It may be counterintuitive but the Internet tends to narrow rather than widen our sources of information. People now seldom go surfing for information and are unlikely to diligently go through a news portal as the older generation would when reading a newspaper.

If you look at hope people consume news and information today you are likely to notice that they are more passive, reading or clicking onto an information source only if they appear on their social media timelines. Ditto with their outer sources of information, such as their communities or social networks.

We at Maverick call this phenomenon the “information ecosystem” of individuals or groups of people. So, if you want to reach someone with your messages you have to first figure out what their information ecosystem is first, or risk being irrelevant to them.

Three key players in the information ecosystem of whatever audience you want to reach are Key Opinion Leaders, Influencers and Communities because of the status and level of trust they command among groups of people.

It therefore pays to enlist their help as allies if you want to get your message through to your audience. To help non profit organizations and communities to know this well, Maverick Indonesia organized a virtual workshop entitled “Enlisting KOLs to your cause (Rangkul KOL Mendukung Gerakanmu)” on 18 November 2020, under its Catalyst initiative.

Catalyst is a half yearly pro-bono initiative from Maverick Indonesia intended for local NGOs and communities who are interested in enhancing their capacity in communications. During the pandemic, Catalyst went virtual and brought together 20 NGO communication practitioners to help them improve their communication effectiveness amid the new normal.

The current workshop topic is closely related to what our NGO friends are facing at the moment. When all the offline activities are postponed, where and how can they communicate their cause and make it relevant to the public?

According to the Hootsuite 2020 Social Media Report, there is a 40% increase in social media usage during the pandemic. People are spending more time at home, they are seeking for a virtual escape through platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. These apps are crucial for people to stay informed and connected with each other.

It’s a no brainer that organizations are switching to social media to optimize their communication effort. And, we have to compete with those who can optimize paid digital media. So, how can our story be heard in the midst of the digital noise?

At Maverick, we believe in the power of collaborations. And this is where KOLs can be our allies to speak up our voice.

Maverick Consultant Dionisia Reni is specializing in community/KOL outreach. She shared her knowledge and expertise during the workshop by first getting the NGO friends to be familiar with the different roles of influencer, community, and KOL.

An influencer is someone with an interest or specific hobby. He or she is passionate to share content around that interest. Celebrities mostly fall in the influencer category.

A community is a group of people who are connected and share a common interest or concern.

A KOL is a person that has a specific expertise in certain topics. He or she can be a doctor, a scientist, or a scholar.

“We have to know our communications objective first so we can identify if we need to enlist KOL, influencer, or a community,” said Dionisia. “Be specific and join hands with KOL who shares the same value, objective, and passion with your cause.”

There are 5 tips to enlist KOLs:

  1. Do your research. Get to know who they are by checking their profile, monitor their content, and see what the media had to say about them.
  2. Reach out personally. Invite them for a virtual coffee session.
  3. Find and create shared value. Connect the things that they are interested in with the mission you have.
  4. Keep in touch with them even after your collaboration has ended.
  5. Last but not least, expand your network continuously and find more creative ways to connect with the KOLs that you have enlisted with the new acquaintances you have linked.

The workshop was also attended by a special guest speaker, Ananda Badudu. With 44,000 followers on Instagram, Ananda is known as the one-half of the then alternative Indonesian folk pop band, Banda Neira. Ananda is a humanitarian at heart. During his active years as a musician, he vocally supported organizations like ELSAM and Amnesty International. He built a portfolio of a KOL who is specific in human rights causes.

“Doing a collaboration with NGOs and non profit communities gives me a very special experience that enriches my inner spirit. It made me want to be involved further,” said Ananda during the workshop sharing session.

The 1.5 hours workshop was closed with a Q&A session from the participants asking questions related to the various causes.

We are eager to see how our NGO friends are going to use the knowledge they received from the workshop and get the right KOL to be the advocate of their campaign in digital.

Until next year!