by Roy Wong
Businesses getting into China is always a hot topic while a well-planned Chinese content marketing strategy plays an important role. A lot of big brands and products have been selling quite well around the world but the Chinese market. Do you ever question your product quality? Or maybe it is just not so connected with the Chinese? Indeed, many cases are about how to talk to your target audience in China.
Before we start to dig in, there are 3 BLIND SPOTS that a lot of businesses have gone wrong about doing Marketing in China.
To localize the content in the social media platforms like WeChat, Weibo, Douyin in China (Tiktok for overseas), and many more, it works differently from what Facebook, Instagram or Whatsapp. Let’s not mention the high-quality work that an international marketing firm can do. They can always create a beautiful logo, catchy tagline, stunning advertisement. What usually a brand face is- what and how to talk to the Chinese to make them notice, understand, and at the end believe and take action! Localising your globalized brand and product in the Chinese social media platforms requires not only self-quality of your product and service, but also the strategized contents for the target audience because even Northern China has very different culture and habits from Middle and Southern parts of China.
The Importance of Localization in Chinese Content Marketing
China, since Chairman Xi, came to the power, has been putting a huge emphasis on “building a well-off society” which is another way of boosting the economy of China. Traditional businesses moved online, factories started to sell online, even drivers directly connected with the customers with APP, people do not only listen to those Professors or Doctors anymore, nor celebrities, singers, actors, but KOLs. Every youngster can simply take their phone and create their account starting to be a KOL in varies platforms. You can easily find KOLs showing how to do make-ups with sponsorship from international brands, you can also see small-medium products appearing in short comedic videos. With the content-driven audiences, brands got to localize their ideas and stories alongside with their uniqueness and selling points in order to engage with the potential customers. Meanwhile, the contents must be easy to share (sharable) and go viral.
WeChat active users reached 650 million, a huge group of users, like a huge gold mine, have attracted a large number of gold miners. Specifically, on the WeChat platform, the new social media tools and resources that are commonly used by enterprises include WeChat official accounts, WeChat personal account, WeChat group, WeChat advertising resources.
A. Functions of WeChat official account (company account)
Taking the online loan industry as an example, the mobile end’s closing has surpassed the PC end in both the volume and user growth. With the function of WeChat official account, users can complete the application of registration, investment and other services by registering with their own personal mobile number.
(2) Mobile User Service Base
Take overseas property sales as an example, the official account can provide functions such as online customer service, WeChat direct authorization, exclusive property investment adviser, one-click account inquiries, investment calculators and other functions to offer a better service experience for Chinese investment users.
(3) New users
By high-quality content production (such as “the Moments” which is the friend circle in WeChat personal account), the launching of WeChat marketing activities, through the forwarding and sharing of followers, to achieve brand communication and fans transfer. It helps the promotion and marketing contents going viral in a very short period of time.
(4) User transformation
Through the development of WeChat marketing activities (WeChat mini programs such as “Red Pocket Rain”, which is giving out money in a red pocket for participants to grab), to attract new users and transform the users into the buyers/service subscribers. With different activities, such as Quiz for Prize, Vouchers, Lucky Draws, etc, users can then use the given prize as discount coupons which increases the incentive of users to be the customers.
(5) User activity and retention
Through the micro-community function, one can carry out user interaction activities (such as: daily WeChat check-in) and/or other forms to strengthen user interaction and improve user experiences.
B. Link of WeChat Corporate Personal account to Official Account
The WeChat Subscription Account (One of the two types of Official Account) allows you to post everyday but the interaction with users is quite limited while the WeChat Service Account (Another type of Official Account) allows only 4 posts a month, but a better interactive experience. Yet, the WeChat Work (Formerly “WeChat Enterprise Account”) allows the staff to create personal account under the WeChat Work and add users as friends. It allows more diverse forms of interaction and enables the company offering a better service experience for users.
C. WeChat Group
Compared with QQ group, WeChat group as the user community platform, provide less functions, the community management is much more difficult. The advantage is users open the group more frequently and the user experience can be better.
D. WeChat Advertising Resources
(1) WeChat Moments advertising
It can match the target population according to the type of demographic info such as mobile phone (different areas), age, sex and interest. The more you pay to WeChat, the more effect though.
(2) Broad Point Advertising
It is like Banner advertising in Users’ WeChat Moment, based on your selected population and fees you pay to get better results.
(3) Famous Official Account Ads
One can pay those famous accounts to post advertisement and other promotions in form of articles, videos and pictures. Price varies, effect various.
According to Weibo’s earnings, Weibo active users have maintained an increase of more than 30 percent for 9 consecutive quarters since the listing. Weibo and WeChat have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Specifically, on the Weibo platform, the new media tools and resources commonly used by enterprises include Weibo enterprise (official) account and Weibo advertising resources.
A. Weibo Enterprise Account
(1) New users
Weibo as a social media, based on its socialized characteristics, the speed of communication is extremely fast. Therefore, Weibo is often an excellent carrier of brand topic marketing and event marketing, and quickly pulls up the brand voice as it can go viral very quick.
(2) User activity and retention
Through the interaction between the brand and the users, the value-added service is provided through Weibo to enhance the satisfaction of the user to enhance user experiences and interactivity.
B. Weibo Advertising Resources
(1) Subscription Advertising Service
Weibo system advertising is similar to WeChat ads, which can match the target population according to the demographics and interest.
Weibo Ads are very similar to what WeChat offers.
KOLs and famous bloggers are very useful as a resource to promote your article, brand and/or products and services. Charges usually depend on the numbers of followers.
III. Q&A platform (Zhihu, Baidu Q&A ,360 Q&A)
Q&A Platforms are often used for new media promotion. Baidu Q&A and 360 Q&A has long been used for online promotion while Zhihu came in later, but the latter has become very powerful and influential. The functions of the Q&A platforms are as follows:
When we have questions in our mind and search on the internet, Chinese usually search with phrases including question words (how, what, when, why…etc) and many of the questions have been asked on those !&A platforms already. Thus, the Q & A platform makes it easier to get a better ranking in search engines.
(2) Traffic referrals
Through Q&A promotion to attract users, accuracy is relatively high because the questions and answers are “the idea, knowledge exchange among different users”, the credibility of information is higher in a sense that a lot of professionals are answering those questions to gain exposures, it makes the platforms more convincing and at the same time, a good channel to gain your traffic and build your reputations.
III. Encyclopedia platform (Baidu Encyclopedia, 360 Encyclopedia, Hudong (Interactive) encyclopedia)
The Encyclopedia platforms are the “old media” in the new media, but its status is still unshakable like Wikipedia; the functions of the encyclopedia platform as follows:
When information is stored in any encyclopedia platform, it is always easier to be searched. The platforms are very similar to what Wikipedia is doing. It also make it easier to gain a better ranking in search engines.
In early 2000s, we questions Wikipedia or other social media platforms that the information may not be true, authentic nor accurate. Yet, think about your thesis work, did you also search the info on Wikipedia before going into any other journal papers? Did you go to the reference part and quote some journals and books from there? Encyclopedia platforms have built up a lot of trust nowadays and having such a page can build up a very positive image of your brand as well as SEO ranking.
If you want to understand more about which platform to use, you may want to look at 2020 (Updated) Chinese Social Media: Live Channels.