What are Key Opinion Leaders?

What are Key Opinion Leaders?

Influencer marketing revolves around social media influencers and is a booming domain. The concept of influencers isn’t new. Brands have been collaborating with Key Opinion Leaders for promotions long before social media came into the picture. In fact, social media influencers are today’s Key Opinion Leaders working in the digital age.

Many brands are adopting influencer marketing into their marketing strategies because it adds a powerful human element to a brand’s content marketing on social media. According to research, 92% of the consumers trust personal recommendations more than an advertisement. This makes the human element of influencer marketing a critical part of the equation. The name of the game now is how brands can utilize these Key Opinion Leaders in a creative way to outperform their competition in a cut-throat industry.

Key Opinion Leaders: Definition

Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) are brand advocates and are experts in their niche. They are credible figures of authority making them an integral to a brand’s marketing strategy. This is because the vast majority of the people rely on expert opinions, personal recommendations and word of mouth publicity. Key Opinion Leaders are not necessarily popular, it is the trust people put in their opinions and their status as an expert. A common but effective example of this is how medical companies bring in doctors to endorse their products.

Social Media Influencers and KOLs

Influencers are the new opinion leaders of the digital age because they are trusted among their audience who value their opinions. Influencers are typically defined as people having a large following on social media. Key Opinion Leader is a broader term that goes beyond social media into fields like academics, science, politics etc.

While many people use the terms influencer and Key Opinion Leader interchangeably, that’s not always the case. There is some overlap between the two, there is a difference. Not all opinion leaders have a huge fan following on social media like an influencer. Not all influencers can offer expert opinions. There are many influencers who are experts and opinion leaders.

Influencers who are opinion leaders offer more credibility when they promote a product or service within their niche. Their opinions matter and they provide a strong endorsement. For example, if an athlete like Cristiano Ronaldo endorses athletic gear, they carry a lot of weight because they are treated as expert opinions,

Marketing with Key Opinion Leaders revolves around trust and expertise. These people are popular and/or experienced in their niche. They are a figure of authority to be reckoned with and prominent personalities in their communities. Their credibility can impact the purchasing decisions of their audience.

Every industry has KOLs from gaming to tech to fashion and lifestyle. They are experts in their niche and are credible sources for recommendations and advice. Call them KOLs or social media influencers, they have the ability to impact their audience and can help brands to stand out from their competitors.