Little Red Book (Xiaohongshu) has surged in popularity over the past few years, becoming one of the leading social media platforms and e-commerce sites in China. With its ability to target shoppers interested specifically in beauty and fashion content, Little Red Book is now seen as an essential part of any company’s strategy if they want success in the cosmetics or fashion industry in China – but also beyond.
In this post, we’ll explore everything you need to know about why Xiaohongshu is so successful: what it does; how it works; plus insights into how other businesses can reap similar rewards from their own strategies.
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What is the Little Red Book app?
Xiaohongshu, known as Little Red Book (RED) in English, is an increasingly popular Chinese lifestyle-sharing social media platform that has expanded from providing beauty and fashion tips to becoming one of the world’s leading e-commerce platforms.
Established with the intent to create a community for female users back in 2014, Xiaohongshu now offers an opportunity to discover new products through celebrity influencers, Key Opinion Leaders, or average Chinese consumers. Thanks to its user-generated content, which is the core of the platform, the app is often called Chinese Instagram, but in fact, it’s much more diverse than Instagram.
As of 2023, RED is one of the hottest social media platforms in the Chinese market, with more than 200 million active users. What is the most unique about the app is the fact that, unlike other e-commerce platforms in China, the majority of Xiaohongshu users are women, as this was primarily a platform created especially for their needs.
More than 70% of its users are young Chinese consumers, mostly urban consumers, that check the app in search of user-generated content, and it became a good product review platform. Chinese consumers prefer to rely on word-of-mouth marketing rather than any brand’s official account or advertisement, as it’s more trustworthy for them.
This is why Xiaohongshu became one of the best places for connecting Chinese consumers with domestic and international brands through official content, but also Key Opinion Leaders, which are the biggest phenomenon of the app.
How does Little Red Book app work?
Xiaohongshu offers its users the possibility to share different content, like photos, videos, and live-streaming. Domestic and foreign brands also have an opportunity to start official accounts, with an option of an online store, paid advertising, and more.
Xiaohongshu platform feed offers shows content from friends and followed pages, but there is also a ‘discovery‘ option, where the algorithm picks relevant content according to user preferences.
Posts on the app are usually short, and there is not much space to use (similar to Instagram), but there are great tools allowing users and brands to communicate with their followers. It’s a great tool for domestic and foreign brands, as with other platforms, the content doesn’t look commercial and seems more like friendly posts, enriching the shopping experience.
Why is Xiaohongshu so popular among Chinese consumers?
Little Red Book has seen tremendous success in part due to the power of user-generated content (UGC). More than 70% of the content within the app comes from its ordinary Chinese users, which is unlike other e-commerce platforms. With an incredible 300 billion posts viewed daily, it’s no surprise. Chinese consumers rely on UGC and Influencers far more than official brand advertising, which is why Little Red Book proves so useful when looking for products or inspiration – helping them make informed decisions quickly and easily.
You need to understand that the Chinese market is flooded with brands, many of them offering counterfeit and fake products. This is why Chinese consumers rely on Chinese social media and Internet communities, offering product reviews from other users and Key Opinion consumers that they can trust more than official communication. This is why Xiaohongshu became a very competitive platform over the years.
Is Xiaohongshu suitable for your brand?
Little Red Book / Xiaohongshu is the go-to app for Chinese fashion and beauty lovers. Its unique appeal lies in its focus on user-generated content, making it one of the most engaging social media platforms within China’s digital ecosystem.
The vast majority of users are female, creating an incredibly competitive landscape where both domestic and foreign brands can reach customers through creative product reviews that offer helpful tips and recommendations to enrich their shopping experience. In essence, Little Red Book has revolutionized how people shop – fostering a fun community with active outreach between consumers who wish to make buying decisions easier than ever before!
But you need to be aware that, as the majority of users are young Chinese consumers, mostly from big cities, the app won’t be good for all kinds of products and services, so it’s best to understand your target audience and its online behavior.
All the brands related to fashion, beauty, lifestyle, tourism, baby products, pets, and so on, will definitely leverage the platform, as this is exactly where their potential consumers are. But if you are a real estate developer, it’s best to put your resources on Weibo and in online forums like Zhihu. It’s all a matter of understanding your audience.
How to sell your products on Little Red Book app?
Before you even consider selling products on Little Red Book, you need to understand that it’s not just another e-commerce platform in China. Xiaohongshu’s main role is connecting Chinese consumers as it’s a Chinese social media app that started with the idea of creating a community. It’s still the core of its content.
RED is a great example of a social e-commerce app, which is gaining momentum in China, thanks to its focus on community shopping. This is why you need to start by creating a community around your brand so that consumers will recognize you, talk about you and your products, and visit your online store because they trust the recommendations of Key Opinion Leaders and users posting about you in the app.
