With an estimated 300 million users, Little Red Book (also known as 小红书 or Xiaohongshu) is one of the most popular and influential social commerce platforms in China. More importantly, it has also become the country’s most trusted social commerce platform, making it a powerful tool for international companies aiming to reach shoppers in China.
However, getting the greatest return on investment from marketing on the Little Red Book app requires the right strategy and understanding the platform and its users. New to the app? Here’s what you need to know:
Xiaohongshu is China’s Largest Platform for KOLs and KOCs
Key opinion leaders (KOLs) are influential figures on social media and celebrities in fields such as film, music, fashion, and tech. Typically, KOLs have hundreds of thousands (and often millions) of followers. KOCs, on the other hand, are key opinion consumers, that is, ordinary consumers who share their feedback on products and have grown a smaller community of followers.
Why does this matter? KOLs and KOCs are fundamental to how Xiaohongshu works – and to its huge success. Many Chinese consumers trust the opinions of their favorite celebrities more than those of their peers. Others see corporate sponsorship for what it is, but nonetheless value the style or approval of their favorite KOLs. Still others are most likely to trust the opinion of KOCs who are everyday people who appear to be genuinely interested in the products they review. At the end of the day, the platform is where influencers of all kinds choose to share the feedback that hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers trust and use to make purchasing decisions.
Little Red Book KOLs Boost Brand Awareness – The Best Bet for New Brands in China
KOLs are a great asset for companies, as they can generate a buzz about new companies unheard of to most consumers by simply talking about them, and lead them to purchase a company’s products, and make a brand’s products more desirable for users already familiar with the brand. Plus, they already know how to work with the Little Red Book app and the type of content users want to see, saving the company valuable time and resources.
In addition to providing KOLs with an excellent platform for sharing content about their favorite brands while informing users about new products and trends, in 2018, Xiaohongshu decided to make communication between companies and KOLs seamless by creating a new platform which helps companies monetize their social media accounts and improve communication with existing and potential customers.
Thanks to its explosive growth, Xiaohongshu has even drawn Western celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and KOLs from other social media platforms in China, such as Weibo, WeChat, and Douyin. These are opinion leaders who have noticed Little Red Book’s big potential and want to take advantage of the platform’s growing community.
So how do you choose the right KOL for your campaign? Your KOL needs to both be a good fit for your brand and have the right number of followers. For example, in order to achieve a short-term effect with broad brand coverage, it’s best to work with high-profile opinion leaders with between 500,000 and 1 million followers. Companies that need a medium- or long-term effect may benefit more from mid-tier influencers because the audiences of smaller KOLs tend to be more engaged and more attentive compared with those of top-tier influencers. Companies that are just starting out on the platform and want to increase brand awareness are often best served by KOLs with an audience of 5,000 to 100,000 followers.
KOCs on Xiaohongshu – Word-of-Mouth Marketing for the Masses
They say word-of-mouth is the world’s best advertising, and the growing appeal of KOCs (key opinion consumers) has been proving it’s still true. Although top-tier influencers have broader reach, many consumers are well aware that their endorsements of products and services are paid for by large corporations and as a result, have less trust in the objectivity of their reviews. As KOCs are ordinary consumers and unpaid reviewers, many consumers are more likely to not only trust their reviews, but relate to them on a more personal level, and engage with them more actively.
KOCs are not likely to replace KOLs anytime soon, but they are an important new part of the ecosystem, and can be a great way for smaller companies to start building their presence in the Chinese market.
Cost-Efficient Strategies for Marketing in China with Little Red Book
Want to sell big on Xiaohongshu without breaking the bank? Here are just a few of the many low-cost ways you can start gaining visibility:
– Influencer Seeding
This refers to finding potential KOCs who are a good fit for the brand and sending them complimentary products for them to test and review. The brand would get free exposure from any reviews by the KOC; afterward, the company and the KOC could work together to create paid campaigns if all goes well.
– Incentive-Driven Campaigns
By offering an incentive (such as a free gift) to users for sharing branded content, the company can reach a much wider audience at a low cost. Plus, if the gift is attractive, high-quality, branded, and a practical item that the participant wants to take with them and use on a regular basis, it can become a conversation-starter that creates brand exposure well beyond the initial campaign.
– Compelling Content
People are often more willing to engage when they’re moved by a story or feel like they can help others. A couple of easy, low-cost strategies include sharing a moving story or quote and asking followers to support a charity by inviting their friends to participate in campaign, game, or other event.
Getting Your Brand into the Little Red Book
There are endless marketing possibilities on Xiaohongshu, and international companies are advised to partner with local marketing and communications agencies to ensure the best results. New to Xiaohongshu? Check our How to Register a Store on Xiaohongshu guide
HI-COM’s digital marketing department is always here for you, and we’re excited to introduce our Xiaohongshu marketing services: we can support you with all of your online marketing and advertising needs. Whether you need advanced graphics, videos, live streaming or KOL cooperation to target your new customers, we are here for you. HI-COM also works with other Chinese social media platforms, such as WeChat, Weibo, and much more.