Social Networks in China & Key Opinion Leaders in 2021

China’s social network landscape in 2021

China is the world’s largest social network market. The Chinese government’s Internet censorship project, commonly called the Great Firewall of China, blocks foreign social networks like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. According to data from Statista, around half of the total population is connected by social media, and the number of social network users is expected to reach 1.1bn by 2023.

In recent years, the Chinese are strongly attracted by live streams on social platforms and we have been witnessing the rise of key opinion leaders. Due to this trend, a lot of social platforms have launched live-streams e-commerce. In fact, if we talk about sectors that haven’t been affected by the pandemic in China, live selling must be one of them.

Cost-Effective Agency

KPI and Results focused. We are the most visible Marketing Agency for China. Not because of huge spending but because of our SMART Strategies. Let us help you with: E-Commerce, Search Engine Optimization, Advertising, Weibo, WeChat, WeChat Store & PR.

KOL marketing: the key to digital marketing success on Chinese social media

Entering the Chinese market without efforts on China’s social media is impossible. Why? If the target audience has never heard of your brand name, they will not buy your products. Chinese people are very suspicious due to the many scandals that happened on the Chinese market.

The rules of the game generally work as described below:
  • Implement an omnichannel digital marketing strategy on social media to boost brand awareness and create e-reputation. In this way, it is possible to persuade viewers to buy your products.
  • Launch a successful KOL campaign to promote sales. For example, during the only 5-minute live stream of Li Jiaqi (as the following picture shows), 150 000 lipsticks were sold.

KOL marketing is an unavoidable subject in China’s online marketing. KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) are influencers on social networks. KOL marketing, also called influencer marketing, is a soft-selling strategy with influencers as the communicator between a brand and its target audience.

It leverages KOL’s influence on its fans’ community to achieve promotional effects. Working with the right KOLs can be one of the best methods for promoting a new product or service in China. But the choice of the KOL is very important because if you don’t know well the market, you will probably make wrong decisions, leading to loss of capital and time.

We are an expert in China’s KOL marketing, with rich experience on how to apply the right KOLs to boost brand recognition.

What are the most popular social platforms in China?

1. WeChat: the number 1 social network in China

WeChat, with more than 1.2 billion users, is undoubtedly the most popular social network in China. It was originally an instant messaging app, but now it is much more. It is much the same as a mix of WhatsApp and Facebook with the expansion of various capacities (QR Codes, mobile payment, hotel & flight booking, and so on.). 

Wechat “Organic” growth

WeChat group: Create and manage a WeChat group, join a group, share your content and interact with your followers. Wechat group community management is excellent to build trust with your target audience and grow your following.

Wechat Menu: Design a well-built WeChat menu that will answer most of your customers’ needs automatically.

Wechat H5 Brochure: Looking for a distributor, investor, promoting an event, etc… Wechat brochures are always a great addition to your WeChat marketing effort. They are beautiful, light, and easy to share online and offline with QR codes. Probably one of the most efficient ways to share your listing with potential buyers.

How Can Small Businesses Make Money on WeChat?

Wechat Paid Ads

WeChat Paid Ads are one of the most powerful marketing tools in China thanks to WeChat’s giant user database. The promotional activities on WeChat are mainly of three types:

  • Moments advertising
  • Banner ads in the Subscription account
  • Mini-program promotion
Example of three WeChat advertising types

The WeChat official account advertisement is promotional content that is displayed in the subscription account in a form similar to the content of the official account article. It includes three categories of advertisement: ads on the bottom of the article, in-article, the mutual selection advertisement (KOL content).

WeChat mini-program advertising is an original advertisement based on the WeChat mini-program and mini-game ecology. It includes two types of advertising: banner advertising and incentive advertising.

The common types of advertising in WeChat mini-programs are points/gold coin rewards, unlocking new features, end of the game round, and game props.

WeChat Moments advertising is a form of original content similar to friend feeds. It is a native advertisement that targets accurately a group audience in the user’s Moments.

