If you want to acquire much more Chinese influencers in your business, it is the best way to look into what the Chinese people like, especially among the millennials. The prevalence of social media use among Chinese consumers has given rise to a large pool of digital influencers. Influencers are called KOLs (key opinion leaders) in China.

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KOLs is the Key

It is crucial to realize young people in China, or millennial, will lead the popularity. On the basis of the stats issued by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), millennial at 40 percent of China’s urban population between the ages of 15 to 70, indicates that the millennial bracket will perform 69 percent of consumption by 2021. Millennial will spend most of their spare time on the phone with diverse activities and do nothing but shopping, dining, holidaying, car and home-buying.



Even though Chinese people would be skeptical to foreign brands or businesses, especially the niche business, there is still a chance to win Chinese hearts with the promotion of KOLs. These KOLs are extremely creative, proactive and business-savvy. They are often quick to capture opportunities and good at monetizing their popularity.

Where can you find KOLs?

As long as keep the track with Chinese major social media platforms, there is no way you cannot have the target on you mind. Specifically, KOLs can be found on platforms like WeChat, Weibo, QQ, Miaopai, Douyin, Inke and more. They are everywhere and the number is growing. Take Weibo as an example, the number of influencers with more 100,000 fans increased by 57.3% from 2016 to 2017.

KOL has become a normal part of both industry and society vocabulary. It is regarded as the substitute of the top brands because consumers are more attached to real people and selling products through content. However there is no easy way to simply pick a KOL and make a fortune.

KOL May not the Only Solution

KOLs are not favorable way to attract followers or make influence anymore. A couple of years ago, brands could turn to KOLs in order to reach a loyal fan base for lower costs than traditional advertising. In 2017, the top KOLs are as expensive as any other marketing channel or more.

Now, the KOL curates his/her 24 hours around their online persona. The KOL has teams of staff working on the content, the IT, the marketing, and in essence, is now an entire company.

You have to ensure your enough budgets to pay a KOL. There is simply not enough to find a KOL at the right budget. On Weibo, you now have to pay to play. If you want a greater reach, like on Weibo, you now have to pay to play to ensure the proper reach.

Apparently it is easier way to gain popularity by finding a KOL who is idolized or followed by numerous fans, but what followers genuinely care about is genuine content and the true recommendations of their idol. The best solution can be adopted is ongoing relationships wherein the brand worked with the KOL’s content plan, both before and after the key selling moment. For an instance, Becky Li, a fashion blogger, sold 100 limited edition blue MINI cars, after having curated various recommendations of blue-colored clothing in the previous posts.

Another reason you should be cautious is that KOLs are always more expensive. It is a smarter way to work with a higher number of micro-influencers. The individual reach of industry experts and micro-influencers may be lower, but the readership could be much more relevant and engaged in what they are reading, rather than passing, unknown views of a ‘celebrity’ style KOL.

Pay More Attention to Content

It is important to get attention or major impacts by KOLs or influencers, but it should be based on good content. Content is the main performance of your project. If there is no good and relatable content, popular KOLs or influencers still get insufficient.

There are levels of tactical sophistication that can maximize an influencer campaign’s value far beyond awareness.

Misunderstanding of Western Brands about Influencers in China


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Content: Do not follow the Western way of thinking. It is a good marketing strategy to make influencers or KOLs to create the content based on YouTube or Instagram style formats, but it is quite not working with Chinese people. However it is essential to use China’s local popular social medias, like WeChat, Weibo, Miaopai, Tik Tok(Douyin), etc.

Locations: Do not assume that the followers just are limited within the city or the area where the influencers are. It is the fact that the followers can be reaped anywhere even from oversea though the Internet.

Scale: Brands interested in working with micro-influencers often do not work at a large enough scale to create real impact. However it will minimize Chinese followers’ interest because niche markets are usually not trust-worthy to most of Chinese followers.

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