A Quick Guide for foreign businesses

by Roy Wong

There are always challenges to Chinese Social Media promotion and marketing every day. Foreign 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 on Chinese Social Media platforms. Spend some time now on the following guide.

Before we start to dig in, there are 3 BLIND SPOTS that a lot of businesses have gone wrong about doing Marketing in China.

Why so difficult?

To localize the content in the social media platforms like WeChat, Weibo, Douyin (Tiktok for overseas) in China, and many more, it works differently from what Facebook, Instagram, or Whatsapp do. 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! Localizing your globalized brand and product in the Chinese social media platforms requires a lot. From the self-quality of your product and service to the strategized content for the target audience are all groundworks. For example, Northern China has very different cultures and habits from the 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 Professors or Doctors, nor celebrities, singers, actors, but KOL’s guides when it comes to purchasing. Every youngster can simply take their phone and create their account starting to be a KOL on various 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. In addition, brands need to show their uniqueness and selling points in order to engage with potential customers. Meanwhile, the contents must be easy to share (sharable) and go viral.


I. WeChat

WeChat’s active users reached 650 million, a huge group of users, like a huge gold mine, have attracted a large number of gold miners. On the WeChat platform, the common new social media tools and resources are: WeChat official accounts, WeChat personal account, WeChat group, WeChat advertising resources.

A. Functions of WeChat official account (company account)

(1) Mobile-friendly

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 the WeChat official account, users can complete the application of registration, investment 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 various important functions:

– online customer service
– WeChat direct authorization
– exclusive property investment adviser
– one-click account inquiries
– investment calculators

(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 content 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 buyers/service subscribers. There are different activities, such as Quiz for Prize, Vouchers, Lucky Draws. In which, users can use the given prize as discount coupons and it 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 Accounts) allows you to post every day but the interaction with users is quite limited.

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 a personal account under the WeChat Work and add users as friends. Additionally, it allows more diverse forms of interaction and enables the company to offer a better service experience for users.

C. WeChat Group

Compared with the QQ group, the WeChat group as the user community platform provides fewer functions, and community management is much more difficult. Yet, users normally open the groups more frequently and the user experience can be better with WeChat.

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, geographical locations, age, sex, and interest, etc. Not surprisingly, the more you pay to WeChat, the more effective 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 advertisements and other promotions in form of articles, videos, and pictures. Price varies, effect various.


II. Weibo

According to Weibo’s earnings, Weibo active users have maintained an increase of more than 30 percent for 9 consecutive quarters since the listing. Undoubtedly, 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) accounts 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 quickly.

(2) User activity and retention

Through the interaction between the brand and the users, the value-added service is provided by Weibo. It enhances 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 interests.

(2) Advertisements

Weibo Ads are very similar to what WeChat offers.

(3) Microblogging

KOLs and famous bloggers are very useful as a resource to promote your articles, brands, and/or products and services. Unsurprisingly, charges usually depend on the number 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 have 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:

(1) SEO

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 exposure, it makes the platforms more convincing and at the same time, a good channel to gain your traffic and build your reputations.

IV. 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 are as follows:

(1) SEO

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.

(2) Trust

In the early 2000s, we question 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 trusts nowadays and having such a page can build up a very positive image of your brand as well as SEO ranking.

This guide is quite long but is very essential for you to understand the Chinese social media platforms. If you want to understand more about which platforms to use, you may want to look at 2020 (Updated) Chinese Social Media: Live Channels and Live Channels & Social Media: Nov China Market.

Give us a shout if you ever needed any advice or simply take a look at what we do here.

What are the Top 3 communication Apps in China?

WeChat, QQ and DingDing

Does my business need to set up a WeChat account and a Weibo account?

WeChat is the most used daily communication APP with a lot of different functions including advertisement and info releasing functions. It is necessary to set up your official account in order to keep the closest relationship with your customers and clients.
Weibo is like Twitter / Facebook. It is a great platform to draw public traffics and convert them into your own private traffic by transferring them to your WeChat groups.

Is Google Translate or Baidu Translate enough to interpret my article into Chinese and post on WeChat and Weibo?

Please remember China is a huge country with 23 provinces, 5 autonomous regions, 4 municipalities, and 2 special administrative regions composed of 56 ethnic groups. If you do not localize your language according to your target region or groups of people, you may find your article written in a very awkward way nobody can understand. Reading your text is also an experience of your brand and product unless you want to ruin it.

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