Social Media in China
China has the largest population of Internet users in the world — 731 million by December 2016 (according to the 2016 Statistical Report on Internet Development in China) — which is more than double the entire population of the United States.
The social media industry in China is growing explosively and largely independent from international markets. Most users on platforms like WeChat and Sina Weibo are Chinese speakers; most posts are written in Chinese. The above figures mean two things for most companies who want to succeed in this huge market: social media is a smart way to make your brand visible to potential customers in China, and promotional campaigns must be localized into Chinese culture.
The majority of social media users in China use WeChat and/or Sina Weibo (weibo is Chinese for microblogging). Sina Weibo is an integrated media platform that works like a cross between Facebook and Twitter, providing its users both traditional social media functions and business and shopping tools like advertisements, special promotions, and consumer communities. With over 300 million monthly users, Sina has a fundamentally open platform: a user’s posts are shared with the public unless otherwise designated, making it a perfect medium for businesses to attract followers and promote their products.
WeChat has the kind of life integration that Amazon and Google only dream about. The largest messaging application in China, with over 700 million monthly users (source: Tencent 2016 Annual Report). it seems to have everything. It’s an all-in-one social media platform, a business center, and a search tool; users can shop online within WeChat or pay via the app in-stores, access public services like medical appointments, and pay their bills; and it’s Siri on steroids: waving your phone at the TV allows users to interact with a variety of TV programs. And it’s created a trustworthy enough environment that half of its users have linked their WeChat account to their bank account. As a result, they interact with businesses far more (and spend far more) than Westerners do with their credit cards.
Working with Chinese Social Media
Given the enormous impact of Chinese social media,
- In order to make your brand visible to the potential customers in China, consider a partial or primarily social media campaign. Since more than 50% of Chinese consumers are reading, liking and commenting on platforms like WeChat and Sina Weibo nearly every day, involving your company in Chinese social media networks expands its reach exponentially. The e-commerce possibilities of Sina Weibo and WeChat are endless–and since many consumers prefer to transact business electronically, you can involve your company in the future of business.
- Promotion campaigns need to be launched in Chinese and be localized according to the Chinese culture. This may seem obvious but could also be the most challenging part. For example, in WeChat, as mentioned before, individual users can get info from public accounts and share with their friends. Companies can take advantage of this feature as well: by registering your company’s account as public, you can interact directly with your followers. Many companies use this feature to post articles and send online-only promotions to their followers. Coupons, location-specific deals, and QR codes are popular choices for WeChat businesses.
If you’re not ready to open an account yet, your company can tap into existing networks of influence by teaming up with other public accounts, which usually already have large follower bases. These public accounts can write up advertising for you and promote your brand.
A Chinese social media campaign can be a great thing for your business or brand. To discuss localization strategies or a campaign that’s right for you, feel free to email or call our experts at Venga, or request a quote.