Here, we present some of the best practices for international brands on Little Red Book app;
Start an official account
Although Xiaohongshu users trust word-of-mouth marketing more than official content, it’s still important to register an official account on the platform. This helps build reputation and credibility among users, but an official account also allows you to start your own e-commerce store on the platform, use paid advertising and collaborate with KOLs.
Collaborate with Chinese Key Opinion Leaders
Little Red Book has become a major success story due to the trust its users put in one another. Acting as Key opinion leaders, fashion-focused influencers promote new products from various brands through pictures, videos and helpful tips – often resulting in newfound fame for those featured overnight!
By partnering with a Key Opinion Leader, brands have the potential to maximize their reach and drive brand awareness. The KOL not only has an engaged network of followers (usually from their niche) who trust in what they recommend, but also have the ability to promote products effectively by increasing likes, comments and shares on new publications driving traffic straight from social media.
Live streams or Q&A session can help build recognition quickly amongst internet users. In addition, if you own a e-commerce store on the platform, the influencer can drive traffic directly to the promoted products, encouraging people to buy in real-time.
There are different influencers that you can collaborate with, depending on your brands’ goals, size and budget. Big internet celebrities usually work with only one brand, acting like brand ambassadors. But there are also many smaller KOLs specialising in topics like beauty, fashion, tourism, parenting etc.
You can also collaborate with Key Opinion Consumers, that are ordinary users of the app, promoting products to a smaller number of followers, but those accounts usually have a high engagement rate. We can help you select the best influencer for your campaign on Little Red Book.
Use short videos
Short videos became popular few years ago and their popularity doesn’t seem like fadding away any time soon, which we can also observe in the West. Little Red Book is all about beautiful content, weather it’s photos or videos, you need to make sure that your offer is visually appealing to the audience and they will gladly reshare it.
Leverage the power of live streaming
Little Red Book has revolutionized product promotion by leveraging the power of live streaming – which is now adopted as a successful marketing tactic across China. Its popularity can be attributed to pioneers like Alibaba, WeChat and Douyin who all saw wide success after implementing this feature into their platforms.
As vlog views continue to expand on Little Red Book’s platform, brands have seen an increase in sales revenue thanks to influencers making use of the new technology for promotional purposes daily. Live streaming not only caters directly to customers’ needs but also proves far more efficient than traditional methods!
Consider RED paid advertising
When it comes to expanding your market reach, display ads are a great tool worth taking advantage of. But which should you choose? Will the impact be greater if an ad pops up when users open the app or appear in their feed? Prices can depend on many things – like industry and timing (prices might surge during shopping festivals). Consider all options before making any decisions!
Remember about the right keywords
A successful Little Red Book campaign requires careful selection of keywords. But it doesn’t end there: these key terms must be popular among your target market and spread quickly with help from influencers, KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) or KOCs (Key Opinion Consumers). Baidu prefers commonly used words over rare ones in the indexing system, so targeting mass appeal is vital to ranking better on search engine optimization results.
When you make use of some of the mentioned tactics and gain good e-reputation of your brand, it’s time to start selling your products, which you can also do on the platform, thanks to its integrated e-commerce platform.
Selling products through Little Red Book is great for many reasons, starting with the fact that it’s far cheaper than selling on Tmall on JD. Thanks to it’s social focus, RED takes the shopping experiences to another level, encouraging consumers to exchange opinions, watch live-streams of real products, see shopping tips and more. It helps them make a purchasing decision and when they are ready to buy, they can do it without leaving the app.
Little Red Book is a leading force in offering Chinese consumers the best beauty and fashion products from all around the world. They have established prestigious partnerships with Japanese, Korean, French, and American brands to provide access to these top-notch items popular among China’s stylish set.
Whether it’s high-end makeup or trendy clothing designs; Little Red Book ensures that its users can stay up on their most desired fashions at any given time – allowing them to be part of an international culture trend without ever having to leave home!
Is there an English version of Xiaohongshu? How to get started on the app?
Ready to join the Xiaohongshu community? Downloading the app is easy-peasy: just head on over to either Apple Store or Google Play and type in “Little Red Book” or 小红书 in your search bar. With an account comes an array of settings where you can easily switch from one language to another – though do keep in mind that users content will still be displayed using Chinese characters.
If ever assistance is needed for starting up official accounts, we’re here for you – so don’t hesitate to reach out!
We can help you get started on Xiaohongshu
We are a Shanghai-based marketing agency specialising in digital marketing and e-commerce solutions. Over more than 10 years of experience we established ourselves as one of the industry leaders, helping small and big brands reach their target audience in China.
We offer cost-effective solutions, depending on your company’s goals, size and budget. Don’t hesitate to leave us a comment or contact us today, so we can schedule a free consultation with one of our experts, that will advise you on the best strategy for your brand. Let’s keep in touch!