China isn’t solely the world’s largest social media market, but it surely additionally boasts an extremely wealthy and numerous on-line panorama. In any case, over 800 million Chinese internet users are on the lookout for a spot to share their opinions, ask for product suggestions, and join with others. That’s a variety of content material.
Whereas Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter proceed to dominate the western world, China has seen the emergence of many progressive new social platforms, together with video sharing platforms like Douyin (now recognized regionally as TikTok), and purchasing communities like Xiaohongshu.
On this ever-changing surroundings, world manufacturers trying to construct their presence within the Chinese language market must hold an in depth eye on what’s occurring with these platforms. On this submit, we’ll introduce you to among the most necessary Chinese language social media websites, and look at the alternatives for companies on these platforms in 2019.
However first, let’s begin with a extra basic query:
Why is Chinese language social media necessary for world manufacturers?
The numbers inform you all the pieces – in line with a Chinese language authorities examine, 802 million people in China are now active internet users, amounting to some 57.7% of the nation’s inhabitants.
Evaluate that to the US’s estimated 300 million internet users (78.2% of the inhabitants). Whereas China won’t but have the identical market penetration, it has a larger potential for progress.
Much more fascinating is the unimaginable degree of cellular uptake in China – 98% of Chinese people using the internet do so via mobile devices, in comparison with just 73% in the US. This makes Chinese language social media extra quick and dynamic, with cellular customers trying to platforms like WeChat and Weibo for the newest suggestions, testimonials, and suggestions.
This excessive cellular penetration additionally helps drives the efficiency of huge on-line occasions like Alibaba’s Singles Day.
Alibaba workers have fun 213.5 billion yuan ($30.7 billion US) in Singles Day 2018 gross sales. Supply: CNBC.
For world manufacturers, the sheer dimension of the Chinese language shopper market makes it vital to dedicate time and power to monitoring developments on social media. Not solely is China a big market, however a lot of popular trends in wider Asia start in China.
Sadly, many manufacturers wrestle to grasp the Chinese language market in depth, and lack the power to trace native developments in actual time. To see this in motion, simply take a look at the outrage and subsequent public apology over Dolce & Gabbana’s promotional videos for its 2018 runway present in Shanghai.
Mercedes Benz discovered this out the laborious method too – in early 2018, the corporate needed to apologize to Chinese language customers after featuring a quote from the Dalai Lama on its Instagram web page. The Dalai Lama is taken into account a divisive political determine in China.
Incidents like this show simply how beneficial the Chinese language market is to worldwide manufacturers, and the way necessary it’s to think about how promoting and advertising actions could also be perceived on the native degree.
That is the place social listening is available in.
Monitoring and observing exchanges on Chinese language social media platforms is a good way for manufacturers to construct a deeper understanding of native perceptions and values, and may help keep away from the danger of embarrassing – and expensive – advertising missteps.
With that in thoughts, let’s take a better take a look at what makes Chinese language social media distinctive.
What makes Chinese language social media distinctive?
Chinese language social media platforms are extremely centered on attracting cellular customers, which means websites are geared for fast and instantaneous sharing.
Sadly, this sturdy cellular focus presents difficulties for social listening. Companies want particular experience to trace and analyze on-line discussions about manufacturers, merchandise, and matters.
As western social media platforms like Fb, Instagram, and Twitter wrestle to get a foothold in China, Chinese language social media firms step up and take the chance to innovate. This has led to the rise of an enormous variety of social media platforms, giving customers extra alternative.
Relatively than being dominated by a small group of firms, the Chinese language social media panorama is extra dynamic, with platforms rising and falling on a sooner timescale.
Picture touch-up app Meitu is a superb instance – following significant user loss in 2017, Meitu shifted its focus from easy photograph modifying, permitting customers to submit updates and chat in teams. Since early 2018, Meitu has seen a tenfold increase in user engagement.
Meitu in motion. Supply: Nikkei Asian Review.
Lastly, these massive consumer numbers enable Chinese language social media platforms to collect a wealthy quantity of content material on the native degree – quite than studying depersonalized or bland product evaluations, customers can entry significant, in-depth content material tailor-made to their pursuits and placement.
To see all of this in motion, let’s take a look at 9 high Chinese language social media websites to observe in 2019.
9 Chinese language social media platforms to observe in 2019
Developed by Tencent, this versatile app affords just about all the pieces – on-line purchasing, video games, monetary companies. Mix this with its big viewers, and you’ve got an unbelievably wealthy supply of potential buyer engagement.
