How to use Key Opinion Leaders in Weibo marketing and WeChat marketing

Endorsement is a great tool for businesses using social media marketing in China. Chinese consumers can be slow to trust new brands, which makes it important to engage with those who already have authority in your target market. Thanks to blogging and social media channels many people have risen to become Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs). These users have demonstrated expertise or useful insight in a certain topic or industry and therefore have gained a large following that respects and values what they have to say.

Should I be using KOLs when social media marketing in China?

Key Opinion Leaders have spent a long time curating their audience. They are a trusted and authoritative voice with large exposure. By building a strong relationship with them you gain access to their fan base and can promote messages to them that will receive a lot more attention thanks to coming from a channel that they know, trust, and respect. Key Opinion Leaders are great for WeChat marketing and Weibo marketing.

Getting the right KOL for your social media marketing in China

KOLs in China work in different ways. There is a tradition of offering bloggers money in return for coverage. Depending upon the size of the blogger’s fan base, and how influential they are online, prices can range from $150 up to $5,000 (source: Jing Daily). Weibo has a platform to help connect advertisers to relevant Key Opinion Leaders that also includes information upon their prices and the likelihood they will accept your assignment (source: China Internet Watch).

You might not have the budget to engage high-profile KOLs. The leading influencers in China, such as fashion blogger Han Huohuo are courted by the largest brands, and are able to be very discerning when it comes to building relationships and lending their endorsement (source: LinkedIn).

There are plenty of smaller social media accounts that still have a large following, and spending some time getting to know the owners of these accounts can provide you with many smaller brand ambassadors. Getting a few bloggers or micro-bloggers with 10,000 fans each can quickly add up to large-scale exposure.

Building a relationship with a Key Opinion Leader for WeChat marketing or Weibo Marketing

Key Opinion Leaders aren’t just looking for money. Owners of smaller, less influential accounts, may be flattered just to have been approached by a brand. Regardless of size, influential social media accounts thrive based upon their ability to provide their followers with valuable and interesting content. Offering exclusive access to your products or services, free samples, pre-release items for review, and other such opportunities allows Key Opinion Leaders to provide their fans with something new and unique. This is a valuable proposition for any blogger or micro-blogger.

The key to engaging KOLs is the same as with any other social media follower. You have to focus on building a relationship that is mutually valuable. Don’t focus purely on what they can do for you. If you approach them with a proposition that has great benefit to them you are much more likely to gain their support for your social media marketing in China.


(Image source: Image created by Stuart Miles |