By: Michael Lin
The process of becoming a KOL (Key Opinion Leader) is rather mercurial. A chance overnight tweet can make you a pivotal influencer in the world of social media. On the flip side, you can spend potential years of persistence and dedication in order to position yourself at the forefront of opinion and news. In either case, it’s important to cement your foundation with these 5 simple rules.
Have a personality
Your personality should be consistent across your channels. Typically, this will encapsulate your social media accounts and a major website blog. Tone is the biggest testament to your personality. Being human and developing a readership through your writing style will be your gateway to engagement. It would be unwise to share an account with your best friend as integrity is too sacred to gamble on.
Know your target audience
It is vital to understand and pinpoint your target audience. In tourism, it is known that accounts exist in major tourist destinations but what’s more important is how KOL’s differentiate themselves from the pack. It is important to have content that can target either a select group of people or large group of people, and in both cases the content needs to be meaningful, unique, and engaging.
Have a set of rules
We’ve seen it all. Accounts that post every 30 minutes to accounts that post every day, or every 3 days. Regardless of the method, a KOL will always stick by their rules. Are you big on forwarding contests? Will you include links in your posts? Will you post content that someone else has written? Whatever your answer may be, it is important to follow your rules. Followers respect you for that, and that’s part of the reason why they follow you
Reach out to major platforms and work with key editors at Sina or key platforms such as Mafengwo, Qunar, Baidu in order to build relationships within your vertical and in line with your objectives. Having deep ties or “guan xi” in China can generally help you take that next step in business. Socially, it can be just as beneficial. Ideally, your network and relationships will help grow your account rather organically.
Be active and be influential
Talk to your followers, solve their problems, and show them you are at the forefront of your topics. Don’t be afraid to occasionally enter new boundaries; although, in China its best to stay within the confines of the GFW Internet rules. Most importantly, create a discussion and subsequently create the next viral hashtag.