Who is an Opinion Leader?- The Complete Guide

Core Values of a Leader

An opinion leader is an expert with immense knowledge or grasp over a specific area. Their expertise makes them agreeable to the people, which is why they become such opinion leaders in the first place.

Such opinion leaders always have a band of followers or people who support them and refer to them. Whether it is to gain information or to decide things, many people follow such opinion leaders in their decisions. So here we have a complete guide on opinion leaders and how they influence us in our daily lives.

Who Is An Opinion Leader?

An opinion leader is a person who has expertise or experience in a certain field. Due to their expertise, people prefer to listen to such opinion leaders for their choices. They follow and refer to them, hence there is power in the words and presence of an opinion leader.

There are certain communities or fan followings of such opinion leaders. The opinion leaders always shape the opinions of their communities, which makes them a valuable asset for firms that they associate with.

They are the most ideal way to promote a product or a brand amongst the people. Though not all people will follow the actions of an opinion leader blindly. Still, a  lot of people will turn to the brand in the footsteps of their opinion leader.

What Is The Work Of An Opinion Leader?

Opinion leaders do not necessarily make special efforts to become opinion leaders. Instead, their expertise and influence in a certain field make them rise to fame as an opinion leader among the people.

So the work of an opinion leader is mainly to influence and consequently promote the brand they affiliate with. Many firms and brands pay and affiliate with such opinion leaders as a marketing strategy for their products.

So if you are watching the YouTube video of your favorite food YouTuber, you might notice a small banner on top of the video stating “Includes Paid Promotion”. And then you would notice a special pan or knife that the YouTuber promotes.

Hence, the firm or brand of the pan or knife has paid the YouTuber to promote their products amongst their followers. It would lead to the earning of the opinion leader as well as increased sales of the product.

Qualities Of Opinion Leaders

An opinion leader is a person who has a level of expertise on a subject or matter. However, their expertise is not the sole reason why people follow such opinion leaders. The opinion leaders in the world also have many other qualities which attract the masses to them.

Their fame and popularity often have multiple skill sets and qualities supporting them. So having such qualities is what makes a successful and influential opinion leader. Here are some of the most frequently occurring qualities in most opinion leaders which set them apart from others:

Knowledge And Understanding Of A Subject

The expertise and amount of knowledge that an opinion leader has is their greatest strength. Having such an immense bundle of knowledge helps them give viable and helpful advice to their followers.

Hence, they can easily build trust within their networks and even create ideal interpersonal relations. Their knowledge also needs to be up to date for it to be trustable amongst the viewers.

Recently, however, the importance of knowledge has reduced considerably for opinion leaders. But it is more of a recent trend than a lasting trait. Since knowledge outweighs all other aspects, such knowledge is the ultimate strength of an opinion leader.

Experience In Their Field

Apart from knowledge, the experience and know-how of a person also help them reach an opinion leader position. In general, you are more likely to trust the experience of a long-term worker more than a short-term worker.

The same goes for opinion leaders as their experience increases their credibility in the business. The more experience the opinion leader has in their field, the more they are trusted by the public.

It is why you would often see experts with years of experience making it big on the social media and content creation platforms. If we put aside the mindless content, real and meaningful content usually comes from such experienced opinion leaders only.

Communication And Presentation Skills

The communication and soft skills of a person decide how well that person will be able to create relations. Imagine two people, one who communicates clearly and in a fun manner. While the other communicates in a boring and confusing manner.

Who would you trust more if you considered their opinions? It would be the former, wouldn’t it? It is because though both people may be knowledgeable, one also sounds pleasant. Nobody would want to listen to a person who is not an effective communicator in real life.

Many opinion leaders have such skills from a very young age while some of them develop the skills later on. Nevertheless, all successful opinion leaders know exactly how to convey messages or advertise products to the audience very well.

Staying Up To Date

Keeping up with the trends and developments of the new world is perhaps one of the most recent qualities. Since a majority of opinion leaders in our life are influencers on social media, keeping up with trends becomes essential.

If the opinion leader falls even one step behind the other, they will get overtaken by many other content creators of the same kind. Hence, to maintain their fame and position, they have to work hard even after they have achieved an amount of fame.

To protect one’s fame and popularity as an influencer today is far harder than to attain it in the first place. So staying up to date with the latest trends, ideas and innovations are one of the essential qualities of an opinion leader.

Credibility And Respectability

The credibility of the words of an opinion leader decides how the public perceives them. There are many influencers and opinion leaders in the industry that do not have credibility, so their audiences are only temporary and do not trust them as much.

