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What does KOL mean in Chinese? How to distinguish between “Internet celebrities” and “KOL”?

What does KOL mean in Chinese? How to distinguish between “Internet celebrities” and “KOL”?

In an era before the Internet was popularized, the transmission of information was very “one-way”. The main source of information we came into contact with was the mass media – the news was received by reporters, digested, organized and reported by reporters, and then conveyed to you and me. However, in today’s era, information is not only one-way, but also “multi-faceted”. Like a spider web, you and I can connect independently or collectively in groups. From the perspective of the masses, KOL (Key Opinion Leader) plays a decisive role. The comments made by KOL on social media not only attract the attention of countless followers, but also influence the opinions of many people. consumption decisions. It is not difficult to understand that many brand managers and advertisers are now striving to find excellent KOLs to achieve advertising effects.

So, what does KOL mean in Chinese?

KOL (English: Key Opinion Leader), literally translated as key opinion leader, refers to a particularly influential person on the Internet. Most of them open accounts through online social platforms such as Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram, and regularly post content on specific topics. Gradually, It has accumulated a large number of subscriptions and attention from netizens. Some KOLs involved in consumer goods will attract businesses to seek cooperation with them to sell advertisements.

So, what are the requirements for an excellent KOL? Does high visibility mean influence? actually not. Popularity and influence are both important indicators. However, they may not have a direct relationship.

A well-known KOL is likely to have a large number of supporters (i.e. fans) or followers (Followers), but this does not necessarily mean that this KOL can influence their consumption decisions; on the contrary, a KOL with strong influence may He was hardly a household name, but he was followed by a handful of supporters.

Quality and quantity indicators for selecting KOLs

Thinking more deeply, what factors should marketers consider when evaluating how to choose the right KOL? With the accumulated experience of our team, we would like to share the factors that need to be considered when choosing KOL.

First, qualitative indicators.

We will depend on the content affinity (Content Affinity), among which there are 4 indicators that we often refer to:


We will first check whether the KOL is a user of the product, whether he/she has written online information (Feed), and whether his/her own expertise is related to the industry/product.

2. Look & Style

In this regard, Hong Kong people are indeed relatively superficial. This factor is very important to consumers. We will all look at whether the KOL shows an appearance and taste that attracts the audience on the Internet, and whether his/her remarks have positive energy. ? Or more emotional or passive? These are important factors because his appearance and taste are related to whether he fits the brand.

3.Tone & Manner

From KOL’s online publishing, we will look at how KOL uses words? When he describes the product, does the wording fit the needs of the brand? Can the tone of voice attract (Engage) the target customer group (Target Audience)? Because on the Internet, some KOLs sometimes speak more frivolously or extremely. If the brand’s target customer group is more mature and stable, the relevance of this KOL is questionable.

4.Experience (Experience & Voice)

We will look at how much knowledge the KOL has about the product and industry, and whether it is recognized enough by the audience. Especially in the electronic product (such as Gadget) industry, the audience often seeks something in-depth and insightful from KOL. Powerful reviews (Insights), which can save time, effort and money in self-exploration. Many people in Hong Kong pursue speed and convenience, which is why many people follow KOLs. Therefore, we will also look at whether the KOL is an expert and a trend leader (thought leadership). If so, this will of course be a big plus.

Second, quantitative indicators.

We will look at KOL’s mass influence (Audience Base). The so-called mass influence, as the name suggests, this part of the criterion will analyze more data.

1. Contact surface (Reach)

This refers to the number of audiences that the KOL can potentially reach. If it is on Facebook, it will look at the number of followers (followers). On Youtube, it will look at the number of subscribers (subscribers). On a personal blog, it will look at the number of followers. See how many readers or clicks you get.

2.Engagement Rate

Simply put, can KOLs get closer to their audiences? Even if you are a KOL with a wide range of contacts, you still need to see whether his audience will read the information published by the KOL or even respond. Therefore, from “like” (like), “response” (Comment), The number of shares, etc., allows us to determine the amount of interaction between the audience and the KOL.

