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Key Opinion Leader (KOL): Definition & Differences with Influencers

Last updated: Jun 20, 2024

What Is a Key Opinion Leader?

The term KOL in marketing is something familiar. Many businesses use KOL services as one of their marketing strategies.

So, what is a Key Opinion Leader (KOL)? To put it simply, KOL is someone who has great influence as well as skills and knowledge in a particular field. 

KOLs are distinguished as authorities in their fields, making their opinions highly valued and frequently sought after by the public.

The credibility that comes with a KOL's established reputation can facilitate trust more effortlessly among audiences. Consequently, many businesses collaborate with academics, doctors, experts, and so on who have skills in the same field as their business.

That way, people will have more confidence in the business brought by the KOL thanks to their qualifications as experts.


Types of KOLs

After you know what is a Key Opinion Leader, you also need to know some of its types. Here are 3 types of KOLs you need to know.


1. Nano-KOL

Nano-KOLs are experts in a field that has a small but very active social media following.

Typically, a nano-KOL's social media followers are less than 10,000. However, they can still influence the audience's decisions.

Since their followers are still small, many nano-KOLs are easy to work with. However, even though they are still small, they still influence their audience so they are not inferior to KOLs who have more followers.


2. Micro-KOL

Micro-KOL has a social media following that ranges from 10,000 to 100,000. Micro-KOL also has a loyal audience and high engagement so many businesses maximize their influence in marketing products.


3. Macro-KOL

This type of KOL has more social media followers than nano and micro, namely more than 100,000. Many businesses utilize their services because they can reach a larger audience.

 However, due to their large social media following, macro-KOLs do not bond with their audience as well as nano and micro-KOLs. Even so, the public has high trust in macro-KOL because of its expertise.


Benefits of KOL for Business

To know more about what is a Key Opinion leader, you need to know the fact that KOL becoming a popular marketing strategy for various business sectors. This is because KOL provides great benefits to brands.

The benefits of a KOL are as follows.


1. Reach More Audience

The benefit of KOL is that they reach a wider audience. KOLs will share your products or services on social media so they can be seen by their followers

That way, KOL followers will know about the existence of your business and can be influenced to use your products and services thanks to the opinions or reviews expressed by KOL.

In addition, KOL followers will interact with posts containing your business, such as liking, sharing, or commenting on them, thereby indirectly spreading your business to fellow social media users.


2. Increase Sales

Apart from that, working with KOLs can increase sales. This is because their followers will see positive reviews regarding a product and may be interested in buying it.

If these followers like the product, they can become regular customers of a business and even recommend it to their colleagues.

The influence of a KOL's review is so great that it can trigger hundreds or even thousands of followers to try the product or service that is reviewed positively.


3. Targeted Marketing

You can do targeted and effective marketing if you choose KOLs who have an audience that matches your target market.

Choosing the right KOL will minimize marketing failure due to reaching irrelevant audiences.


4. Increase brand credibility

The benefit of a KOL is to increase the credibility of the brand being reviewed. Thanks to their expertise that is in line with the brand you are promoting, the audience will have more trust in your business.


Differences between KOLs and Influencers

To further understand what a KOL is, you need to know its difference from Influences, because some people need clarification on those two professions. Even though they both market products online on social media and utilize their influence on followers, it turns out that KOLs and influencers are different.

The difference between KOLs and influencers lies in the main concept of both. Someone who has a large following can become an influencer, but not all influencers can become KOLs.

This is because not all influencers have special expertise in other fields. They just have the skills to communicate the brand well.

However, a KOL is someone who not only has a large following, but also has other skills and professions, such as a doctor, bodybuilder, writer, or entrepreneur.

KOL opinions are also more trusted by the public thanks to their profession. Apart from that, influencers can only be present online on social media.

On the other hand, a KOL is someone who can be present anywhere, both online and offline.

Then, if you look at it from a promotional perspective, influencers tend to recommend products or services based on endorsement fees.

KOLs, even though some of them also receive endorsement systems, usually do not recommend products unrelated to their expertise.

Influencers prioritize the motivation to get as many followers as possible, while KOL does not focus on the number of followers because having many or fw followers does not affect their credibility.


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