By Lisa Cox

In communications, key influencers are those people, personalities and businesses who already hold the attention of your target audience.

These entities can popularize your product and draw awareness to your brand through the viral nature of the Internet.

Connecting with influencers gives you the opportunity to share and listen to stories about your brand on social media. It also allows you to analyze metrics and get the upper hand in crisis management through surveillance of what is being said.

Last week, reps from the communications tech company Cision visited Sheridan College PRCC students to demonstrate their product. Sheridan alumnus James Ruben led the presentation by showing us practical uses for Cision software. For example, how to use it to connect with key influencers and known media contacts, as well as innovative ways to monitor impressions about your brand.

Public relations professionals should connect with key influencers using social media platforms like Twitter. This valuable relationship provides the opportunity to bolster mentions and integrate new ideas based on the audience’s need. PR professionals can then work backwards, using email, phone and even mail (gasp!) to personalize the exchange.

Knowing — and following — key influencers is an essential strategy for PR practitioners. It can add impeccable value to the conversation and build customer loyalty. Best of all, it helps communicators maintain control of their brand.
(Image credit: Flickr/Alan O’Rourke)