and improve their social skills. 

How to become an Influencer

There are probably many qualities that Influencers have, many leadership traits, and many more noble things, but I've been blogging for quite some time, and I have been using Facebook to help me analyze the dynamics of social behaviors, and these are the common things I've noticed between the influencers I know online that the influenced don't master as much. 

Truly, it is an art. 

Observing behavior is a science, but performing the behavior is an art. It takes time to find your style, your groove, and master it enough for it to be useful. 

1. Be aspirational.

Aspiration appeals to people who want to attain a higher social position or standard of living. 

So the trick is, be that person that makes them think you can take them to a higher social position or standard of living. 

Usually, most people attain this by living that perfect life. We all know it's fake. It's just an appearance.

My father was really big about his image and reputation. He hated that I chose friends who were inclined to break the law. He wanted to show everyone how picture perfect his kids were, and I interfered with that appearance. But he was doing it for social survival because we were in a very conservative community, and his primary source of income was from selling radio advertising. People simply would stop buying from him if he wasn't the ideal paradigm of how they think people should be. He did what he could on his end. He did City Council, he joined committees at the Church, he was in the Lion's Club, he didn't drink any alcohol, he didn't go out passed 10 PM.... He also lived in a nice house, owned a nice car but drove a crappy one to show humility... To an old conservative bitty, this was the ideal standard of living. They all swarmed around my father because they all believed he was the standard they wanted to be, and he was going to help them be there with him. 

Most of the people who sell products for "How to turn your hobby into a 6 figure income," all sell it by living the high life. They often show themselves at nice places doing fun things to try to get you to want to jump into that life with them, and if you buy their product, they will show you how. 

It's the same concept except that while How to 6 Figure Income people are selling a book of knowledge (that probably will not work whatsoever), the influencers are people who are selling themselves. They won't be giving away their secrets in a book. That's only something you're going to get by hanging out with them and listening when they speak. 

So find out the type of people you are trying to influence. Who do they wish they were? Where do they wish they could be in 5 years? Try to be that person. Live that life. 

2. Be Pinterest-Worthy

What I mean by this is be a model of perfection or something pretty. If you bake a cake, you want to decorate it so well that people will want to try it on Pinterest. You have to package yourself well like the prettiest cakes on Pinterest will not get repinned if the photograph has bad lighting. 

One of the wealthiest guys in town is not really a huge influencer. Only the people who know him well enough, and the bank, seem to be aware he's wealthy because he dresses like a mechanic or repair guy. That's what he wants. He doesn't want to be surrounded by a bunch of people trying to consume him. Now if he dressed in 3 piece suits frequently, had a luxury sports car instead of a pick up truck, and chose to build his mansion sized home somewhere in town instead of out in the country, people would be swarming around him like he's a religion. 

You don't have to be wealthy to do this. You don't have to look like a super-model either. You just have to keep up with your looks. 

For instance, I'm a mother. One pool of people I'm trying to influence are school people: the principal, the teachers, the PTA parents... I had a bad first impression with these people. See, motherhood was a lot of freaking work. I had 3 kids back to back, and it was so demanding of a job, I didn't sleep much for 7 years like to a point where I have health related issues from it. So in the time my children were in Pre-school and early elementary, I was always late. My hair was always messy. I usually had it pulled back into a messy bun, and it always looked like a chicken danced on the top of my head with the scraggly hairs flying out. I usually hadn't showered in 3 days. I would wear anything that I could find, like a navy blue jacket and black pants with flip flops. I never wore makeup.

But, I decided to try to spiff up my look to appear like I had my shit together. So I got my hair cut and highlighted. I went for a cut where if I didn't brush my hair after a shower and went straight to bed, it would still look decent. It was also an old woman's cut. I definitely looked like a mom. I bought nicer "comfy" clothes, like I aimed for things I could wear to work in had I still had a job in bookkeeping, but that were comfortable enough to function. 

The strangest thing happened. Once I started doing that, the school was nicer to me. People stopped judging me as a crappy mom alert. The thing is, I'm a crappier mom now more than I ever was, but when I look decent, nobody notices. 

