Thanks to rapid economic development, high internet penetration and efficient and convenient logistics systems, Chinese people have mature online shopping habits and growing consumer demand. Today, the huge Chinese market continues to attract brands to enter, and to get closer to Chinese consumers in China, it is important to understand the most popular social media in China.
Chinese social media peculiarities
No YouTube, no Instagram, no Google, China is still the world’s largest social networking market. The composition of China’s social media market is very different from the rest of the world, so the methods of social media operations in other regions are not directly replicable in China.
In China, the versatility and flexibility of digital marketing has become popular with consumers and businesses alike, as people use “social media” platforms to share and spread their feelings for social pleasure. Brands are also able to use social media platforms to increase awareness, nurture customers directly and even connect with them, broaden their business, build their brand image and spread their brand culture.
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And in the marketing process, social media has many advantages. It allows for rapid brand promotion at low cost, on a large scale and in a personalized manner. And it allows for timely results, making it easy for brands to adjust their strategies and improve conversion rates at any time.
What are the Chinese social media platforms ?
If companies want to use media platforms to add points to their brands, they should first understand the types of media and their characteristics. Let us introduce the top 5 most popular social media platforms in China in detail below.
With more than 1 billion users, WeChat ranks first in China in terms of internet usage, and companies with different industry attributes can always find their user base in WeChat. And Chinese consumers regard WeChat Official Account as the official website and image representative of the enterprise, and it has strong authority.
Using the WeChat ecology built by Tencent over the years, enterprises can establish systematic user management channels in WeChat. The content marketing and customer service functions of WeChat Official Account and WeChat Video Channel constantly cultivate potential consumers and improve customer stickiness. Use mini-program to browse and purchase, and then use WeChat’s payment function to complete transactions, etc.
WeChat’s unique social attributes allow brands or products to spread rapidly among customers’ social circles, bringing in new customers of higher quality with real personal relationships.
The number of independent users of short videos in China has now exceeded 500 million, accounting for 46% of the total number of Internet users, which means that basically 1 out of every 2 Internet users uses short videos. Short videos have become the best platform for brands to get traffic. Today’s TikTok already supports businesses to open small stores here, and consumers can do one-stop shopping entirely in TikTok.
Businesses operating TikTok numbers need to determine content verticals based on their industry and product attributes. There are already a large number of competitors in the food and beauty fields, while mother and child, automotive, sports, and medical fields still have broad prospects. In TikTok, besides creating their own short video content or releasing soft ads with KOL, the “brand live + promotion” format can also make numerous products get a high conversion rate.
Little Red Book
Little Red Book, which relies on sharing “notes”, has accumulated a user base of 250 million and its monthly active users (MAU) have exceeded 85 million, making it the strongest sharing-based social platform in China. Little Red Book started as a community focused on the field of life, plowing deep into vertical areas. Users have gone from focusing on sharing shopping experiences to sharing experiences in beauty, skin care, travel, home, pets, emotions, mother and child, clothing and other aspects.
The majority of users are women, up to 60%, and most of them are middle and higher consumers in big cities, with nearly 70% of users under 30 years old and with high education level. And on Little Red Book, KOC ability “recommend” ability is quite amazing, and users have a strong desire to consume, and are sensitive to new things, dare to try, often helping brands to achieve a very high conversion rate.
Zhihu is the largest professional Q&A website in China and can be considered as the Chinese version of Quora. Zhihu’s content and users are of high quality in China, and its business value and social significance are great. Here, a large number of Chinese white-collar, programmer and middle-class-oriented professional people gather. A large number of intellectuals create content, and million users search for information to find answers and share information to show their values through Zhihu.
This is conducive to empowering brands with business value. So various types of high-quality brands like to do marketing and promotion on Zhihu platform because it can improve their trustworthiness, showcase their professionalism and build a good corporate image for the brand.
As an old social giant, Weibo is still an important battleground for social media marketing for large companies, well-known brands and even small businesses. Interest communication and hot spotlight are two major advantages of Weibo. Especially for companies with PR needs, Weibo can help brands quickly build a bridge to consumers and give them more room to play.
Weibo is the main battleground of China’s fan economy, where a large number of actors, singers and other celebrities gather. Its short, concise and unlimited content allows retail and FMCG brands to communicate with users in high frequency, expanding brand awareness and popularity on a large scale and creating a word-of-mouth effect.
The average age of bilibili users is 22.8 years old, making it the content community with the highest concentration of college students in China, and the main group of future consumers in China. Today bilibili has 272 million monthly active users and more than 20 million members.
It is China’s equivalent of YouTube, but more specifically, it is a place where users can post pop-ups, a format that is very popular among young Chinese, both for video and live streaming, which increases engagement. Different interest groups can gather quickly on bilibili, such as watching Japanese anime, study courses, film and TV dramas, live games, vlogs by Netflix and original fun videos by users.
bilibili is a good marketing position, and many industries are suitable for placement here : beauty, FMCG, travel, games, food, ect. Brands can promote their products through the original videos of weblebrities, and can also use the “information flow” to place ads.
How foreign brands use social media in China ?
Before starting any marketing activities, brands need to explore the Chinese market, identify their competitors and analyze their main products and marketing approaches. This step is essential because it allows brands to find their differentiating selling points and facilitates the identification of potential Chinese customer segments. This lays the foundation for subsequent self-positioning and brand segmentation.
Develop a plan
Once the brand has self-positioned, the next step is to develop a systematic, detailed marketing plan with a clear direction. The plan has to be based on the brand’s self-positioning and on the characteristics of each platform and can be used as a guide for all future marketing steps.
Content is of great importance
Creating high quality content based on keywords is at the core of any marketing campaign. Whether it’s an article, video or online campaign, the content needs to be managed by professionals who have a good understanding of Chinese culture and consumer reading habits. They also need to have a keen sense of social trends that can be combined with the product or brand concept, and use creativity to attract consumers.
Due to China’s large population and vast geographical area, promoting a product requires taking into account geographical, age, gender, income and educational differences between consumer groups.
Often different products also have their own suitable social media platforms, or a specific function of a certain platform. In the marketing process, marketers need to compare and refine the characteristics of each platform, then arrange and combine them to find a cost-effective, multi-platform marketing model to achieve the highest conversion rate.
For example, “WeChat Official Account + Xiaohongshu KOC”, “WeChat Official Account + Zhihu Content Marketing”, “Douyin Livestream + Xiaohongshu Soft Ads” and many other combinations.
After reading this article, you surely have a good understanding of the social media platforms in China and a picture of the Chinese market in your mind.
If you want to reach Chinese consumers and take your brand to the next level, start planning your digital marketing now and don’t miss out on this huge consumer market and fall behind your competitors.
If you would like more information, please contact STAiiRS, we have the most professional China marketers to answer your questions!