One of the first questions a marketer may ask when executing a campaign is, how can we increase sales from our social media activities – especially the ones with our KOL partnerships? In fact, understanding Chinese social media and the e-commerce world is not only important for ongoing marketing activities, but also for marketing strategies.
Here are a few things to consider when linking Chinese social media to e-commerce platforms in China.
Will Chinese consumers trust your brand if you are on Taobao, or should you invest in a Tmall store? Is the JD.com audience enough to achieve your first 3-5 years sales plan or should you introduce your brand to a new market? Should your brand be on RED/Xiaohongshu, or is that only for a cross-boarder operation? And most importantly, how can a brand import traffic and sales to those channels, and what Chinese social media platform matches what e-commerce?
Linking Weibo with e-commerce platforms in China
Weibo is one of the oldest and most popular Chinese social media platforms and is commonly compared with Twitter, although Weibo is a much more developed and complex digital ecosystem.
Some of the challenges when linking Weibo with e-commerce platforms in China:
- Weibo is a pay to play platform, so brands or individuals must buy target advertising in order for their commercial content to be found (even by its own followers)
- Weibo is mostly used for news, humour and leisure. However, the general audience rarely visit brand pages – even if they are following them
- KOL marketing on Weibo can be challenging because it’s an easy platform to buy fake followers on, and 75-85% of its influencers do so
- Another reason KOL marketing on Weibo is challenging is due to Weibo charging an extra fee when publishing commercial content
Nonetheless, Weibo is still one of the main platforms in the Chinese social media world due to modern buzz and engagement.
Some of the benefits of using Weibo:
- Targeting is quite precise on Weibo and audiences ages vary from 14 to 60. Weibo is great to use for tailored campaigns.
- Weibo covers most topics and industries unlike other social media platforms who have more of a targeted audience
- Weibo is great for brand awareness campaigns and sales generation
Linking: Weibo works best with Taobao and Yizhibo, JD via Taobao
Linking WeChat with e-commerce platforms in China
WeChat is a champion when it comes to online popularity as the social platform has almost 1.8 billion active users. However, WeChat is a closed digital ecosystem and it involves a lot of effort and money to get successful brand results
Challenges to consider when linking WeChat with e-commerce platforms:
- Advertising on WeChat can be expensive, with a campaign’s minimum budget (moments ad) of 50K RMB (7K USD). There are, however, other “less fancy” ad options
- It takes time to master the design basics because the content standard for each WeChat post is quite long
- There are only 2 options when setting up a WeChat account, and one of those limits publications to only 4 per month, whilst the other option means that the publication is unlikely to be so widely read
Consequently, WeChat is a widely popular platform used by mostly everyone with a smartphone. Shopping on WeChat is now as common as shopping on Taobao.
The positives of linking WeChat with e-commerce platforms:
- Targeting is very precise (even a mobile device and model can be taken into the equation)
- Variety of different ad options for every product and budget (smaller budget equals less visible), as well as an option to create a CPS type of campaign
- E-commerce click through rates are much higher compared to Weibo (10% on WeChat, and 1,5% on Weibo)
Linking: Wechat supports links to your mobile site, your independent app, mini program, JD.com, pingduoduo, Weidman.
Linking TikTok (Douyin) with e-commerce platforms in China
TikTok is another popular social media platform with almost as many users as WeChat. It is a relatively new app for short video user-generated content. Whilst numerous brands use this app for marketing purposes, it is not always relevant to every company for these reasons:
- The general audience is quite young (15-25 years old)
- The platform only supports video format
However, the positives of linking TikTok with e-commerce platforms are:
- Audience from tier one and tier two cities
- Endless creative possibilities for campaigns
- Higher engagement levels of the follower base
Linking: TikTok is linked with toutiao’s jinritemai, Taobao, physical location/store via a map.
Linking RED (Xiaohongshu/ Little red book) with e-commerce platforms in China
Xiaohongshu is the app for cross-border businesses with 30 million monthly active users. Since Red is a social media app that has its own market, it does not link to any other shopping platforms, but it does link to other social media platforms.
The challenges when linking Xiaohongshu/ RED with e-commerce platforms:
- Targeted for mainly cosmetics and fashion, Red is not a relevant platform for lots of products and services. The top categories are apparel, skincare, makeup, health supplements, furniture, FMCG.
- Content is mainly user-generated, in the form of a product review
- High commissions from the platform side
- Red charges extra for KOL activity
On the other hand, Red is still considered one of the best digital platforms for marketers and brands, here is why:
- Red is a top brand name research tool of China’s social media
- There is a high level of trust with consumers and it has the highest e-commerce click through rate (5%)
- Most affordable KOL marketing platform
- Mainly meant for cross-boarded, it is a great place to start a brand’s journey in China
Full RED guide can be found here:
For more information about social media in China, please get in touch with us. Our marketing team will be delighted to hear from you.