There’s a magic force in marketing in China now that influences people massively and subconsciously. They are online key opinion leaders, namely KOLs.

How to use China online key opinion leaders to boost your business?

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Who are KOLs in China?

Chinese KOLs are different from western KOLs. For example, We know that food critic has great influence to restaurants. Their comments are like valves which can keep customers outside or let them in. those food critics are one kind of KOLs. While in China, the KOLs who influence the customers are actually themselves because there is no professional food critic in China now. So the comments, especially online comments, from the customers lead and influence people’s ideas.
In fact, most influential KOLs in China are from Internet. 513 million Chinese netizens are directly influenced by internet. And they can also further influence those who don’t browse. Besides the high coverage, the cost of online KOLs in China is also an advantage.
Where are those KOLs online? They usually appear on some forums, SNS and weibo.

Importance of KOL

In 2007, the influence of KOLs in China has reached 54.4%. (source: China Information News)
A report from AC Nielsen, 2009 shows that recommends from acquaintance and company website are two most reliable forms of advertising in China.

How to use KOL

In February this year, “Tourism Weekly” launched a campaign for Hai’nan island. The magazine invited 10 famous weibo writers to come to Hai’nan and enjoy the trip. Then they are asked to publish their travel notes. More than 500 posts have been published about their trip. Their posts have been shared over 10,000 times and have got thousands of comments. The KOLs are not simple tourists; they are carefully picked from experts in Hai’nan tourism, registration, cyber-celebrity, tour guides. The three accounts that get most shares and comments will be awarded by “Tourism Weekly”.

a post created by KOL

a post created by KOL

1. Use existing KOL

The first solution is to use existing KOL.

a. Interactivity

All the sns marketers in China are facing one question: to get fake fans or not? Before, most answers are yes. However, more and more people begin to realize that the quality of fans is way more important than quantity. So, as one of the most effective way to get and keep quality fans, or KOLs, interactivity is becoming more and more important.
Effective interactivity includes interactive content, interactive reply and share and interactive promotion. First of all, the content should be attractive, and then the KOLs will come and leave you some message. On time response to these replies can keep them interact with you again. And don’t forget to put your content in the right time and place (the importance of publishing time)

b. Community management

If your account is really good, some KOLs will come to interact with you regularly by themselves. They will for a community around your brand and they will bring more people to talk about your brand. The major task in this step is to manage the community of KOL. If the job is well done, KOLs will spread positive message about your brand to others.
Usually, KOLs are interested in gifts and interact with other KOL account which means you can send some gifts or make your account powerful.

c. Activities

Activity includes award-winning share or replies, vote and so on. It is not a new idea and the purpose is to attract KOLs, increase popularity, lead people to pay.
Most online marketers have already discovered the importance of it, but most of them just use this marketing tool in a basic way. As a result, people are quite get bored with this. But there are also some activities quite successful like the case mentioned before. KOLs are invited to visit the island and put their feeling online. Then the island tourism can get promoted via those KOL’s influence.

2. Create new KOL

The KOLs, especially KOLs online are not stable, for example, they can stop using their accounts for no reason, they may put some negative comment on your brand. So, making your own account as a stable and reliable KOL becomes a good choice.
There are several ways to make you as a KOL.
The first solution is to create an influential account.

For example, “红酒葡萄酒” (red wine) one KOL account in wine. They have already got more than 390 thousand fans. Their key to get success is

  • to publish interesting content regularly,
  • to interact with other KOLs.

The other solution is to create a group of influential accounts. And this is the solution adopted by most successful online marketing KOLs.


For example, durex has 7 accounts cooperated with each other to maximize the influence. Their 7 accounts are like 7 KOLs.