Opinion leaders refers to the “active” group of people who often provide information for others via interpersonal communication network. They are distributed evenly throughout the social hierarchies and internet. Opinion leaders informally propagates, provides advice, or information about a particular product or product category, such as what brand is the best in which field or indicates how a particular product should be used. Generally, because opinion leaders will not be awarded materially from their opinions, consumers are willing to believe that information provided by opinion leaders are objective and feasible.
For products and brand manufacturers whose products are affected by related groups, they must try to contact and influence the opinion leaders in the related groups. Opinion leaders are usually members of a referencing group. Because of his/her special skills, knowledge, personality, or other features, he/she has an impact on others. So marketers should try to find the opinion leaders of their products, and then focus the marketing campaigns on them.
Below are my summary of the characteristics of opinion leaders:
1.More life experiences and broad knowledge
Opinion leaders generally have good education background allowing them to get information by more media, learn more about things. Their knowledge field is relatively wide, so they have a strong ability to judge and subjective opinions, to make reasonable judgment and interpretation of various things and phenomena, to deal with the problem is rational and appropriate, easy to get the trust of others. Thus it is easy to persuade others.
2.Relationship network is wide, have close ties with public, therefore have high prestige.
Most of the opinion leaders have strong social skills, have extensive connections, have many social connections, and are approachable. Also because of the knowledgeable they have, they can provide useful information and advice to members of the group. They are people with high prestige in the community, have greater influence and appeal.
- have or once had similar experiences/conditions with the public
People will often refer to opinion leaders’ advices when they share or once shared the similar experiences because they experienced before you, they will be guide you the right way. There will also be this sympathy feeling if you shared something similar. Hence the opinion will become more persuasive and true.
- willing to innovate. The opinion leader is active, outgoing, creative and willing to accept new things. Especially when the whole society advocates the reform and opening to the outside world, its innovative spirit is more prominent, and this is also an important internal cause for them to become the new concept, new product leader and agitator.
According to the characteristics of the above analysis, you can find the people who can act as opinion leaders in life. The social celebrities, experts, teachers, bloggers, and all kinds of celebrities and stars, have experienced life of ordinary people and can act as opinion leaders, they have a very high authority and influence in social groups, quite the trust of consumers.
Let’s look at one natural beauty blog example: The Sugarpuffish blog. This blog is what people often look for if they want to win the fight against eczema naturally. The blogger Amy started her blog in 2011 after her lifelong battle with eczema and allergies. She received medical treatment but eczema continues to hit back again. Wanting to see if there was a connection between the products she used on her skin and her eczema, she switched to organic products and hasn’t looked back. She now shares her finding on her blog, suggesting natural products for people of the same condition and continues to help people all over the world to conquer their eczema. The nature of the truth (her personal experiences) had gained trust of people suffering the same condition. The sincere and gentle tone of the diaries in her blog also attracts people to her. They buy products she suggested and let her guide them through the battle with eczema.