Tracking key opinion leaders and how it will benefit your brand
Updated: Jul 7
With today’s marketing realities, finding and communicating with a key opinion leader or an influencer is just as important as delivering messages and advertisements to the masses. Sometimes sending a personalized message to the right person can turn into a very wise and profitable move. Understanding the importance of finding key opinion leaders can sometimes serve as the difference between a brand’s success or failure.
What is the importance of finding key opinion leaders (KOLs)
Key opinion leaders (KOLs) can lead a category with their voice. They are well-known within their industry and appear often offline as well as on social media channels. If they mention a brand, their maintained reputation could turn lots of attention to it.
KOLs deliver immediate important insights that can impact three main areas. First, they can significantly change brand awareness. When mentioning a brand, thought leaders can raise its awareness immediately thanks to its reputation and popularity. Also, they contribute to strategic campaign planning. As a key tool in the overall marketing strategy, finding and communicating to key opinion leaders must be planned next to all other activities. Finally, KOLs switch public sentiment over brand-related issues. Whether in order to project a brand’s benefit, or to salvage its reputation at a time of crisis, getting the assistance of a key opinion leader may result in improving the brand’s reputation.
How to find KOLs in general
Tracking the following outlets may give a company important information on where to find the right KOLs. A general research and monitoring should include the following:
Offline and online media: Follow all industry-related publications and take notice of prominent personas who stand out from the crowd and voice their opinions.
LinkedIn group and forums: pay attention to industry-related business pages and social media outlets.
Events and conferences: whether live or online, key speakers at industry events are the ones you should mark as potential key opinion leaders.
How your company's brand fares in mentions vs. your competitors: a company must always follow and recognize its opinion leaders' market status vs. its competitors. Knowing how your rivals are being mentioned by KOLs and measuring whether such mentions may show if a significant influence situation was created. It will also impact your decisions and actions in this regard.
Who responds actively to your press releases: those who respond are the ones to follow in hope that your information might lead to a mention by them. It is also recommended to keep trying to inform those who did not respond to your press releases because they may react in the future.
Leading media outlets (printed and online websites and blogs): top outlets tend to report on the words and actions of key opinion leaders. They may also serve as the places where a key opinion leader may grow and gain publicity, so it is wise to constantly follow such outlets.
Most read/popular topics online: judging by reactions, comments, likes, and shares, topics of interest rise above all else with regards to how the public gives them feedback.
Trending stories/topics (Google trends): items may trend based on their relevance, again determined by their public reaction. Key leaders are often being quoted in such cases, which may also indicate how reputable and popular they are.
How to find KOLs in precise monitoring
Following a general search attempting to find other key opinion leaders, a more precise approach is recommended. Marketing teams must perform a keyword search of brand, company, and competition of all channels. A specific search requires finding the exact keywords for a brand’s considered company, events, and relevant competitors. Names of key people and topics around the brand may show you whom you should target and contact.
In addition, monitoring of existing and self newly-created Hashtags is required. Identifying digital content on a specific topic or brand requires the monitoring of hashtags. Such monitoring would help to identify thought leaders and it can support findings on other online platforms. Also, a company should follow the most likely places in order to find opinion leaders. Such places may be forums, LinkedIn, or the persons’ own website and social media. Digital opinion leaders are found in different places, be it general or industry-related, so it is transcendental to keep up with all trends and channels as new opinion leaders are always on the rise.
Identifying a key opinion leader
Following the above-mentioned steps, a company is recommended to monitor the specific people that are marked on its social media. Finding key opinion leaders is similar to looking for your target audience with the only difference being that such leaders are specific and unique. Once a company establishes the relevant opinion leaders, it should constantly monitor its actions and discussions.
A second step would be to create a “key opinion leaders” list and update it regularly, including adding or deleting names. Key leaders with expert opinions may come and go, depending on their offline and online actions. Their relevance may go up or down depending on the market and personal situations. It is always recommended to follow up and coming opinion leaders who may one day replace the ones who are currently leading an industry.
The differences between key opinion leaders and influencers
Sometimes, confusion may occur when examining the roles of KOLs and influencers. Both are usually influential online but there is a striking difference between them.
KOLs are experts and their "opinion leadership" is only a byproduct of their positions. They lead in their field thanks to their achievements and professional qualifications, while their leadership serves as a secondary characteristic to their expertise.
Influencers, on the other hand, work at influencing. This is their main job. They earned their way of becoming influential. Many times they share sponsored content and are paid for their posts. They may have some expertise in their area but mainly, their job is to influence.
So marketing a brand includes a decision-making process of choosing to target key opinion leaders, influencers, or both.
Affogata can help you find the right key opinion leader for your brand
Affogata is able to assist companies in finding key opinion leaders in a number of ways:
Find KOLs through keyword and topic search. The customer feedback platform is able to run specific searches across many different open web platforms and applications and establish key opinion leaders in specific industries and sub-industries. While tracking and analyzing multitudes of customer feedback, quantitative results can pinpoint who the leading opinion-makers are and advise companies on whom they should prioritize contacting.
Locate KOLs through customer feedback's analysis regarding opinion leaders (a positive or a negative mention can mean a lot!). Affogata sorts out the good from the bad comments, and when combined with how large was the reaction to a mention and how many times an opinion leader was mentioned, a company can get a pretty good idea regarding the right persons to target.
Showing companies a list of people with the higher following first, in order to prioritize mentions: Affogata can take notice in cases when KOLs mention the brand, thus helping to find opinion leaders that can later voice their opinion on the company as well.