Key Opinion Leaders – what are they & why do they matter?
By Shifa Sarguru, SOCIATE’s Copywriting Intern
The modern consumer doesn’t believe in being marketed to. Instead, they prefer researching brands online.
45% of internet users say brand research is a top reason they use social media, according to a report by We Are Social and Hootsuite.
How can your brand pivot in this situation?
By using a third party to promote your products or services.
Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) – also called influencers – are social media users that accumulate a loyal following over time. As brands ramp up their digital marketing efforts, they look for ways to distinguish themselves from the competition.
One way to do this is with KOL marketing.
KOLs endorse products for brands in exchange for payment (cash or other incentives). Here’s an example: Skillshare provides a month’s free trial through an affiliate link as a giveaway to YouTube influencers and their audience.
The benefit of having KOLs vouching for your brand is that they increase your brand’s trust with the audience. Collaborating with a KOL enables you to tap into their network and reach circles related to your niche. Another example: Grammarly collaborates with KOLs in the productivity and studygram niches to create brand awareness.
A KOL has the ability to drive traffic to your site, increase your engagement, and boost your conversion rate by recommending your product. KOL marketing can be expensive but a targeted approach can help increase your ROI.
How has the social media landscape adapted to KOLs?
Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest have added features that support online shopping; providing statistics to measure the impact of these campaigns. YouTube is working on rolling out a feature that enables people to tag products in their video clips.
KOLs can use their platforms to drive their followers to complete purchases by simply tagging the products in their posts.
Now let’s explore the different types of KOLs
Macro KOLs have a mass following of upto 750,000 followers or more. They can generate huge brand awareness and credibility among consumers and smaller KOLs. However, if the KOLs are not closely related to your niche, their mass appeal will not benefit your brand.
Macro KOLs are celebrities amongst their fanbase and therefore, there’s a chance their followers will not be tempted to engage with your brand. Another factor to consider is the high costs of bringing on board a Macro KOL and whether the campaign’s ROI is higher than the cost.
Micro KOLs with a following between 10,000 to 100,000 have a niche audience. They are experts within their respective field. Micro KOLs are a cost effective way to reach an audience that cannot be reached through traditional marketing techniques. They are a great way to increase sales and get customers to hit the buy button.
Customer advocates are KOLs that help in conversion and conversation among their peers as they are genuine and loyal fans of the brand.
KOCs, also known as Key Opinion Consumers, are influencers who are hobbyists and starting out as content creators. Their promotion of your product can support the work of higher-level KOLs.
How to select KOLs for your brand
– When selecting KOLs, ensure they fall under one or two related niches that your brand’s target consumer is in. For a sustainable brand selling metal straws, a KOL who is a minimalist and is eco-conscious is a better choice than one with a larger reach but consumerist values.
– Choose your KOL according to your campaign’s needs. Decide if your campaign requires an activist, an informer, or an authority figure.
Influencer marketing’s real cost is the time and effort spent on finding KOLs that can best represent your brand. Spending time on finding KOLs with the niche audience your brand wants to focus on increases your chances of a better ROI.
SOCIATE’s sister agency SOCIALITE focuses on finding and building relationships with trusted and reputed KOLs who are aligned with your brand needs. For more information about SOCIALITE’s KOL marketing services, click here. To visit SOCIALITE’s Instagram page, please click here.