Do you want to bottle fame, brew glory, and even realize financial freedom via Social Media? Become a KOL (Key Opinion Leader) in your favoured industry, be admired by millions of followers, your single word is worth a thousand pieces of gold.
That’s not a daydream. Instead, it is the real case that is happening every minute and every second. It has been proved that social media which can perfectly serve you as a tool to expand your social networks, provide you with a stage to show your talents, link you with audiences all over the world, and help you to build your influence more efficiently.
Is it sounds cool, working on something that you used to browse to have fun, or to chat with your families and friends, etc. to make you successful?
If your answer is a positive ‘Yes!’, let’s move on.
First of all, defining a KOL.
The definition of a KOL is an individual who is respected for the knowledge of a specific area, whose opinions are trusted and valued in a specific industry and is followed by an adequate quantity of audiences.
So, now, please ask yourself these questions:
- Do I know a specific area or industry? To what extent?
- Do I have creative, interesting, valuable… opinions about this area? Is it popular or unique?
- Do I have leadership in that industry, how many followers I got in my social networks, who they are?
After asking yourself all of those, you may notice the critical points, the 3 key elements of a KOL: knowledge, opinion, and leadership.
Based on these 3 elements, you can measure your distance away from a qualified KOL and create a strategy to optimize each of them. So,
Secondly, targeting your KOL potential.
If we consider KOL as a kind of profession, which can be categorized from entry-level to master-level, we will find that it is the same as any other general positions in the world. As an entry-level, you may just a freshman in the workplace, who is still struggling with what you have learned from school and what you are encountered in your real working environment. Certainly, under such a situation, your professional opinions may only listen by your close friends or families when they are looking for help from professionals for convenience.
Vice versa, if you are someone who has been working in an industry for years, who has obtained some important achievements in the career, and now is enjoying a high reputation and followers are queuing up to meet. Undoubtedly, you are a successful KOL.
Whereas, we won’t talk about that how can a freshman become a master in his/her career path, today, we are going to talk about how social media works in this accelerative process. Social media are tools that allow you to create, share or exchange information within and without communities and networks. Statistically, the average daily time that people spent on social media worldwide has been increased from 90 minutes to 135 minutes for the past 6 years. To a certain degree, social media can increase the efficiency to get your feedback from a wider scale which crosses culture, geo-boundary, ideology, etc.
Daily time spent on social networking by internet users worldwide from 2012 to 2017 (in minutes)
As long as you can locate yourself on your way to be a KOL, and realize the meaning of using social media as a tool for help, then you can take your next step:
Thirdly, creating your KOL strategy with social media.
To create an excellent strategy, there are some useful steps and methods should be noticed:
- Audience insights: targeting the audience, describing their profiles as detailed as possible.
- Networks Determination: determining which networks to use based on your audiences’ characteristics.
- Content planning: selecting suitable content forms to show your knowledge and opinions and trying to engage audiences as best as you can.
- Data analysis: defining and understanding the value of ‘vanity’ metrics and ‘sanity’ metrics; tracking important metric to its source.
- Goals management: creating SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals, continually evaluating and adapting your goals.
- Time management: using useful time management tools, to monitor progress and make sure everything is on time.
- Collaboration and exchange: harnessing the power of other KOLs, followers, or your social networks, etc.
There is an example worth mentioning here, the fashion blogger career path of Chiara Ferragni, who now is a fashion businesswoman and was ranked first in the Forbes list of the most powerful fashion influencers in 2017.
In her case, she didn’t choose to follow a traditional way, neither did she work as a fashion editor for influential fashion magazines (even it is known to all that the words power of fashion is heavily lies in mainstream fashion magazines, such as Vogue, Elle, and Bazaar.) nor she worked for any other specific luxury or fashion brands.
On the contrary, Chiara Ferragni launched her fashion blog The Blonde Salad in October 2009, which allows her to show her talents on fashion looks, clothing, accessories, shoes, etc. via nice pictures and copywriting.
Due to its success, this blog has been taken as a case study at Harvard Business School in January 2015, and its content also allows it to attract followers from other popular social media, such as Instagram, YouTube, Flipboard, Facebook, Tweet, etc. continually.
Besides, Chiara Ferragni, as the most prominent name behind the blog, became the top KOL in the fashion industry as a natural consequence.
Today, she started her own fashion collection business and opened a flagship store in Milan, it is like a dream comes true, she is successful, isn’t she? We cannot make sure that to what percentage that the blog or the social media have contributed to her success, but we can make sure that it must be a large percentage. Without social media, we may get a magazine or a book or something else called the Blonde Salad, but how far it can go and how successful it can be, I would question that in such a digital era.