By Laia Cardona, on 21 February 2023
KOLs (Key Opinion Leader) are becoming increasingly important in marketing, and although they are often confused with influencers, there are a few differences between the two. In this article we’re explaining exactly what a KOL is and what role they play in marketing.
Key Opinion Leader or KOL: Definition
A KOL or Key Opinion Leader is a person who is an expert in a very specific subject and who has a certain trajectory and reputation within that specific field. This means that the information they share and their opinions are respected and taken into account by their audience. They would be considered experts within a sector or within a specific topic.
It is precisely this kind of authority and reputation that makes them very valuable figures in a marketing campaign, since they have the respect of a community interested in that topic.
Difference Between Key Opinion Leader and Influencer
It is very common to think that a Key Opinion Leader is a kind of influencer, but there are differences between the two. One of the main differences is that while social media is a source of income and a way of life for influencers, for KOLs it is not. Social media is not the channel that has given them their reputation, but their profession as a journalist, doctor, lawyer, etc... This means that they can use social media to disseminate content, but not as regularly and constantly as an influencer would.
Another notable difference is that a KOL does not promote products or services on social media in exchange for financial compensation or some kind of benefit, something that influencers do as part of their job requirements.
And finally, for a KOL the number of followers or engagement rate is not as important as it would be for an influencer.
The Importance of Key Opinion Leaders (KOL) in Marketing
These differences may lead you to think that having a KOL for a marketing strategy may not be as effective or beneficial as having an influencer. However, the reputation, prestige and credibility of a KOL can help a community to trust a brand that offers products or services directly related to the topic of which they are an expert.
KOL’s opinions are highly respected and noted, so getting them to speak well of your brand, or to be part of it in some way, allows you to gain respect from their audience. This will surely help your brand stand out from the competition.
It is important to note that an influencer marketing campaign, with some revises strategies, can be fully compatible with a KOL, despite being two different figures.