Selecting the right social media platforms to advertise and market your brand should be one of your core digital marketing strategies. We can assist you in your account and/or page creation, online community management as well as your brand’s online visibility and reputation.
Foreigners may find that the social media landscape in China is vastly different from what they are used to in other part of the world. While Facebook and Instagram are popular social media platforms in many countries, both sites are blocked in China. Instead, WeChat, Weibo,Little Red Book and Tik Tok are the dominant ones in China.
WKI can help you develop social media strategies and advertising campaigns that align with your overall marketing plan. Our service ranges from setting up accounts for your business to executing marketing campaigns on social media platforms.
Here are some of the top social media platforms in China:
WeChat’s influence is undeniable in China – it is almost impossible to find a person who does not have a WeChat account in the country. By early 2020, the number of active users of WeChat hit 1.15 billion, and active mini-program number of 300 million, making it the most used APP in China. WeChat is dominating the social network with both its social and commercial features, opening up many marketing opportunities.
Types of WeChat account
One of the first steps of developing your WeChat marketing strategy is to decide which account suits you best. A WeChat official account allows brands to reach out to a wide range of audience to raise awareness and increase visibility of the brand effectively.
In China, government organisations, celebrities, local societies and business use official account to communicate and reach out to their audience.
There are three types of WeChat official accounts:
- subscription accounts - service accounts - and enterprise accounts Each type has different functions and features, with varying limitations and requirements.
WKI can help set up accounts according to your business goals and marketing plan.
With an official account on WeChat, you can post content for your followers to view. These posts can be shared among followers and non-followers alike – thus, the impact of a post with good content can greatly increase your chance in garnering positive word of mouth, and in raising brand awareness .
There are different types of content you can consider when publishing a post, such as text, audio, visual and video. Different formats of content can be integrated into one single post. It is recommended to keep abreast of the latest trends online and on social media in order to incorporate them into posts. Keep in mind that you are competing against other brands who are also contending for prospective consumers’ attention. Therefore, it is imperative to come up with engaging content that interests the Chinese audience.
Nowadays, many popular account holders with loyal client base and clear positioning are transforming their social influence into sales revenues. With relevant topic and advertisement implantation, directly or indirectly, followers’ purchasing power can be transformed into sales volume.
Its articles on parenting are mostly well-read by more than 100,000 readers, so as its recommendation of products. Its average monthly sales revenue on mini-program which is directly linked to the advertisement can be as high as RMB 80 million (USD 11.76 million )
According to its official website Its monthly GMV (Gross Merchandise Volume) is over RMB 60 million (USD 8.8 million)
WKI team has the skills and expertise to assist you in content creation that will catch the attention of viewers on WeChat. We can align your WeChat’s official account content to your overall branding and marketing strategy.
WeChat advertising is a recommended step, especially in the early stages of promoting your brand on this social networking platform. It is a great way to boost follower base as advertisement can reach WeChat users with no prior knowledge of your brand.
WeChat has three advertising options that verified accounts: - subscription accounts - service accounts - and enterprise accounts
These options offer a multitude of functions and features, all of which WKI can navigate, from designing to planning and executing advertisement on WeChat.
WeChat’s mini program feature was released in 2017, and has grown to be a popular feature among WeChat users. Mini programs incorporates other apps within the WeChat app so that users can access different services without further downloading other apps.
This features enable brands to set up a full mini program website on WeChat to promote their products and services. Different method of advertisement, promotion deals and discounts can be offered through the mini apps.
For instance, many established brands have designed membership and loyalty programs that are accessible through the mini programs. Some consumers may be hesitant to download a separate application in fear that it will take up their phone’s storage space, but the mini app allows them to access the same information and deals without the trouble. Users can use and share gift cards and vouchers on the mini app as well.
It has now become a mature way of marketing which perfectly combines content and promotion, with direct sales links implanted for quick and convenient purchase. This can significantly boost the rate of ad reviewing transforming into actual purchase behaviour.
Mini program’s infrastructure also allow easy management on client information and sales data.
In China, QR codes are used everywhere not just for payment purposes but also for businesses to redirect their offline customers to their online platforms. QR codes can be a good way to gain new followers as they can be displayed both online and offline – from websites to physical stores and delivery packages.
WeChat allows its official account users to create a QR code that can be customised and personalised. Businesses can tailor their QR code to match their brands. Placing it in strategic channels and locations, both online and offline is vital to maximise your reach to target audience.