3.Number of Re-Posts

The above two points are focused on KOL. In fact, a successful KOL is often like a stone that stirs up a thousand waves – the audience who has first-hand contact with the KOL is limited. However, if someone among them spreads the information to their surrounding friends, Forwarding and sharing will greatly increase the ripple effect. Just think about it, if 100 people who are willing to forward it have 100 friends, and if every friend is willing to forward it, then 1 million people will see it. It can be seen that This effect is not just a multiplication, but a geometric progression.

Category 1: High relevance, low mass influence

Just those KOLs whose content is highly relevant and has low mass influence. We would recommend selecting several KOLs in this category to accurately reach the target audience, but you cannot rely on just one, otherwise the overall reach may be weak. Take “Tang Wei” as an example. Although she is a very famous and shining A-list star, with her appearance, behavior, taste and experience, there is no doubt that her content is relevant. However, , she has almost no contact with social media and has few followers on the Internet, so her mass influence is quite low, and she is an exception.

Category 2: Win with  quantity 

So, shouldn’t we use those KOLs whose content relevance and mass influence are low? Not necessarily. Because we can use multiple KOLs of this category in our marketing plans. This strategy of winning by “volume” helps to create reverberation and momentum (Noise), making the audience feel that there are product discussions all around. Many times , this “quantity” ranges from a dozen to dozens. In addition, we will all recommend to reserve KOLs and invite them to participate in company activities and comment on products when necessary. Especially in times of crisis, such KOLs are often cheaper and can help at these times. Busy.

Category 3: Low content relevance and high mass influence

They are KOLs with low content relevance and high mass influence. In terms of marketing planning, it is not necessary to use many such KOLs, just a few are enough. Based on their mass influence, they can help increase the brand’s popularity. For example, McDonald’s once hired the specified Hong Kong KOL Xiong Zaitou to promote its newly launched products. The KOL Xiong Zaitou is not highly compatible with McDonald’s, but it is better than Xiong Zaitou’s YouTube frequency of more than 500,000. Subscribers, due to their influence, can still achieve promotional effects even if the correspondence between the two is not high.

Category 4: Highly relevant content and high mass influence

Finally, KOLs with high content relevance and mass influence are of course the most suitable. The number of such KOLs does not need to be large because these KOLs usually involve higher costs.

Filtering criteria

In addition, we need to adopt 4 screening criteria:

1.Are KOL’s fees reasonable?

In the market, the prices of many KOLs are quite fluctuating, which is what we call “seafood prices” as the saying goes. Especially when a certain KOL becomes popular, or when they have a lot of work on their hands, the price they charge can increase at an alarming rate. If their asking price is too high, we need to consider whether the price is reasonable or turn to other methods.

2. KOL’s cooperation

Is it easy for KOLs to work together and will they promote products on time? Will the other party conceal their own interests? Or difficult to work with? For example, if you write a review after trying a product, will it be published publicly without discussion? In addition, some popular KOLs may have managers themselves, so if you cooperate with this KOL, you must also work with her manager. These are all factors that need to be considered.

3.KOL’s image

Some KOLs may be entangled in negative news, scandals, and scandals, but we try to avoid these.

4. Commercialization of KOL

Finally, some KOLs may have a large number of followers and their content is highly relevant, but they may be too commercial, may endorse a large number of brands, or even have endorsed rival brands, which may not be suitable. Especially in an era where word-of-mouth is paramount, KOLs that are too commercial may be less persuasive.

Cultivate brand KOLs

At the beginning, there is no need to rush to find KOL. Many times we will recommend that the company compile and keep a list of KOLs. In fact, we can develop some of the KOLs whose content is not very relevant and let them realize their potential and endorse the company’s products. We usually recommend allowing KOLs to have first-hand access to different industry information, or even provide samples of new products for trial use, in order to increase the relevance of their content. Some companies have a Best User Award, which can reward some potential KOLs and teach them about the company’s products. These practices can directly improve the relevance of his content.

So, how do we improve some KOLs with low mass influence? We can directly invite them to the company’s activities to allow them to reach the company’s audience, thereby enhancing their mass influence. We can also place targeted marketing ads on Facebook to increase their mass influence.

For some KOLs who are low in both, we will also recommend that companies continue to cultivate these KOLs, because when the company is in crisis, the company can quickly find loyal users and let them use a third-person perspective to promote the brand. Speak up, do some Neutralization for the brand, put out some fires.

