Anyone who’s snooped around the Chinese online space has heard about the power of KOLs (key opinion leaders). Because the overall online marketing environment in China is so commercial, in other word, you more or less pay for every bit of traffic and publicity, KOLs have been one of the key components for most online marketing campaigns.
Engaging with KOLs is usually an activity that your marketing agency will likely take on. Large agencies and more established brands may very well have KOLs on their payroll or on a retainer. But as a small or medium sized business going into the market and interested in finding KOLs for your industry, where do you start?
So how do you find key opinion leaders on Weibo, particularly those in your industry? Here are a few ways to get started, and see what they talk about.
1. Can you already find one or two popular Weibo accounts in your industry? If so, let Weibo do the rest of the work for you.
Once you follow an account like I have above, Weibo will recommend similar accounts followed by the fans of what you have just followed, particularly if the user you had just followed is influential and there’s a large cross-section of data the Weibo system can draw on.
In this case, you can click open the profiles of those recommended and double check to see if they are also KOLs that you are also interested in.
2. Go up or down the chain in the industry, and see who they follow.
Say you are a hotel or restaurant, and you want to see what other hotels and restaurants are doing on Weibo. You can use the method below, or you can also try this.
Hotels and restaurants are frequently followed by travel Weibo bloggers for a variety of reasons – utilitarian, genuine connection and interest. So if I wanted to quickly find a few hotel and restaurants Weibo accounts to reference, I’d go through the “follow” tab on a popular Weibo blogger’s account and try my luck.
Using the same account as above, I found a hotel/restaurant account pretty easily.
And what do you know, once I follow this account, Weibo spits out a number of other hotel/restaurants for me to follow.
3. Check out tFengyun for accounts categorized and ranked by industry.
I wrote about the power of tFengyun before . It’s a tool that gives you a quick overview of the level of activities, engagement, and authenticity on an account.
But guess what, you can also use it to find KOLs in your industry!
Click here for a list of industries and the top ranked Weibo accounts in those industries. You do need to hover around the categories on the left hand side to see the sub-categories. Since not everything’s really organized in a way that I would consider completely logical, just browse around and see what you find.
With a bit of mousing around, I found categories like IT, gaming, real estate, to manga, hospitality, and cosmetics. So take some time, look around, and you will find the right influencers in your industry.