Life is about relationships, and never in history have people had as much power to form, foster and leverage meaningful relationships as now. For individuals and businesses, that means there are people out there who want to connect with you — to build a relationship that’s meaningful and positive. The only KOL strategy you need to grow your brand is to establish genuine relationships and offer unique value. The key is reciprocity.
VERY PERSONAL COMMUNICATION
When Maggie and I first started the Melilim Fu influencer brand, I didn’t fully understand the depth of relationships Maggie would need to form to grow the brand.
Newest Fan Art from @丨五花肉丨
For the last year-and-a-half, Maggie’s main KOL strategy for growth has has been talking with thousands of different girls one-on-one or in small groups. Most of these conversations were about skincare, makeup and beauty advice, but a surprising number of girls just wanted a safe person in whom they could confide. It’s not uncommon for a fan to tell Maggie they failed a test, got dumped, or about even more intimate issues.
“Like it or not, welcome to the age of intimate CRM”
People want to be loved and accepted. Being an influencer is equally about listening as broadcasting a message to a niche audience vertical. By no means do I or Maggie believe she should act as a qualified therapist or life coach, but she doesn’t have to. She just needs to listen, encourage, and inspire. Simple acts of caring are the foundation of strong relationships, which can generate likes, shares, comments, or purchases for a KOL.
BIRDS OF A FEATHER SUPPORT EACH OTHER
It takes a deliberate KOL strategy and time to be accepted into KOL communities, but it’s more than worth the effort. Last weekend I had the privilege of joining Maggie when she went to meet some of her vlogger friends. It was an especially unique opportunity because I meet Jason Lu and Xiaotou, two guy KOLs in the beauty space. We ate Peking duck, shared insights, and discussed the KOL video industry. Even though KOLs are all vying for audience attention on the internet, behind the scenes they are helping and inspiring one another. A coveted *like* or holy-grail *follow* from a fellow KOL can open the door to conversation which can lead to all kinds of cooperation.
Nothing in China is easy. Establishing relationships is no exception. As a KOL, merely liking or following another KOL can be perceived as “low-地” (pedestrian) or desperate. Making contact through a genuine value-added approach is important. For us, finding a KOL in the same vertical but with a slightly different audience focus that sells jewellery, clothes, or other products has worked well. We purchase their products and feature them in a post or two while @ing their personal or brand account. A reciprocity-based relationship always starts with giving.
YOU NEVER KNOW WHO IS WATCHING
Our open, genuine, and value-first communication approach has led to our biggest brand-building events. It’s our followers and friends that invite us to participate in standout opportunities, and that wouldn’t be possible if we hadn’t given real value-first.