5 Steps to Build Top Sellers on Douyin

In the recent years, Douyin has become the fastest growing platform to build the brand top sellers in a short time. In this article, we will tell you how to build top seller on Douyin in 5 steps.

The feature of Douyin’s algorithm and instant click-to-purchase facilitate building top sellers. Here summarises two main characters of Douyin top sellers.

High-quality + Attractive communication story + Little Red Book seeding to build brand e-reputation

Products with apparent efficacy before and after use are usually a good story to communicate with consumers on Little Red Book (RED). Online communication should focus on the differentiation amongst products and utilize the visualizing pictures and video format. Leverage massive social posts to educate consumers intensively and lead to product trial.

Add entertaining features to the products

Consumers´ decision-making is triggered by three conditions. The first need is the fundamental demand for the product, here refers to the product efficacy. Superior to that is the emotional resonance of the product. The product package, design and scent will all affect buyers’ perception. The most advanced point is the product’s entertaining feature to stimulate the shopper to post on their social media and going viral.

Therefore, creating content that resonates with the consumers will ultimately drive sales.

In the following part you will find 5 steps for building Douyin’s top sellers:

Step 1. Brilliant brand storytelling to highlight the feature of best seller

Brand content is key to stand out for the social media marketing. Time of using single visual asset has passed. Only brand TVC in 15s or 30s is no longer enough. Now brands need to design customised content to target different groups of audiences. Hence, brand must prepare in advance a set of communication stories according to the product function and unique selling points.

Developing an integrated communication strategy is key to keep the online content consistent. Based on the brand integrated communication idea, influencers are encouraged to create individual stories in the way that their followers want to see.

Best Practice Case

Florasis (known as Hua Xizi花西子 ), is a Chinese beauty brand.

Founded in 2017, Florasis emphasises on traditional Chinese heritage and beauty. All the products are designed in traditional Chinese style and the brand positions itself as “oriental makeup”.

To keep consistency with the traditional brand positioning, Florasis invited the influencers to create various seeding content all revealing the ancient Chinese style. For example, the video created by Austin Li (the top beauty KOL in China) was about seeding the carved lipstick related to the Chinese ‘Guochao’ (the trends refers to support for domestic grown brands that highlight Chinese culture and heritage). The carved lipsticks thus well stand out and became popular for its unique traditional package.

In order to illustrate the multiple color of the lipstick, western young female influencers were invited to try-on and clip into the short Douyin videos. It well presented the product’s high quality and emotionally resonated with the domestic consumers through the proud of ‘Guohuo’.

Florasis carved lipstick Douyin case
Florasis carved lipstick Douyin case

Step 2. Top KOLs with attractive stories to build buzz

Top KOLs like Austin Li and Duoyu with more than 30 million fans on Douyin have a massive social influence. Top KOLs usually promote the brand and products easily in a very short period with the short video followed by huge amounts of followers. Their communication influence in the digital age outperforms the main TV broadcasting. This is the reason why Austin Li has been honoured as ‘Lipstick King’ (meaning top salesman for lipsticks) that generated more than US $145 million in sales on Singles’ Day 2018. Utilizing Taobao live streaming, he sold 15,000 lipsticks in just 5 minutes.

The huge fan base allows those KOLs to promote brand and products successfully in a short period.

Austin Li and Jacky Ma_Selling lipstick challenge on Single’s Day 2018

Moreover, cooperating with the celebrities on their own social media channels is also beneficial for brands to build top sellers. For instance, Yao Chen, a Chinese celebrity which is also a big name on Weibo since she was ranked top 10 with 78 million followers. Fan Bingbing, another Chinese celebrity who has a powerful influence on RED. With the 12.5 million followers on RED, she has been selected as the most wanted KOL for western luxury brands to partner with. The post published by Fan Bingbing endorsing beauty products once caused the temporarily server crash due to too much traffic.

Fan Bingbing_RED note_how to use facial mask

Therefore, to find celebrities and top KOLs posting with branded content on their social media channels is common and essential to build brand top seller.

Step 3. United with diversified KOLs to enrich content

It is recommended to select a group of KOLs categorised in different industries and deliver the product seeding content through various scenarios. Those KOLs are industry leaders, quoted or reported in blogs or news. These industry professionals are passionate and skilled people. They share their followers with the passion that can better deliver the brand value.  Brands need to trust and let these KOLs create authentic and consistent story in their own way to reach their followers.

Besides, brand should develop its own KOL tracking record to note the performance of each influencer campaign. Gradually optimize the brand content and the chosen influencers to improve the content marketing and ultimately increase the conversion to sales.

Step 4. Utilize Douyin’s ‘recommend algorithm’ to increase content exposure

Alongside with the high-quality brand content, Douyin platform offers brands alternatively with the feed ads advertising. To bring strong, sustainable exposure to the targeted audiences, it’s important to get familiar with Douyin’s algorithm of pushing ads.

Feed ads usually appear on Douyin’s “recommendation” page. Feed ads will appear at the 4th position in the feed stream when users swipe from videos to videos. The ad plays between 5-30s and each ad is limited to show up once per day for each individual user.

WIS skincare Douyin feed ads

Douyin’ feed ads are made delicately and well blended among the entertaining videos. Douyin’s recommendation algorithm caters users by fully meeting their needs. And feed ads are pushed through according to users’ individual interests and browsing history, which means the algorithm principles helps the brand content to pop up just meeting targeted consumers’ intention.

Douyin’s algorithm principle asks brand to work out large amounts of qualified content. Only with continuous attractive videos, brand will be more likely to show up in the consumers’ feeds stream.

Best Practice Case

Lian Coffee is a Chinese domestic coffee chain brand.


In April 2018, Lian Coffee launched a new alcoholic drink, fresh Mojito to meet the demands of young people’s new upgrading appeal for afternoon tea. The brand noticed that Mojito instead of Cafe Latte was easier to attract the young people in the afternoon.  

Lian Coffee invited Papi Jiang (a well-known Chinese female KOL) who is quite good at humorous talk show to create a short video and release on Douyin. Not only the content itself won the heart of the Douyin users, Lian Coffee successfully sold around ten thousand of Mojito the first day. 

Lian Coffee_Papa Jiang_Douyin brand content

Step 5. Cross-channel marketing and KOC marketing altogether to boost sales

Social commerce has become the norm in China that the Chinese consumers are gaining more solid connection with brands via social media. Utilize massive KOCs (key opinion consumers) with the authentic and reliable content to form the powerful impact on the consumers´ decision-making.

Brand could leverage KOC on the cross channels to post product trials and reviews, because consumers often reply on the feedback of other users. They browse product reviews and social media comment sections to determine if the product is value for money.

Brand e-commerce shop link is suggested to be inserted into the seeding content. This makes the purchase easier and increases naturally the conversion rate.

Key Takeaways

Five key steps to kick off Douyin’s top seller in China

1. Brilliant brand storytelling to highlight the feature of best seller.

2. Top influencers with attractive stories to build buzz.

3. United with diversified KOLs to enrich content.

4. Utilize Douyin’s ‘recommend algorithm’ to increase content exposure.

5. Cross-channel marketing and KOC marketing altogether to boost sales.

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