While China might have a massive active online audience, with many of them talking about products and sharing their opinions, getting your brand noticed by your target customers can still be a bit of a challenge.
Word-of-mouth marketing is one method that can be used to help cut through the white noise, and reach your particular market.
In Australia, many of us like to check out peer-to-peer review sites before parting with our hard-earned money. In a similar way, citizens in China often like to see what others are saying about a brand before buying, especially through popular social media platforms such as Weibo and WeChat. When this involves the use of key opinion leaders to spread the word, it can be even more effective.
Who are these Chinese influencers?
Key opinion leaders in China, or KOLs, are popular bloggers, celebrities, business people and commentators who have large online audiences keen to hear what they have to say about their topics of interest. When it comes to brands, KOLs might test out products and give their opinions, or become brand ambassadors.
Some of China’s more well-known KOLs include Han Han, professional racing driver, author and blogger. Another is actress and model Angela Baby, who was chosen by a well-known cosmetics company to be one of their major brand advocates.
If you can build a partnership with a KOL who has an audience similar to your own target market, it can go a long way towards attracting and engaging with a greater number of customers and developing a loyal audience-base.
Using KOLs, however, involves more than just contacting a popular commentator and asking them to promote you. Here are some tips for getting started.
How to use KOLs effectively
1. Be willing to put time and effort into building long-term mutually beneficial relationships with your KOLs. Unless you get very lucky, it’s not likely to all just happen overnight.
2. There is no need to go for the most popular KOLs around. The important thing is to look for KOLs that are influential amongst fans that are likely to be interested in your brand, and that have a keen and loyal following – and not necessarily a massive one.
3. Be prepared to be adaptable and flexible – such as by promoting the features of your products that will most appeal to the KOL and their fans.
4. Use a degree of caution. It’s important to ensure your KOLs have real fans, that they have genuine influence with.
5. Consider using a marketing agency to find the best KOLs for you. Look for an agency that understands your business’s aims and your brand image and values.
6. Measure the results from using KOLs, so that you can see how well the relationship is working for you.
When done well, using popular KOLs can give your brand visibility and credibility. If you would like assistance in promoting your brand in China, contact our bilingual China marketing team.