WeChat Video Channels
WeChat recently established a new dedicated space which looks like a video feed for content creators, brands, businesses and individuals to reach a (new) audience beyond their circles of WeChat friends/followers. This new feature allows users, influencers and brands to create and post short-form contents and distribute them through a media feed: sub 60 second videos and up to 9 photos in succession.
In complementary, further information can be added to the post: several hashtags to define topics – feature to improve discoverability within this channels section, a WeChat Official Account article link and a bridge to a WeChat OA
This feature can be seen as providing a comprehensive visual and audio interactive channel for influencers, OAs and their followers. Similar to Official Account on Instagram.
Weibo, short for Sina Weibo , is a micro-blogging platform in China. It is considered to be a Chinese version of Facebook and Twitter combined. Like Twitter, Weibo posts have a character limit and users can upload videos, images, and gifs. Additionally, users can follow an account as well as read, like and share posts on the account.
Weibo is the second most popular social media in China next to WeChat, with 516 million active users as by the end of 2019. With such a vast audience, Weibo offers many opportunities for brands and businesses to engage with existing and prospective customers, as well as to execute digital marketing activities in China.
Weibo is known to be the platform that Chinese, especially young people (60% of users age under 25)visit to get updated on the latest trends and news. Companies, organisations, celebrities and Internet influencers in China use their Weibo accounts to interact with their customers, fans and followers. It is common for creative and sensational content to go viral on Weibo, and it is also increasingly the case for KOLs to dominate the attention of Weibo users.
KOLs, Key Opinion Leaders, are social influencers, who can help you add a personal touch to your business as part of a marketing and branding strategy. There are many opportunities on Weibo for influencers marketing strategies to raise brand awareness and sales prospects. We can assist in identifying prominent KOLs in your industry in China, and develop a cooperation strategy with them.
Engagement with audience
Interaction and engagement with audience is a key part of branding on Chinese social media. Weibo has several functions and features that allow account managers to get in touch with their audience.
Liking, commenting and reposting are common ways to interact with audience on this platform. For instance, account managers can like a follower’s post that features their brand. Besides that, account managers can repost a positive post or testimonial from another user’s account as another way to show appreciation or draw attention to the post. Additionally, account managers may comment on a user’s post or reply directly to his/her comment, which can also be a way for account managers to respond to enquiries publicly.
Account managers may also interact with other users through private messages, where only the sender and recipient can see those messages. Account managers or customer service staff can use this subtle method of communication to deal with complaints and solve problems.
WKI can manage your brand’s long-term engagement with existing and prospective followers with tailored range of service according to your business and marketing needs.
Creating consistently engaging content is important to retain your followers’ attention. Efforts to increase your follower base would not amount to much if you do not create content to periodically engage with your audience. Fortunately, Weibo has tagged accounts and topics grouped into various categories. You can make use of this function to find out what is trending in each category, and use those topics as reference to create engaging and trendy content that Chinese users want to learn and share.
Texts and images are the primary types of content used on Weibo, but videos have the highest tendency to go viral in Chinese social media platforms. However, it is important to know what is trending in the Chinese internet culture as well as ongoing offline current affairs in order to create content that would resonate with Chinese netizens.
To better engage with Chinese culture, we provide content creation services for your social media platforms tailored to Chinese audience – and this includes Weibo.
Weibo offers several advertising packages and solutions for businesses. These include display ads, newsfeed ads, video ads as well as search engine promotion.
Display ads include traditional banner ads as well as pop-up ads that can come in the form of images, videos and gifs upon opening the app. Display ads are popular among businesses because it mostly operates on a cost-per-click model. On the other hand, newsfeed ads are integrated into the explore page feed on Weibo. Although this form of advertisement tends to be more expensive, it performs better than other types of ads on Weibo because of its clear and specific “call-to-action” buttons that triggers users to take action. For instance, these ads can integrate buttons such as “Buy now” and “Download now” – prompting immediate action and lead generation.
Similar to Instagram stories, Weibo also has “Weibo stories” that allow users to post a 15-second short video or photo to showcase moments of their daily lives, and the story post disappears after 24 hours. Business use this function for video advertising by working with prominent KOLs and celebrities to feature their brands in these influencers’ Weibo stories. By recommending products to their followers and showing how they use them in their daily lives, advertising through KOLs is a more persuasive way of marketing.
Search engine advertising allows businesses to “buy” a search topic or keyword so that their chosen post will be recommended as the top listed result in the search bar on Weibo’s “Discover” page. When a topic or keyword is searched, users will be directed to a designated page, which can be directly linked to your brand account or fan page. While display ads mainly drives traffic to an external link (e.g. official website or online store), search engine ads focus on driving traffic to your Weibo account and increasing follower base.