Doctors will even do this too with their patients. One of the "observations" on a list in many doctors offices includes (especially psychologists) checking how the person is dressed, like the idea is if someone looks like shit, there's a health reason. In people with Bi-Polar, the way they dress is a good indicator of where they are on their highs and lows, but also, if you have cancer, and you go into the doctor's office looking like something the cat dragged out of some forsaken hole in the ground, the doctor can safely assume you're not doing well with this cancer.  

The main focus here is to look and smell nice. Dress like you have your shit together. Get your hair did. Trim your nails. Shave. Put on clothes that match. This also can include being on time, having a clean car, having a clean house, being organized... 

Helpful Tip:

Keep an emergency kit in your car: Spray deodorant (because white sticks melt), perfume or cologne, hair brush, hair ties, a pair of heels, a spare outfit, a nice sweater you can throw over any shirt, and some tinted lip gloss. This way, you can leave the house looking like shit, but if you end up having to go somewhere you don't want to be seen like that, you can. 

3. Share Your Successes

Part of being aspirational and having that good image is to be successful. People want to hang out with successful people, not failures. It's the same concept as wanting to hang out with happy people because sad people are depressing, which that will be coming up as another topic, but the point is, people are sheeple, and they tend to absorb the energy around them. They know this. So for the most part, they will purposely hang out with successful people in order to absorb the success mojo. 

I decided to watch my most popular Facebook friends closer looking for similarities between them, and kind of try to learn from them. What about their personalities makes people want to listen to them? And the answer is, they boast about all their successes, no matter how small, and treat it all as something to be really proud of. Some are more honest than others, but the important thing is to act like you're "going places," like your potential is still high and you are going to make it in this world and everyone should be on board with you because you are going somewhere better than now. 

They don't word it like they are boasting, though they technically are boasting. They word it like they are excited and they want you to be part of that excitement. Like watching a football game. Football fans often get into the game, and when their team makes a touchdown, it feels like they made a touchdown. 

"Hey guys, New York Times finally accepted one of my pieces!" 

"OMG I am 25 likes away from 5,000"

"My boss told me I did a great job today on that project I've been working on." OR
"My project turned out well I'm super excited to share it with people." 

Like what these things are REALLY saying if I had to translate to brutal honesty: 

"hey guys! If you cheer for my team, I made a touchdown today! I'm a winner." 

4. Be Positive

Remember that thing I said earlier? People want to hang out with happy people because sad people are depressing. Well this is that. But you don't necessarily have to be "happy" all the damn time to accomplish this. Like nobody can get through life avoiding all the sads. 

But the thing is people do absorb the energy around them. And they want positive people who uplift. 

This doesn't mean you can't talk about sad things, and actually, if it's really sad, you need to give it the silence and respect it deserves. But it means that for the most part, you have a good attitude.

Ways people do this include focusing on the good things. At the end of the day, if asked "How was your day?" some people will only tell you what sucked about their day, and others will tell you what was awesome about it. Only a few do both. 

I personally have always struggled with focusing on the good. It just seems like bad luck and injustice are so wrong to me that I can't shut my brain off of them. So what I often do when I get trapped in Debbie Downer Lane is I try to make it funny. I mean when life sucks, all you can do is laugh. So I often turn things into a joke of some sort.

As a blogger, it's imperative I survive social media, and a failing marriage for 12 years was a downer that nobody liked to read. At first, I'd post the stories and the drama and the saga thinking people wanted to hear a good story, and really, I annoyed them. I actually had one girl, a close Facebook friend, like she was in my super secret group of 5 females I can trust with anything, and she unfriended me saying, "I'm sick of hearing you bitch about your husband. Leave him or deal with it. I'm out." And gone. 

It hurt to hear that. It took a long time to get over. But she was right. My posts were Debbie Downers. They made people sad and depressed in a place people went to try to feel better about their own saga and drama in their lives. 

I changed my approach. I still needed to vent and air my laundry just to breathe in life. 

So I write a status about the story where my husband screwed up and ruined everything, to every detail, including my feelings, and before I hit "post," I delete it. Then I type something very vague, like what is the point I'm actually making here? "Oooohhhh. Men drive me crazy." So I tweak it, and something like this SomeECard I made gets invented (and this one was pretty popular, and even better, one of my favorite bloggers shared it having no idea I made it). 

When a man says, 'It's not in there, I looked,' that doesn't mean it's not in there.

