Why Research Opinion Leaders?
Demographics – There is no mass audience today. To reach segmented publics, you must target and influence via third party opinion leaders.
Over-Communication – Because we are bombarded with messages from all sides, traditional one-way communications frequently get lost in the clutter. To “break-through” we must build personal relationships that are two-way (send messages and get feedback).
Bottom-Line Results – Developing personal relationships with constituents is the best way to build the trust and influence which can directly affect your company’s bottom line.
Types of Opinion Leaders
Role Models – People already engaging in the desired behavior
Opinion Leaders – People who have no vested interest in your project’s outcome, but whose expertise is relied upon extensively. These include salespeople, connectors, and mavens.
Power Leaders – People who are rarely opinion leaders, yet hold positions of authority in the community, i.e. elected officials
Cheerleaders – People in the community who are not seen as experts but whose enthusiasm can be influential
Celebrities – People who can attract attention just by their social position
Bandits – People who are not seen as experts but whose constant negative attitude can be detrimental
Characteristics of Opinion Leaders
- Are interested in your topic
- Have a following of people whom they can influence
- Are positivists – beware of negativists
- Are activists – doing something
- Are involved – they may not be the people you expect
- Have credibility – a combination of trust and expertise
Tiers of Opinion Leaders
- Decision Makers
- Direct Influence
- Indirect Influence
Those who are not Opinion Leaders
Media Mongers – Those who are in the spot light or in the media all the time. Visibility is not what makes you an Opinion Leader.
Gossips – Those who pass on a lot of information but may not be trusted or credible.