Learning and understanding consumer behavior is one of the most critical aspects of a marketing strategy. Marketers need to understand what influences a consumer to make purchasing decisions. Along with social and personal reasons, culture is an impactful factor that can push a person’s buying behavior. Some cultural factors can include reference groups, family, and social classes.
With the rise in social media, opinion leaders also play a huge role in influencing how a consumer selects a product or service. You may have heard of influencers like the ones on social media platforms like Tik Tok or Instagram. It may not seem like it, but these individuals have a lot of power that can encourage millions of people to perform certain actions or consider a specific topic. Their opinions are highly respected within a respective community, and it’s a good idea to take advantage of these opportunities.
Three ways opinion leaders can influence consumer behavior include:
They build brand awareness.
Many opinion leaders like influencer have spent year cultivating their audiences, which has allowed them to cement themselves as respected authority figures in their industry. For example, Ariana Huffington, founder of Huffington Post, is a long-time writer and established author with a significant social media presence. She can easily encourage her followers to read a specific book, follow a campaign, or donate to certain causes.
They facilitate customer relationships.
Because many opinion leaders have built their audiences and have a respectable background, numerous consumers trust these leaders and have connections with them. One of the best ways to get a brand out to target consumers would be to introduce it to them. Most consumers trust the opinions of close connections. Since consumers feel that connection with their respective opinion leaders, it would make sense that many would trust their authority figure’s opinion on a particular product or service.
They tend to be effective storytellers.
Whether they’re celebrities or social media influencers, opinions leaders are generally incredible storytellers. The reason for this is due to their strong communication skills. Many opinion leaders connect with audiences personally, offering insightful stories or educational posts with a witty twist. In essence, opinion leaders are able to showcase a part of themselves to audiences, which makes consumers feel like they’re “friends”. This is exactly how they establish the trust that’s become inherent for many opinion leaders like influencers.
It’s important for marketers to look for opinion leaders within their client’s or company’s industry. This can be useful in ensuring a brand reaches the right audience and achieve marketing objectives in a strategic plan. Make sure to align social and personal factors that can also influence consumer behavior so that you can make the most of your marketing strategies.