One statement from Warren Buffett can influence people to invest their hard-earned money in a specific share.
Why do you think that is?
It is his business knowledge and leadership in the investment sector. People trust him and admire him as a Key Opinion Leader (KOL) in the business world.
That’s the power of KOLs!
Across multiple industries and sectors, these KOLs can play a crucial role in influencer marketing campaigns too. Data shows 74% of consumers agree that word-of-mouth marketing greatly influences their purchase decisions. This is why brands are now looking to expand profits with KOL influencer marketing campaigns.
If you stick to the end of this article, you will learn what KOL is and how you can leverage them for your brand.
KOLs are people with expertise in their professional fields. Like Buffett, we have Arianna Huffington, Seth Godin, Elon Musk, Oprah and others in marketing, literature, technology, and more.
But not every KOL can be a known name or have massive followership like Oprah or Elon Musk.
They can be working professionals, respected for their knowledge in what they do, like doctors, medical experts, authors, academicians, writers, or even scientists. People believe them for their proficiency and command over a subject.
Now, when ‘influencer’ has become a buzzword among marketers and brands, it might be a little confusing for you whether a KOL can be an influencer or vice versa.
The difference between influencers and KOLs is the level of expertise they possess.
Influencers - bloggers, celebrities, social media influencers, or even YouTube content creators - earn a living by promoting products and recommending their followers on social media to purchase them.
Whereas KOLs are professionals in a particular field. They do not necessarily create content or collaborate with brands to make a living. KOLs have achieved followers based on their hard work and success over the years.
Let’s take a look at other aspects that make KOL different from influencers:
KOL marketing means building a strategy with opinion leaders to leverage their expertise for product promotion. Interestingly, an influencer and a KOL might have a similar audience size but what makes KOL the top choice for marketers is their specific target audience.
For example, Jackie Aina is a renowned beauty YouTuber. Various brands reached out to Aina for her proficiency in generating content around beauty and skincare. She garnered authentic, targeted followers by constantly posting about beauty products. For many brands, she is today a perfect KOL influencer.
Certainly, KOLs are an excellent choice for maximising returns on your influencer marketing campaigns. But, they are tough to acquire. KOLs care about their audience and do not promote a brand they don’t believe in.
For a KOL to become an influencer, you need to have a rock-solid pitch.
Here are a few tips on how to craft your pitch:
Now, you know that brands turn to KOLs for endorsements, but why? It is because they:
1) Create a positive image of your brand
A thought leader's statement becomes a topic for people to talk about. Which builds credibility and generates buzz for your brand.
2) Build a loyal customer base
Once your brand is endorsed by a thought leader their loyal followers have a greater chance of becoming your loyal customers.
3) Give you a competitive advantage
Recommendation by a key opinion leader can drive the audience towards your brand instead of the competitors.
4) Create buzz for your brand
They can generate a positive buzz for your brand, hence driving traffic towards you.
5) Help you target your ideal audience
KOLs have a hyper-niche audience based on their field of expertise. Which means they are already interested in the subject. Hence, resulting in a higher ROI because you get to target a narrower niche audience who is more likely to buy your product.
Setting up a successful KOL campaign requires a lot of initial planning before actually running it. For the campaign to be effective, you need to be in sync with your campaign strategy.
Refer to this step-by-step guide on how to create an effective KOL marketing strategy:
Step 1: Identify your goal for the campaign
Having a set goal, whether it is brand awareness, sales or generating online traffic, etc, at the start of the campaign makes it easier to measure the campaign performance. A set goal acts as a benchmark that you want to achieve which helps in directing your campaign in the right direction.
Note: The KOL campaigns are best for generating brand awareness and establishing trust with your audience.
For the campaign to be successful, you need to design strategic goals. Here’s how:
Step 2: Formulate a plan
You need a planned strategy before diving into the campaign. An organized plan keeps you on track and ensures colossal results.
Here’s a checklist of things to consider while planning your KOL marketing strategy:
Step 3: Choose the right kol for your brand
Once you have the objective and plan in order, you can begin finding the right KOL who matches your brand voice. Whoever you choose will decide the result of your campaign, so pick wisely.
Here’s a list of criteria to help you decide the right KOL for your brand:
Step 4: Establish communication with the KOL
Now that you have chosen your KOL influencer, it’s time to reach out to them. KOLs are pretty rigid when it comes to brand promotions, so make sure that you have a few backup options.
Here are a few tips on what you should include in your pitch:
Step 5: Settle the terms of the campaign
Once the KOL agrees to your pitch, it’s time to share the terms of the campaign. Be thorough with this step to avoid any future disputes.
Consider the below checklist for crafting the terms of the KOL contract:
Step 6: Run the campaign
After both the parties have agreed and signed the contract, now it’s time to run your KOL campaign!
To run a successful influencer campaign make sure to:
Step 7: Measure the performance of your campaign
Running the campaign is not enough. You need to analyze the progress of your campaign to know if it’s working.
Here’s how you can measure the effectiveness of your campaign:
Working with a KOL depends on your campaign’s objective. More so, is the opinion leader relevant to your brand.
Here are some key points for you to keep in mind when collaborating with a KOL:
1) Online advertisements
Advertisements usually run for longer periods and reach a larger audience. So, if your objective is to create brand awareness then KOL advertisements are an evergreen choice.
2)Live interviews with the audience
You can conduct live video or audio interviews with the key opinion leader and get the audience to ask questions.
3) How-to guides
Guides are perfect if you’re collaborating with a blogger. They can publish detailed how-to guides mentioning your product.
4) Product videos
Videos of your KOL using your product will encourage your audience to trust their choice.
5) Brand mentions
You can ask your KOL to mention your brand in posts, speeches, or interviews to generate curiosity in the audience.
6) Guest blogging
Maybe you can ask a KOL blogger to guest blog on your website in return for a backlink.
7) Product seeding
Product seeding allows you to send free products to your chosen KOL to try them out and share their opinion with the audience.
There are several ways to find the right KOL for your influencer marketing campaign. You need to pick someone who fits your brand voice and will help you achieve your campaign goals.
Here’s how you can find the best KOL for your campaign
1) Automated influencer marketing platforms like affable.ai
There are multiple influencer marketing platforms available for you to discover KOL influencers from their database without losing your precious time, manage conversations with them and measure ROI/
Affable.ai has a database of over 6M+ influencers. You can use more than 20 filters to search for the right influencers and KOLs based on their interests, demographics, target audience, and engagement rate.
2) Search trending industry hashtags on Instagram or Twitter
You can search for hashtags that are related to your industry on social media and go through each profile manually to pick the right KOL.
This process, however, is manual and time-consuming.
3) Search for relevant keywords on YouTube
If you’re looking to collaborate with a YouTube KOL then use related keywords to find who is considered as an expert in your industry.
4) Read industry news to find experts in the field
Popular KOLs make headlines now and then. You can figure out which KOL is right for you by reading news articles featuring them.
5) Search for KOLs that have your target audience
Your target audience should match the audience your KOL has so that you can easily target them in your campaign. You can use the target audience filter on affable.ai’s influencer marketing platform to search for thought leaders with your target market.
According to Social SEO, KOL is the fastest growing method to acquire online customers. With so much content available on the internet, consumers trust thought leaders. Therefore, KOL marketing is the perfect way to showcase your product as an expert’s choice.
The rising popularity and demand of key opinion leaders are pushing brands to invest more in this marketing strategy. 67% f marketers promote their content with the help of influencer KOLs. It is the perfect time to set up your KOL strategy and look for relevant KOLs in your industry.
Get new blogs, case studies and our Market Landscape reports directly in your inbox.
We don't spam.