How football clubs use Douyin to promote their Sports team in China?

In this exclusive article, we analyze how football clubs maximize their exposure and create a fan base with TikTok Douyin.

What is Douyin?

Douyin 抖音 or Tik Tok is a short video app developed by Bytedance in 2016, which has made a lot of talk in recent months, especially in China. Douyin is aiming to become one of the most used applications in Asia during this year. Used to scroll through funny mini videos, it is increasingly becoming a must-have that Chinese users cannot give up.

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Douyin has often proven to be a strategically for international brands in China. Its linear and direct communication, in fact, captures users and holds them in front of the screen longer than other platforms. For a company, publishing content aligned with the “Douyin” style can involve many efforts: short videos must, in fact, be captivating and fun.

One of its peculiarities is the possibility of launching challenges, internal challenges to the App that invite users to join and respond by publishing new content. Often it is the brands that launch these challenges, being mentioned in millions of posts within a few hours.

Douyin growth and users

Born in September 2016, in just a year and a half, Douyin is in first place among the most downloaded apps for iOS worldwide.

Currently, it has 150 million daily active users. In China, it is climbing the ranking of the most used APPs, with a monthly audience of over 500 million users.

75% of users of this platform are Millennials, a generation born between 1982 and 2003 (15-36 years), and mainly come from first and second tier cities.

This is particularly important if we consider that this category of users is China’s new spending force. They have precise tastes, increasingly based on Western trends, and do not hesitate to satisfy their needs.

Why Douyin is important for brands?

Douyin represents an opportunity for companies, especially international ones. Thanks to its original content, in fact, it contributes to increasing brand awareness of brands and gaining consumer confidence.

What sets Douyin apart from other Chinese social networks is the content offer it offers. Douyin, in fact, collects mini-videos of maximum 15 seconds with music and special effects that make the contents interesting, creative and personalized. Precisely because of their character, it often happens that they manage to go viral within a few hours in the form of a meme or challenge.

A single video can easily reach millions of users in a matter of hours. Even considering that their playback is automatic, without having to click the play button.

Mini-videos are the new trend in China. They are particularly loved for their ability to transmit direct and impactful messages, which show the brand’s creativity and which involve users. For this reason, the use of Douyin within the digital marketing strategy of a foreign company can bring particular benefits.

In addition, the boom that live streaming are having in recent times to interact with their fans and increase brand awareness, makes this app an incredible opportunity for brands.

Companies can further increase their brand awareness of Douyin by collaborating with KOL. Chinese influencers know their audience and tastes very well, which makes them able to communicate effectively with it.

Given the popularity and continued growth of the app, many companies are looking to incorporate Douyin into their online marketing strategy in China. Particularly in a time dominated by COVID-19, being able to communicate through digital platforms is important.

FC Bayern Munich use Douyin as marketing strategy- Case study

FC Bayern Munich has entered a partnership with Douyin enhancing the club’s fan engagement opportunities in China. In fact, this partnership increases the club’s commercial opportunities, offers fans ‘unique content’ and boosts its profile in China.

The club launched its official Douyin account in July 2018 and its channel has approximately 800,000 followers. This growing relationship between the social media platform and the Bundesliga side has resulted in FC Bayern becoming Douyin’s first official partnership with a football club.

FC Bayern Asia president Rouven Kasper said that: “FC Bayern is seen in China as the most innovative football club in terms of communication. With our partnership with Douyin, we’re taking the next important step”.

With Douyin the club can be an essential part of their fans’ everyday lives, even in China. In addition, Douyin can use the platform’s creative and interactive features to help FC Bayern attract even more young fans in China.

FC Bayern was the first football club to produce a weekly interactive livestreaming on Douyin. The service provided fans with a deeper insight into the club, thus creating an even stronger bond to its Chinese fans.

La Liga use Douyin as marketing strategy – Case study

La Liga, the organizing body of the first two divisions of Spanish football, reached a content agreement with the Chinese social media giant Douyin until March 2021.

The short-term agreement is part of La Liga’s global expansion strategy and sees the platform developed by Bytedance to become its official partner.

With this agreement, La Liga also goes one step further in its internationalization strategy in China.This will help them to reach new audiences and give maximum visibility to our clubs on the short-form video platform.

How to open an account on Douyin?

Companies also have the option to open an official account on Douyin. It is also possible to request the verification of the channel, which guarantees the authenticity of the profile.

Through the official account, the brand can communicate with its followers, cultivate its audience and increase brand awareness.

Opening an official account, however, requires a rather complex bureaucratic procedure. In fact, a series of certifications and documents are needed, including a Chinese business license and the company’s trademarks, entirely translated into Chinese.

Despite the lengthy process and strict approval criteria, having a verified account is a priority. In China, the web is full of fake business profiles and users tend to trust less and less. Thanks to the check mark, the brand can communicate its official status to its audience.

How to market on Douyin?

Live streaming and KOLs

Live streaming are fundamental in the use of Douyin for marketing, because they increase user involvement and increase loyalty

The close links with KOL (key opinion leaders) contribute enormously to the exponential growth of Douyin’s popularity and influence user choices. Indeed, Douyin has contracts with hundreds of KOLs to ensure that their promotional content goes through the official channels with the required rates.

To be successful on Douyin brands should:

  • Create a lot of content: marketing on Douyin is very important to get lucky in a viral video. Quantity is therefore just as important as quality on the platform
  • Working with many small and medium-sized influencers: instead of targeting the larger and more expensive influencers, brands can work with many small influencers, hoping that one of the posts will go viral. This strategy will generally lead to a higher ROI than working with just one big influencer
  • Select influencers carefully: as exposure can vary widely on Douyin, don’t collaborate with an influencer simply because one of their posts with your products has gone viral. Instead, target influencers who can maintain a constant amount of post-engagement posts.
  • Gift products to influencers: since you want to increase the number of influencers who talk about your brand (regardless of their size), gift products are particularly effective. It’s an inexpensive strategy for getting exposure, and small influencers are very likely to exhibit your products.

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Manage your Douyin account

Douyin is now the largest short video platform in China. There are 2 ways users can switch from a short video to e-commerce:

1. Connecting to the Taobao shop is the most common way Douyin KOLs sells. Douyin signs a strategic agreement with Taobao. As part of the deal, Taobao agrees to invest in Douyin advertising, and Douyin will instead promote the link to the Taobao store at a strategic level.

2. Douyin also has a native e-commerce system. You can buy directly from the Douyin App.

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