Businesses can make use of a special feature on Weibo called the “Weibo Window”, which enables users to link their e-commerce shops to their Weibo accounts. For instance, brands can link their Taobao stores and products in their posts. Many users have their Alipay accounts linked to their Weibo accounts so that they can purchase featured products on Weibo.
Not only can users browse all products in a single page, the product reviews available on the platform also motivate them to make a purchase. All these functions effectively drive sales.
WHY WEIBO FOR MARKETING?
3. Tik Tok
Although Tik Tok gained prominence much later in the social media landscape compared to WeChat and Weibo, this platform has gained extraordinary momentum among the youth in China. Tik Tok, also known as Douyin (in Chinese), allows users to create and share short videos that lasts for about 15 seconds. It is optional to produce long video up to 5 minutes, but the most popular ones are usually under 15 seconds.
Tik Tok became the most downloaded iPhone app in the first quarter of 2018, and its user count hit 518 million as of March 2020. The platform is often compared to Snapchat and the now obsolete Vine, and it is one of the few Chinese social media platforms that has successfully gained popularity outside its home country, as it has also penetrated the social media market around the world. Yet the recent dispute with the US government on matter of national security makes its future in US market unsure. However, its popularity and influence in China is prominent.
Reports have shown that consumers prefer short videos to consuming other forms of media due to today’s fast and fragmented lifestyle. Making good quality short videos for popular apps such as Tik Tok is worth considering, especially when short videos are now seen as the most competitive and ideal storytelling medium to convey information.
This trend of short videos is becoming increasingly apparent as the big three internet companies in China; Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent have decided to enter the short video industry by developing their own short video platforms and content.
It is not easy for businesses to maximise the value of a 15-second video to market their brands. However, those who are able to leverage this trend and platforms like Tik Tok will find themselves connecting to a vast audience at a rapid speed. Our team is here to guide you and make sure you find a strategic way to market your brand.
The market value of multichannel network is estimated to be RMB 24.5 billion ($ 3.6 billion) in 2020. The number of viewer on short-video app is 722 million, number of viewer on broadcasting is 524 million. It has become a natural way of shopping on Tik Tok and other social media platform where the introduction is authentic, the comments are instance and the price is low as usually the value chain is shortened.
Daily challenge system
Tik Tok has a daily challenge system that recommends users challenges on searching pages with hashtags. These challenges may be organised by Tik Tok’s operation team, some are popular among users. Some challenges that have been organised include the wall squat challenge and dancing in public challenge. The daily challenge was introduced when Tik Tok recognised that there was a need to keep their audience engaged, and that the average user may not always have enough ideas or materials to shoot an interesting video.
From a marketing point of view, these challenges can be an effective way to create social buzz for brands. For instance, Ctrip, an online travel agency in China partnered with Tik Tok to initiate a hashtag challenge during the National Day holidays. During this challenge, users shared their creative travelling experience using Ctrip’s sticker and tagged cities. This was a very successful initiative for Ctrip as they garnered more than 4 billion views in just one week.
Furthermore, the daily challenge system is an effective way for businesses to know what is currently trending and the upcoming trends. Keeping an eye on daily challenges and knowing what is popular among users is a great way to know what kind of content and video to create.
Cooperating with KOLs
On Tik Tok, you will find that there are many KOLs actively engaging with their audience. These opinion leaders often play a key role in starting new trends and blowing up existing ones. Working with these influencers to promote your brand is a subtler way of marketing, and viewers tend to be more receptive to advertising content when the endorsement comes from someone whom they admire or like.
Cooperating with KOLs is a viable marketing strategy especially if you are keen on tapping into China’s younger generation of consumer. However, you will have to consider the cost of working with Tik Tok KOLs as well as branding suitability.
This requires an in-depth understanding of the app and trends – but worry not, WKI can assist you in this domain as well.
4. Little Red Book (Xiaohongshu)
Little Red Book, or Xiaohongshu in Chinese, is an app that is a cross between an online community app and an e-commerce app. What makes Little Red Book distinct from other social commerce apps is that it started focusing on luxury goods from overseas, particularly fashion and beauty products. Within a few years of development Little Red Book is now a must go place for advice and recommendations on namely everything you want to buy. Some of China’s biggest influencers are also actively using this platform and have managed to build a formidable following. It also allow easy recording and sharing on daily life posts. Users are getting used to search certain brand and product they heard about to view the reviews then to decide whether to make a purchase or not.
Little Red Book has attracted the attention of many overseas businesses because of its niche market and unique functions. It has more than 300 million users as of the end of 2019 and this number is projected to grow exponentially as China’s upper middle class is showing incremental growth.
