If you’ve been keeping up with the latest social media trends in China, you may have noticed a new type of influencer cropping up on Weibo and WeChat – KOC, or Key Opinion Consumers. But what is a KOC, exactly? And why are they becoming so popular? In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the KOC phenomenon in China and explore some of the reasons behind its growing popularity.
KOL vs KOC: What is the Difference in China?
In China, the title of “influencer” is used to describe uniquely superstars in their own right. Their objective was still to publicize items in association with the most popular fashion and luxury brands. For instance, you could find Jackson Wang for Fendi, Lu Han for Louis Vuitton, and Angelababy for Dior. Stars and celebrities are the acmes of influence in China to reach tons of people. But what happens when you want to target only a precise user’s category and obtain a better ROI? Then, you have to select a KOC, the latest influencer trend in China.
In China, the influence market is a pyramid. On top, you have stars and celebrities with a wide audience. On the bottom, you have KOCs or common users with a small audience. From a business perspective, brands looking for opportunities to perform in China cannot afford KOLs or celebrities. For instance, a top KOL we have worked with charged a cosmetics brand for 4 million RMB for only a day of work. In a word, top KOLs are ready to charge for limited-time remarks on different records. For a smaller budget and a greater return on investment (ROI), you can work with a KOC.
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Build your brand China with KOC Marketing
The Chinese market is evolving fast. Another type of influencer is frequently used to build your brand awareness and increase your e-reputation: a KOC. A Key Opinion Consumer (KOC) is a small influencer with a couple of followers. The Chinese netizens are looking more into common users that could still share their transparent opinion on a product and share creative content about new international brands. “Shoppers’ trust in their most loved KOLs has been undermined by a progression of outrages and a bottoming out of the market as far as quality and unwavering quality”, said Adam Knight from Tong Digital.
Increase your sales with KOCs
The KOCs are ordinary buyers. Indeed, they will propose item surveys and recommendations to orient Chinese consumers through their next purchase. What are the benefits of this product? And the smell? What is my honest opinion on it? In a word, several people follow ordinary users who love to share personal opinions on products. For millennial Chinese buyers, this amicable, companion-like intrigue can powerfully affect obtaining choices.
For instance, the beauty brand Perfect Diary favored this strategy to increase its brand awareness and create a social buzz. Thanks to Key Opinion Consumers, Perfect Diary got quickly one of the top beautifier marks in China. Their strategy was to implement KOC partnerships on a mass scale. For the average Chinese shopper browsing on the phone, Perfect Diary appeared to be very well-known. Everyone was talking about it on social media, and the products were mentioned in every post. So, Chinese netizens decided to catch up on the trend and buy Perfect Diary products too.
The Key Chinese Social Media for KOC Influencer in China: Xiaohongshu
Xiaohongshu literally means “Little Red Book”. This social media platform is like the Chinese Instagram, where influencers and common users share pictures and ideas. Because of KOCs notable absence of devotees, the extravagance retail and way of life stage Little Red Book (Xiaohongshu) is demonstrating itself to be the perfect spot for KOC showcasing. Why? Because the algorithm of Xiaohongshu easily promotes content from KOC and small influencers. The more Xiaohongshu clients are discussing a specific brand or item, the more certain it will show up in the indexed lists for that item class. In a word, you can benefit from original content and great visibility easily thanks to KOC on Xiaohongshu.
For the beauty and cosmetics sector, Little Red Book is a great social media. 80% of the users are women, and they favor content about skincare and beauty. In contrast to other social stages, Little Red Book not just shows content from accounts that they follow. But subjects and hashtags are identified with the substance they view and search. Some posts from clients with just a couple hundred supporters can become famous online and get seen by thousands — or even millions — of potential shoppers. This is how a KOC is born in China!
So in what capacity can the brand tackle the intensity of KOC influencer advertising? For one, it is critical to take note that KOCs cannot supplant KOLs. The estimation of KOL promoting depends on KOLs sifting content for the benefit of supporters and just transferring important data. They separate in the interest of crowds, and they are trusted for this, not for the way that they give free suggestions. If you are a small to medium brand entering China, you need to work with top-level and mid-level influencers. With a small budget and a small amount of time, you can reach a more qualified audience to turn viewers into buyers.
Read our Xiaohongshu Marketing Guide
A quick summary on the influencer trend of KOC in China
KOC influencers appear to be digging in for the long haul, and for small brands, they are the perfect initial step into the Chinese market. On an ongoing occasion, Tong Digital exhibited a five-advance procedure of “item seeding” to draw in KOCs:
- Distinguish potential KOCs and convey skilled items
- Accumulate free introduction from KOC surveys and orchestrate future KOC paid battles with those that functioned admirably
- Formalize KOC associations with greater post-crusade showcasing
- Pay for the item and delivery costs
- Try things out for what could be a useful showcasing technique in the future
In this way, KOCs may be the most recent cool children on the social influencer square, and one for advertisers to genuinely consider. Brands ought to be careful about tying up their assets in one place. As per Tulloch, “The key point about KOLs, KOCs, miniaturized scale influencers, or anybody of some other degree of following is the pertinence of the individual, crowd, message, and channel if various envoys have been investigated adequately and furnished with the proper recommendations to confer, at that point shoppers will get tied up with messages both allegorically and truly. It does not make a difference what name gets placed on it.”
Find a local agency to approach KOCs in China
Based in Shanghai, the Gentlemen Marketing Agency (GMA) helps international brands to perform in China. We have worked on 1,000+ projects from branding to social media, and e-commerce in China. So, if you want to find a KOL or a KOC for your next campaign in China, you can contact us. We will provide you with the best strategy and solutions to reach and partner with local influencers.