Opinion Leaders and Opinion Formers – what’s the difference?

Opinion formers, opinion leaders and opinion followers are all related to communications with your target audiences. They each have their own role in communicating and adding credibility to your message.

Opinion Former – Someone knowledgeable in their field derived from job, status, qualifications or first-hand experience.

Opinion Leader – A peer who can influence messages to targets but not seen as an expert in the field, may pick up information from media and comment on a blog, however, the source may not be seen as credible if the reader does not know the writer. Credibility could be improved by linking the blog to a company or association.

Opinion Follower – Mainly associated with consumers searching for information for guidance from sources such as the media.

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    About Annmarie Hanlon

    ANNMARIE HANLON is a trainer, consultant, adviser in digital marketing strategy and business development of social media.

    Starting in 1999, when she worked in ‘internet marketing’; creating wire frames and content for websites. Today Annmarie is a digital, content and strategic marketing specialist, over the last 20 years she has worked on consultancy projects in the UK, Ireland, Hong Kong and Italy, with clients from sectors including legal and tax services, software, financial services, communications, health, leisure, media and IT.


    1. Sam Elfer says:

      Thanks for this – a useful definition.

      These days, as competition is getting tougher and it becomes harder to differentiate your product or service, Opinion Leaders and Opinion Formers are increasingly important. I’ve written about it over at http://samelfer.wordpress.com/2012/02/16/opinion-leaders/ if you get to take a look.

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