Are you an Influencer or a Thought Leader?


Social platforms today provide us with multiple avenues to communicate and connect with people on a large scale, and give us with the means to become Thought Leaders or Influencers in our area of expertise. So what is the difference between a Thought Leader and an Influencer, and how do you go about becoming one?

A Thought leader is a thinker and pushes innovation. With a creative and analytical approach, they have the ability to pull together great ideas, challenge pre-existing notions and guide and inspire new thinking.  

An Influencer is a ‘do-er’ and encourages social engagement. They are strategic, ignite discussion and more importantly inspire action and participation. It is through action that Influencers assist in making innovation and concepts (provoked by Thought Leaders) mainstream.

To become a Thought Leader or Influencer, you need to think long and hard about the type of person that you are and where you see yourself best suited. If you are somewhere in the middle, you could very well be both. Either way the key attributes that both of these types of individuals have are:

  • Great communication skills - to successfully engage with their audience.

  • Team player - listen and learn from others. 

  • Passion - continue driving debate, ideas and thoughts around their area of knowledge and interest.

  • Determination - irrespective of differing views continue to push the boundary.

Without these attributes, becoming a Thought Leader or Influencer will be extremely challenging.


Thought leaders and Influencers use the same tools and platforms to communicate their thoughts and build their following. Some of these include (but are not limited to):

  • LinkedIn posts and Group discussions

  • Facebook Page

  • Twitter Account

  • Personal Website

  • Blog

  • Discussions on Forums

  • Instagram

  • SlideShare

The tools that Influencers and Thought leaders decide to use are determined by a few factors. The first is the platforms that their target audiences are most active on and the second is social platforms that are most relevant their industry.

At the end of the day if you’re looking to be an Influencer or a Thought Leader, remember that it all comes down to consistency. Decide where you fit best, choose your tools to communicate and start sharing your thoughts to build your following. 

David Griffiths

David Griffiths

Founder & Director - Social Check™

Social Check™ helps individuals to look the very best they can online and ensure that their personal online brand is as strong as it can be. Social Check’s unique technology helps people to rapidly, cheaply and easily audit their existing online presence and then take swift action to remedy issues and improve it. With a background of holding senior roles in multi-national corporates, David is passionate about business strategy, social media, innovation, start-ups, leadership, personal branding, executive development, brand reputation, reputational risk and digital marketing.