The commerce side
The users of Little Red Book are also bloggers. They have their own profile pages, and can create posts and be followed by other users. From these functions and interactions, there is a community of trust that exists on the app where users share and exchange ideas, opinions, information about bargains, reviews as well as recommendations. Little Red Book has successfully fostered a very strong sense of community and belonging among its users.
However, because of the app’s focus on luxury products, Little Red Book strives for quality not just in its products but also among its community. Unlike other e-commerce platforms, the app does not allow anonymous reviews, one-click ratings or default high ratings if a customer does not submit a review after a period of time. These practices foster a sense of trustworthiness and authenticity towards the app, which helps set this app apart from other e-commerce apps.
The social side
Little Red Book’s commerce element is integrated seamlessly into the social side of the app. For instance, users are able to insert product links into their Notes. However, this can only be done if the seller has a shop on Little Red Book, and external links are not permitted. This exclusivity keeps user retention rate high, but ultimately ensures the quality of sellers on the app.
Find out more about the services we offer for online stores.
The seamless integration of social and commerce activities on this app makes the role of influencers or KOLs even more important than in other social media platforms. Many brands have formed partnerships with influencers to promote interaction with prospective consumers whom they would otherwise be unable to reach effectively, and to raise brand awareness.
KOLs on Little Red Book allow brands to indirectly form a close relationship with their customers, and brands therefore have access to the influencers’ audience and network. There is also a sense of trust towards the recommendations and endorsement of these opinion leaders as opposed to blatant ads produced by the brands themselves.
However, it is important to identify the right KOL to work with, in order to ensure brand alignment. You will also have to negotiate and manage your partnership with KOLs. This may be tricky and will require an in-depth understanding of the social media platform and the KOL community. Contact us for more information on our KOL services.
5. Meituan Dianping
Meituan Dianping is China’s leading O2O (online to offline) platform for urban and lifestyle services. Although the app is often compared to Yelp, Meituan Dianping was created before Yelp and was founded in 2003. The app provides consumers with information services for their day to day living. Users typically use the platform to search for restaurants, hair salons, spa centres and more, as well as look for user-generated reviews. Its is more suitable for physical shops and the influence is quite localized
As of the first half of 2018, Meituan Dianping has facilitated over $33.8 billion in transactions for more than 350 million users. It is also named one of the most innovative companies in the world. If your business involves lifestyle and urban services, this app is not one you should miss out on.
Promotions and deals
Consumer reviews and merchant information are just two of the many features of Meituan Dianping. The app also offers other features such as e-coupon promotions, group-buying activities, online-to-offline reservation service that cover an array of areas – such as dining, hotel bookings, groceries, clothing, entertainment, beauty and more.
These ‘promotional’ features (especially discount coupons and group buying promotions) are great marketing methods for new businesses that are looking to break into the market and are in their early stages of raising brand awareness and visibility. Many users are increasingly using the app to search for promotions and deals before deciding which merchant to go to.
Advertising with Meituan Dianping
With the amount of merchants and users on its platform, Meituan Dianping owns a huge database that businesses can tap into. Businesses can access to Meituan’s over 260 million active profiles as well as other valuable data collected on the app.
Access to such data enable businesses to advertise themselves effectively as the data would point to the right demographics, location, consuming patterns and preferences to target. Knowing the patterns and preferences of consumers can help businesses customise their marketing strategies accordingly, allowing the development of customer loyalty and brand awareness.
Furthermore, there are other services available to businesses on the Meituan Dianping platform – such as search engine optimisation within the app, image promotion and website ads. These are all great tools that your business should not miss out on, and we can help manage your advertising and marketing strategies on this site for your business.
Setting up social media accounts and building effective social media strategies are merely the first steps to raising brand awareness. However, in order to continuously engage with prospective and current customers, maintain your brand profiles and interact with audience is vital.
The goal of online community management service is to ensure that your current followers stay updated and remain loyal . WKI team’s bilingual social media management staff is able respond to inquiries from Chinese consumers addressed to your account. Additionally, we can assist in monitoring user interaction and ongoing trends on your page and on the site.
Aside from monitoring and interacting with followers, businesses should proactively seek to promote their brands and look for new opportunities. This not only means that you should find new ways to grow base of followers on your existing social media accounts, but also finding new online avenues to promote.
WKI is able to assist you on this matter with marketing campaigns on your social media accounts on a frequency of your choice. This includes content creation that is tailored effectively to your target audience. It is our goal to increase your brand visibility online, and to help generate a positive image among Chinese social media users.