How to Prepare for Launching a KOL Campaign

Launchmetrics Content Team

Key Opinion Leader campaigns, or KOL campaigns, are essential to success within the Chinese market. Their impacts on product sales and engagement are clear, as based on a survey conducted by Statista from July 2020 to September 2021, 34% of respondents in China bought products because celebrities or KOLs publicized them.

China is the world’s second-largest consumer market and provides a lucrative opportunity for many international companies that want to expand into the West. By choosing well-matched KOLs to work with, brands can make great strides quickly and effectively promote themselves within a short period. However, as the amount of KOLs in China continues to grow along with their various categories, many brands find it challenging to collaborate with the right KOLs that can produce the most appealing content for their target audience.

Below is a checklist of steps for brands to follow before launching their next KOL campaign:

1. Define your goals

Clear goals help specify exactly what brands need to achieve top results from a campaign, and they serve as guidelines for KOL content. Brands can have more than one overall goal, but when developing a campaign it is best to focus on a just a few key objectives. Overwhelming the process with too many focuses often leads to vague and watered down results.

Some campaigns aim to build brand awareness, and some focus on engagement, whilst others are designed to increase conversions and sales, but these objectives can be boiled down to three main goals:

  1. Grow a follower base
  2. Build brand awareness
  3. Drive sales

While these goals may overlap, brands should specify which is the most important for each campaign to help prioritize objectives.

2. Understand your target audience

An effective influencer marketing strategy in China requires brands to get connected with the right people and leverage the right tools.

“The right people” refers to the target audience, which varies across different KOL campaigns. Brands may want to target their current audience or reach out to an entirely new one. Understanding the people brands would like to engage with also helps define who are the best suited influencers to work with.

3. Develop your Chinese social media strategy

The ecosystem of social media in China is completely different from western countries, and it keeps changing over time. Mainstream social media platforms in China are WeChat, Weibo, Douyin (TikTok), RED, and Bilibili.

While exploring these apps, here are some of the questions brands should consider:

  1. What types of content do these apps have?
  2. What sales opportunities are there?
  3. How much ROI could these platforms produce?
  4. What are is the userbase like? Are they your target audience?
  5. How can we market to these users?

Finding the answers to such questions isn't always easy, so an effective way to quickly sort out which apps are best for KOL campaigns is to use competitors as a benchmark reference.

Launchmetrics’ Influencer Marketing Software for China offers Campaign Monitoring which includes a list of full post clippings with proprietary campaign analytics. Its campaign reports present the same in-depth analysis regardless of whether it was executed via the platform or not.

Launchmetrics Influencer Marketing Software

From these campaign reports, brands get a breakdown of the overall performance, including estimated actual spend, the number of Influencers, social media platforms, and the amount of posts that involved the campaign. Brands can also specifically look at the detailed performance of the social media platforms involved, such as Media Impact Value™, total ROI, reach and engagement. By comparing data across different platforms, brands can better understand which help them generate the best results.

Launchmetrics Influencer Marketing Software

4. Choose the right KOLs

Bigger is not always better when it comes to selecting a KOL. Sometimes micro KOLs can bring better results as they are less commercialized, and they tend to spend more time developing relationships with their followers directly. When considering follower engagement, brands will have to distinguish whether the interactions they see in the comment area are authentic or not. Learning the performance of followers’ engagement with KOLs is vital.

Below are three key ways to source KOLs for a campaign:

  1. Directly compare different KOLs and select the best match for your brand values
  2. Analyze previous campaigns, and see which KOLs bring the most value
  3. Check similar competitor campaigns to see which KOLs generate the most engagement

KOL Evaluation

Launchmetrics’ Influencer Marketing Software KOL Evaluation can help brands rank a group of KOLs based on six weight adjustable metrics. By putting the name of your brand; a list of KOLs will appear with different tiers. They are given a score based on metrics including, impact, community, cost efficiency, activeness, content, and relevancy. To align the total score with the brands’ goals, you can adjust the weight of each metric. After each evaluation, brands can save the list of influencers and the weighted scoring for future reference.

Launchmetrics Influencer Marketing Software KOL Evaluation

Option B: KOL Monitor

To check the performance of brands’ previous campaigns, brands can go to KOL Monitor. The tool compares post activity, Media Impact Value™ generation, average performance, engagement, and helps brands identify their advocates.

KOL Monitor selects 10 Key Opinion Customers (KOCs) who talked about brand keywords the most in the specified timeline. They are classified into different categories, including Hero KOC, Recent KOC, Past KOC, and Potential KOC. Brands can also manually input KOCs by providing the URLs of their posts, and within two days, the posts will be reviewed and added to the brand lists.

KOL Campaigns
Launchmetrics Influencer Marketing Software KOL Monitor

Option C: KOL Analytics

It's not easy to properly benchmark influencer usage and value against a group of competitors at any given time. Often the metrics used are not entirely similar across platforms. With an Analytics Module, brands can compare and benchmark their campaigns based on metrics like number of Influencers, Impressions, number of posts, engagement, or Media Impact Value™.

KOL Campaigns
KOL Analytics: Comparison between Chinese beauty brands Florasis’ and Perfect Diary’s lipstick campaigns

KOL Analytics not only analyzes brand to brand but also product to product. Through the use of Launchmetrics’ brand libraries and precision keyword search, brands can understand the influencer Launchmetrics’ brand libraries and precision keyword search, brands can understand the Influencer usage of competitors at specific periods. Brands can also dig deeper into individual queries by analyzing KOL into tiers, discovering the top 100 Influencers for that search, or gain a better understanding the content with the keyword cloud.

KOL Campaigns
Launchmetrics Influencer Marketing Software

After brands confirm who to work with, they can now kickstart the KOL campaign with content creation. Launchmetrics has a well-structured workflow to proceed KOLs’ content, including Creating Content, Pending, Modify, Approved, and Posted. With the workflow carefully managed in this way, brands can save up to 60% of their time on campaigns, especially when they partner with multiple KOLs at once.

With an extensive database of 110k+ verified Chinese KOLs, brands can receive recommended KOLs based on their search history and leverage KOL audience metrics to understand their relevance and affinity to brands. By analyzing competitors and identifying the top KOLs they work with, Launchmetrics helps brands benchmark against competitors and explore community and their engagement metrics.

To learn more about the potential of Key Opinion Leaders, click below to explore our guide!

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