The discourse on whether Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) or Influencers are the same has been ongoing. There are striking similarities between both groups: (1) Being the point of reference to a niche (2) Owing the ability to sway purchasing decisions (3) Active advocacy to something they truly believe in.
What sets KOLs apart from Influencers is that they do not necessarily require to have a presence online. They are able to be thought leaders in their respective industries - as long as they have an audience group that actively listens to their opinions.
Another defining factor between them is that KOLs in Singapore are not one-time-only lucky shots of fame. They are a credible resource of perspectives that people value and trust. They put out true advocacy for something they believe in and spread authentic word-of-mouth.
While the lines between both are increasingly muddled in the online sphere, the short answer is that Yes, KOLs and Influencers may be defined as important figures to consider including in your marketing mix. However, it is a Brand’s job to ensure necessary homework has been done to ensure that the enlisted figure is consistent in their beliefs.
Chances are everyone is telling you the glamorous side of partnering up with a KOL. Yes, they are right that it is highly advantageous for a Brand to utilize their standing as support. However, there is a process that involves multiple considerations and efforts before reaching KOL nirvana.
You may admire a certain KOL but that does not necessarily mean they fit well with your Brand’s target audience. It is important to understand what stage your Brand is in for your campaign goals to be effectively met. Thus, it is important to ensure that your potential brand voice collaborator’s beliefs, values and ethics line up with your Brand’s. She/He will have a direct impact on how your Brand is perceived, therefore, your research should go beyond reach and engagement values. It should dive deeper to ensure that there is alignment accuracy. The last thing you would like is to be #cancelled.
It is important to approach with a clear intention of what you would like to achieve out of this partnership. Too many times, Brands are almost too vague in their communication that KOLs find it hard to formulate what they best-fit solution would be. An example could be, “I would like my followers to increase.” Yes, this is your goal, but by how many? What is the ideal (realistic) number you are looking at? What sort of demographic are you seeking? Gen Z? Gen Alpha? These are questions that a Brand should have direct answers for.
Being as explicit as you can with the campaign’s motivation will enable a KOL to determine (and strategize even) if she/he is able to render the support that you need. Trust their opinions if they propose a couple of approaches to best grab their following’s attention. There is no one that understands theirs following the way they do.
… stands for Time, Effort and Money. No relationship will ever work out if it is one-sided. KOLs need to feel valued in order to discover their potential with your Brand. To do that, you should take Time to get to know them beyond their Instagram handles. Put in the Effort to dig deeper and understand what motivates them. That could spearhead some innovative ideas to further the collaboration prospects and lead you to expand your partnership to their contacts.
There are, of course, no free lunches in the world. Like you, your KOL requires compensation for their expertise and service. A quick fix could be https://www.x10.media/how-to-find-social-influencer-marketing-agency/
In conclusion, extending your marketing mix to include KOLs are a lot like working with your partners. Mutual benefits are expected to come out of the partnership. In order to ensure that the collaboration becomes a fruitful and long-lasting one, a basic business order should be followed to ensure win-win strategies.