With Social Media growing in marketing importance, influencers are playing a larger role than ever. With the Academy Awards just happening, we saw product placement everywhere, including the social networks. Key influencers have tremendous followings and more importantly, are commanding retribution for ‘shout outs’. We’ve identified a handful of markers to identify the latent influencers with reasonable certainty. If you have some thoughts on this, just let me know.

There are four kinds of influencer relationships:

  1. Cash remuneration. These are the millions that are paid to celebrity spokespersons, such as, Nikon paying Ashton Kutcher to sponsor Coolpix
  2. Payment in kind – this is related to the first one, except generally the value of the remuneration is less. This could be in the form of samples or outright gifts. Microsoft suffered their policy when they didn’t disclose what they’re bloggers were receiving in in-kind remuneration. I still remember the blog post Guy Kawasaki wrote about his experiences with the Audi R8
  3. Payment in kind – other. This is related to number two above. For many bloggers getting the exposure can be phenomenal. If you were one of the Walmart ElevenMoms, you received exposure that you otherwise wouldn’t get for your blog. This can also include things like being the first to review a product, getting special access to behind the scenes product knowledge and many other very soft benefits. TapInfluence.com has an interesting offering to connect brands with bloggers that have common interests.
  4. Latent influencers – These are the influencers that only need to be identified. They aren’t looking for remuneration, nor do they even know that they’re influencers. Yet they have large audiences, speak to a lot of people and when they speak others listen.