CONTENTS

1
An Industry Overview
2
Shuijun: What are They and How to Avoid Them
3
Identifying and Auditing KOLs Pre-promotion
4
The 5 Steps of an Effective KOL Promotion

Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) are extremely powerful influencers on Chinese social media platforms and can have a strong positive impact on your marketing campaign. In this module, you will gain an overall understanding of the KOL industry in China, including how to approach them and how to work with them effectively. You’ll be able to select the KOLs best suited to your brand, run an effective KOL promotion and clearly evaluate it afterwards. You’ll also learn about KOL budgets, payment methods and what preparations are required prior to a campaign.

1. AN INDUSTRY OVERVIEW

The development of KOLs in China can be traced back 15 years. Various platforms feature different types of influencers.
Roughly, there are 4 types of Chinese KOLs:

1
Celebrities – Generally referring to famous actors, singers or TV personalities. They have large follower bases and strong influence. However, they can be expensive, exclusive, busy and, therefore, difficult to cooperate with.
2
Blogger – Bloggers are usually experts in certain industries and capable of creating high quality original content but charge relatively high rates.
3
WeMedia – They have considerable user bases but the credibility of their content should be examined carefully. They are easy to approach.
4
Wang Hong – Famous for their good looks, attention grabbing behavior and provocative words, they’re more active on live streaming platforms. They’re also quite easy to approach.

To engage in KOL marketing, Weibo and WeChat influencers are the top priority. In recent years the number of Weibo and WeChat KOLs has grown rapidly, as have their follower numbers. Weibo and WeChat KOLs can be loosely grouped into 2 groups: those having more than 100,000 followers and those having more than 1,000,000 followers.

As for the most popular short video platform, Douyin, ads on this platform are a little bit different and most of the popular products sold by its KOLs are for women. There are 11 hot topics on Douyin and if your brands or products are related to these topics, it’s worth your while to leverage Douyin KOLs for advertising and sales.

2. SHUIJUN: WHAT ARE THEY AND HOW TO AVOID THEM

Shuijun (the internet water army) is one of the largest factors that affects a KOL’s true influence and the effectiveness of a KOL promotion. They’re professional groups paid to like, comment and gossip on online platforms, such as Weibo and WeChat. They can bump up positive reviews and even remove negative feedback. The issue for influencer marketing, in terms of Shuijun, is that they’re not a real target audience who may purchase your products and the engagement between them and the KOL isn’t real.

In the past, there were only two or three evaluating factors on Weibo and WeChat. However, in order to avoid Shuijun, an integrated assessment model must be used to measure the quality of a KOL and a promotion. It includes multiple methods, both quantitative and qualitative, and a close look at the KOLs’ past performance as an influencer.

3. IDENTIFYING AND AUDITING KOLS PRE-PROMOTION

To find the right KOLs for your brands or products there are usually three approaches:

1
Using a platform’s search engine. Lists of relevant accounts will show up based on your keywords.
2
Using online KOL databases. Provided in this module will be a list of frequently used websites where you can see KOL profiles with detailed statistics, contacts and recommendations.
3
You can contact agencies directly for details of the KOLs they work with.
Because of the Shuijun groups mentioned above, there are several things to check before selecting a KOL, such as his or her profile, the comments, reposted messages, and the interaction level on posts, with an emphasis on promotional posts.

4. THE 5 STEPS OF AN EFFECTIVE KOL PROMOTION

To find the right KOLs for your brands or products there are usually three approaches:

1
Using a platform’s search engine. Lists of relevant accounts will show up based on your keywords.
2
Using online KOL databases. Provided in this module will be a list of frequently used websites where you can see KOL profiles with detailed statistics, contacts and recommendations.
3
You can contact agencies directly for details of the KOLs they work with.
Because of the Shuijun groups mentioned above, there are several things to check before selecting a KOL, such as his or her profile, the comments, reposted messages, and the interaction level on posts, with an emphasis on promotional posts.

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