Opinion Makers Definition
Because thought leaders can validate a company`s product or idea, marketers often look for thought leaders for collaborations, advertising campaigns, or product recommendations. This type of partnership increases the visibility of a brand and creates trust between the company and the influencer`s audience. There are many types of thought leaders, and they can all play a unique role in promoting your business. The type of influence imposed by these thought leaders can be subtle, such as product placement built into their routines. It can also be obvious – thought leaders may simply push their followers to consider an idea, product, or company. Thought leaders are individuals or organizations who are experts in an industry or who have widely known and trustworthy views. As a result, they can influence public opinion, including the opinion of your customers. In his article, Elihu Katz answers the question: “What is an opinion leader?” One or more of these factors make thought leaders stand out: If your target audience is known to follow a particular thought leader on social media, collaborating or promoting promoted advertising with that person can be a quick way to build trust and increase sales. This does not mean that opinion leaders can always be easily used by external agents to promote what they want to promote. Influencers may not want to change their behavior and may even lose their status as opinion leaders if they do.  Merton distinguishes between two types of opinion leadership: monomorphic and polymorphic.
Generally, thought leadership is considered a monomorphic and domain-specific measure of individual differences, meaning that a person who is a thought leader in one area may be a follower in another.   An example of a monomorphic thought leader in the field of computer technology could be an IT service technician in the neighborhood. The technician has access to much more information on the subject than the average consumer and has the knowledge to understand the information, although the same person may be a follower in a different field (e.g. sports) and seek advice from others. In contrast, polymorphic opinion leaders are able to influence others in a wide range of areas. The variants of polymorphous opinion leadership are market vavenism, personality strength and generalized opinion leadership.  So far, there is little consensus on the extent to which these concepts operationalize the same or simply related constructions.  As with other forms of marketing, finding the right thought leaders for your marketing depends on understanding your ideal customers and identifying the influencers they already trust. Thought leadership is the leadership of an active media user who interprets the importance of media messages or content to media users in the lower price range. As a rule, opinion leaders are highly valued by those who accept their opinion. Thought leadership stems from the two-step communication flow theory advocated by Paul Lazarsfeld and Elihu Katz.  The main developers of the thought leader concept were Robert K.
Merton, C. Wright Mills and Bernard Berelson.  This theory is one of many models that attempt to explain the proliferation of innovations, ideas or commercial products. Choosing which thought leaders you want to work with depends on the audience you want to reach. While many companies follow industry experts and influencers with a large number of social media, these thought leaders won`t be the best fit for every brand. There are personal qualities that make a thought leader. Opinion leaders are people who receive more media coverage than others and are particularly knowledgeable about a particular topic. Thought leaders who use social media are more likely to be introverted.
Introverts don`t have as much interpersonal interaction offline.  They can compensate by creating a controllable network of followers with whom they can interact and gain recognition in a social context. Opinion leaders seek acceptance from others and are particularly motivated to improve their social status.  Public individualism is the idea that an individual acts differently from others because they are different.  Kenny K. Chan and Shekhar Misra found that opinion leaders possess this trait. “The process of individuation and this process of personal influence both involve a two-way exchange that involves a willingness to stand out in a group situation.”  An opinion leader`s desire to stand out distinguishes him from his supporters. In public relations jargon, they are called opinion leaders. Research has also shown that opinion leaders tend to be cross-border workers.  While hairdressers and bartenders are great resources for connecting with a local community, they may not be the most appropriate form of contact for any business.
First, consider finding your ideal customers internationally, domestically, online, or on the go in your local community. Once you have an idea of who you want to reach, you can look for thought leaders who are best able to reach that audience. Social media has broadened the definition of what a thought leader is by facilitating the rise of internet influencers. This group of thought leaders may or may not have work experience in a particular industry. Instead of industry expertise, these thought leaders build an audience by developing a branded online persona that leverages social media and social media trends. In his article “The Two Step Flow of Communication”, Elihu Katz found that opinion leaders have more influence on people`s opinions, actions and behaviors than the media. Opinion leaders have more influence than the media for a number of reasons. Opinion leaders are considered trustworthy and determined. People don`t feel like they`re being made to think about something a certain way when they get information from someone they know. However, the media can be perceived as imposing a concept on the public and will therefore be less influential. While the media can act as a tool for reinforcement, opinion leaders have a changing or determining role in an individual`s opinion or actions.
In a strategic attempt to engage the public on environmental issues and his nonprofit The Climate Project, Al Gore used the concept of thought leaders. Gore found thought leaders by recruiting people who were knowledgeable about environmental issues and who saw themselves as influential in their community and with friends and family. From there, he trained opinion leaders in the information they were supposed to disseminate and enabled them to influence their communities. Through the use of thought leaders, Gore has been able to educate and influence many Americans to take note of climate change and change their actions.  A verified Twitter user with a large number of followers is likely to be considered a thought leader. Similarly, a YouTuber with consistently high view rates for their videos is likely to have an audience to influence. These influencers often have a connection to their audience that seems personal to followers. This creates a high level of trust that is difficult to achieve through traditional advertising channels. According to Yufu Kuwashima, the power and influence of a thought leader comes from the network created by his followers.  Dedicated supporters reinforce the leader`s messages to other media consumers and strengthen their influence. If the thought leader was removed, there would still be a network of connected users who could exchange ideas with each other. A thought leader built this network, but the ability to influence others lies in the network itself.
 In order to effectively influence the opinion of followers, they must see that the leader is above them.  Learn what you need to know about thought leaders and how they can help your business. Opinion leaders play an important role in the flow of information because we tend to seek advice from others in our social environment. Information from the media does not reach the target groups directly, but goes through a mediation process in which influential people digest the information and pass it on to the public. Opinion leaders have certain characteristics that make them influential in the decision-making process and in the behavior of the public. Through knowledge sharing, thought leaders can help others do their jobs better, facilitate personal development, and improve self-recognition.  “Opinion makers”. Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/opinion%20maker. Retrieved 25 November 2022.
Opinion leaders are people who used to be called “industry insiders” or “decision makers.” You have established an authority in a particular area, market or industry. Some can make a career out of influencing their audience on everything from industry trends to current events and consumer behavior. Others may simply be active and trustworthy in a particular community, whether that community fits a physical space, industry, or online community. As far as their followers are concerned, opinion leaders maintain a particular degree of separation in terms of socio-economic status. According to Gershon Feder and Sara Savastano, being part of the same socio-economic status as followers is not effective for leaders. “Thought leaders who are superior to followers, but not excessively, are more effective at imparting knowledge.”  In the meantime, the leader must be close enough to identify with the supporters he wants to influence.  In every industry or community, there are people of stature and credibility.