To give an example, Lai Lai held a concert earlier. Due to some problems at the venue, the concert could not start as scheduled. He quickly resolved the crisis within 24 hours. His public relations skills and responsibility for the matter were a great benefit to the participants. Refunds are provided without question. But the main reason why he was able to quickly quell the crisis was his fan club. Liming’s content may not be highly relevant, nor may it have great mass influence, but it is better to have a response and a large number of people, so the storm can be calmed down quickly.

“Internet celebrity” and “large size”

Do you still remember “The Power of Prehistoric Times”? In just one night, a news response turned into a hot topic in the city, and even appeared on Weibo’s hot search list, turning female swimming star Fu Yuanhui into an “Internet celebrity”. The “prehistoric power” has caused netizens to imitate him one after another, and some companies want to find Fu as a KOL (Key opinion leader) to promote their own brands.

What is the difference between ” Internet celebrities ” and “KOLs” as Hong Kong people often call them?

“Internet celebrity” refers to a person who is famous in a certain field or who suddenly becomes famous due to some events. For example, a Japanese artist recently became an “Internet celebrity” with a song “PPAP (Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen)”. red”. The three repeated lyrics and simple movements are enough to make the song go viral on the Internet. In addition to being adapted into multiple versions, it has also been covered by many celebrities. However, the popularity of this kind of “Internet celebrity” often only lasts for a short period of time, probably only one to two months. Moreover, people who follow “Internet celebrities” have nothing in common, and they may be the audience regardless of gender. When it comes to people who have become “Internet celebrities” with their songs, you will definitely think of PSY, who became famous all over the world with his horse-riding dance “Gangnam Style” a few years ago. Although this brainwashing song spread like a virus and received over 100 million views in a short period of time, the craze often comes and goes quickly, and the new songs he released later never attracted attention. Just like after the Olympic Games ended, Fu Yuanhui’s exposure, attention and discussion gradually declined.

KOLs are collectively referred to as “big ones” in the mainland, including celebrities and celebrities in a certain field. As far as fame is concerned, the image of “big” has been deeply rooted in the hearts of the people, while “Internet celebrities” are often remembered only by their actions, expressions or golden quotes. Another focus is the audience. “Large” audiences usually have a specific age group, gender or interest. If you want to see Japan’s tourism and food information, you will visit KOL pages that often share Japan’s tourism information. As for other areas such as parenting, beauty, fashionable clothing, and cooking, there are corresponding groups of KOLs, and usually a KOL only knows Focus on one area.

The difference between “Internet celebrities” and “KOLs” has a significant impact and inspiration on brands’ placement of advertising resources.

If local Hong Kong brands want to seize a certain craze and promote it in the mainland, they must accurately allocate different resources to “Internet celebrities” and “plus-size brands”. Using “Prehistoric Power” as an example, Sam suggested that customers add tags to their Weibo posts to increase their exposure and at the same time cooperate with “large-scale” promotions related to the target customer group. Sam can use simple methods to increase the overall exposure of the client’s brand, thereby achieving widespread dissemination. Therefore, from a business perspective, every brand should consider carefully when placing advertising resources and should not blindly “extract”, so that it can resonate with the audience and further improve the brand image.

Case sharing: How are KOLs made today?

Today, the influence of Internet celebrities can be said to be far-reaching. When they promote products on their own platforms with huge fan bases, they can often spread the word to tens or hundreds of people in an instant, directly stimulating product sales. sales, so it’s no wonder that advertisers are willing to spend hundreds of millions every year to sponsor some Instagram KOLs and YouTube superstars, giving rise to a new internet celebrity economy in the marketing world.

Precisely because the Internet celebrity industry has a market and a price, this has also led to the birth of some specialized disciplines that “teach people how to become KOLs.” In China, Yiwu Industrial and Commercial College (YWICC) ​​has launched an “Internet Celebrity Department” college course in recent years, focusing on cultivating KOLs. The content of the course is very wide, including acting, makeup and styling, public relations etiquette, beauty and grooming, dance, catwalk on stage, etc. The final exam also includes an assessment part of “posing 15 figures in 30 seconds”.

