Updated: Jul 9, 2021
Table of Contents
01: What is KOL
02: Why is KOL popular in Hong Kong
03: Hong Kong KOL Trends 2021
04: 8 Key influencers for sponsored content
05: 5 Important Tips when choosing KOL for your campaign
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01: What is a KOL?
A key opinion leader (KOL) is an individual on a social platform, like Instagram and YouTube, with influential power on affecting its followers and supporters’ purchasing decisions and popular opinions.
What differentiates between a regular influencer and a KOL is the specific group of targeted audience, besides their follower size and curated aesthetics.
KOLs are normally narrow in creating contents in one particular area of expertise. For instance, they dedicate their attention to sustainable fashion or handmade jewellery, and therefore their audience would be specifically people who are interested in these regions. KOLs are known for a specific niche, therefore it is common that their followers come to regard them as experts in that field. The trust and authenticity towards KOLs allows them to have the power to influence their audience, resulting in their highly regarded opinions.
02: Why are KOLs popular in Hong Kong?
In the world flooded with new and novel consumer goods every day, it is difficult for ordinary people like us to differentiate between what is the good and best ones among all. It is also challenging due to the fast changing trends in everything. How do we know what is considered as in trend and of high quality tomorrow?
KOLs’ job focuses on content creation about a specific field. They give followers directions, by pointing out what is the trend at the same time setting the trend. They are popular because they are imaged as ordinary people, just like us. They analyze and put forth opinions from the point of view of consumers and end users. We therefore trust that they are giving us unbiased opinions, meanwhile professionals as an expert.
03: Hong Kong KOL trends 2021
1. Change in the type of contents that is more engaging
The type of contents from KOLs that are more engaging are those with clear descriptions and benefits of a certain offering, or includes a solution to a specific problem many of us are facing. Visuals also tend to include more information about the product, such as product demonstration videos and infographics, rather than just an in-your-face product placement.
2. The Rise Brand-KOL collaboration
In the past, the major way that marketers collaborated with KOLs in the campaigns was sponsored content, including videos or posts, as an advertisement. It is common to see KOLs create content in the channels they are active on, which includes information and discount codes of a certain product. They are usually one off and do not blend and harmonize with the organic contents the KOLs create. It was product-KOL collaborations that dominated in the past.
The rise of Brand-KOL collaboration refers to the new type of collaboration in which KOLs do not focus on promoting a single product for the company they collaborate with, but the whole brand. It is a softer marketing strategy. It is also more useful in building brand awareness and brand image enhancement.
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Modelling for E-commerce: KOLs X locoweed.c
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Modelling for E-commerce: KOLs X hissohk
(Image credit to @hissohk)
3. Identity of KOLs
All along, KOL is a one-man brand that ordinary individuals could become through persistent content creation and hard work. Apart from this group of KOLs, there is a trend that people with other identities are becoming KOLs. They are persons having existing influence and publicity, for example TV or movie actors, hosts from radio, models, etc.
04: Top 8 influencers for sponsored content by alphabetical order
1. Ali | Follower: 16K
A model and lifestyle blogger, Ali is known for her pastel and soft looks while using natural light in most photographs. Like many influencers, she launched her own handmade accessory brand and even modelling for the products. An added part of her feed is putting inspirational captions under her lifestyle posts, making the account an uplifting place.
2. Cassie | Follower: 33K
Not just a mother and lifestyle influencer, Cassie is a successful content creator, establishing her own media platform, Hong Kong Mami, creating and sharing up-to-date information about parenting. Cassie’s Instagram feed is minimalistic and chic, no matter whether she is showing good stuff or showing off her family. Her detailed-oriented captions give audiences a deeper look into the products as well as the brands.
3. Ellie Furuya | Follower: 51K
Being a Japanese but born and raised in Hong Kong, Ellie blogs about the good food she eats and good places she travels to around the world. Her Instagram feed is a collage of bright and vibrant photos of what she eats, whenever she travels or posing in a stylish outfit. If you are a big fan of food, travel and beauty, this is a feed that will draw you in.
4. Emily Lau | Follower: 76K | Subscriber: 112K
Youtuber, model and TV host in one, Emily does not only devote her attention to giving her audience the best beauty, fashion and lifestyle advice on Instagram, but she also reveals what her daily life looks like in a delightful and down-to-earth way on Youtube. The versatile nature of her social media presence makes her a KOL that caters to different categories of brands.
5. Jennifer | Follower: 47K | Subscriber: 94K
Jennifer who used to be a flight attendant is now a well-known KOL in the areas of beauty and lifestyle. She turns her Instagram into a wardrobe, displaying different fashion styles that she has tried. No matter if it is sporty or classy, cute or cool, she clearly nails all the looks with seemingly no effort. This one of a kind online presence makes her a successful KOL loved by brands.
6. Jessica See | Follower: 32K
Jessica is a family-oriented beauty blogger. On her feed, she not only brings the best beauty, fashion and lifestyle advice to her audience, but also shows off blissful snapshots of family time. She demonstrates how women can be independently beautiful and a working mom at the same time.
7. Serena | Follower: 9K
Serena is a food blogger who has a keen eye for capturing some of the most impressive food composition & styling. Her Instagram feed stands out for consistently inspiring food photography and aesthetics. But at the same time, she maintains a nice balance between visuals and texts by giving authentic comments and reviews.
8. Tirion Law | Follower: 6K
Tirion is a ballet dancer with the National Ballet of Canada from Hong Kong. She started out on Youtube and Instagram with no particular intention of becoming an influencer. Although it was simply a means of sharing her life experiences as a ballerina, her natural grace and elegant aura definitely stand out among lifestyle vloggers.
05: 3 Important Tips when choosing KOL for your campaign
1. Understand your customers
Before choosing a KOL to collaborate, you should carry out market segmentation and a thorough research about your prospective buyers. Among the vast group of consumers in the market, you should be able to differentiate who your potential customers are. This is important because you will shortlist those KOLs whose followers are likely to be your prospective buyers.
2. Understand your products
Apart from looking out for KOLs who are very popular in your niche, you should choose different KOLs for marketing different products. Therefore, you have to judge the KOLs based on the products where he/she is specialized in, i.e. he/she is likely to find more success. This can be determined by his/her posts and response of the followers in those posts having similar products like yours. Moreover, the selection can be based on the age group like Gen Next, Gen Z, Gen X. If you have a lifestyle product, the youth are likely to buy them more.
3. Choose Real Influence over Follower Count
It is reasonable to correlate a KOL’s influence and the number of their followers. However having a following does not equal having meaningful influence. It is crucial to understand how much trust the influencer can evoke in her following and whether she possesses the power to propel them into action.
To identify real influence, it is useful to look for the engagement rate in KOLs’ content rather than reach. For example we can pay attention to whether people are sharing or commenting on their posts, the number of likes from authentic users, and other engagement statistics for example percentage of followers who will view their “stories” and vote in their polls. This tends to indicate that their fans are looking for a relationship with that person, rather than just consuming their content, and therefore having a more convincing power on leading opinions.
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