Typically described as a mixture of apps, WeChat is the equal of Fb, Instagram, Skype, Uber, Amazon, and Whatsapp, and likewise options integration with over ten million third-party apps.
WeChat additionally permits worldwide manufacturers to join subscription and public accounts, enabling them to market content material to WeChat customers in numerous methods.
WeChat can be more and more venturing into eCommerce, utilizing what it calls ‘mini programs’ embedded within its platform to offer things like discount coupons and ride-hailing. Given the scale of WeChat’s consumer base, this has the potential for big progress.
2. Tencent QQ
Immediate messaging app Tencent QQ stays a serious participant within the Chinese language market, with 803.2 million monthly active users as of August 2018.
Like WeChat, QQ affords a bunch of various companies, together with gaming, music, motion pictures, running a blog, and group chat. This mixture of companies has made the platform extremely fashionable with customers below 20, attracting a devoted consumer base for this older platform.
QQ features a excessive diploma of promoting performance, enabling customers to publish adverts and hyperlinks to mates. QQ additionally affords a paid advertising characteristic, permitting customers to pay Tencent to create and publish content material for merchandise.
For world manufacturers eager to make their mark in China, Tencent QQ is certainly a platform to control.
3. Douyin (TikTok)
Quick-form video app Douyin has skilled a fast rise since its preliminary launch in September 2016.
Designed to permit customers to create and share brief movies, Douyin has grow to be extremely fashionable, attracting 500 million global users, which now contains over 6 million customers in the US.
Generally known as a “lip-synching” app, Douyin has grow to be fashionable significantly amongst youthful customers, who use the platform to create and share brief, punchy clips laden with memes and area of interest cultural references.
Just like the now-defunct Vine, Douyin options an addictive feed, selling movies from customers everywhere in the world and providing a mixture of unusual, artistic, and irreverent content material.
This distinctive providing has helped Douyin to hit some actually loopy numbers these days, together with attracting a massive 75 million new users in just December 2018 alone.
For manufacturers trying to interact a youthful viewers, Douyin is a key platform.
Meitu – which interprets roughly as “stunning image” – is a photograph touch-up and sharing app with over 455 million active monthly users. With Meitu, customers can add photos and edit or airbrush them shortly and simply.
Although the platform has attracted some criticism for promoting unrealistic standards of beauty and physical attractiveness, Meitu stays a well-liked web site. Following a decline in consumer numbers, Meitu introduced in April 2018 that it intended to focus more on the social aspects of the platform. Since then, it is seen a tenfold improve in consumer interactions. The corporate has even stated it is positioning itself as the Instagram of China.
For manufacturers within the magnificence or cosmetics business, Meitu is a key promoting software. In reality, quite a lot of luxurious manufacturers – equivalent to Gucci and DKNY – are already utilizing Meitu to advertise their merchandise.
5. Sina Weibo
Launched in 2009, Sina Weibo has grown to grow to be the most well-liked micro-blogging platform in China.
Sina Weibo customers can add GIFs, photos, movies, and textual content to their networks, and this, mixed with Weibo’s simple sharing performance, permits Weibo to be a big supply of trending content material and data.
Finest thought-about as a mix of Twitter and Fb, Sina Weibo presently has 446 million monthly active users. And regardless of experiencing an general lower in consumer numbers lately, manufacturers proceed to make use of celebrities to construct curiosity of their merchandise on the platform – for instance, Louis Vuitton announced a collaboration with Kris Wu, serving to to drive a big quantity of on-line hype.
Many companies – each native and worldwide – depend on Sina Weibo as a supply of real-time shopper evaluations, and use the platform as a spot to have interaction buyer communities.
Meituan-Dianping – generally known as ‘the Yelp of China’ – is a restaurant evaluate and advice web site. It additionally options components of Groupon and Uber Eats, enabling customers to order meals instantly from its app and faucet into promotional affords at eating places.
With 382.3 million users, Meituan-Dianping (which interprets roughly as “everybody’s feedback”) has grow to be a serious supply of native meals know-how. The service isn’t simply restricted to eateries both – customers also can evaluate gyms, resorts, bars, and a bunch of different issues. With over 60 million reviews, Meituan-Dianping represents a wealthy supply of shopper info on every kind of companies.
The massive diploma of group participation on Meituan-Dianping makes it key for manufacturers in China to pay shut consideration to what’s being stated about them and their rivals.
