In this series, we explore expressions seen in everyday life and others with more obscure origins.
We all know that Instagram’s influencers can stand to make up to hundreds of thousands of dollars from posting sponsored content.
And it’s not just the likes of singer Selena Gomez and entrepreneur-slash-reality TV star Kylie Jenner, who each have millions of followers. Since the digital age began to see a shift in marketing strategies, these days anyone who boasts a large following on social media seems to call themselves an influencer.
But in Hong Kong and China, they’re not called influencers. These social media darlings are known as KOLs, or “key opinion leaders.”
Opinion leadership refers to social media users who can generate content and sway opinion. Some also define “key opinion leadership” as someone who is considered an expert in their field and therefore trusted in their authority to make recommendations — for example, a hair stylist selling shampoo, or a dentist endorsing a toothpaste.
KOLs and influencers are valued for their ability to engage with their audience. In Hong Kong, the KOL term took hold and became a blanket-term for influencers of all kinds, including bloggers, content creators and YouTube stars.
What does a KOL do? In most cases, given their power in influencing purchasing decisions, they collaborate with brands in advertising campaigns through their social media platforms — hence making big bucks in sponsored content.
Do you think you have what it takes to become a KOL? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.