On today’s podcast, we’re going to talk about two different, but important, things. The first is the latest array of updates that Facebook is making (we know, they keep on coming). We’re covering this in more detail elsewhere, but we want to give a quick rundown in our podcast too, so you know what to expect.

Next, we’re going to talk about Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs). We’re discussing what they are, why they can be important, and other common FAQs about this underrated part of the marketing community! Strap in, because we’ve got a lot to cover!

Facebook’s Important Updates

First, let’s talk about Facebook’s big new changes. Facebook has revealed key goals in its roadmap for the next couple of years, and they are changing a lot. Much of the changes are consumer-facing, but they are all important and could have an impact on your Facebook strategy. The big updates include:

  • Privacy: Facebook wants people to know that no one is spying on their information or conversations with other people.
  • Encryption: New encryption should keep data safer as it passes through Facebook (particularly when it comes to third-party apps, where Facebook has a horrible track record).
  • Reduced permanence: Basically, Facebook won’t be keeping permanent records of what you do on the site. Whether this extends to the posts you create is uncertain at the moment.
  • Safety: This is the same promise as privacy and encryption, from a different angle.
  • Interoperability: Facebook is working to streamline its apps and help them to all work together and exchange information more easily. This includes Messenger, WhatsApp, and more.
  • Groups: Facebook is putting an all-new focus on Groups, making them easier to interact with and a more core part of the Facebook experience.

What is a KOL?

All right, onto our other topic – the mysterious Key Opinion Leaders, or KOLs. It’s okay if you haven’t heard much about these people before: It’s not a subject that gets a lot of discussion, but KOLs are still an important part of the marketing community. Basically, these are people who are experts in their field and can connect with a significant audience. People listen to what they have to say, and generally follow the latest news about KOLs out of both respect and curiosity.

Clearly, linking up with a KOL can be a great move for a brand. You can reach a whole new audience when working with a KOL, as well as gaining more opportunity to become a thought leader yourself.

So That’s Just Like a Marketing Influencer, Right?

Actually, Key Opinion Leaders differ in a couple significant ways from marketing influencers.

Primarily, marketing influencers are primarily seen as having a strong presence online. They have important blogs, large Instagram accounts, and so on (this isn’t a hard and fast rule, but it’s generally an important feature of influencers). KOLs, however, aren’t restricted to an online basis. In fact, KOLs tend to be particularly active out in the real world. You may find them giving interviews on TV or radio about the latest news or changes. You may find them sponsoring events, or demonstrating products. Frequently, they leverage their own expertise in direct ways, like consultations or workshops. As a result, they tend to be particularly well known in their local communities. These types of activity are an easy way to tell KOLs from influencers, although both can have an online presence – and KOLs may become powerful influencers in their own right.

Why Is that Distinction Important?

KOLs are able to generate a great deal of trust in what they talk about, and can give your brand or products a big boost even with a short mention. That makes them particularly valuable. Also, keep in mind that certain segments of the B2B world are much more likely to listen to someone in the “real world” sharing their expertise and utilizing their connections – compared to influencers that are primarily online and may not be noticed by specific parts of your audience.

This makes both KOLs and influencers important in the B2B world. When possible, make connections with both!

How Do I Connect with a KOL?

Research your local area, community, and important online portals. Chances are good that KOLs will be easy to find if you are looking for them. The good news is that there are many practical ways to connect with these experts, including partnerships over projects, interviews, and much more. Just be sure to check their reputation thoroughly before you contact them about a potential relationship.

Finally, what about you? Have you ever worked with a Key Opinion Leader? Do you strive to be a KOL within your community? What have you learned in the process? We’d love to hear from you: Drop us a line on social media @21handshake. If you enjoyed this episode, take a moment to rate us 5 stars, and maybe share with a friend who would also be interested! Thanks!