Launched in early 2005, Douban is a social networking platform which permits customers to attach and share content material on a spread of pursuits, together with motion pictures, tv, books, music, and extra. By 2016, Douban had already reached over 300 million monthly users, and that quantity continues to rise.
Also known as ‘the Chinese language Reddit’, Douban might be thought-about a mix of IMDB, Goodreads, Pinterest, Twitter, and Spotify, all introduced as one channel. With Douban, customers can charge and advocate every kind of media.
Douban additionally permits direct promoting to customers, which means world manufacturers can goal adverts to area of interest customers of the platform.
Like Quora, Zhihu has a devoted consumer base, with many customers drafting detailed and impassioned responses to particular questions posed by different customers. What’s extra, Zhihu additionally incorporates a bunch of progressive options, like customers being able to “tip” suppliers of knowledge and reply questions with sound recordings.
The recognition of this platform led Zhihu to raise $270 million USD in series E funding, cementing its standing as a “unicorn” in China – an organization with a valuation of over $1 billion USD.
And like Quora, Zhihu represents nice promoting potential for manufacturers, significantly inside consumer timelines. Customers come to Zhihu for solutions to area of interest questions, creating the chance for focused commercials. What’s extra, Zhihu’s users are mostly those from Tier 1 cities, and tend to be well-educated and with a higher income.
Geared primarily in direction of girls between the ages of 18 and 35, the Little Purple E-book permits customers to submit product evaluations, begin discussions, and add their very own content material.
This platform focuses almost exclusively on offering trusted product reviews and experiences, and is a wealthy supply of suggestions for lots of younger customers. The content material on Xiaohongshu has resonated strongly with customers struggling to search out lifelike and in-depth info and evaluations.
The Little Red Book can also be incredibly lucrative for Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) trying to affect gross sales for manufacturers via their content material.
So, that’s a fast take a look at among the most necessary Chinese language social media platforms in 2019, now, let’s look at the alternatives for world manufacturers to make the most of these platforms.
How world manufacturers can leverage Chinese language social platforms in 2019
Chinese language social media’s mixture of giant consumer numbers and platform selection presents a big promoting alternative for world manufacturers.
Manufacturers and companies are recognizing this chance, and are creating bespoke content material for a lot of of those platforms. This contains providing flash gross sales on WeChat, utilizing KOLs on Xiaohongshu, and concentrating on Zhihu customers with area of interest product affords.
Listed here are a couple of extra examples:
- On September 17 2018, Burberry offered an exclusive WeChat flash sale to its 12 million followers followings a serious catwalk present.
- On November 16 2018, Dior used WeChat’s live-streaming feature to attract more than 3.2 million viewers, serving to to drive gross sales.
- On January 16 2019, Balenciaga offered a limited edition handbag via a WeChat mini program, stirring up an enormous quantity of on-line hype.
Lately, Xiaohongshu started providing its a “model companion platform”, a service the place manufacturers might be linked with influencers to rearrange for sponsored content material. Since unveiling this service, many luxurious manufacturers (together with YSL, Shiseido, and Fendi) have entered into official collaborations with KOLs, utilizing Xiaohongshu to drive on-line curiosity.
Perception is all the pieces
These examples every spotlight the alternatives for manufacturers to benefit from completely different platforms, and expose their merchandise to new teams of customers.
Nevertheless, to establish potential advertising alternatives and keep away from the danger of missteps, manufacturers want a deep understanding of what’s being stated on Chinese language social media. As a result of the Chinese language social media panorama is so sophisticated, manufacturers want human experience, primarily based on nice information, to supply evaluation and insights.
Platforms like Linkfluence may help on this regard – working instantly with the Chinese language social media platforms and native information suppliers, Linkfluence can present complete protection of real-time world and native insights.
For world manufacturers eager to benefit from the massive alternatives supplied by Chinese language social media, working with a social listening firm with complete protection and native researchers could make all of the distinction.
Put money into Chinese language social media platforms to remain forward
On this submit, we’ve appeared in depth at among the distinctive options of Chinese language social media, and have examined eight necessary social media platforms to observe in 2019.
Chinese language social media modifications daily, making it essential for world manufacturers to have an in depth understanding of what’s occurring on the native degree, and what customers are saying.
When you’re a model trying to keep related in China, we recommend preserving an in depth eye on developments with these platforms, and fascinated by how social media intelligence may assist.