However, although there are more and more such KOL training courses nowadays, it is not as easy as imagined to create a popular KOL. It often requires the cooperation of the right time, place and people.

For example, Korean singer PSY, although he became an instant hit with the song “Gangnam Style” in 2014 and became a world-renowned Internet celebrity, in fact, he has gone through more than ten years of hard work and attempts, coupled with the Korean style effect, Only by mastering the public psychology in music can we achieve our current achievements.

As for young people in Hong Kong who want to join the KOL industry , although they may not be able to completely borrow PSY’s successful tactics, there are rules to follow if they want to become Internet celebrities and earn thousands or even tens of thousands of Internet celebrity income. The key is to find a creative direction that is popular with the public but has not yet become popular, develop it consistently, attract the attention of more and more netizens, and regularly analyze data and make improvements. Then becoming an outstanding Internet celebrity is not out of reach.

Digital Engagement Model

The model in the figure below provides a set of criteria and clear guidance for marketers to formulate and measure the indicators of promotional activities. Based on different indicators, they can develop a competitive integrated digital strategy. At the same time, this model can also serve as a structural framework, allowing companies to decide which digital marketing tools to use to achieve marketing goals more effectively, and decide which data and measurement tools to use to check effectiveness and improve activities.

1.1.Awareness & Knowledge

At this level, we will try our best to maximize exposure and target a wider audience, and the tools we usually use are emails, website banners, etc. In terms of measurement, we will look at how many people have opened the email, how many people have viewed the website banner (Impressions), the number of viewers (Views), the click-through rate (Click-through Rate), and the reach (Reach), etc. .

2. Interest & Attitude

At this level, the goal is to interact with potential customers. The strategy we usually adopt is through social media such as Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. In terms of measurement, the indicators will be “Likes”, responses (Comments), and “retweets”. ” (Share/Re-post), “Follow” (Follow), etc.

3. Involvement & Engagement

At this level, our goal becomes more practical. The goal is to receive inquiries from potential customers. The tools we usually use are YouTube, blogs, email newsletters, or the company’s own membership programs. Metrics usually look at the number of video views, blog followers, number of people subscribing to email newsletters, number of participants in membership programs, etc.

4. Word of mouth

At this level, these are already potential customers or even existing customers. We will look at all platforms, including channels for leaving messages and comments, such as online discussion boards, groups, Facebook, bloggers, etc. , because it can create a lot of noise and citations, it does not necessarily mean that the results are good. We also need to measure the positive and negative degrees of popularity (Sentiment) to see whether the popularity is positive or negative, because in case of a crisis, , there may be many references on the Internet, but it does not mean it is a good thing. Metrics in this regard are number of comments, number of citations, popularity, etc.

5. Action

What we look at is how many potential customers are converted into actual customers (Conversion). Actions include direct purchases (including online or in physical stores). The indicators we usually use include the usage rate of stamps and the number of shoppers on the website; on the other hand, it can also be actual participation in activities organized by the company, or use of For a certain service of the company, here we will look at the conversion rate (Conversion/Acquisition), etc.

6. Advocacy & Champion

We hope to connect with loyal customers at this level, hoping that these customers will advocate the use of this product among their friend groups. At this level, we will look at how many positive user-generated content (Positive User-generated Content), case studies (Case Studies), and experience sharing (Testimony) created by customers, how many citations there are, how many users will forward his content, and questionnaires. engagement, positive reviews, online links to share products, etc. In terms of metrics, we look at retweeting of online links, sales generated from referrals, etc.


There are many digital marketing tools. Before you choose the right tool, you must ask yourself who the audience of your product is. Different tools have different impacts on different audiences. For example, if your audience is people aged 15 to 25, these KOLs may be more affected than other age groups because the topics they are exposed to on a daily basis are likely to be different. It is related to KOL, so KOL is an effective digital marketing tool for them, and other digital marketing tools have different key audiences, but of course digital marketing encourages the use of different tools to promote the same product or Serve. Each tool can play a different role. Some are to share direct information, some are to build an image, and some are to help you convey information. So use different tools appropriately to promote the same product or service and cooperate with each other. This is marketing. Important points that personnel cannot ignore.

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