HOW TO REACH OUT TO CHINESE EFFECTIVELY

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Consumers engagement pattern has caused a major marketing shift in recent years. Social media has outgrown many marketing channels and Chinese embrace it most compare to their fellow users around the world.

Just which social media platform will have fastest results in China marketing? If you are thinking of WeChat, you might have to think twice.

WeChat with over 800 million Monthly Active Users (MAU), is now the most popular tool that marketers think highly upon. No doubt, its multi-tasking ability and user-friendly structure greatly influence consumers’ life. It is a good brand-building channel, but definitely not the fastest outreach tool you expect it to be. A quick engagement outcome is a result of several concoctions and WeChat is where direct communication with fans take place.

Compare to WeChat, Weibo has ‘merely’ 269 Million MAU, but promotion results without advertising, Weibo scores high. This Twitter simulated platform could easily capture 6-figure impressions and above in any campaign, if it is being properly delivered.

Needless to say, media buy could now provide pretty accurate target audience data with quick results, measurable KPI and enable ROI calculation. If cost is not an issue, this is definitely the fast way to reach out to Chinese audience. However, it cannot do without the help of a landing point, which is the social media platform.

Without advertising, WeChat and Weibo combined effort could still reach KPI, but with longer lead-time and it is not impossible.

All marketing tools are inter-related as consumers are more complex than we think. The traditional marketing funnel system no longer applies. Integrated engagement effort does. In other words, you have to be on multi channels at all level of your marketing outreach effort. Ultimately, content is still the king.

The best solution is to start with on solid ground. Establish a quality Weibo and WeChat platform. A good campaign strategy combine with media buy and social media channels would be the most effective marketing strategy.

China Social Media Insights 2017

Social Media trend 2017

When we talk about social media in China, the first thing you would probably think of is WeChat, a platform with 856 million monthly active users. What else is there other than WeChat and perhaps Weibo, the twitter simulated platform?

Besides the Ws, let us explore what Chinese users would appreciate on social media:

Mobile platforms

Mobile friendly, please

You are probably reading this article on your mobile and chances are your target audience is doing the same. Should you be linking your website or App to WeChat,  small prints and complicated registration steps will drive them away. Make it simple and easy for your followers to follow you.

Reading habit

We used to think that Chinese like to read a lot of text. In recent years, content flood on cyber space has changed readers’ habit. No longer will they have the time or patience to read long articles. Many favor fragmented and condensed topics within one content rather than a long story unless it is a novel. Perhaps it is about time to relook your content strategy.

Numbers game

Content targeting mass market could generate 100’000 readers per feed on WeChat Such accounts usually have over millions of followers resulting to a 5% estimated response rate (non-official).

Niche and professional group could have above 30% engagement rate (a few hundred/thousands, depending on number of followers) since participants have very specific interest and engagement desire.

It is obvious that the higher number of readers, the better brand exposures. If your content is being confined within your own platform, it is time to consider expanding your content onto other social media platforms.

How’s your platform doing among competitors? Choose your benchmark carefully.

Twitter vs Weibo

Weibo, the twitter simulated platform

Weibo hosts 297 Million active followers. It used to be The tool, until WeChat took off in 2012. Many consider Weibo an old tool, but your media buy agent continues to use Weibo to drive mass market campaign as the numbers are still appealing. With WeChat adjusted its adv. placement appearance similar to Facebook, Weibo might further loose adv. value. At the moment, Weibo is still a favourite digital adv. channel.

Tencent Live stream platforms

Live-streaming

First was Youku, tudou and now we have Live-streaming platforms. Tencent has several live-streaming platforms serving different broadcast objectives. In 2017, Live-streaming could be the major trend on cyber space. Check them out and explore the possibility of creating a live broadcast for your brand.

Gentle reminder 

WeChat, Weibo and all social media platforms serve to communicate and engage your audience with the aim to turn them to become your fans and eventually your customers. No one wants to read your catalogue weekly unless you are sure your followers would appreciate it. It is tempting to ‘sell’ on your platform, do it intelligently. Hard selling, drives away your followers.

Simply to say, be a friend and not a salesman on social media platform.

 

Contributed by Sarah Chiang, International Business, Red Line

You have a WeChat account, what next?

Have you wonder why your official WeChat account is not drawing audience? You are not alone. Is it not running well or there were elements you could have missed out.

To address our concerns, let us start from the source, WeChat – the most popular social media platform in China with 800 Mil active users monthly (Source: Tencent 2016 2nd quarter report).

The popularity of WeChat lies on its private interface, which means users will not be bombarded by unwelcome content like advertising (at least not now) and sites they follow kept neatly under official accounts and they could visit by choice. There are a lot of more details, but I guess as a user, I would assume you know how it works.

Base on general observation, most Chinese WeChat users daily flow starts from checking incoming messages, follow-by reading through ‘Moments’ and leaving other content last. This shows that content under ‘official’ platform does not get its immediate attention and might be skipped. Content shared in Moments are well received and score high in readers rate.