And actually, my favorite blogger who shared my meme did the same thing. If my memory serves me correctly, like I'm almost positive this is how this story went.... She had a sad story of bad luck, and she turned it into something funny. The real story, she was at a bar, drinking with a guy she was trying to impress on a professional level, and she fell off the stool and broke her rib. Mortified and humiliated, she then made this gem that the internet just LOVED! 

The trick is to be happy and positive with inspirational quotes, but also be sad and broken in a way that doesn't drag other people down. 

Of course, this is with all due respect. Some things you should never joke about, and some things will insult people if you try to give it a positive spin. The easiest rule to follow so you don't mess that up is never joke about other people's misfortunes. Only your own. 

5. Be Exclusive

There is something embedded in the neurotypical mind to desire exclusivity. 

My daughter Gabby is on the autism spectrum. And one of the neighbor kids was Gabby's age, and when they were about 7 years old, the neighbor's kid was obsessed with singling out one kid in the neighborhood not to play with that day. Gabby was usually her target, but she targeted other kids as well. Gabby would be very upset her friend didn't want to play with her, and thanks to her autism, it was nothing more than that. She didn't see the social pattern. Because she didn't see a social pattern, she wasn't excited to be in the group when the girl finally opened up to letting Gabby play with them. She just wants to have fun. But the other kids, it was like a huge sigh of relief when they were allowed back in the group, and I think that's one reason she targeted Gabby so much. But it really made me think about the concept of exclusivity.

Why do people want to exclude people so much? 

You got the kids clubs who are all, "This is girls only, no boys allowed." And they follow it up with rules, "On Wednesday, we wear pink," and if you don't follow these stupid rules, you can't be in the club. 

These kids grow up no different. The bulk of Facebook Groups remind me of the childhood clubhouse. They all have rules in the description, and if you don't follow them, you can't play with those grown ups. But unwritten, the exclusive groups will kick you out over anything. If everyone decided to bully a person they don't like and you stand up for that person, you veered from the wolf pack, you're out. If everyone believes that cotton candy is the best hand sanitizer scent, and you dare say, "I prefer pumpkin spice," then it's Bye Felicia. Did you accidentally vote for Donald Trump and be in a liberal group? You're probably not too accepted there. 

But the idea is that people feel special when they are in a group that's hard to get into. 

The country club that won't allow black people just makes the white people feel that much more special to be white and permitted access to that country club. The church that kicks out all the heathens just makes all the heathens there feel more like saints. 

The above examples are mean and suckage, but it's people's mentality at its finest. We can't escape it. We can only change it to something more ethical. 

Please don't discriminate on race or anything else covered by the EEOC like age, gender, gender identities, sexual preferences, religion... But influencers do discriminate based on other things. 

And friendships often work the same way. 

For a good 10 years of my life, I was totally involved in the life of one girl. She was my BFF and my sisterwife. And in those years, I drove her places, drove her kids places, gave her a car, got her a job, helped pay her bills, helped watch her kids, helped clean her house. I remember one time she called at 3AM with no money in need of tampons, so I got out of bed and went to the store and brought her tampons. People kept telling me she was just using me, but she showed many signs of a true friendship in those 10 years. I made it more than obvious that I was there no matter what. I will always forgive her. I will always be there when she needs me. I was true friendship in the purest sense. 

And in that time, I was nice to everyone. I accepted people for who they were. She wanted that. She kept telling me to be more accepting. She has friends who are addicts, and I was very judgmental at first about that. But I loved my friend, so I worked very hard to overcome those barriers of judgment and just embrace all people of any belief, faith, lifestyle, practice, pitfalls, flaws.... 

Then I joined the military and when I came home, she was distant. There was a girl she was trying to impress, and she often chose that girl over me just to go out to the club with for girls night. That girl liked me and wanted me to join, but my BFF didn't want that girl to like me or hang out. She always had issues with her friends being each other's friends, like maybe she was afraid the two friends would like each other more than they like her and leave her out. But either way, I kept wondering why. Like that girl was not there for her like I was. That girl will unfriend her in a heartbeat over petty things. That girl doesn't invite her like I do. 

That's why she did it. 

The person who is always there is always going to be taken for granted. The person who loves everyone for who they are will be taken for granted. It works this way in friendships and relationships. Think of all the boys who are "friend zoned." 

