[By Alexandria Horvat-Becevello]

As our generation becomes more reliant on technology, social media strengthens its ability to influence users. Being tech-savvy is a necessity in most fields (now an asset in many) and understanding the influence of a tweet or an Instagram post can bring great value to your work and your ability to connect with your audience on a professional level.

Technology and social media have a big impact on business, which can bring both positive and negative effects on your brand. Social media brings awareness to your company and to the brand you represent through consumer engagement and influencer relations. As technology continues to evolve, so should PR and the ways that professionals connect with consumers. Over the years, the concept of influencer relations has grown dramatically, with companies often reaching out to bloggers or individuals who are highly regarded in the community to boost a campaign or progress towards a business objective. Influencers build trust and give a relatable understanding of the product or message you are trying to convey and can often engage an audience more effectively than the business itself.

According to Nielsen, 92 per cent of individuals put more trust in those promoting a brand or product outside of an organization. Influencers have a voice that can speak to those whom companies cannot reach. By virtue of authenticity, people rely on influencers to give a more personalized approach when promoting a product or brand.

Bloggers and influencers use social media as a means of getting their message across on platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and by writing blog posts about their experience. According to a study by Ogilvy, Google and TNS, 74 per cent of individuals use social media as an influence when making purchase decisions. Many people think that a company’s ads or promotions are biased, but when the promotion comes from a third-party, it is viewed as more genuine and dependable.

As PR professionals, it is essential to create a network of lasting relationships with individuals we can trust. We want not only to connect with professionals within the PR industry, but also those outside of it. When working with influencers these connections are just as important as any other; you must do your research, make it personal and build a connection. The relationships you forge will demonstrate an authenticity that will not only help your organization, but will benefit you and the influencer in the long run. Building relationships with influencers should go beyond a single campaign or product. Put in the effort and they will too.

(Photo by GDJ via Pixabay)