Understand how users move on WeChat, indicates that it is insufficient to depend on one channel alone to broadcast our content, unless you have already a huge number of diehard followers like H&M, bloggers or journal/magazines.

Here is a chart (extracted from one of our Live cases) showing readers source. Besides Moments, 50% comes through ‘friends’, ‘conversation’ and ‘others’. What is more important, this account has just 700 fans. Not a lot, but its content generated 35 times readers rate within the month and 1.5 conversion rate daily.

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What to do with your existing WeChat when it is going no where in getting followers nor readers? Let us access the situation with some fundamental questions:

  1. What are the objectives of having a WeChat or any social media account? Think beyond corporate image and consider the possible benefits.
  2. Who are the target audience? What drives them? If you are considering it outside of China, be aware of culture and users background. eg. Malaysia WeChat users tend to be more matured 40s and above; China prime users fall between 24 – 35.
  3. What are the social media goals? Are they realistic and achievable? What kind of support is required? Be specific on your goals. Do not use social media content as a DIRECT selling tool, e-Commerce can still have quality sharing. Content can help you to drive traffic and eventually lead to transactions. But it should not be a piece of ‘hard sell’ material.
  4. The MOST important question we need to ask is, ‘How can the brand differentiate itself from competitors? In this congested market, you need to identify your niche. Consider using a service provider to help you get this part right. It is probably the most important part of your marketing strategy and investment well spent.

Whether you are providing a service or selling a product, think of what interest your clients. If your WeChat is going no where, take a look at these accounts, perhaps they might inspire you (scan barcode). Even if you do not read Chinese, take a look at the content layout.

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Did you notice the similarity? Rich WeChat content. These accounts are targeting a very broad market and have average 20’000 readers rate per article.

The figures demonstrated here should not serve as your indicator unless you are running the same kind of business.

Obviously B2B traffic is lower than B2C. WeChat or any social media, the more followers might not indicate success, however, it does help (if they are alive).

What next if your WeChat is not reach out? Perhaps it is time to get back to the drawing board once more.

 Share with us your experience, we love to hear from you.

Contributed by Sarah MM Chiang, sarahmm@redlineasia.com, Director of Red Line, Hong Kong | China, a Social Media Agency that delivers with excellence (a-redline.com)

 

WeChat functions ahead of other platforms

WeChat photo

The most popular social media platform in China, WeChat, stands out among other social media platforms. Here is an infographics on WeChat transactions possiblities, put together by Techinasia. It demonstrates how WeChat is ahead of Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Instagram and many more with its multi-tasks possibilities.

Besides its commercial functions, professionals are turning to WeChat to develop their online identity and benefit from it. Can you do the same? In coming sharing, we will explore further.

The-Wechat-Universe-infographic

WeChat Accounts Usage

With consolidated functions of Whatsapp, Instagram, Facebook, LINE, combined with CRM, Retail, e-Commerce and transaction possibilities, WeChat is now the major social media platform in China, taking over Weibo.

In 2015, over 569 Million active daily users were recorded. Its spiral value is unquestionable. WeChat plays an influential role in China marketing scene. Brands like Coach, Ctrip, Bloomberg, celebrity bloggers, lifestyle brands and enterprises embrace it and more are joining this platform.

If you are expanding into China market, here are the three WeChat accounts you need to know: SUBSCRIPTION     SERVICE   CORPORATE

WeChat Subscription Account (订阅号 ding yue hao)

Subscription account is what most brands or bloggers will use. It is ideal for Magazine, journals, bloggers with high content sharing frequencies.

Besides its daily content upload quota (up to max 8 individual feeds per upload), it allows menu set up and linkage that private does not provide.

Menu is a helpful tool to enable followers to orientate themselves on your WeChat platform and understand what it is all about.

Some successful WeChat bloggers have been able to reach out to as high as 100’000 readers and thousands of shares per feed.

Specialist tips: Although daily feed is allowed, content quality is the key

WeChat Service Account (服务号 fu wu hao)

Service account does not confine itself with 4 times per month upload. In fact, the flexibility of third party APP linkage enables account holder to set up CRM, e-Voucher, lucky draw, LBS, payment functions. An ideal e-commerce platform with minimal investment.

Besides own e-shop, retailers have the option to open JD retail platform linkage on its Service account (prominent competitor to Taobao, TMall), giving them additional retail opportunity.

Brands with own APP will use WeChat as its base platform and link the APP onto WeChat. It further shows how important it is to be on WeChat as it is the most convenient platform for Chinese consumers.

Specialist tips: WeChat Wallet payment does not link to Alipay, but runs with its own system.

WeChat Corporate account (号 qi ye hao)

This is a newly add-on account type in 2016 and it is limited to corporate internal usage.

We will keep a watchful eye on Tencent B2B development. Perhaps very soon, we will see a ‘Social Sprout’ platform in China.

Specialist tips: WeChat account registered by non-China firm cannot be read in China. If you are promoting your brand in China, this is a crucial step. Send us a note, perhaps we could assist.

