This was a question thrown to a colleague by one of our clients selling health products. Our company has been regularly managing the social media content for the brand. Recently, the client launched a new product and was keen to engage a key opinion leader (KOL) for marketing purposes.
What Value Do KOLs Bring?
The client’s marketing department falls under the charge of two young female colleagues. They are pretty impressive as individuals. Not only are they responsible for all brand marketing activities, whether online or offline; they are also in charge of in-store promotions as well as the daily inventory management of products. Seeing that many other brands have engaged KOLs, they approached us for advice.
Gaining Exposure for Mass-Produced Goods
We have received many similar requests regarding KOLs like this. Most of our clients ask us to share with them a list of social media accounts helmed by influential KOLs with a large following, plus others known as “micro Influencers” who have fewer followers to help make up a certain number. This is a case of product seeding. Sometimes, I laugh at myself since a public relations company probably does this more efficiently than us. For a digital marketing company like us, I joked with my colleagues that we live and work in the online space and are clumsy when it comes to having to physically pack and send products to KOLs.
Your Theme Should Form the Core Strategy
The point is this method of hard selling offers a moment of product exposure, but can it convey the brand and product message effectively? Therefore, to cater to clients’ requests to engage KOLs, we often center the marketing plan of the product around a theme first. With this theme as our basis and driving force, we then choose a KOL and platform to communicate the brand’s message.
Even If You Are Only Marketing via Online Channels, Your Strategy Should Be Integrated
When engaging KOLs to publicize your brand, there has never been so much variability and extensibility involved. In the past, there were bloggers, Facebook influencers, and attractive Instagram users. Recently, the up-and-coming social media audio platform, Clubhouse, and podcasts have become emerging trends in Hong Kong. Apart from deliberating over product messaging, it is also important to consider the different online platforms available and the types of content you want to put out. When planning a marketing campaign, marketers not only have to segment between using online and offline channels. They also have to think about launching partnerships with KOLs that have large followings, designing a solid theme and strategy, and consider what other platforms to use instead of sticking only to the more traditional means of Facebook and IG. This is what it means to have an integrated strategy!
Strive to Be a Professional KOL
Recently, I shared at a Knowledge Exchange seminar at IVE, Kwun Tong. I told Dean Wallace that KOLs can and should be developed more professionally, so they worked with celebrities on the Internet to plan a professional KOL course for students. The online media space is ever-changing. It used to be that writers would not be able to make a living from writing alone without being familiar with other aspects of publishing – but today, it is possible by using Patreon as a platform. I believe that it is important for KOLs to develop professionally as much as it is to create original content to achieve great things. This depends on the effort put in by KOLs efforts and a marketer’s discerning eye!