Now the person who is choosy about their friends, that's the one people want. They want to feel special. They want to impress that person because one wrong move could ruin it. These people will not accept them for who they are, so they work extra hard to get that person to like them meaning that much of their time, energy and focus is on that person instead of the people who don't require that kind of time or energy to get to like you. 

Now for me, I have religious reasons to be very accepting of others. It was a lesson I needed to learn in this life, to accept people for who they are, and in my own way, I have made many friends with that. I love that people are comfortable enough to tell me anything. But that's the thing. In this place, I'm the listener. In this place, I do things at their convenience. In this place, I serve them. And I do it for spiritual reasons. 

But if you want to be the one people listen to, the one people do favors for, then you have to be a little more exclusive. Make it feel like it's their honor to serve you. The fact that you are counting on THEM to do you a favor makes them feel special. That will only happen if you show that there are people who are unworthy of doing you favors or hearing what you have to say. 

Now you know why people love the bullies. 

It's really sad people are this way. It's a side of human nature I hate. 

I just can't bring myself to make people feel unworthy, but I do make them up sometimes. Like if you want to get the attention of a boy, you send yourself flowers and pretend some guy sent them to you. It's like that. You can get on Facebook and swear you cleaned out your friends list even if you didn't delete a soul. You can do generalized groups who are excluded knowing some of them are your friends. For the most part, they will assume you mean everyone but them, or they won't recognize they fall into that category. Sometimes they get offended, but if you see that happening, you private message them that you love them anyway, that it's your rule but because they are so special, you don't mind it when they do it. 

You make up some rules about what it means to be your friend, but be careful with this one. So many people are doing that with politics that it's really turning off people. I'm not the only one right now at the time I write this who is sick of seeing people say, "If you don't hate Donald Trump, we can't be friends." 

But the bigger influencers I see have some kind of unwritten rules and some kind of written rules. One group I was in based on a person, so my friendship with this person is based on this, the rules were to keep things light hearted, don't get offended easily, don't be a little bitch, and love the wine. If you broke those, you were out. 

These are just ways I've seen people do it. It doesn't matter which way you go with it, the point is to try to make people feel special by being with you. You are the trophy that only the best can win. 

Now being the noble stuff that people with autism are inclined to do is still a good friendship, and it's long term and creates a stronger bond. And I have some theories about autism, but I think in most cases of autism, your soul is naturally those things. It's more pure than the neurotypical, and you need to work at preserving that purity while embarking in the crazy reindeer games of human flesh world. But those qualities of the "best friend ever" should be exclusive to only those who deserve it. You should never do that to impress people. You do that to thank people. 

The exclusive friends, the ones who are there to feel special, those are not all actual friends. Their presence is still very self-serving, it's just that they think by serving you, they are serving themselves. It's very rare to find someone who is a true friend. In my life, Jesus Christ is the ONLY guy to be true. And He MIGHT be my imaginary friend. 

6. Be Associated with Key Players

This one is probably the most important to building a reputation that says, "Listen to me." 

The best advertising is word of mouth. Just about everything we sell sells best when there are testimonials, reviews, and people recommending the product or service. 

If you can get other influencers to recommend you, then that helps position you as one of them. But you don't necessarily have to get them to flat out say anything that resembles, "I like this person." All you have to do is be seen cohorting with them. 

The best way, be friends. 

The second best way, be in the same room at the same time. Show evidence. 

Find people that other people look up to, and try to hang out with that person. Find where they go, and be there. Try to be friends. Watch your P's and Q's. Don't give them a reason to hate you. Avoid monologues. Avoid complaining. If a friendship forms, then great. If not, it doesn't matter.

What people need to see in this case is that you are in that league. 

My cousin does this, and it drives me crazy. He thinks he's bragging, but thanks to my autism, I'm not in awe at all. I'm annoyed. But for most people, it works. But my cousin's father had some money, so he lived in a decent neighborhood in Colorado surrounded by CEO's and their kids. My cousin himself isn't wealthy at all. BUT most people see him as a pillar in his community because he hangs out with pillars in the community. He hangs out with rich people. He worms his way into invites for dinner, football games, and boating. He kisses their ass. Then he tells everyone about it.

Me, I'm kind of the opposite. When I did go to the dinners and crap, I was myself, and I don't like rich people. I mock them. I talk about intellectual things and make fun of the gold digging whores for not being able to keep up. But I appealed to the men with intellectual conversations, though a few of them wouldn't take me too seriously because I was young, female and pretty. Often I'd sense that and would grow bored and would find myself talking to the "staff," who usually have the best stories to tell about all the assholes you were just talking to. 

