Social media should be a fundamental aspect of any marketing strategy seeking to break into the Chinese market. It’s hugely popular in China, but the rules and key players are different. Here’s a guide to help you navigate the world of Chinese social media.

THE FIVE GOLDEN RULES OF CHINESE SOCIAL MEDIA

1. Keep it mobile

Nearly 100% of 14-47 year olds in China now own a smartphone, and half use their phones to access the internet roughly 25 times a day (source: World Economic Forum). This means you should make your social media content mobile friendly if you want to reach the majority of users.

2. Be personal

Mass marketing won’t cut it in China. Social media users favor small-scale interactions with individuals. If you want to make an impact, you’ll need to provide tailored, meaningful content for each of your users. Using social media tools may help you start building more personal relationships with consumers.

3. Channel your creativity

Chinese users want to be entertained and engaged rather than be sold something. They particularly appreciate interactive content and videos. The more creative you get, the better your results will be.

4. Prioritize customer service

One of the primary reasons Chinese users shop online is because of the customer service. They don’t want emails and forms; they want instant, direct communication with sellers. WeChat and Alibaba’s Aliwangwang messenger service allow users to chat directly with sellers at any time, building real relationships in the process. Quality customer service will quickly win you fans and increased social media engagement.

5. Champion the right people

Celebrities have millions of followers on Weibo, and a plug from the right person could reap huge rewards. Researching your target demographic’s social media information can help you find the right influencer.

It’s also important to utilize different social media platforms since each offers something slightly different. Here’s a who’s-who guide, laying out what each platform can do for you.

A WHO’S-WHO GUIDE TO CHINESE SOCIAL MEDIA

1. WeChat

Known as WeiXin in China, WeChat is the country’s most popular social media website, with 768 million daily active users. Users can run their lives from the app, booking cinema tickets, chatting online and paying bills. There’s a bit of red tape for overseas businesses to get online, but the reward is worth it. If you choose only one social media platform to work with, choose this one.

2. QZONE

With 640 million active users, QZONE allows users to share blogs they find interesting, which is great for getting your name out there. It is primarily valued by customers as a means of instant, direct communication with companies. Companies can also build custom microsites within the platform to really push their brand presence.

3. Weibo

Known as the Chinese Twitter, Weibo is a great way to engage with users on relevant topics and to construct your brand identity. It’s also great for online influencers to promote your business, providing access to users you may not otherwise reach.

4. Youku

The Chinese equivalent of YouTube (which is blocked in China), Youku, receives over 800 million daily video views on various devices. It’s great for conducting research on what video advertisements work and for building brand awareness. Videos are also incredibly popular on Chinese social media.

5. Ren Ren

Ren Ren has 44 million monthly active users, almost all of whom are college students. So if that’s your target audience, it’s a good place to invest.

6. Little Red Book

There are also various smaller social media tools that cater for eCommerce. Little Red Book allows overseas agents to market luxury fashion and beauty products that are not available in China.

FINAL THOUGHT

With a solid brand identity and awareness of the five golden rules, you can leverage Chinese social media platforms to successfully enter and engage with the Chinese market.