5 Most Common Mistakes in KOL Marketing

When putting together a KOL marketing campaign, sometimes the big picture is overlooked and mistakes can be made. Being able to look at your KOL efforts at large will help you prevent some of the mistakes that are very common in KOL marketing. Below we have outlined five of the most common mistakes in KOL marketing campaigns.

No 1: Not aligning your social media strategy to KOL strategy

When engaging KOL in a social media campaign, brands have to make sure that their official channel is communicating the same message. For instance, if the KOL campaign is focused around promoting a specific product, make sure that your brand's Weibo and WeChat channels are focused on promoting the same product.

You have to look at it with the eyes of the consumer online, who will see the KOL post and, hopefully, follow your account. Will they receive a cohesive message from your brand? KOL posts need to fit in perfectly in your brand's feed, and then it will all sound like a well-orchestrated symphony.

No 2: Not having a clear KOL campaign goal that makes sense

A big part of a successful KOL marketing campaign actually starts with the brand picking the right goal for the campaign with proper KPIs. KOL marketing is a long-term investment into your brand, and you need to approach each campaign with that in mind. Cutting corners works very rarely, and most successful brands have done a lot of ground work to build up their brand reputation and consumers' trust.

So, when approaching your next KOL campaign, you should decide what is the main goal of that effort. If you are a new brand in China, it probably should be brand awareness. In this case your KPIs should be number of new followers on your Weibo/ WeChat, number of brand interactions, number of brand mentions, and such.

If you are an already established brand, you may decide to promote a specific line or product. In this case, consider campaign goals like mentions of that specific product online, visits to your online store, or even sales.

It could be something more complex, like shifting your brand image or adding more depth to your brand image. For instance, if your brand is seen purely as a performance sportswear brand, but you are launching new lines of leisurewear, you'll want to shift the brand perception. In this case KPIs might be more difficult to measure. However, you can gauge the success of the campaign by number of likes and reposts of KOL posts, as well as collect qualitative data of fan response to the new image in the comments.

No 3: Not preparing your infrastructure for the influx of sales

This might seem like an obvious point, however failure to communicate with your logistics team about a promotion that might soar your sales, can cause shipping delays and backfire on your brand image.

Chinese consumers expect lightning-fast delivery speed, with 34% of Gen Z consumers expecting next day delivery, and 27% expecting same-day delivery, according to Accenture survey. On top of that, Chinese consumers also expect to receive immediate customer support through chatting to the brand within the ecommerce platform interface.

So, when launching a large-scale KOL promotion, make sure that your brand can provide that level of service and support, or you risk wasting all of the campaign efforts and damaging your brand image.

No 4: Not nurturing a relationship with the KOLs

Far too often we see a scenario where a brand thinks they "own" the influencer simply because they are paying them. This is a radically wrong attitude towards working with KOLs. Brands should approach it as an equal partnership where both sides are building a long-term relationship.

This attitude should manifest itself in a few moments. Mainly, when it comes to negotiating the KOL fee, don't negotiate. Some KOLs may give you a discount, if you ask for it, but it is not a good beginning to your relationship. For your first collaboration, pay the fee that KOL has requested. And for the next campaign he/she might put you ahead of other brands in scheduling, prioritize your content production, or throw in another perk like a free WeChat moment or Weibo story. Treat your KOL right, and they will treat you right.

Send the KOLs you have worked with a thank you note, or a small gift of appreciation of their work. A simple gesture like that goes a very long way, especially in China. And it will lay a great foundation to a prosperous relationship.

No 5: Not trusting KOL to create the best content for their channel

This point flows naturally from the previous. Part of relationship building is trust, and you should trust the KOL to create the content that they believe will resonate with their audience. KOLs know their followers, and know what kind of content they will expect and respond-to the most. A campaign brief should not be too limiting in the creative expression and allow KOL to do what they do best, which is create beautiful content.

Ask KOLs for their opinion on what type of content they think would work best, and allow them to fly freely with it. This type of content will look the most organic on the KOL's feed and will resonate with their followers the best, always.

Key Takeaways

- Make sure your KOL campaigns fit perfectly with your existing social media strategy

- Formulate a clear, measurable, and appropriate KOl campaign goal

- Prepare your logistics and customer support teams for the influx of sales

- Treat KOLs like your long-term partners

- Trust KOLs on this journey

Do you have other suggestions on how to better run a KOL campaign?