Chinese consumers gather in social media communities like Little Red Book, WeChat, Weibo and even entertainment platforms like Douyin (also known as Tik Tok) to share and learn life inspirations in various fields, such as shopping, parenting, cosmetics, fashion and to seek for new lifestyles.
67% of Chinese consumers think that “social media has made my life better”.
Brand awareness building, often called as “brand seeding” in China, is considered as the most effective must-have step before the official China market entry and even prerequisite qualification for flagship store opening on large platforms like Tmall and JD.
The most effective marketing measures of brand seeding in China are content seeding and Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) cooperation.
Little Red Book
Little Red Book (in Chinese “Xiaohongshu”) is a Chinese preeminent lifestyle sharing community.
Used by about 200 million Chinese Consumers, Little Red Book is a social commerce platform which operates like a combination of Instagram, Pinterest and Amazon. Users are encouraged to post photos of themselves and tag clothes, accessories, or any other products they use to the corresponding Ecommerce listings within the platform. Most users are young females from Chinese Tier 1 and 2 cities. Together they create a great community atmosphere by sharing anything they are interested in.
Like many other social media, in order to generate relevant content, Little Red Book set up an algorithm to adapt the content to what the users like, comment and watch the most. The accounts followed by the users and the type of content they are posting are also influencing this algorithm.
More than an entertaining social community, Little Red Book also positions itself as a search engine for its users. Why? Because the Chinese consumers trust their peer recommendation or people who already tested their targeted products. Before making a purchase, Chinese consumers often go to Little Red Book to search for relevant information about the brand and product, read about the product information and check out the reviews.
WeChat (in Chinese “Weixin” standing for micro-message), originally a messaging app similar to WhatsApp, has been developed way beyond chatting and becomes a super app, with most of the amazing features of different western apps (Facebook, WhatsApp, Uber, Tinder…) combined. WeChat is basically a platform which enables you to do almost anything and everything in China, e.g. chat with friends, share on your timeline, call a cab, order food, book tickets, pay and invest money…
There are different types of accounts on WeChat. Personal accounts are used by individuals, while businesses can create WeChat Service Account or WeChat Official Account to engage with their customers and post promotional information regularly.
According to Tencent Financial Report, WeChat has over 1100 million Monthly Active Users (MAUs) in 2019. Chinese users spend over 1/3 of their smartphone time on WeChat.
WeChat Key Opinion Leader advertising is the most efficient type of WeChat marketing. It can be affordable, it is targeted and provides social-validation for new sellers. Key Opinion Leader advertising means paying a WeChat blogger to promote your brand. The KOL can either write an article about your brand, or linking to your WeChat account somewhere in the article.
Weibo, in Chinese Weibo means microblogging, is usually known as the Chinese version of Twitter. Although Weibo is challenged by other social media tools such as WeChat, Toutiao and Little Red Book and no longer dominates China’s social space, Weibo marketing is still an essential tool for brands to gain awareness in China.
Weibo Key Opinion Leader (KOL) Cooperation is the most straightforward and efficient promotion on Weibo. The mechanism of a simple KOL promotion is to pay or gift influencers in exchange for exposure. There are however special features of Weibo which make the platform especially efficient for KOL marketing: its integration with Taobao and Tmall. Users can click a product link or coupon displayed in a Weibo influencer post and be directly redirected to the relevant page on Taobao or Tmall.
Besides that, Weibo KOL campaigns are also much cheaper than other platforms such as WeChat.
Douyin, also known in western world as Tik Tok, is a short-video platform, allowing users to easily create unique short videos with multiple filters, effects, stickers, background music and other editing tools to share with friends and the world. It is a great community for common people to create and share their own contents and especially preferred by young people.
Douyin has grown its enormous popularity not only in China but also in the western world. There are about 100 million active users in China and 500 million active users globally.
User generated content are highly encouraged and facilitated by Douyin. There are templates and special effects provided by Douyin for users to easily create high quality videos or record daily life through short video and share them. Of course, you can also just watch the infinite entertaining videos to kill the time.
“Douyin Challenge” is the core mechanism for consumer engagement in Douyin campaign: initiate activities to invite users to participate, using templates and special effects provided by the brand to create specified content. Winners can get prizes from the brand.
Key Opinion Leaders
Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) in lifestyle communities, entertainment platforms and Taobao are not only representatives of Chinese consumers, but also a bridge for the brand to communicate with the majority of consumers. KOLs are very good at communicating the right brand message, promoting the product to their target audience and leading to effective sales conversions. Influencer campaigns can be incredibly efficient.
Among people who purchase a product following a KOL campaign, 48% of them buy directly from the links provided by the influencer. The other half will head to e-commerce platforms to benchmark prices before buying. That’s why KOL marketing is maybe the most effective way to promote a new brand.
KOL cooperation can be used on all above mentioned social media platforms.
How to Choose the Right Social Media Platform
Understanding the features of major social media platforms is the primary essential step to do content seeding in China. eTOC can help find the right KOLs for your brand and choose the right mix of platforms for your successful social media campaigns.
In case you have more questions or want to develop a social media strategy or carry out a KOL campaign, eTOC is happy to help.
eTOC white paper “China Digital Marketing Full Guide” for free download: