Key Opinion Leaders Vs. Influencers: Which Is Right For Your Brand?

Key opinion leaders are experts in thier fields

One of the recent marketing methods that is gaining prominence is using influencers and KOLs. While both professionals significantly influence their audience, they differ in how they operate. So, which of these is best suited for your brand? In this article, we will look at the similarities and differences between the two and help you choose one that is best suited for your brand.

Differences Between Kols And Influencers

There is a thin line between Key Opinion leaders(KOLs) and influencer marketers. Both professionals influence people’s perception of a brand and probably make them buy it. In fact, at times, KOLS are also referred to as influencers.

But on the other hand,  there are a few differences. For one, a KOL works in a small niche and is considered an expert. Due to the deep knowledge they obtain through learning or experience, KOLs are considered an authority in that niche. 

They are trusted by people, including others in their niche. Unlike influencers,  a KOL leader has a day job.  These may include professionals like dentists, designers, mechanics, or politicians.  

 On the other hand, an influencer has become very popular due to his or her exploits on social media or in his or her field. They often build a community around their brand and may also be experts in their fields. These can include people like musicians, athletes, or bloggers.

A KOL often works in a small niche where they know, while an influencer marketer can be in a large niche. Another difference is that an influencer marketer works predominantly online, while a KOL may not necessarily have an online presence. On the other hand, an influencer can include a celebrity, blogger, vlogger, or Instagram influencer.

Why Key Opinion Leaders Count

A key opinion leader is considered to have deep knowledge in a field. Therefore, when they recommend a product or service in their niche, people are more likely to trust them. By collaborating with key opinion leaders, brands can:

  • Get a broader reach in their target market
  • Gain credibility when an expert recommends them

One of the most common areas where brands leverage KOLs is oral health. Toothpaste companies will often have dentists recommending their products.

KOLs Vs. Influencers: When to Work with KOLS For Your Brand

There are several instances when you may need to work with KOLs. These include:

You need Targeted Engagement

Unlike influencers with a broad appeal, KOLs often have a niche audience. For instance, a dentist will have people in their audience interested in knowing about oral health. Because their followers are more engaged, they are likelier to comment, like, and share your posts.

Need an Expert Endorsement

If you are in a niche where expert endorsement will take your brand to the next level, working with KOLs can have significant benefits. For instance, if you are in the pharmaceutical industry, doctors recommending your drugs can have a significant impact compared to when a blogger recommends it.

Amplify Word-of-mouth Marketing

According to Semrush, word-of-mouth marketing is more powerful than paid advertising. This is because 90% of people trust a brand recommended to them by other people, including strangers. 88% of people trust a brand more when recommended by a close family member or friend.

People are more likely to trust the words of an expert than an influencer with limited knowledge in the field. When you work with KOLs, you can increase the chances of customers buying your products and services by 50%.

Want to Share Expert Knowledge

An influencer can share entertaining content, and people will react to it. However, they may be unsuitable for sharing expert knowledge such as webinars, Q&A sessions, etc. Therefore, if you want to share expert knowledge, your best bet is to work with a KOL.

Improve Credibility

When consumers are educated by an expert on the benefits of your brand, they are more likely to consider it credible. The fact that you have an expert endorsing your brand will show them that you are also committed to credible and accurate information.

Key Opinion Leaders vs. Influencers: When to Use Influencers

Here are instances when you need to use influencers over KOLs marketing:

Improve Brand Awareness

If your goal is to have your brand appear in people’s feeds and, therefore, a more significant reach, your best bet is working with influencers who may have a more substantial reach than KOLs. This is because influencers often have a broader but more general audience, which can result in a more significant brand awareness.

Increase Social Media Followers

 In most cases, social media influencers are often very passionate about what they do. Unlike KOLs, who are motivated by informing, influencers are motivated by financial compensation. Therefore, unless you want to reach a niche audience, influencers can quickly help build your social media following.

Get Feedback on Your Products

If you want product feedback, a social media influencer can quickly help you. Due to their large audience, they will likely have people who respond to their questions on your brand.

User-generated Content

User-generated content is one of the recent social media trends. As we noted earlier, KOLs are often professionals with day jobs. This means they may not have the time to create content for your brand. On the other hand, influencers mostly make money by advertising products. They can create user-generated content that will help your brand grow.

Influencers can creat content for your brand.

Kol Vs. Influencers: Which Is Best For Your Brand?

Now that you understand the differences, you may wonder which is best for you. The first thing to consider is whether your product or service is in a niche that can benefit from KOL  expertise. Consider also if you want to reach your specific niche. 

If your answer is yes, consider working with a KOL. But if you want to reach a bigger general audience or need user-generated content, consider working with an influencer.

Benjamin is a writer with over ten years of experience in the content writing field. He holds a Bachelor's degree in  Journalism from Strathmore University. He writes on various niches such as product reviews, self-improvement, and making mone online. You can find him curled on his couch with a self-improvement book when he is not blogging.