Some good info here.
Great comment Ray!
There's this perceived notion that bloggers/influencers in the social space are the new "celebrity endorser". Which isn't true. The reason that people think this is totally our fault, as social media professionals. Look at a search on Google, look at Forbes lists of influencers, look at any article that mentions social influence, and who do you see? Popular bloggers, the same ones, over and over again.
But what if you were a Knitter, with a small niche blog that has a community of knitters, and you start talking about your favourite type of yarn, and where you get it online. And then people in your community start buying their yarn there, because they like what you do, and trust you. This would be online influence.
When you go to Yelp! to find out which restaurant you want to go to, and read a bunch of reviews that either make you decide to go or not, that's online influence.
When a friend on Facebook talks about how great a certain movie was, and you decide to go watch it because of that, that's online influence.
Influence isn't limited to the celebrity bloggers or popular bloggers. There's a lot of research that needs to be done into audience data, metrics, are you writing the right message, is it being shared in the right places, etc., in order to really determine if someone is a fit for your brand as an influencer or not.
My recent post 20 Ways Influencer Outreach Will Make You Better In Bed