Every company can benefit from identifying their industry’s and market’s key opinion leaders (KOLs), then tapping those individuals as a representative. While resources like Influencer Marketing Hub put together a Top 20 list of KOLs, your company needs to identify those KOLs specific to its products and services.
While many people listen to the advice of the likes of Ariana Huffington, she may not be the person your target audience listens to for knowledge. That’s where software programs like NetBase Quid come into the picture. The software parses news articles and other data sources discussing your market to identify those interviewed. These thought leaders form the ranks of those journalists approach as experts.
Don’t confuse the term influencer with KOLs. While a KOL can also be an influencer, not all social media influencers qualify as KOLs. A social media influencer, or just influencer, has social media clout. Their number of followers ranges from 1,000 to millions and they typically represent one to three products as a paid endorser.
A key opinion leader need not have a large online presence although some do. A KOL provide the leading voices in an industry or market. Considered bastions of their topic or industry or sphere of influence, their use of or disdain for a product, service, or person can cause its acceptance or failure among their peers. Their peers’ acceptance or rejection of it decides its fate.
Once complex to identify, programs like NetBase Quid help a company to identify KOLs important to them then link the company with the KOL. While endorsements may not result in the desired uptake of a product due to a lack of trust on the part of consumers for celebrity endorsements, consumers exhibit a high level of trust for KOLs. Their kind words, when garnered, speak their belief in a product or service, not a paid message.
NetBase Quid goes beyond news media results to also examine social feedback and social media comments. The software vets these for authenticity and updates its information in real-time.
Your Brand Needs Both KOLs and Influencers
As the direct to consumer (D2C) marketing approach continues to grow, brands must create community that provides an authentic connection without a focus on sales. If that sounds like a disconnect, because of course you want sales, the word of mouth within your community generates the sales. These communities need to address the conversation topics important to consumers in your target audience with conversations lead by KOLs. NetBase Quid helps by providing a means to create visualizations of trending article and social media topics over time. Show as a scatter plot, its conversation clusters reveal the topics and those leading the conversations – the KOLs.
While your business needs KOLs to discuss it or mention it in the media and on social media platforms, you also need paid influencers. The latter create consist, original content about your brand emblazoned with your logo or hashtag. Their audience looks specifically to them for this content. They represent a point halfway between a KOL and the average consumer’s peers. While few consumers trust what a company says about itself, they tend to trust KOLs, influencers, and most of all, those within their own circle of trust. Typically, that refers to their family and friends.
Leveraging the appropriate industry leaders and other KOLs relevant to your business or brand can result in increased interest for your undertaking. Since their influence simply comes from their expertise and is not a part of their job, they garner more trust from the consumer. Their review can provide the expert opinion your brand needs but you cannot leverage them until you identify them. Take a stab at using NetBase Quid to find the information you need to increase product sales though thought leaders