Social Media MarketingSocial ListeningFacebook MarketingInstagram MarketingTikTok Marketing
Try Mandala For Free

Unveiling the Power of KOLs: Key Opinion Leaders in Modern Marketing

Unveiling the Power of KOLs: Key Opinion Leaders in Modern Marketing

Influencers now play a key role in most brands’ advertising efforts, but some companies might not benefit from working with these types of content creators as much as they think.

Instead, working with a KOL (key opinion leader) may prove much more beneficial in the current marketing landscape. If you find this term confusing, you’re not alone.

Check out this article to learn what a KOL is in marketing, to find these key individuals, and how you can work with them to support your marketing efforts.

Deciphering Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs)

KOLs are a somewhat newer concept, which could explain why lots of marketers end up Googling “what is KOL?” at some point.

A KOL is a person whose opinions are well-respected by the public. They are usually experts in their specific niches, and you’d be surprised to know that some KOLs don’t even have a social media audience.

This is the key distinction between KOLs and influencers. Your brand can choose to work with an influencer based on their niche and expertise, but at the end of the day, you want to tap into their pre-built audience, right?

Well, a KOL can fuel your efforts just through association, so they don’t necessarily need to have an established online presence. Luckily, social media is a powerful thing, and many KOLs are extremely active online.

Why KOLs Matter

Someone putting wooden blocks together that spell KOL plus one block with a person with speech bubbles

KOLs bring some unique benefits to the table:

  1. Transferring Trust and Legitimacy: KOLs come with a solid reputation in their industry. When a KOL is associated with your brand, that trust can be transferred to you, making your products and services seem more legitimate to new audiences.
  2. Help Shape Opinions: KOLs can help audiences form an opinion of your brand through simple association. Because they are thought leaders and trusted, they can also be a powerful megaphone to either promote your brand message or reshape how others see you.
  3. Enhance Engagement: Like the case with influencers, KOLs help drive more engagement throughout a marketing campaign. These key individuals can help boost everything from likes to shares, comments, and more.

KOL Marketing Strategies

Unlike influencer marketing, KOL marketing is less concerned with sales and increasing profits. Instead, it’s a way to improve branding and change the perception that the general audience has about a company.

Here are some things to keep in mind when building your KOL strategy:

1. Think of Your Goals

First, decide what your overall goal is and build the entire campaign around it. Selling more products is usually a secondary objective with KOL marketing, meaning it can happen, but the primary purpose of the campaign is usually:

  1. Building trust with audiences
  2. Increasing brand awareness and recognition
  3. Educating people on a specific topic
  4. Promoting a company’s social efforts, such as a new sustainability program, etc.

Take this commercial from Hexclad, which features Gordon Ramsey, for instance. The clip isn’t salesy at all; instead, it tries to present the revolutionary product to increase audience awareness, then subtle shifts to Ramsey’s endorsement. As an established chef, who better to share his thoughts on kitchenware?

Once you figure out the overall goal, you’ll have a much easier time fitting the other pieces of the campaign together.

2. Choose the Right Thought Leader

Gordon Ramsey acting as a KOL influencer on YouTube for HexClad Cookware

Gordon Ramsey and kitchenware manufacturers are a great pairing, but your KOL doesn’t necessarily need to come from your industry for a campaign to be successful.

After all, what does George Clooney really know about coffee? Still, as a famous actor with global name recognition, Clooney is a great promoter for Nespresso coffee. Even better, since the actor is known for his charity work, it made even more sense to feature him on the company’s sustainability board and in social campaigns.

Choose the KOL you partner with based on how well they can help you disseminate your message and reach your goals. They should inspire confidence and trust in your brand, even if they’re not experts in your specific industry.

The storefront to a Nespresso store with people walking in and out of the store

3. Pick Your Channels

Many KOL marketing campaigns focus on traditional media, such as TV commercials, which can also be uploaded to the web. But you can also run successful campaigns that feature KOLs online-only as well.

There are several ways to do that:

  1. Guest blogger: KOLs can make great features on your blog and share their expertise with your audience. This is also a great option for people who don’t have an online presence but are well-known enough by readers.
  2. Video content: Similar to commercials, you can also feature KOLs in a content marketing strategy, such as video tutorials on how to use your products, behind-the-scenes content, or even product tests that can showcase their quality.
  3. Live interactions: Because KOLs can drive engagement, it makes even more sense to feature them in live streams, which already have the potential to boost these metrics. You can conduct online interviews, conferences, or even Q&As.
  4. Social campaigns: Don’t necessarily think of how KOLs can help your brand directly. Maybe you can benefit from a stronger reputation by creating a social awareness campaign with these thought leaders. These could include things like sustainability initiatives, education programs, and more.

The Role of Mandala AI in KOL Marketing

Working with KOLs brings a lot of perks to the table, but if you’re already wondering how to find them, look no further than Mandala AI’s powerful suite of tools.

Through our social listening and monitoring features, brands can identify the key thought leaders in their industry (or similar industries) and discover which of these people to feature in their KOL campaigns. Once your campaign is live, our tools will help you gather real-life data to monitor performance and make timely adjustments whenever necessary.

Discover how tools like Top Channels and Top Mentions can support your KOL marketing efforts here.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve already tried influencer marketing, working with KOL is the next logical step to help your brand. While the goal isn’t to sell more, these campaigns can greatly improve your brand’s reputation and build trust with new audiences.

Have you tried working with KOLs before? Let us know in the comments!

And don’t forget to learn more about Mandala AI’s powerful suite here.

Subscribe to our Free Marketing Content

We will email you the new content on a weekly basis.

This email is already subscribe.

Related Articles