Written by: Myra Norton
Locating Opinion Leaders is sometimes a daunting task, especially for large scale campaigns. Unfortunately, finding these influential consumers is only half the battle; the ability to listen is actually the key element in successfully engaging community members. With this in mind, the next question appropriately asked of me was:
Can businesses attract Opinion Leaders?
I hate to be a stickler for language, but I don’t think the right approach is to try to “attract” Opinion Leaders. Rather, businesses should meet the Opinion Leaders and their communities where they are – in the context of the relationships, dialogues, and information sharing activities that matter most to them. To truly grow a loyal customer base (i.e. improve customer retention) while simultaneously increasing the rate of new customer acquisition, businesses need to participate in the communities that matter most to their target audience rather than try to create artificial networks – more listening and less “telling”. As we’ve seen in the popular press, artificial networks are not as valuable as most had hoped.