Influencer Marketing in China: how to start your campaign with Micro KOLs

How to work with Chinese micro influencers and why

Big and small brands alike continue to work with influencers to increase brand awareness, consumer loyalty, and brand reputation.  But what are the first steps to take in order to launch a successful KOL campaign, and how to choose an achievable goal, and what influencer marketing budget shall you allocate?  Ask yourself these 3 questions before partnering with Chinese micro influencers!

It’s not too late to cash in on influencer marketing―Here’s why! 

Plus 3 questions to ask yourself before partnering with a micro-influencer

Working with Chinese influencers is nothing new. Big brands and small brands alike continue to work with influencers to increase brand awareness, consumer loyalty, and brand reputation.

It’s no surprise as multiple studies have confirmed the value of working with influencers.

For example, one study found that influencers recommend products and/or brands up to 22.2 more times during the week compared to everyday consumers.

For businesses, this means getting their brand and products in front of more consumers and being recommended more often.

Notably, 82 % of consumers surveyed for the same study were highly likely to listen to the advice and recommendations of influencers.

While some people believe marketing through influencer partnerships is a fading trend, the exponential growth of China’s middle class is a strong case for businesses to continue using influencer marketing.

chinese micro influencers, double 11

Cash in on China’s growing middle class with influencer marketing

The explosive growth of China’s middle class has brought about a rapid social and economic transformation over the last decade. What’s truly amazing is that according to research “more than 75% of China’s urban consumers will earn 60,000 to 229,000 RMB ($9,000 to $34,000) a year by 2022.”

What’s more, recent studies show that China’s “post-90s generation” are more likely to research a product or service before making a purchase compared to generations before them. This generation is also more likely to research niche brands and maintain loyalty to brands they trust.

For businesses aiming to target the growing, middle-class population, working with influencers is still a worthwhile option to achieve your marketing goals.

Whether it’s working with celebrity influencers or micro-influencers (non-celebrities with the impact to reach a large audience), it’s important to understand as to whether creating a partnership with influencers is right for your brand and business.

Micro-influencers tend to attract followers within niche areas of interest. Unlike celebrity influencers, micro-influencers often voice their opinions and recommendations out of passion for a specific interest instead of money.

If you haven’t already tried influencer marketing, there are good opportunities to find the right influencer to help enhance your brand. To get started, ask yourself the three questions below!

 

chinese micro-influencers

Question #1: Does my brand have unique attributes that a popular micro-influencer can incorporate in their day-to-day interaction with their fans?

Many micro-influencers will be eager to test a product and provide recommendations if it’s something that relates to what they already talk about and promote to fans.

As digital-savvy consumers continue to use social media as a platform to find products and recommendations, brands must be able to personalize their products that consumers are looking for. Marketing in heavily saturated industries is a challenge that can be overcome by personalizing content and relating to consumers’ everyday lives.

This is where micro-influencers can be leveraged. The right micro-influencers have unique perspectives on brands and can appeal to their followers more easily.

For example, if your business is related to health and fitness, you should consider seeking out a micro-influencer who is highly passionate about leading an active lifestyle. Rather than choosing the most popular micro-influencer, it’s better to focus on find the right influencer who is familiar with your industry and similar products.

chinese micro-influencer, brand awareness, influencer marketing budget

Question #2: Are you willing to work with smaller influencers who may be lesser known?

While a celebrity endorsement is powerful, marketing campaigns typically take more than just one statement or mention. Consider incorporating micro-influencers into your multichannel marketing approach. This will allow you to stretch your budget further while still being able to promote your brand across various channels.

You might also consider working with Chinese micro influencers if you are also up-and-coming in your industry; partnering with a newer influencer could help both of you grow. Early collaborations provide opportunities for you to work with someone at a reasonable rate as well as give the influencer a chance to grow. It’s a win-win.

Just be sure your keep in mind micro-influencers may be less experience working with businesses and therefore, might be less professional.

Question #3: What does a successful partnership mean to you and your business?

Before enlisting Chinese micro influencers there are a few things to think about. One of the very first things to do is clearly outline your marketing goals. Your goals should be data-driven, not overly fluffed statements such as “increase awareness”.

The best goals are defined with metrics. For example, “increase sales by 10% each month” or “expose our product to more than 5,000 new consumers”.

Simpler metrics can be also be determined such as website views, forms filled out, referrals, etc.

Refer to the traditional S.M.A.R.T acronym – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-based, to ensure you’re on track.

In addition to defining your data-driven goals, researching micro-influencers related to your industry is critical. Not only should your influencer’s brand be aligned with yours, it’s important to partner with an influencer who keeps their audiences’ preferences in mind.

Wechat and Meipai are two good places to start looking for someone to partner with. If you take your time to find the right influencer, you can avoid embarrassing mistakes that could hurt your brand.

Once you have defined your goals and find a micro-influencer to work with, it’s time begin your campaign!

Your Micro Influencer marketing budget

When you start digging in to influencer marketing in China, you quickly understand – it is costly. Of cause, every profile you might find will have different price, audience demographic, engagement and marketing experience. Choosing an influencer as well as the social media platform that is right for your product/service is crucially important for the campaign and your influencer marketing budget estimation!

Same influencer on 2 different platforms can charge a different fee. Duration and type of content plays an important role in budget as well. Video content will be more expensive that a written post with a photo.

When it comes to math, in general, working with a Micro Influencer (50K – 200K real followers depending on platform) will cost 1000-3000 USD per post. To reach even a tiny sector of a market, brand shall work with a series of KOLs and create series of campaigns.

For example, a market of 20 million people (size of Shanghai city), brands shall involve 20 – 30 micro influencers of 200K fans, which puts the influencer marketing budget to 60K – 90K USD, not including the platform fees that might be as high as . Keeping in mind that “reaching a market” means creating impression, not engagement.

Of cause, the relationship with brand or marketing agency and cooperation benefits for the influencer are important too and might cut some slack here and there.

If you are not ready to start your campaign just yet, try out some other ways to reach Chinese audience!

With these questions in mind, you can determine whether working with a Chinese micro-influencer will enhance your brand and overall marketing strategy.

If you’re still unsure if influencer marketing is right for your business, there are a variety of companies that can help determine your niche market and narrow down a potential list of influencers.

Want to start your Micro Influencer Marketing? Ask us how! 

Kate CHERNAVINAInfluencer Marketing in China: how to start your campaign with Micro KOLs

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