WeChat Advertising Guide

2. Sina Weibo: China’s largest open social media

Weibo, one of the principal online networking stages in China, created in 2007, has more than 241 million daily active users at present. You can see it as a combination between Facebook and Twitter.

Weibo now has a mini-program on WeChat to facilitate users’ experience. It prevents users from downloading the Weibo app so that users can directly use Weibo via WeChat.

Read as well: Official Weibo Account Creation, Management and Advertising

3 rules to enhance your Weibo strategy

Milk power weibo

Engagement. Challenges, contests, and games are the best way to increase the engagement rate of this platform, so try to be innovative and create something that is really interesting for your Chinese audience. 

Focus on quality. Visual content is fundamental to gaining the attention of Weibo users. Videos and grid posts with nine images are the favorite kinds of formats. In addition, rather than publish low-quality posts every day,  you should create attractive posts twice a week and, then, sponsoring them. 

KOL marketing. Unlike WeChat, Weibo is an open social media platform, ideal for mass marketing. That’s why it is also one of the most important platforms for KOL marketing. Almost all the celebrities and KOLs that target the Chinese market have their official account on Weibo.

3. Xiaohongshu: a social media and e-commerce platform

Little Red Book Agency

Xiaohongshu, also known as RED, literally little red book in Chinese,  is a social media and e-commerce platform now. It was created as a user-generated content community where users share their experiences and give suggestions about which product to buy, especially for fashion and cosmetic products.

It was founded in Shanghai in 2013. In Xiaohongshu, users can also mark their life moments in the form of short videos, pictures, and texts. By 2020, the number of users has exceeded 300 million and is continuing to grow rapidly, of which 70% are born after the 1990s. Most of its users are females living mainly in first- and second-tier cities. In terms of provinces, Guangdong Province has the highest proportion.

Thus, the platform has a high CR, and users are loyal to their communities gathered by certain KOL on the platform. As there are more and more users on the platform, RED started to integrate e-commerce within social media.

5 tips for your marketing strategy on RED

Open your official account to promote your brand. Your account can be optimized in a way similar to a website with SEO.

  1. Look for the new trendy tags and hot topics for your specific kind of product, use them and create a tag for your brand. In this way, you can become visible with the trendy tags and let users use your brand’s tag to promote your brand.  
  2. Invest in the paid advertisement to boost your account and eCommerce store. You can buy different types of display ads and link them to your online store, H5 pages, and posts (called “notes”). You can also gain the attention of the fans through lucky draws.
  3. Interact with fans. They really like when you let them feel special reposting their notes in your official brand accounts or rewards them with special treatments.
  4. Use different kinds of content: tutorials, before and after, seasonal shopping guides, anecdotes, fitting rooms. Above all, invest in a specific kind of format in 2021: the video. Short videos and live streaming are becoming extremely powerful nowadays. Not by chance, RED implemented the video channel in 2021.
  5. Collaborate with KOLs and Key Opinion Consumers. KOCs are like micro-influencers, collaborate with a lot of them can be more convenient since users see more natural their “promotional” post.

How to work with KOLs in China

Indeed, as the Chinese are highly connected by social networks in China, KOL marketing is a powerful tool for a successful marketing campaign. It is also due to this reason, there are too many choices and not every initiative can lead to success. Here are some tips for your cooperation with a KOLs on social media in China:

  • Choose a KOL or celebrity suitable for your product.
  • Better to work with more little KOLs than one big star for an SME
  • Be careful with fake KOL traffic data
  • If you are not sure, let professional marketing groups help you
Several endorsements on Weibo by DIlireba 迪丽热巴 (Celebrity in China)

I know you must be wondering which KOLs and celebrities are the most favored in China. How to combine China’s social platforms with KOL marketing? What are the e-commerce trends that are taking place in China right now?

Those questions are not easy, but our rich experiences, with numerous customers just like your company who want to enter the Chinese market, can help you work out an efficient marketing plan.

If you have any questions, we are here to assist you to find out the best solution. We are experts in Chinese marketing.

Watch this video to learn more: