An opinion leader is an individual who has expertise and authority in a certain industry and their audience’s trust. This person is famous and can influence consumers’ opinions.

In this article, we’ll review the role, characteristics, and examples of opinion leaders and explore how to become an opinion leader.

What is the role of an opinion leader?

Opinion leaders act as an intermediary between marketers and their target audiences. They obtain information about a certain product, summarize its pros and cons, and convey it to consumers in a simple way. Thought leaders also update consumers on product news and give advice on how to use it. They provide the audiences with their personal experience so that consumers can decide whether to purchase a specific product or service.

Now that you know more about the role of an opinion leader, it’s time to determine the characteristics you should have to become one.

Opinion leader characteristics

To become a reliable source of information, opinion leaders should possess several main qualities. They help gain popularity, trust, and recognition. Let’s review them to understand what kind of people can grow into influencers.

  • Knowledge and expertise. These individuals are aware of the pros and cons of the products or services they promote. That’s why before sharing a product with the target audience, opinion leaders spend some time exploring a product and its features. Later, they communicate the value of a certain product using their accounts on social media and other channels.
  • Charisma. To make people trust and listen, opinion leaders should be able to charm them and win their attention. Charisma enables them to influence customers and make them love the narrator. These people are role models that present a type of living everyone wants to have. As a result, customers trust their recommendations and buy products to become similar to influencers.
  • Influence. Since opinion leaders are role models for many, customers believe and trust them. With the help of authority and expertise, they encourage consumers to purchase products they recommend. However, influencers have to prove that the products they promote actually work. For example, if these people recommend skincare, they should have good glowing skin.
  • Professionals in handling PR. Brand promoters are professionals in digesting information and communicating it to the target audience using simple language. They are masters of public speaking and can easily win customers’ attention and loyalty.
  • Social media presence. Publishing posts and photos, sharing their experience with a product, and creating stories on social media is the best way for opinion leaders to reach customers. Different platforms allow influencers to share the necessary information and promote it in a friendly manner. Thought leaders’ social media profiles should contain expert industry-specific information. They update followers on webinars, conferences, and courses and encourage them to participate.

Now that you know the main characteristics, let’s discuss how to identify key opinion leaders.

How to identify key opinion leaders

There are two different types of key opinion leaders: traditional and digital. We’ll review the ways to identify each of them.

To identify opinion leaders in the digital world, you need to pay attention to the main metrics: qualitative and quantitative. Finding appropriate influencers for your brand requires exploring the quantitative aspect. It refers to the number of followers, mentions, shares, and frequency of posting. You’ll also need to explore the qualitative aspect that includes content’s quality and relevance, meaning that you should define whether their content suits your target audience.

If you aim at identifying traditional key opinion leaders, you need to look for speakers at conferences and events related to your industry and top experts in the field. This will help you find traditional influencers for your business.

Now that you know how to identify digital and traditional opinion leaders, you should also know what it takes to become one.

How to become an opinion leader

To become the public’s favorite, a person should be an expert in the field and have the necessary skills and knowledge. These points are necessary to influence the masses and make them trust your experience and recommendations. In a digital world, it’s easier since your expertise and skills can gain exposure and a huge following.

There are several recommendations you should stick to when considering becoming an opinion leader:

  1. Select the industry you specialize in. A person can’t be a specialist in all industries at once. An individual possessing valuable information, skills, knowledge, and experience in a certain field can bring a lot more gains and insights to their audience. That’s why you should choose one niche that fits your expertise. You can go with marketing, design, education, programming, etc. It’s essential to choose an industry you are interested in to keep gaining new knowledge and demonstrating enthusiasm.
  2. Create content for your online channels. You can grow your audience fast with the help of social media. Create an account on Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube to share valuable content with your subscribers.
  3. Publish content regularly. To keep people engaged, you need to constantly add new content to your channel or account. You should create articles, videos, and photos to attract new people.
  4. Work with influencers. If you are just starting your channel, consider cooperating with established opinion leaders. It can be done in different forms: interview or promotion. This way, you will obtain the necessary experience, new knowledge, and skills while your account gains users’ trust and credibility.
  5. Ensure your material’s uniqueness. Make sure to include original content in your articles, blog posts, photos, and videos since it helps establish a positive online reputation. Do your best at providing readers with your expert opinion and unique content people would find quality and useful.

Let’s see the examples of some great opinion leaders to help you get your creative juices flowing.

Examples of opinion leaders

There are a lot of personalities who are able to win people’s trust and attention by using their charisma, knowledge, experience, and other characteristics. Let’s review some of the most famous opinion leaders to see how they succeeded in reaching a wide audience.

Carson Tate

She is a famous business and life coach and a founder of Working Simply, Inc. Carson is a speaker and a best-selling author who focuses on productivity and engagement. The productivity tips she reveals on social media help followers achieve their goals.

Carson Tate

Arianna Huffington

Author, businesswoman, and a co-founder of The Huffington Post — this is not even the full list of this successful woman’s achievements. The well-known author wrote 15 books and built a great social media presence. 2.8M of people on Twitter get valuable information from her posts and learn something new from Ariana every day.

Arianna Huffington

Congrats, now you know the characteristics of opinion leaders and their roles. Hope that the examples above will inspire you to become an opinion leader in your industry.

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