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KOL, KOC, KOS: The Explosion of Influencer Marketing

KOL, KOC, KOS: The Explosion of Influencer Marketing

Making good use of the strengths of Influencer Marketing will help businesses achieve significant resonance in their communication campaigns, bringing products and brands closer to the public.

1. Terms in Influencer Marketing: KOL, KOC, KOS

“KOL” (Key Opinion Leader) are individuals who influence the community through their in-depth knowledge in a specific field or industry. They can be journalists, entrepreneurs, politicians, or celebrities, and do not necessarily need to use social media because they are recognized by the community for their expertise in a certain field or industry.

“KOC” (Key Opinion Consumer) are consumers who have influence in the market. KOCs have diverse and genuine experiences with products, understand emotions, needs, and grasp consumer psychology well. Therefore, KOCs play an important role in increasing consumer trust in products and influencing their purchasing decisions.

“KOS” (Key Opinion Sales) are content creators with professional sales skills. They have knowledge about products and brands and can convey that information to buyers in a lively and credible manner. KOS are divided into two groups: “Brand-affiliated KOS,” who are typically employees of a brand/company, and “Independent KOS,” who are usually freelance live streamers.

Increasing Terms in Influencer Marketing

Among the three popular terms in Influencer Marketing, KOS is a new trend that has been highly favored in the market recently. According to AccessTrade Vietnam, since the beginning of 2024, there have been approximately 2.5 million live sales streams per month on online platforms like Facebook, Shopee, and TikTok; more than 50,000 sellers have participated. On average, Vietnamese people spend 13 hours a week shopping via live streams. This indicates that KOS can become a “HOT” profession with significant development potential.

Some typical examples of successful KOS include the duo Lucie Nguyen – Tuan Duong, who achieved nearly VND 26.5 billion in sales after 15 hours of live streaming on TikTok on April 4. Pham Thoai, another notable KOS, sold more than 75,000 orders in just 24 hours of live streaming, earning over VND 1.2 billion per month solely from selling on TikTok.

2. Differentiating KOL – KOC – KOS: Roles in Marketing Activities

Depending on the different goals of each marketing campaign, businesses can base their decisions on the distinct roles of each group of Influencers to make appropriate and cost-effective choices for optimal results.

KOS is a new concept but has tremendous development potential.

Below are the basic differences among the three groups KOL – KOC – KOS based on two criteria: Content Development Orientation and Influence Level.

Content Development- Content heavily related to personal brand positioning
- Less restricted in content direction
- Content related to information, reviews, and expert recommendations
- Less restricted in content direction
- Mainly product or brand information content
Influence Level- Large following, sharing common interest in the field where the KOL operates
- Significant influence on the shopping behavior and decisions of target audiences
- Smaller following compared to KOL or KOS
- May influence community opinions but not necessarily their purchasing decisions
- Following ranges from a few thousand to millions
- Easily builds trust with buyers and increases conversion rates

3. Effective Influencer Marketing Selection Formula

Faced with numerous opportunities to attract customers through influencers, choosing the right Influencer for marketing activities requires businesses to grasp the correct “formula” to achieve optimal communication effectiveness.

Choosing an Influencer for each campaign should consider the 3R principle:


Reach is measured by the number of followers (Followers) or the extent to which the Influencer is recognized by the public. This measure classifies Influencers from small, medium to large, including: Nano – Micro – Macro – Mega.

For example, with KOLs: Nano-KOLs have 1,000 to 10,000 Followers, Micro-KOLs have 10,000 to 100,000 Followers, and Mega-KOLs have over 1,000,000 Followers.

The choice of KOL, KOC, or KOS with what level of influence depends on the marketing campaign budget and the product of the business. However, choosing Influencers with larger followings does not necessarily yield higher effectiveness because sometimes selecting an Influencer who impacts too many audience groups does not “target” the brand’s specific customer group.


Influencers need to be a good fit for the brand or product based on three factors:

  • Target Audience Relevance: Demographic compatibility between the brand’s target audience and the Influencer’s follower group.
  • Personality Relevance: Compatibility in image and personality between the Influencer and the brand.
  • Content Relevance: Compatibility in viewpoints, content, and presentation style created by the Influencer with the brand’s image and the direction and message they want to convey in the marketing campaign.


Resonance index depends on many factors, not just determined by the Influencer alone but also the brand’s credibility, the content of the message, and other campaign resources. The more carefully the resonance index is calculated, the higher the likelihood of the campaign’s success with the help of the Influencer.

“Live a Profitable Life” is a successful campaign with high Resonance index

For example, in a communication campaign by GAPIT Media: VietinBank’s “Live a Profitable Life” in collaboration with artist Den Vau, the resonance index was significantly boosted by multi-channel communication effects. The acceptance from the community combined with the resonance effect from many KOLs and KOCs on social channels like Facebook, TikTok with inspirational content naturally viralized the #songmotdoicolai hashtag with positive results:

  • Over 5000 posts with the #songmotdoicolai hashtag on Facebook;
  • Over 11.6 million views with the #songmotdoicolai hashtag on TikTok.

With additional resonance from “Show cua Den” held in Hanoi, the campaign garnered good interaction not only within the community but also achieved wide coverage on social media and news sites, attracting fans of Ha Anh Tuan – a special guest in the liveshow…

Besides, another resonance criterion to consider is the campaign budget, and afterward, businesses need to measure effectiveness to learn from the experience for selecting Influencer Marketing in the next campaign.

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