How Social Media Has Changed PR Completely and What It Means for Consumers

Social media has transformed the way brands function in its entirety leading to immense changes in PR, with the rise of influencers being the most dramatic of them all.

What started off as an outlet for staying in touch with friends and family has revolutionized into a multi-million-dollar business for any semi-attractive individual with an iPhone to take advantage of.

Social media influencers have taken over Instagram, flooding our feeds with photos of themselves using products they will most-likely throw aside once the picture is posted, accompanied with an affiliate code they will be receiving a commission from.

With more than fifty-three percent of the world’s population using the internet and forty-two percent using social media of some type, it would be stupid for brands not to take advantage of such exposure.

However, with the staggering revenue coming in from doing brand deals, it’s difficult for us as consumers, to know which influencers to trust.

Contemporary PR involves heavy use of individuals with a large following who will guarantee greater exposure and more engagement for the brand leading to increase in sales and profits.

On the other side of the spectrum, these bloggers are paid a large amount of money to simply take photos with these products or create short videos for their followers to view.

It seems to be a win-win situation for both of these parties, however, there is always someone bearing the disadvantage and unfortunately, in this scenario, that’s us.

Knowing how profitable Instagram ads can be, it’s very easy for influencers to be swayed a particular direction when advertising certain products.

This doesn’t only include monetary profits. There have been many instances where big brands have taken influencers on lavish holidays to places such as Europe or even the Maldives for the launch of a product.

These individuals are required to build up to this new release the whole trip and eventually post a picture raving about the new product and how life-changing it is.

Think about it. They agree to go on these expensive trips before the release of the product and thus have no real opinion on the item yet since they haven’t been able to see or use it. Once it is released, they have no choice but to enthusiastically express how amazing this new mascara is on their Instagram stories. You can’t exactly go on an all-expenses-paid holiday jam-packed with all you can eat food and free foot massages then talk about how absolutely horrendous the brand’s new product is.

Still, because we have been following their adventures and have had this new item shoved in our face the whole time, we can’t help but notice it when we go to the shops and think “maybe it is as good as Shani Grimmond said it was”.

Which means that no matter how blatantly obvious it can be that some bloggers are not being completely honest with certain reviews, the fact that they are even talking about it will generate revenue in itself.

It is important to note that the point of this isn’t to bash on the influencer community altogether. There are certain social media bloggers who genuinely care about their viewers and want to provide trust-worthy and useful content for them. However, it is just as important to understand that not all are like this either.

It’s clear that influencer marketing isn’t going away anytime soon. Thus, the best we can do is not to be swayed by big influencers who are so clearly in it for the quick buck.

Instead, we should be more cautious with whose opinion we trust and what we choose to spend our hard-earned money on.

What are your thoughts on social media influencers? Let us know in the comments below.