But the point is, to middle class people, the bulk of my friends and my cousin's friends, the fact that we hung out with the key people they know to have money and status and power, that was appealing to them. Whether you're arguing with them or kissing their ass, you were in the same room with them which means, you are of enough of that status to be there. And then you become guilty by association. People see you as one of them, even if you're not. 

And to the ones with that social status, you become a good fellow. If Mike is the guy everyone likes, all you got to do is hang out with Mike enough to throw in conversations, "Mike was just telling me yesterday that...." so that Bill thinks, "hey, he's with Mike, he's a good guy." 

And this works in other settings too. It doesn't just have to be about money.

In blogging, part of my blog's success (whatever success it had when I was really blogging) is because I am Facebook friends with some big bloggers that people worship. I never asked them to share my posts because that annoys them. All I had to do was show I'm associated to them. I did this by being their friends on Facebook, talking to them enough to know things they say and how they feel, taking selfies with them, etc. Of course, I did this naturally because I picked bloggers I was a big fan of. Like there was nothing shady or unethical about it. But many bloggers do this on purpose, and many will be fake to those they hate just to get the association award. 

And they do it based on their goals. The ones who want to be seen as a blogger and a character will befriend great bloggers with similar readers to theirs. 

The ones who want to be published as a writer elsewhere than their blog, they will befriend editors and agents. Like they actually go look up "Who is the editor of Parenting Articles for The New York Times," and find them on twitter or any social media, and start trying to develop a relationship by liking their stuff, commenting, sending direct tweets, all friendly and chit chatty for months before going in for the kill. This is in blog posts about how to get published, especially on Huffington Post. 

The ones who want to be "in" with a corporation like Disney for the free stuff and paid sponsored posts will aim for Disney people. 

DIY bloggers will do this with people who do a lot of DIY list posts just to get included in that list. 

Moving on, if you want to be seen as an expert in any field, you hang out with other experts. The local Psychic is friends with other psychics and an acquaintance to a couple celebrity psychics. Imagine if any of your friends who are not known Psychics tried to give you a psychic reading, you'd probably doubt their credibility, and you may think them crazy. You just wouldn't listen to them. But the one who is friends with all the psychics is probably a good psychic. Even if you don't believe in psychics, the one with all the psychic friends, you're like "That's what she does." 

So if you're trying to influence people, get them to listen to you when you speak, the trick is to somehow associate yourself to people they listen to. 


It's really a sad fact about humanity that the bulk of our beliefs are based on appearance. You can be an expert who is ignored if you don't have the right appearance. Some of the best books have gone unread because of a shitty book cover. When it comes to social skills, appearances are important, especially in White American Culture. 

But if you want to be taken seriously by people, and you want people to believe in what you have to say, and you want to influence people, you kind of have to package yourself as such. 

Be the Dream, Live the Life they Want, Give them that emotional high that screams I am someone, I am where you want to be, you can't get there without me, and I am picky about who I let ride in this bus to paradise. 

Again, it's an art.

You don't have to do all of these things listed here. You don't have to do any. Doing all these things will not promise results, and not doing any of them doesn't promise the opposite of results either. This is just my observation of things I notice the influencers do that the influenced just don't seem to do as much. 

I will say just about every influencer I analyze, all had a series of trial and error before finding their groove. 


Go find people who are Influencers in a field or goal you wish to influence. Find their public social media. Some of them may not be public, but try to find at least 3 with a public social media. Read their posts. See which ones get the most engagement, and kind of analyze those posts. Look for similarities. Look for patterns. Identify various techniques they used. 

Think about how you already do those techniques and things you've noticed. How is that working out for you? 

What techniques and things do you want to try? 

Michelle Grewe

Humor and Spiritual Writer and Graphic Artist, Michelle Grewe is an Air Force Veteran, mother, and a human jungle gym. Published in 7 Books, Michelle’s art is featured in her coloring book designed for spirituality and mental health, From Dust to Essence. Websites who have featured her work include Popsugar Moms, Mamalode, and Blunt Moms. Her nonsense actually does make sense if you drink enough vodka and pray. Find her on

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