5 Trends for Chinese Social Media Marketing in 2018

Social Media in China: Promote your Brand and Products

Over the past 2 years, many new social media platforms have been launched for the Chinese market. These platforms aim to compete with the established social media giants in China: WeChat and Weibo.

With the abundance of new platforms, marketing methods have also changed rapidly as each app has its own marketing tools.

Below are 5 ways to improve your performance on various Chinese social media.

1. Target Customers with Accurate Advertising

Through social media, the ultimate goal is to attract and convert potential customers. With the development of big data systems, increasingly social media platforms promote their paid ads to help you target clients.

For example:

WeChat has three types of advertising:

  1. Moments ads
  2. Official account ads
  3. Mini Program ads

When you’ve determined your promotion goal, such as event or app promotion, you can choose your target group through 6 categories:

  1. Population attributes
  2. Regions
  3. Interest
  4. Mobile devices
  5. Re-marketing
  6. Media types

From these categories, you can choose more granular details. For example, there are 3 categories in Regions:

  1. Residents
  2. LBS
  3. Overseas visitors

These details can assist you in targeting clients.

Weibo released a product named Follower Express (粉丝通), which helps business target users according to detailed parameters. The difference between WeChat and Weibo is that WeChat is a private social network, while Weibo is a public source of information–think Facebook and Twitter, respectively.

In general, Chinese consumers rely on recommendations from friends, family, and influencers within their social network when purchasing. Therefore, influencer marketing is big on Weibo.

2. Market with Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs)

The power to influence consumer purchasing habits has been shifting from traditional public media to individual brand ambassadors. These ambassadors are defined as key opinion leaders (KOLs). To become a recognized KOL, ambassadors must have amassed more than 10,000 followers. They have a huge influence on Chinese purchase demands and can be recruited on behalf of a brand for promotional purposes. Analysys International, a local consultancy, projected that the China influencer economy will be worth over $15.5 billion by the end of 2018.

According to the 2017 AdMaster Chinese Digital Commerce Trends Report, 72% of brands interviewed in China indicated that they would continue to focus on social media marketing, while 63% revealed that they would enhance their collaboration with influencers in terms of product or brand promotion because they believe in the ROI from influencer marketing.

Weibo developed a KOL-specific marketing platform: Weirenwu (微任务). Brands can access Weirenwu to look for relevant KOLs to post their content. You can choose different KOLs with varying influence levels according to your target, budget and strategy.

3. Open a Direct Online Store

After reaching a certain number of followers, brands, particularly retail companies, may build an online store on WeChat. It’s more convenient and less cost to companies. Even in a WeChat article, you can link the pictures or words to relevant products and purchase links. The prerequisite is that the official account opens the function of WeChat Pay, a Chinese online payment method. Only verified accounts have this function.

4. Use WeChat Mini Programs

Mini Programs are sub-applications within the ecosystem of WeChat. Users can access available web-apps through the browser after scanning a QR code or performing a direct search. The apps provide users with advanced features, such as e-commerce, task management, coupons, mobile bike locking and unlocking, bus time checkers, etc.

WeChat also provides a function of ‘Mini Programs Nearby,’ which helps users explore more Mini Programs based on their locations.

WeChat Mini Programs maintain a conversion rate higher than that of WeChat’s previously available marketing channels.

Mini Program examples: 

  1. Make a survey: easily create your own survey and post into a group.

2. Provide a service: The world’s first full English language Mini Program is Hangzhou Plus designed to help make expats lives in Hangzhou a little easier.

5. Post Creative Content

The more innovative and creative the content, the more people become interested in your brand. Content is key in China, where people like strong visuals, stories, pictures and videos. In addition, many brands incorporate H5 pages into their posts and official account to optimize their WeChat and increase the quality of the user experience.

WeChat H5 examples:

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