Understanding China’s social media space is crucial for creating a marketing strategy for Chinese consumers.
People in China are more active on social media than probably anywhere else in the world. They post their views, follow influencers, watch videos, and share content.
They also love to shop.
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Many features enable the people of China to socialize and buy. And they do all this on Chinese apps and sites that offer innovative, advanced features.
With more than 900 million online users in 2020, China offers great business opportunities, but it is also very competitive. Being familiar with the leading social media networks is your starting point. From this start, you can dive deeper into the fascinating world of social commerce.
Read more about it in our blog article on: Social Commerce is the New E-Commerce
Here’s a look at the Chinese social media platforms you should know about:
WeChat is a super-app. The largest social media platform in China, it has about 1.2 billion monthly users.
It started as a text and voice messaging app like WhatsApp, but it has developed into “the app of everything”. People use it to connect with friends, create posts (called WeChat Moments), shop, make payments, play, book appointments. Everything.
Businesses can open a WeChat account. The account enables them to push feeds to subscribers, interact with them directly, and provide services. They can also use WeChat Advertising for different types of ads, such as Moments ads (similar to Facebook’s news feed).
WeChat Mini-Programs users can easily access businesses without leaving WeChat, and WeChat Stores allow the sale of goods and services inside WeChat. You can also add links to your external website on your WeChat account. Shoppers can checkout with one-click-payment via WeChat Payment.
With its incredible number of users and functionality, no doubt WeChat is a priority in your Chinese social media marketing.
Chinese microblogging site, Sina Weibo has over 500 million monthly active users.
The Sina Weibo platform has the important features of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Weibo allows businesses to set up official accounts to interact with users through links, videos, and images that advertise their products and services.
Brands often use this platform for social media marketing in China. It can be an incredible tool to build awareness for your brand through communication and organic growth. Other ways are campaigns, advertising, and other features. You can also use it to collect data and insights.
QQ is another instant messaging app by Tencent and has about 700 million monthly active users. It offers services like games, shopping, music, chats, and micro-blogging.
QQ does not require a phone number to register as WeChat does, and its desktop version is popular.
You can open an organization account on the QZone social networking website. There, businesses can also use paid marketing programs by Tencent, such as games and banners. Using the QQ platform, brands should know it is more popular in 3rd and 4th tier cities and has a younger audience.
The biggest Chinese online video platform by the daily average number of users is Tencent Video. Other platforms, especially iQiyi and Youku, are also highly popular.
Tencent Video, like YouTube, is a platform that allows you to use advertising features. It gives the opportunity to reach a diverse audience and build awareness.
The Little Red Book, or RED in English, is a platform with social media and e-commerce functions for a new generation of users in China. It can seem like a combination of Instagram and Pinterest. Here, users present themselves and consume exciting content.
Most users are Gen-Z females. They go here to review fashion, beauty, and lifestyle products. They also offer suggestions for traveling or rate restaurants with images or short videos.
And they shop.
It is a trusted website where users can find luxury and foreign goods and buy directly from sellers. But this is not all. Many use it to get inspired and entertained. As a result, being on Xiaohongshu is part of the shopping journey, but often users choose to purchase elsewhere, like on Tmall.
Social shopping has many advantages. If it fits your brand, you can use the platform for social commerce. You can also open a shop or wholesale to the Xiaohongshu platform directly. The key here is to provide valuable content. From there, drive your traffic to e-commerce platforms such as Tmall Global.
TikTok / Douyin
Video-sharing social networks, TikTok and Douyin have almost the same user interface but are separate, with TikTok being the international version.
Douyin offers many opportunities to grow awareness to your business through creative and entertaining videos. You can also use the content to promote e-commerce. People can buy products featured in a video, book a hotel room, get coupons, and more on Douyin.
Douban is a social networking platform that allows users to create lifestyle content, share ideas, and discuss books, music, events, and brands (and insert links of products). Users not only connect but build communities, making it more of a niche-focused platform.
Businesses can create a “brand station” or brand page and share, and it can be an incredible platform to reach your target audience, especially for businesses in the arts. Another way to reach target audiences is via advertising options.
However, these are limited, and marketing on the platform is a lot about reputation: reviews, ratings, and discussion.
There are many other social media platforms that we have not mentioned here which may be suitable for your needs.
Zhihu (a question-and-answer site, similar to Quora), Jinri Toutiao (which translates to “today’s headlines”), Baidu Tieba (search engine and forum), Meitu (image processing and social community), and many more.
Any seller who wants to enter the Chinese market should gain an understanding of the power of social commerce in the country and its main social media networks.
China is vast and unique. But although networks and cultures are different, marketers can find similarities and learn to craft effective strategies.
As elsewhere around the world, engaged consumers share content on social media platforms. Consumers go through a decision-making journey that eventually results in a purchase. Check the latest trends to provide value and create engagement, yet acknowledge the differences and continue to test and learn.
People look for trust and recommendations. However, successful marketing exposes brands to counterfeits and replicas, making intellectual property protection an essential part of your strategy.
Wiser Market is an anti-counterfeit agency offering proactive online brand protection services to help brand owners enforce their intellectual property rights across multiple digital channels.
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Wiser Tip: China’s social media space offers incredible opportunities if you choose the right platform for your needs. However, numbers are not everything and it is crucial to gain an understanding of platforms, content trends and Chinese consumers in order to execute a successful social commerce campaign.