What is a KOL?
KOL, or Key Opinion Leader, is a term that corresponds to influence marketing. Influence marketing is about increasing the visibility of a brand on the Internet through the use of an influencer, a person who is generally well known and followed by many people.
Influence marketing: how does it work?
Influence marketing can be done in many ways: posts on social networks, short stories, long videos, blog articles… the goal is to trigger a purchase act via several affiliation methods such as promotional codes or contests to win gifts.
How to collaborate with influencers
There are many ways to collaborate with influencers via many digital networks or biases; here are a few examples that can apply to both China and the West:
- The endowment of product or experience: portage and one-to-one invitations to obtain benefits without imposed brief (partnership without remuneration)
- Sponsored campaigns: allocate an influencer budget to a campaign in order to obtain benefits from powerful influencers, with wording controlled and validated beforehand
- Affiliation: pay the influencer a percentage of the orders generated thanks to him using platforms such as Awin or RewardStyle
- Special operations: this involves organizing launch events, influencers’ dinner, but also take-over with influencers; the principle is to let an influencer take control of a brand’s account to acquire new subscribers and offer different content to their community. Finally, the meet-ups: organize a meeting between an influencer and his community to promote the brand.
- Tools for making listings: The most important is personal monitoring. For micro-influence, tools such as Hivency or Octoly (to be understood correctly) or platforms such as Kolsquare for editing listings according to keywords.
- Engagement verification tools to detect the purchase of fake followers, identify the target and reach of each influencer like HypeAuditor for example, which allows verifying the authenticity of an influencer community
Creating content on the Internet with a KOL or influencer has many advantages…
The benefits of content creation: reaching a new target
Content creation can be applied to different social networks at the same time to increase the impact; the goal here is to reach a different target from traditional advertising. A generally younger target (71% of active Instagram users are under 35) and more connected (especially for e-shops): 53 minutes on average per day for an active user.
The benefits of content creation: improving SEO
By using KOLs or influencers, brands can improve the SEO of articles, blogs, or posts related to their activity, in particular by exchanging links with bloggers with good SEO. This also allows you to have quality articles and reviews in the first pages of research concerning the brand.
The benefits of content creation: building a relationship of trust
The use of influence marketing adds proximity between the brand and its subscribers via the KOL. People can more easily identify with their influencers than with the brand directly by establishing accessibility and trust. In addition, the message conveyed through social networks or simply the Internet is much more suited to the target than traditional advertising (metro, TV, magazine, etc.).
… But also some disadvantages, so you need to be careful
The KOL must be chosen carefully
To be successful, a commercial operation supported by an influencer must be the subject of an in-depth study so as not to risk the bane of the Internet: the bad buzz. It is enough that your KOL was the subject of legal problems, or bad behavior on the Internet or in real life, of various controversies … and the reputation of the influencer will directly tarnish that of the brand. This was the case for the collaboration between Yang Ying a.k.a Angelababy and Dior.
Nicknamed the “Chinese Kim Kardashian” because of numerous accusations of cosmetic surgery, Angelababy is one of the most followed Chinese celebrities in China, with practically 1 billion followers on Weibo. Dior, therefore, chose her in 2017 to embody the house as an ambassador, but this choice was not well received by fans because of the accusations against her. The publication announcing the collaboration received more than 50,000 comments and 750,000 shares on the Chinese social network Weibo.
KOL and luxury, a complex alliance
The figures of influence are intended to increase the visibility of a brand on a large scale, which is quite paradoxical with the exclusivity that characterizes the luxury industry. This is why KOLs in luxury is rather considered as muses; Even more impactful than in classic influencer marketing, the use of an influencer in luxury must be the subject of great attention. The personality chosen must represent the values of the brand to be legitimate to represent it. Note that in China, the use of KOL is extremely effective and the alliance of influencer with luxury does not shock, so do not hesitate to use it if you have the means.
How to find the influencers that fit you
There are many agencies for connecting brands and KOLs. To stand out and limit the risks, analyze the behavior of your audience before choosing the influencer that will benefit you. Someone who is very supportive is not enough, you must choose someone who is likely to represent your community while corresponding to the values of the brand. In China, you can use search platforms such as KOL Store, MyPrad, ParkLu, Robin8, or ToutiaoKol to find the rare pearl.