 

 

How WeChat can help you grow your China business

With 4 billion mobile phone users and a quarter from China, bringing your business mobile is no longer an option, but a requirement. How can WeChat, the most popular mobile app among Chinese consumers, help you grow your China business?

Before we move on, here are some information you need to know : Typical Chinese consumers’ online behaviour :

  • Once they  heard of a brand, the tendency to searching for information online is almost 100%. If the brand cannot be located online, they will begin to doubt its reliability and value.
  • Chinese consumers love to buy things online and do their research thoroughly.
  • They do not stop at website along, but go into comments from other sources to find out more about the company / brand
  • They are willing to try new things if they find the information trustworthy.
  • They to the same for travel plan, order meals, overseas and local purchase and anything that can be done online.
  • They believe in their social media network comments
  • They can influence sales among their social media network
  • Bulk purchase is very successful in China
  • Smart device is a common tool they use

Why do we look at China market

  • Huge population – if one group of people start buying a brand, a trend could be created without you even knowing it
  • Spending power – middle class is getting wealthier and more disposable income.
  • Goods of desire – Craving for overseas produce/services

Why WeChat 2013

China Internet usage data by Min. of Ind. & Info. Tech China

China Internet usage data by Min. of Ind. & Info. Tech China

807 Million mobile Internet subscribers with 402 million using 3G

China covers 24% of global smart device users

400 millions use WeChat and 150 million on SINA Weibo

WeChat is a mobile tool that provides Facebook, Instagram, Messaging, Purchase on one single platform and Weibo carries a Tweeter function. The two platforms compliment each other – Weibo is a great broadcasting channel and WeChat is now the most commonly used mobile app in China.

Social media does not rely solely on WeChat or Weibo, it is a holistic approach with a combination of SEO, Keywords, Forums, Geo & Target Ad.

Take a look at Burberry WeChat Show experience – shows how social media could create successful campaign.

Service providers and brands with storefront on Main Street or Online, in China or overseas, can now be broadcasted and recognized by Chinese consumers within shortest time. through online platforms and using social media as their brand booster. New brand (those new to China market) might not have the budget like Burberry, Through social media, It is able to grow its business from where it is and take advantage of this China wave – WeChat.

A good social media campaign through WeChat could reach out to hundreds thousands of audience within shortest time and a small budget. Retailers are attracting Chinese to patronize their stores from Milan to London and companies are promoting and winning partners through social media. So can you.

Contributed by : Sarah MM, who is currently the Director of Red Line, a company specialised in Social Media Marketing Solutions for China market. Sarah has had the experience in China business with names like W. Disney, Warner Brothers, Football league, Snoopy, Pucca, ZARA, Grift, BATA, La Rinascente, Conbipel and other European house brands. Her network and market knowledge have helped her venture into e-commerce business and using WeChat as the mobile marketing development tool for most brands. She can be connected at sarahmm@a-redline.com

How to use WeChat to grow your China business

The latest mobile network tool, WeChat

             – How it helps retails to engage Chinese fans

Burberry has successfully engaged fans through WeChat and Inernational online platform.

Burberry has successfully engaged fans through WeChat and International online platform.

WeChat is the latest mobile network tool that many brands use to grow their China corporate business and retail status.

 

It is more than a Whatsapp. The additional social network option, ‘moments’ allow public sharing with similar functionality like Facebook. Brands have taken advantage of ‘public accounts’ to share through celebrities and influencers to reach out to their target audience.

 

WeChat allows sharing by invitation only, which seems somewhat restricted. However, its playful tools like ‘Shake’, ‘Message Bottle’ and ‘QR code’ combining with offline marketing effort, helps brand to mobilize fans. If these tools are being used effectively, the result could be worth the while since the number of users on WeChat is increasing rapidly.

 

There are a lot of opportunities for company who wants to promote and sell through WeChat. The chance of having a successful launch, pre-defined clear objectives and goals are necessary.

 

Within corporate account registration on WeChat, it has separated between two types of function, namely ‘Subscription’ and ‘Service’ account. Both require brands with China registered company. Either account provides more flexibility in communications with back office menu set up and traffic data reports.

 

‘Service Account’ allows brands like Sephora to establish direct sales channel on its existing WeChat without moving out of the platform. It is smooth and easy for transactions to take place. To establish this, there are requirements that company needs to fulfill besides being a registered China company.

 

With the growing list of shops, malls, group purchase channels on WeChat, there are many ways to further enhance brand’s presence even without an official account. Why is it important to establish a mobile presence in China in addition to desktop set up? 10 out of 9 young Chinese carry smart phone. News, information and online social activities take place on their mobile gadget. Chinese netizens trust comments through their social media network. Any brand wishes to establish a rapport with its target audience needs to be seen and found online and especially on mobile tools.

 

Bringing your social media mobile is no longer an option, but a requirement. WeChat is presently the best mobile network tool to penetrate into China market.