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Social Channels to Consider in China 

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8 min read

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Argos Multilingual

Published on

06 Dec 2022

As a marketer, you must go where your audiences are. The world is becoming increasingly connected, and while seemingly everyone is plugged into Facebook or Instagram, these platforms won’t benefit your social media campaigns when trying to reach Chinese audiences. If you’re not marketing on popular platforms of the markets you’re trying to break into, you’re missing out on many potential customers.  

Have you ever heard of New Retail, a term coined by the founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma? It’s becoming the future of eCommerce and refers to the world’s merging of brick-and-mortar stores with online experiences. China has fully delved into the world of New Retail, and it would do you well to follow suit if you’re looking to expand your business into the Chinese market. So, we’ve compiled a list of the top social channels to consider. 

Each social media site or platform accommodates specific audiences that interact differently with each platform. 

WeChat 

Some consider WeChat the Chinese equivalent of WhatsApp or Facebook, but it’s much more than a traditional social media platform. WeChat is a multi-purpose instant messaging, social media, and mobile payment application that acts as a lifestyle app for more than one billion people in China. 

To better understand the impact of communicating with your Chinese audiences through WeChat, you must understand that this platform is an eco-system with mini apps. These apps allow users in China to pay their utility bills, shop online, order off menus in restaurants, and receive newsletters and articles from registered company accounts, all without leaving the app. 

Sina Weibo 

Often compared to Twitter, Weibo is a microblogging platform where users catch up on the latest news, trends, and updates from their favorite brands and idols. With more than 230 million daily active users, this platform can be a potential gold mine for your marketing campaigns, especially for educational institutions and B2C companies. 

If you’re a company in the B2B sector, be bold in using Weibo’s platform for your marketing strategies. Remember that the decision-makers you’re trying to target also spend their free time perusing this site, and your campaign may catch their attention.  

The key to success is to ensure your account remains regularly updated (it’s not uncommon to post three times a day) with unique content that matches your brand’s tone of voice. Consistency is key among Chinese users in gaining and maintaining their trust in your brand.  

It also helps to keep track of current trends and use them to your advantage. 

As with any of your official company accounts, remember to have someone at the helm ready to interact with users in real time.  

Douyin 

You’ve heard of TikTok, but you might not be familiar with its twin platform, Douyin. Both platforms are owned by the same Chinese tech company Bytedance. Still, the platforms are separate entities where users cannot interact with each other, so it’s worth creating a company account on the Chinese Douyin to reach a mass of potential followers. Well-known brands such as Pizza Hut, Prada, and Gucci are already reaping the benefits of having their brand presence on Douyin. With more than 600 million daily active users, it’s a great platform to connect with China’s affluent class, as most of the platform’s users are Millennials and Gen Z from Tier 1 and Tier two cities in China.  

With the right content, videos can go viral, reaching 200 million views daily. It goes without saying that this platform can offer the kind of visibility and brand awareness that others may not be able to. For your videos to achieve viral status, they’d have to get past the platform’s algorithm which places a strong emphasis on content that supplies value and receives a lot of viewer engagement.  

One thing that sets Douyin apart is its welcoming viewer atmosphere towards advertisements. The site even promotes the growth of eCommerce with its introduction of Douyin Pay in 2021, which allows viewers to purchase products advertised in the app.  

Little Red Book  

Little Red Book (Xiaohongshu 小红书) is the Chinese equivalent of Instagram. While not as populated as other platforms, it mainly targets a specific user group: young female shoppers that live in Tier 1 & 2 cities with strong purchasing power. Content primarily consists of product reviews and videos featuring OOTD (Outfit of the Day), fashion tips, and high-quality brands. With a user base of 450 million users posting an average of 450,000 times each day, this platform’s dynamic is more sales oriented than the others in this list since users typically rely on it as a trustworthy source of information when searching for new products and brands to buy. 

Since users interact on the platform intent on learning about new and foreign brands, it can be a fantastic opportunity for your company to build brand awareness. For fashion, skincare, and cosmetics companies, Little Red Book is a suitable platform to promote products and services.   

With content still receiving engagement up to a month after posting, Little Red Book supports long-term and short-term marketing strategies.  

Users also prefer to see localized content rather than foreign advertising. It is a community site, after all, and it helps build trust. A great way to ensure this is to gift your product to influencers, so they can use their social reach to advertise your brand.  

However, while you might find that your company profile is drawn to one or some of the mentioned sites, we suggest using a multilayered marketing strategy that leverages the advantages of each. After converting a user into a customer on sites like Weibo, Douyin, and Little Red Book, you can direct that traffic to your WeChat official account, where you can further develop and strengthen the customer relationship.  

This list serves to give you the tools to use when breaking into the Chinese market. However, it doesn’t end there because the competition is fierce! With user bases of up to 3x as much when compared to the US, you’ll need to be as creative as they come to make waves.  

Interested in creating localized content to better connect and engage with your Chinese audiences? Our content services offer a great way to get started. Reach out!  

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