Social Media Marketing in China: What You Need to Know

Jasmine K
By Jasmine K 28 August, 2018

digital marketing social media e-commerce KOL content marketing China eCommerce inbound marketing design

Social Media is a powerful and effective marketing tool used around the world. Before you begin crafting a marketing strategy, it’s important to understand the social media landscape in China. This post is going to cover the basic guidelines you should follow when developing your social media strategy.

Establish the platforms that identify with your brand voice

Social media is a major driver of brand awareness and consumption in China. It’s important to identify the right channel that fits well with your brand voice and to understand what type of content is the most effective for each channel. Here’s a quick list of the most popular social media platforms:

  • WeChat/ Weixin: an all encompassing platform that is a cross between Facebook Messenger, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Venmo
  • Sina Weibo: a Myspace, twitter-like microblogging platform
  • Douyin: Vine-esque platform that has gained popularity among younger users, recently acquired
  • XiaoHongShu: think if beauty and lifestyle Youtubers could post reviews and direct links to purchase items they recommend on a platform that looked like Pinterest.

Don’t underestimate the power of mobile

Similarly to the rest of the world, most people spend their time looking at their phones. About 95% of internet users in China access the internet via mobile device. This is important to remember as you should be creating content with this in mind. If your content doesn’t look good on mobile, it won’t be attractive to potential customers.

Understand WeChat and Weibo 

If the term social commerce isn’t on your radar, it should be. While western brands are only recently starting to integrate ecommerce with social media platforms (i.e. shoppable instagram) sites like WeChat and Weibo have already been doing this for years. WeChat allows its users to follow accounts, shop their ecommerce, and pay for their items all within the WeChat platform. Weibo follows the same idea, Weibo is integrated with popular ecommerce sites Taobao and Tmall. The first step to breaking into the chinese market is to have active accounts on both WeChat and Weibo.

Align content with context

We’ve established that good content is important but what does that mean? While it may be easy to just repurpose content for your western markets, it may not translate the same way to the Chinese market. Create content that is relevant to your Chinese audience while also being sure to stay culturally sensitive.

Use influencers! 

Influencers, also known as key opinion leaders (KOLs) are a much more developed market in China than it is in the west. Think of this as a more modern word of mouth form of marketing. Influencer marketing is a great way to raise brand awareness and to establish yourself as a trustworthy brand.

Stay alert for new trends 

While it’s important to be aware to the current trends in digital marketing, you should always be aware of the latest trends so you can pivot your strategy accordingly.

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