4 Ways to Expand Your Social Media Marketing in China
Jun 01, 2017

Global brands are often challenged when it comes to developing a social media presence in China’s market. Every brand wants to reach internet users in China since there are over 700 million internet users in China alone, and half of the world’s internet users are located in Asia (source). To be a player in China’s social media scene, brands have to develop a different strategy because the platforms are different, the regulations are different, and the culture is different. Being successful with social media connections in this market requires expertise and resources. Today, we will be talking about the main social media platforms in China and illustrate 4 ways to expand your social media marketing to reach and engage Chinese consumers.

China’s Social Media Platforms

China’s social media platforms are different from those that are popular in the rest of the world. Facebook and Twitter are largely blocked in China, so you need to know where to go. The platforms that are widely used in China are fragmented and require differing tones. The popular channels are Weibo, Sina Weibo, Tencent Qzone, Tencent QQ, Tencent Wechat, Renren, and Youku & Tudou. Instead of Google, Baidu is used as the main search engine in China. With so many social media options in China, test to see which ones work best for your company and concentrate on the channels that perform best. Expanding your social media marketing does not always have to mean that you have to use every channel.

1. Establish Trust through Social Media Word of Mouth: For the most part, the culture in China is that consumers do not trust official sources. Social media marketing is a great way to involve the social channel community in your marketing efforts. Use reviews and community tactics to create a social environment that lends itself to word of mouth through China’s social channels.

2. Use Storytelling to Create Trust and Engagement: If you can harness the power of storytelling, your brand can experience great success in Chinese markets. When you can weave a story, it is not only engaging to consumers, but you can make them feel a connection with your brand and be more authentic in the eyes of your audiences. Use online chats, video, and other types of media to help tell your story. Utilising different types of media in addition to social channels will help bring your story to life.

3. Take Advantage of the Dominant Mobile Online Market: More people in China access the Internet via mobile than on computers. When you use location based mobile advertising to reach out to consumers, you can take advantage of this large mobile base. As online shopping becomes more and more integrated with social media in China, this will be a big area of growth. If you establish your brand’s mobile shopping and social media connection now, you will be ahead of the game when it comes to your competition.

4. Leverage Media Monitoring Tools Specific to China: Did you know that there are specific tools that can help provide intelligence on consumers in China and across Asia? There are tools and software that specialise on media monitoring in China that can provide insight on social channels, networks your consumers prefer, and even detailed information on sentiment and demographics. Having this knowledge about your audience and consumer base can be vital in developing the right social media campaigns that will speak to your target consumers and get them to engage with your brand, converting online visits and even resulting in offline sales too. Take a look at the media monitoring tools that Isentia offers. These types of highly targeted tools can be your secret weapon to success.

Summary and Action Points for Your Brand

If your target market is China, then you need to have the right tools and strategy for the Chinese consumer. That means testing to see what works for your target audience who are using the social channels specific to China. Any marketing campaign will need testing; however, when you are launching social media in a challenging atmosphere like China, then even more testing is going to be necessary. Be prepared that some ideas may need tweaking and others might need to be scrapped altogether in order to find the right marketing mix. Make sure that your marketing strategy includes our 3 keys for expanding social media marketing for your brand in China: establish trust through word of mouth, use storytelling to enhance that trust and create engagement, take advantage of the dominant mobile usage in China, and leverage media monitoring tools and software that are specifically geared for China. Using media monitoring and competitive analysis tools will help you gain insight on the industry and how to better connect with your audience using the different social channels popular in China.