KOL Marketing: Working with Chinese influencers in …
Digital marketing is a constantly evolving sphere and businesses have to ensure that they are on board with every new development in digital marketing campaigns to stay competitive. One such development in digital marketing, regarding the China market, is KOL marketing.
KOL is an acronym for “Key Opinion Leader”, which is simply to use influencers in marketing activities. If your business is looking for ways to embrace influential marketing concepts.
What exactly is KOL marketing?
KOL marketing is an advertisement that uses social media influencers to promote products and services. This concept is common on mainstream social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram, where users who pay a large number of followers are paid to promote their business with their social content.
In China, many mainstream social media platforms (such as Twitter and Instagram) are blocked, and the most popular and accessible social media platform in the country is WeChat.
However, Alibaba-backed Ruhnn Holding, which specifically targets influential e-commerce platforms, has recently applied for an initial public offering (IPO) on Nasdaq. According to 2018 revenue data, the company is expected to raise US $ 200 million and is China’s largest KOL promoter. It has signed more than 100 KOLs and has attracted about 148.5 million followers on other social media platforms
Brands wishing to attract a China customer base can use KOL marketing to promote their business on WeChat or other widely used China social media platforms. Like the Western world, KOL in the China market is also a celebrity with a large audience, and they have the right to influence the online decisions of others.
However, they are not necessarily celebrities. KOLs can also be individuals who are proficient in social media, including bloggers, fashionistas, socialites and columnists, who have established a huge community of followers throughout the social media network. They usually publish promotional content covering a wide range of topics, including sports, cosmetics, food, fashion and luxury goods.
The marketer paid the agreed amount to KOL using KOL marketing technology. In exchange, the influencer would post the marketer ’s advertisement on the social media account that he agreed to. By posting your business on the timeline, your business will gain greater visibility and credibility. Since China ’s social media network is not as commercialized as the Western market, KOL marketing activities are very effective in China because consumers view these influencers as a trusted source of knowledge.
What are the benefits of KOL marketing?
After subscribing to KOL marketing methods, many companies can reap various benefits. There is a lot of distrust in corporate advertising throughout China, which is reflected in the fact that consumers tend to accept influential people who approve products rather than products and services that the brand advertises directly to users. Users know that the brand ’s goal is to promote its goods and services.
Xiaohongshu is a good example of KOL’s marketing advantages. By maintaining high-quality and reliable reviews with participating communities, social media platforms are rapidly gaining popularity in China. The platform has become so popular that even now the app has transformed into a shopping experience platform by purchasing products for customers who want to buy directly. The app does not allow anonymous comments or one-click rating. Moreover, if a certain time has passed, the user cannot simply click on the high score. This keeps the community loyal to the quality of the reviews and participates more for a longer period of time.
How do KOL influencers work?
Influential people invite their audience to try the same goods and services they use in their daily lives, thereby bringing credibility to the quality of the brand. Therefore, dealing with potential customers through influential people will become a more effective and sustainable marketing strategy to gain consumer trust and build brands.
In addition, compared with faceless corporate brands, consumers’ acceptance of KOL marketing is also higher because influential people are more accessible and connected. This is especially true considering that the content provided by influencers is considered valuable by users and represents their interests.
WeChat does not allow links to external websites from its platform. However, China consumers still rely heavily on the influence of KOL and frequently check their suggestions for new products or services.
When choosing KOL for a China social media platform, there are many options, which means that marketers interested in KOL advertising can choose a variety of influencers. This provides great flexibility in the selection process. Here, marketers can decide the price points they can afford and the target fan base they expect. Conducting some research can help them determine the KOL that best suits their job requirements.
How are KOLs paid?
There are three different ways to pay KOL for promotional positions; either fixed fees, product giveaways, or results-based fees, where influential people are paid based on the results of the advertisement. In the case of fixed fees, KOL marketing on WeChat and other platforms does not have a fixed pricing structure, and KOL must set the price itself. Influential people can propose prices or have social media agents do so on their behalf. In addition, some platforms such as WeChat have begun to adopt rules regarding giveaways or contest-style posts.
The cost of KOL marketing may be more than a few dollars or thousands of dollars, or may include the exchange of products for its promotional services. The amount marketers pay for marketing depends on KOL’s responsibilities (marketers may need KOL to create text or brand visual content), their online reputation, and their network of followers. The more demanding you are, and the more KOL invests in creating branded content, the higher the cost of this advertising method.
In addition, most social media platforms require influence to require their content to have relevance or marketing promotions. This does not seem to prevent listeners’ confidence in the credibility and authenticity of the influencers they follow.
How do you choose a Chinese influencer?
In KOL marketing, consumers see influencers interacting with brands. KOL acts as a middleman between the brand and the customer. When choosing KOL for this marketing strategy, you must find an influential person who will represent your brand well and accurately portray your business image to their niche market.
KOL is your face on social media, and you are responsible for ensuring that your KOL matches your brand in interest, style, and value. Sometimes, it may be more beneficial to choose a KOL with fewer followers but a larger community niche that represents your brand. The goal of KOL marketing is not only to increase the company’s visibility, but also to increase the target audience’s participation in the brand. Some KOLs have a large number of followers, but many of them may be dissatisfied or unresponsive to your brand.
Before approaching them, please remember to conduct a thorough study of the selected KOL. Do n’t just look at the number of followers they have, but check the engagement value in their posts. Smaller active fan groups are better than larger inactive fan groups, because active users are more likely to interact with ads. That said, if you are looking for an ideal influencer in an advertising strategy, you can take a look at Antipodal Talent, AsiaKOL and iconKOL, to name a few.
Who should use a KOL?
Small businesses and large companies can use KOL marketing. Smaller brands can use it to increase visibility and attract a target audience. Existing brands that do not necessarily need the visibility that small businesses are looking for can use KOL marketing to advertise or promote new products in the market.
KOL marketing is booming in the China market, mainly because China consumers are more closely connected with contacts on social media. They find authenticity and credibility among carefully selected individuals, many of whom have similar tastes and values as their listeners. Because many China customers on WeChat and other China social media platforms view KOL as a reliable source, having one of these influencers recognize that your product can do wonders for your business.
KOL marketing is very flexible and targeted. For emerging companies that need to be recognized in the China market to develop brands and increase sales, this is a highly recommended strategy. It can revitalize the image and sales of well-known brands and stay competitive. Working with excellent KOL can help you implement your marketing strategy and immediately attract China customers to join your business.