Have you ever tried to advertise your own business on Chinese Social Media platforms? If so, you’ll know that it’s difficult because the Chinese social media landscape is very different and new players emerge every year to feed the growing demand.
In 2020, there are around 926 million social media users in China–a 15 million increase from 2019! There is no doubt that advertising your business on the top Chinese social media apps can boost sales and expand your customer base significantly. This blog will tell you which platforms your business should have a presence on, as well as the suitability of each so that you will successfully select the right one for your business.
First released in 2011 as a chat app, WeChat has grown into a multi-purpose social media giant with a variety of functions including WeChat Pay (payment), Moments (post sharing) and Mini Programs (in-App games). By 2020, WeChat’s monthly active users have grown to more than one billion, 90 percent of whom are in China.
Now the world’s largest standalone mobile app, WeChat is one of the best marketing opportunities for brands that are looking to penetrate the Chinese market in 2020.
Using cost-per-impression (CPM) bidding, Moment Ads are native ads that show up when a user scrolls through his/her Moments feed–similar to Facebook ads.
Official Account ads
Using cost-per-click (CPC) bidding, WeChat Official Account ads have two major formats–In Article ads and Bottom ads.
- businesses that want their advertisement to have a massive reach
- start-up businesses, for you can put up a Moment Ad for as low as $100 USD
#2 DouYin (TikTok)
DouYin, also known as TikTok, is a short video and music sharing app that is popular among China’s younger generation. Launched in 2016, DouYin is now the Top 3 most downloaded app in China, with a 400 million daily active users.
This is probably the most effective form of marketing on DouYin. You just need to select influencers whose followers match your target market. Also, make sure to work with your influencers to come up with entertaining, unique and creative videos to grasp as much attention from your target market.
DouYin is also an effective platform for you to create challenges that are customised for and directly linked with your business. By initiating challenges that spark creativity and encourage participation among users, DouYin Hashtag Challenges connect the public to your brand and could even lead to social buzz that enables you to reach out to a larger customer base.
With nearly 60% of its users being less than 30 years old, DouYin is most suitable for businesses with a younger customer demographic.
It is also perfect for businesses that target the gaming, beauty and fashion sectors.
Launched in 2009, Weibo is another popular social media app in China with 465 million active users by 2020. It is mostly used for microblogging, trendspotting and entertainment. Users can follow famous celebrities and influencers on Weibo, as well as expressing ideas on news updates and social issues.
Main Weibo features include: Content sharing, Chat function, Weibo Stories (similar to Instagram Stories) and Trending topics.
Video and Live streaming
Weibo has its own video and live streaming platform, known as Yizhibo live. The platform gained growing popularity since its initial launch, and there was a 50% increase in livestream sessions in 2019 alone. Many celebrities and influencers film product and service reviews on Yizhibo, making it a great platform for influencer marketing.
You can also advertise by linking your Taobao store (similar to Amazon) and products in your Weibo posts. When users become interested in the products your business is promoting in your Weibo page and posts, they can just click on the link and be taken directly your online store. With 82 percent of Weibo users shop online, you can drive online sales significantly using this Weibo feature.
Suitable for Businesses that:
- are looking to expand their online sales
- have a heavy focus on influencer marketing
- operate in the entertainment, gaming, beauty, fashion and education sectors
Also known as RED or Little Red Book, XiaoHongShu is another popular Chinese e-commerce and social media platform. Initially launched in 2013, it started out as an online product reviews and shopping-experience sharing platform for Chinese shoppers.
As the app improved in the past few years, it has now grown into a well-developed social media platform that connects users with influencers who actively share their thoughts on products and make recommendations. This engaging way of social-marketing has helped XiaoHongShu become one of the most popular cross-border ecommerce app.
As XiaoHongShu is a platform where shoppers read others’ opinions about products, shops, or brands, it is important to maintain a strong brand presence and positive image for your brand on the app.
By paying XiaoHongShu influencers to review your products and recommend them to other users, you can maximise the “word-of-mouth” marketing strategy benefits.
Brands can set up their own shop on XiaoHongShu directly (also known as the ‘Red Mall’). Whenever a user posts content that mentions your product, they can simply ‘tag’ the product link that directs users to your shop. This feature is a powerful tool that integrates social marketing with online shopping, making it even more convenient for both the platform users and your business.
- Brands whose target audience are young and female—88% of XiaoHongShu’s users are female in 2019!
- Brands in the beauty, health, luxury fashion sectors.
ZhiHu, also known as the Chinese Quora, is a question-and-answer website with more than 220 million registered users that was first launched in January 2011. Unlike other popular social apps such as Weibo and WeChat, ZhiHu rewards answers that get the most upvotes instead of ordering them by time series. This encourages users to get serious when answering, which also ensures the platform to maintain and enhance its image of reliability and professionalism.
ZhiHu users are usually high income, high consumption people with a higher education background like lawyers, consultants, doctors and business owners, making it a desirable and lubricative marketing platform.
The simplest and most basic way of advertising on ZhiHu is to use the platform’s Q&A function. After creating your own account for your business, search for questions that are related to your industries, products and/or services.
By answering these questions in a professional and technical way, you are not only promoting brand awareness and connecting with ZhiHu users, but also building a trustworthy brand image which benefits your business on a long-term basis.
When advertising on ZhiHu where professionalism and wisdom are highly regarded, selecting the right Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) to promote your brand is an effective way of expanding customer base and increasing sales. KOLs would usually write in-depth review articles to introduce your brand to the platform while also promoting your products.
Suitable for businesses that:
- offer professional services like legal, education, and health services;
- operate in Information Systems and technology industries;
- are dedicated in providing high-quality knowledge and information persistently.
Yujie Tang is a third-year Marketing student at the University of Melbourne. She is strongly passionate about Content Marketing and Digital Marketing. She helps businesses reach out effectively to the East Asia Market.