How to Become a KOL in China
February 6, 2015 |

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

Build relationships

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.

For all the latest updates follow KAWO on WeChat.

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  1. Sandy says:

    Dear Kawo Team,
    I want to start my own fashion blog/vlog in Shanghai, but I don’t speak/write Chinese. Does your company work with individuals to build their Chinese social media accounts and provide support in terms of scheduling/translating/analyzing posts.

    1. Rebecca @ KAWO says:

      Hi Sandy,
      Thanks for reaching out to KAWO. I’m Rebecca. Glad to know that you are planning to start your own fashion blog/vlog in Shanghai.
      For your questions, KAWO could work with individuals to help them edit/schedule Weibo posts. But for WeChat, it has to be Company Type account not Personal Type. Translation services are not in our scope, but we are happy to recommend some translation companies that we believe are good at localizing social content.
      Please feel free to drop me an email if you wish to know more about KAWO or China Social Media situation.


  2. Sarah says:

    You mentioned that you help individuals with personal WeChat accounts. Would a subscription account fall under this category?

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