Even with the paid promotion of the products, influencers that give honest opinions of products with benefits and disadvantages are trusted. They do still promote the product, but not blindly. Their words are trustable for the public, hence they have a certain respect.

On the other hand, opinion leaders with no credibility have unstable followers who may watch their works, but not trust them entirely. Hence credibility and honesty for an opinion leader are essential to building a stable audience base for them.

How Does Someone Become An Opinion Leader?

There is no set way for a person to become an opinion leader in this world.  Even if a person has all the above qualities of opinion leaders, they might still not make it big. Similarly, people with no such qualities might become top opinion leaders.

So then, the question is, what makes a person an opinion leader? It is perhaps, the ability to communicate and relate with the public. When people find opinion leaders that they can relate with, they feel immediately attracted to such people.

So the main difference between an opinion leader with all the above qualities and with no such qualities is the longevity of their leadership. Even though it might seem difficult and almost impossible to make it big in a world where the qualities of opinion leaders are reducing, we still have hope.

Examples Of Opinion Leaders

There are many opinion leaders present in your life, and you might not even be aware of it. Whether it is an Instagram celeb whose makeup palette you have bought recently or a celebrity whose soda advertisement attracted you.

So we all have a few opinion leaders in our life that shape our opinions and choices regarding that topic. They are present on various platforms, but we will only discuss the most powerful and influential ones. Here are perhaps the most frequent opinion leaders that we can find in our daily life.


Opinion leaders do not have to necessarily be celebrities or very popular people. A person who influences the opinions and choices of the people they meet can also be called an opinion leader.

Hence, even your family members, friends, or acquaintances can also be opinion leaders. We all know that popular friend in school whose outfits become the latest trending outfits too. Or a person at work whose lifestyle and manner of conduct attract every other co-worker.

Such people are opinion leaders too, even if they have a smaller scale than most. If they do influence the public, then they are technically opinion leaders.

Instagram Influencers

Who doesn’t have an Instagram account in this day and age? And every Instagram user follows a few people.  Most of them are friends and family, but a small portion of the followed people are also Instagram Influencers.

There are many artists and other experts present on social media like Instagram and Facebook who are making their mark in the industry. They have garnered hundreds of thousands of followers and are actively influencing them.

Recently, many makeup artists, travelers, food bloggers, and more have surfaced on these social media platforms. They are regularly creating content for their fan following and receiving many views in turn.


YouTube celebrities are also quite influential in this and the previous decade. Such Youtubers are usually content creators who also have expertise on certain subjects. It makes them generate a fan base.

They also receive many offers of paid promotions and collaborations. It helps the affiliated firm earn profit from the influence of the Youtubers. Hence, you can often witness such product placements in your YouTube videos.

If we take the example of Ryan’s World, we can truly see how immense the influence of an opinion leader can become. The creator is merely a child and his parents reviewing toys but has become one of the biggest YouTubers in the world.


Celebrities like actors and singers are also opinion leaders for many people. They sign contracts for advertisements with the firms and brands to promote their products. Since their influence over the public is so strong, they bring profit to the firm.

People in the entertainment industry are some of the most powerful opinion leaders ever. Since they have a striking influence on the public directly through their works and also through social media and other platforms, they are the most powerful.

Hence, most brands try to strike a deal with a powerful and influential celebrity as the impact of such a celebrity will be far more striking. It will help the brand rise to fame and notice an increase in sales.


Though you may not have always heard of the term, opinion leaders are frequently present in our daily lives. They somewhat influence our decisions, choices, and opinions as well. It is why many firms promote collaboration with such opinion leaders to help increase their product sales and brand image.

But to know how opinion leaders can be beneficial to the firm, you must first understand their qualities. Through this article, you can find out everything from the meaning of opinion leaders to their qualities, requirements, and examples too.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the importance of opinion leaders? 

Opinion leaders actively form and influence the public’s opinion in many ways. Due to their subject expertise on the matter, people trust the opinion leaders and often follow their advice. 

  1. Are influencers the same as opinion leaders?

Influencers are opinion leaders in a way. Though it may be difficult to pinpoint their expertise area, they do influence people the same way. And since they actively shape the public’s opinion, they are opinion leaders.

  1. Are opinion leaders beneficial to firms?

Yes, opinion leaders are extremely beneficial to firms. It is why firms contractually hire such influential people to promote the firm’s products further. It helps the firm achieve sales since the people follow such opinion leaders.

Who is an Opinion Leader?- The Complete Guide

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