Along with the development of internet, the social network has become a necessary part of people’s daily life. People are now more often reading and speaking online instead of through more traditional forms of main stream media. The group of KOL (Key Opinion Leader) of society are changing as well. Previously, the KOL of a society were mostly main stream celebrities. But now, there is a new group of KOL, who are famous through their social media accounts and blogs. Some may refer to them as ‘online celebrities’. These famous accounts on various social networking sites may be run by one person, whilst some of them might be run by a whole group of people.
Thanks to the interent, KOL can now be very influential when it comes to marketing and selling. Netizens trust the information they recieve from KOLs they have followed on social network sites more than they would trust ads or advertising from other media forms. Moreover, the KOL online are spreading not just information, but also some life attitudes, thoughts and ideas to their followers, which affects people’s purchasing behaviors and habits.
The KOL in China
In China, KOL appear to have a more strong influence on society than in any other country. This may be due to the chaotic market and having less trust between businesses and customers. Chinese customers therefore tend to trust someone they view as a ‘real person’ which they get by following them on social media. Within many Chinese social networks, like Weibo and WeChat, people often discuss various goods and products and even talk about these with who they admire. If a social media KOL endorses a product, often, their many followers will follow their idols’ (KOLs) purchasing habits.
The KOLs in China could be columnists, socialites, bloggers and popular individuals or groups. Currently, they are becoming famous on Weibo, WeChat, Youku, Meipai, Douban and so on. KOLs could be used in any part of society, and any industry could have its own KOLs.
Engage with KOLs, which is important for your business
Nowadays, the most efficient way to promote your products, brands or business is be a “partner” with KOLs. The power from KOLs for business is from their large base of online fans. Their words and behaviors have a strong influence on their followers, and the majority of the time their fans will listen to their opinions and suggestions. They can share or introduce your brand, products or services to their large numbers of fans, which can lift awareness and reputationof your brand.
CASE STUDY: Klorane and Furterer
One example of how KOLs have been sucesful in marketing a product, is French cosmetic brand ‘Klorane and Furterer’ who enlisted the help of GMA (Gentlemen Marketing Agency). They were a very new brand in the Chinese market when they got in contact with GMA. Considering their lack of awareness and reputation in China, and within limited marketing budgets, GMA customized a marketing program for them. They made a large KOLs campaign event on Taobao, where each campaign included 100 KOLs. The KOLs posted related content and pictures about these two brands, and ultmiately had a strong influence on people who shop on Taobao.
5 Typical groups of KOLs
If we had to categorize KOLs to different types, then in my personal opinion, they could be identified in 5 different categories: Celebrities, fashion bloggers, communities, funny accounts and Wanghong.
These type of KOLs are usually famous actors, singers, journalists, businessmen, artists and so on. They are the most influential KOLs online. However, due to their massive base of followers and the responsibility for them, normally they don’t tend to engage themselves’ in online marketing campaigns, particulary for new companies. It could be a huge challenge for your brand to find a proper spokesman to negotiate with them, and also they could demand a high price for endorsing your product.
They are a group of fashionistas who like to post fashionable pictures showing off their latest clothing styles or or make-up trends. They are relied on by fashion brands, cosmetic brands and ready-to-wear luxury goods. Their fan base if generally made up of fans for fashion, make up and people who like shopping for luxury goods. Normally, they like to write some reviews of products and services based on their own experiences.
This type could be a companies official account. Normally run by a group of people, they tend to post the contents, pictures and information related. For example, 关爱八卦成长协会, this is a Chinese gossip account. They normally post believable gossip news about celebrities who have a large number of fans. People love gossip. This might be why they have a lot of fans on Weibo and WeChat. Based on their large fan base, they have started to engage in various online marketing campaigns.
Under the boring daily life, people enjoy viewing funny pictures and content to cheer themselves up. There are many accounts focusing on posting interesting pictures and content to encourage readers to laugh. These kind of accounts are pretty popular on Weibo and WeChat, and the size of their audience can even compare with celebrities. But generally they will charge a lower price compared to celebrities.
Internet celebrity (Wanghong)
This is a group of people who are famous through their appearance and behaviors. Some of them are famous because they behave in a bad way, whilst some of them are famous because of their beauty. Whatever way they get famous, they all have big groups of fans to support them. Sometime, the marketing program with them could go very well because they have such a huge audience, even beyond the expectation.
How to work with KOL
There are various ways to work with KOLs. Below will mention some of the most efficient ways to cooperate with them.
In this way, the brands’, products’ or service providers’ could post some contents and pictures on their own official account first, then pay KOLs to share their posts on the KOLs’ own account. This means using KOLs to help you spread your own voice and opinions. This works well on both Weibo and WeChat.
This way can be used to promote brands, products, services, campaigns and so on. The point is you need to select the right KOL who has the similar sense and level with what you want to promote in the market.
You could provide some gift cards or little gifts related to your business to your KOL, then your KOL could send these gifts to their selected fans as rewards. This action could raise the public interest and excitement about your products or brands . You could require them to create some giveaway campaigns on their social account and encourage their fans to take part in them. Normally, KOLs get paid by sponsored posts and giveaways separately. This might be because of the complex and extra time it takes them to advertise and promote giveaway promotions.
Product reviews could be useful products, services and brands. People normally like to check the reviews about what they are going to buy. If they read positive reviews, they will be more inclined to buy. Contact bloggers and give them a reason to post positive reviews about your business in order to efficiently start building your repuatation.
This is a complicated marketing solution. You need to invite different KOLs to take part in the promotion and ask them to compete with each other. Brands could ask them to make original videos, comics or other creative things to join the contest. Then KOLs need their followers to vote for them in the competition. It could be an efficient way to attract new customers and connect to KOL fans. However, this marketing solution needs large budgets, and the price will be really expensive comparatively.
Most importantly, to engage in KOL promotions in the Chinese market, you need to engage in Chinese social media first, which are Weibo, WeChat and different platform. GMA (Gentlemen Marketing Agency) is professional to conduct the marketing projects with Chinese KOLs. They have done many different projects involving this kind of promotion before and generated their own KOLs campaign to work with.
We are a Social Media Agency
We are based in China, and we are specialised in Influencers , KOL and help brands to increase their awarness in China. If you have a project, please contact us.