KOL Marketing

Who are KOLs?

Key Opinion Leaders are people who have a significant impact in social media and are therefore willingly used for marketing campaigns. Even if they don’t sell a product directly, they have a huge impact on others’ purchasing decisions.

There are several types of KOLs:

  • Celebrities such as famous actors, singers, television personalities.
  • Bloggers who create content based on specialized knowledge or skills on the Internet.
  • Internet stars such as comedy video creators or people who post photos of themselves.
Source: daxue consulting, types of KOLs.

KOL marketing supposes that those famous people write product reviews based on their own experiences. For many brands, partnering with influencers is the easiest way to present and advertise their products.

Many Chinese opinion leaders are experts in the process of sharing product reviews with valuable information. Therefore, Internet users consider them as trustworthy and can rely on their opinion.

KOL marketing: more power thanks to social media

Data Source: daxue consulting, Weibo big data 2018, Increased amount of KOLs in Weibo

Thanks to the impact of the internet community, influential people in China have much more power than in other countries. The most popular Chinese influencers can have tens of millions of followers ready to follow their advices. Therefore, they can contribute to the marketing of a certain product more than, for instance, some magazines. In addition, in other countries, you cannot directly purchase products advertised on social media. However, in China everything is centralized in one place.

For example, through the WeChat app, you can advertise products through a blog, or open an online store where you pay for purchases through the WeChat mobile payment system. For this reason, the effectiveness of Chinese authorities is higher than for other countries.

KOL marketing: specifics of marketing strategy in China

China has some very distinctive features, such as, for example, differentiation in terms of regions. The difference is not only in economic development, but also in social aspects. Namely, marketing strategy for rural areas should be different from the marketing strategy for developed regions. For some areas KOL marketing suits the best, for others it is better to use other tools, like KOC in China.

Data Source: daxue consulting, Weibo big data, KOL’s area distribution

In China, online shopping and social media channels are extremely important. Therefore, KOL marketing is a potentially successful strategy for brands to attract customers. KOLs target mostly online shoppers, who are urban millennials, mostly in upper-tier cities.

The most popular industries for online advertising in China are fashion, automobiles and beauty industries. Also, KOL marketing is very popular in the food industry.

Overall, there is a tendency that marketing in China is becoming more interactive. KOLs are especially popular on video-sharing platforms such as Douyin. The colossal influence of KOLs can also be attributed to an overcrowded market and less consumer confidence in the business. The opinion and experience of Chinese KOLs are pushing numerous subscribers to choose products based on the recommendations of their idols.

How KOL marketing works?

KOLs lead consumers to the website or page of the brand in social media. For Instagram, for example, the latter option works best.

When working with KOLs, brands must also choose the right form of advertising for the product. There are different types of KOL advertising.

  • Sponsored posts, that is, ads written by an influential person. In this case, brands must provide the person with materials related to a specific product, service or campaign, and he creates and publishes advertising content.
  • Product reviews. They build trust in a brand, and positive reviews from influencers can attract many potential customers. It is also worth adding that it is popular in China to test products during live broadcasts. Unfortunately, simply sending free samples to bloggers may not be enough, and you should also reward them for posting a review of our product.
  • Promotions in which Chinese influencers offer their fans special discounts or encourage participation in contests are also very popular and effective.

Choose a strategy for KOL marketing

Every brand which aims to start a KOL marketing campaign has to answer the following questions:

What task does advertising solve?

Is it working for brand recognition by increasing familiarized audience or for selling a specific product?

Who is your target audience?

For blogger advertising to be effective, it is not enough to pay for publication to any popular account. It is equally important to target the right audience and analyze its media consumption. Doxaganda can provide you with the service to define and attract your customers.

How to find Chinese KOLs

There are several ways to find a Chinese blogger you can interact with. A popular method is to search for them directly on Chinese platforms. For example, using the Weibo or WeChat search engine, brands can refer to a list of accounts associated with a keyword search, as well as information such as subscriber count and contact information.

There are also special internet databases to search for Chinese influencers, for example Robin8, Newrank, ParkLu. They provide statistics on key influencers as well as suggest other areas of interest to different kinds of brands. Such agencies not only reduce risks for both bloggers and clients and customers, but also have high-quality analytics for their target audiences.

Another way to find Chinese KOL and establish cooperation is also by contacting directly KOL agencies. Doxaganda has the ability to find the KOLs who will perform the best to promote your company.

How much does KOL marketing cost?

Working with a Chinese opinion leader is a very good opportunity to present and promote a product. However, brands must carefully select the right influencer for their campaigns because the costs of partnering with those with the greatest reach can be unexpectedly high.

A single Weibo post inserted by a Chinese celebrity can cost up to one million yuan. Cooperation with a medium-popular person can be 20-40% cheaper. The most influential professional bloggers earn between 30,000 and 300,000 yuan per Weibo post. The price of a publication posted on WeChat by the most popular KOL can be 300,000 yuan. Obviously, premium brands in China are more likely to collaborate with top stars and celebrities.

 Account holders with less than a million fans usually receive a maximum of RMB 30,000 for collaboration. Collaboration with Chinese influencers with several thousand subscriptions would be less than 10,000 yuan.  However, there is a tendency that instead of a fixed amount, Chinese influencers receive a commission on generated sales or clicks.

Source: daxue consulting, KOLs prices

Chinese KOL: Ximen Dasao case

Source: Jing Daily, Ximen Dasao x Stuart Weitzman collaboration

In 2019 luxury footwear brand Stuart Weitzman invited influencer Ximen Dasao (西门 大嫂) and her team to become the official stylists for the brand’s three spring fashion shows in the Chinese cities of Shenyang, Wuhan and Ningbo.

Views of Dasao’s WeChat article about Stuart Weizmann’s show experience surpassed 100,000. For readers, this is an opportunity to look behind the scenes of the show, they left dozens of positive comments and shared their favorite looks from the shows.

Whether influencers host shows, develop a product, or maintain brand social media accounts, their active involvement in the creative process of a campaign can both have a positive effect on product recognition and trust, and strengthen KOL’s long-term relationship with the brand.

How Doxaganda will help you with KOL marketing

Doxaganda can help you to define your target audience, find appropriate KOLs and create a strategy for KOL promotion. We also can make sure that your packaging design in China is attractive for local consumers and that the name of your brand fits the Chinese market.