What Is KOL In Marketing?

Influencer 101

The digital age has seen a shift in marketing with the emergence of KOL.

KOL, better known as Key Opinion Leaders, are what consumers are gravitating towards in hopes to filter the clutter that digital advertising has created.

They are seen as having more importance and relevance than mass media because they are able to connect and relate to their audience in a way that’s intimate and authentic.

Influencers are viewed differently compared to their celebrity counterparts. Social media influencers are able to create a conversation, making campaigns much more engaging since these ‘real’ people are sharing thoughts and ideas about a product.

Word of Mouth is incredibly important in terms of consumer decision making—20 to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions are influenced by it.

These influencers are regarded as the authority in their area of expertise, and are perceived to be trustworthy and approachable because they are known to their audience. In turn, this makes the process of marketing significantly more successful since followers are swayed by their thoughts and opinions.

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Key Opinion Leaders work double-duty: they not only connect with their audience, but in most cases, they also have a specific target demographic.

This allows brands to effectively allocate their marketing budget because of the targeted, niche audience the influencer has access to.

Focus on building a long-term relationship with the influencer: it’s more authentic to foster a long-term affiliation as opposed to a one-off activation. (Use an influencer relationship management platform to make this easier at scale.)

In doing so, they may also post about your product because of a genuine affection for it.

Collaborate with your KOL—they have built a loyal, devout following based on their content.

It’s important to discuss your brand message with the influencer to maintain consistency throughout the campaign, but it’s equally important to value and trust the opinions of the influencer.

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In a saturated environment where there are endless content producers, it’s paramount to find the right fit for your brand.

How to Find the Best Key Opinion Leaders

There are a few things to consider to best pair a KOL with a brand. The first is to look at how relevant the influencer is with the target demographic you are trying to engage.

Assessing which influencer is most visible to your target audience will ensure the right people—and hopefully future customers—see it. After discovering relevant influencers, determine the reach for your campaign.

In most cases, micro-influencers tend to have a smaller yet more engaged following, making them more appealing from both a conversion and cost perspective. The contrast between smaller and larger KOLs is something that companies need to consider—not only in terms of budget—but also in terms of their brand image.

Learn more and download the Professional Marketer’s Guide to Influencer Marketing here.

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