With the launch of every new product each company looks towards social media sites like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to immediately start their marketing campaign. The key thing a company must realize in order to start a thriving business in China is that almost all of the western media social networking platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are banned. Also, companies need to localize marketing content in the Chinese language to target local audiences.
However on the other hand stats show that Chinese people spend a good portion of their time on social media platforms. You must be asking that what are those social media platforms and being a company how do we use those platforms for our marketing campaigns?
China as of today has many Social Media platforms and are growing by the day. If used correctly will help your products to reach new heights. Let’s check out the top ten social networking websites in China.
WeChat is a one stop solution for all of the messaging needs developed by a company called Tencent. The app has much more to offer then just messaging features, including games, shopping, financial services (paying and receiving). Believe us when we say the chat has everything you might need. So much so that user never have to leave the app and can do almost everything they need from their smartphone. Which is why this app has risen to be China’s most used application.
For you to understand better, imagine a mix of Facebook, Instagram, Skype and Whatsapp. On top of that WeChat has millions of third party application support.
WeChat caters to mainly two different types of accounts. Firstly, individual user accounts and secondly, businesses, who can use their accounts to stay in contact with customers and post marketing contents. Businesses can even attach CRM features to their accounts. On top of that WeChat creates a personalized experience for each customer based on their saved data. WeChat has a bunch of advertising features which give businesses further incentives to use this platform for their own growth.
Today WeChat has over a billion active users, and is being used for a multitude of reasons including, flight booking, shopping, taxes, money transfer, and many more
WeChat has a QR code system which is apparently the most used paying system in China. By scanning a QR Code you are allowed to pay through your WeChat wallet.
If you are a business all of the above features will allow you to gain popularity really fast, if used correctly of course.
Weibo is the Twitter of China. It is a micro blogging platform. Since the character limitation it is quite similar to twitter and is one of the most used platforms in China, nearing around 500 million users. With this app the users can add photos, videos and like twitter a limited text. Just like twitter users can read, reply and share a post of a user without being followed back.
Amongst its most common uses is marketing, which attracts a lot of businesses to this app. Weibo has around 500 million users with a growth rate of 100 million users in 2018 alone. Making it a massive market that companies cannot just ignore.
Because Weibo has become a blogging website, it has now become an information hub for consumers. Meaning users now come ad rate products in terms of their usability and whatnot. Celebrities have accounts to interact with their fans and followers. This has led to the formation of KOLs in China (Key Opinion Leaders). This trend has become so common that many KOLs do multiple promotions in one day. Many companies send over free sample of their products to these KOLs to enhance their product image and put themselves in the spotlight.
Other than this companies create their own pages to be able to interact with their customers directly. This also allows companies to create hashtags (a common marketing strategy) for their products. This makes Weibo one of the most incredible marketing channels in the country.
This is another of Tencent Production. Just like WeChat it offer users multiple services like music, shopping, micro blogging, movies, group chats, etc.
The difference between WeChat and QQ is that QQ does not require a number to be registered and its desktop version incredibly popular with white collar workers and prior to WeChat this was the most used communications app. While today QQ is the most used communication app in terms of corporate users but its users are relatively low in age.
Even with very high competition from WeChat QQ has more than 800 million users (according to Tencent). Making this another huge marketing hub that companies cannot miss.
With QQ businesses can open an organization account, called Qzone. Before the advent of WeChat this was the most popular advertising channel in China. On top of that Tencent offers a service where you pay them a certain amount and they create advertising content for you and then have it published in different platforms in QQ such as Popups, banners, etc.
However it is important to know that despite the high amount of users the capabilities of QQ is still limited. Since its main users are from low tier cities and they mainly target low age audiences with not a high amount of purchasing power, luxury and expensive items are not advertised in this application. Even though it is a powerful advertisement tool it might not be the best advertisement platform for you.
This is the top video content app out there in China. Despite its gradual falling behind its competition. Still it is the largest video content app out there and is most commonly referred to as the YouTube of China.
Though being called the YouTube of China it is quite different in the sense that Youku contains more formal content as compared to individually creat4ed content on YouTube. Also users can stream and download movies and videos on Youku
With around 600 million users and around a massive 800 million views per day it is a massive opportunity for companies to target audiences if you already have or intend to invest in video content. To assist companies Youku offers analytic tools to help companies raise views. Providing information such as demographic location, browsing technology, and so on.
To better aid this process they also allow advertisement in the form of banner ads, texts, in-stream advertisement, pause ads, survey ads, etc. making it a very effective tool. Though Youku falling behind competition is an important aspect and one must look more clearly at the market share of these companies before investing into it. The other valid competitions are IQiYi, Tencent Video
Baidu is the largest search engine company in China. This is mainly a discussion forum where users search their desired discussion through a search bar using key words. Hosting discussions on every topic imaginable, making it another crucial digital marketing platform. Users create different Tiebas (discussions/post) and then moderate the discussion.
To understand Baidu better think of it as more of a Chinese Reddit with Tiebas being your Subreddits. Forums can be popular nu the problem with them is that since they are open source they get very ugly and vulgar very quickly if the users get the slightest hint of you using the platform for advertising purposes.
With over 500 million users Baidu is the most important search engine in China. Businesses can create their own content and target specific groups. Companies can create a number of topics and engage with users to know what the consumer market is looking for. Making it ideal to know the landscape and produce a produce that better fits the needs of the customers.
Using this platform productively and effectively will create an effective demand for the product without even having to pay for your marketing campaign. Although this is a great tool for businesses to have brand awareness and is a great tool for collecting feedback and required updates this platform has limited capabilities when it comes to marketing campaigns, mainly because of the users being anti-campaign oriented.
Douban is quite different from the rest of the platforms in the sense that it is only specific to expressing your lifestyle. You see multitude of posts discussing favorite books, must watch movies and everyday music, etc. this causes Douban t become an ever shifting landscape causing trends to emerge and die off relatively quickly. This also means users follow other users and keep themselves connected to the latest trends.
Douban has features that allow you to book tickets for concerts, movies, etc. it also has its own radio station which has a magnitude of streams on it (keeping viewers interested).
Compared to other platforms Douban has relatively low viewers (250 million) and are mainly for high tier cities. With its ever changing demographic this is an extremely good for promoting culturally rich products. For business in the arts Douban is a must.
Douban is not much into the advertising game. It is apparent because Douban only offers banner ads. However they allow brands to create their own specific page where they can keep connected with their fans and consumers.
Because of the very essence of this platform users come here for reviews and ratings of products. Though this is an opportunity for brands to improve their ratings but, they must be careful as Chinese users are really aggravated by forced marketing. On top of that brands can create events on their pages and allow people to come together on an event. This is usually the case in the case of a new product launch. Giving the company a chance to interact with both loyal consumers and new potential consumes. Douban is another great platform to hear consumer feedback.
Zhihu is more like a Chinese version of Quora. This mainly involves questions and answers. Although it started off similar to Quora but today it has become much more with so many more users with thousands of up votes and comments on a single question. But unlike Quora Zhihu posts can be over five thousand words with the going into little intrinsic details of the topic.
Zhihu users can also start their own posts unlike Quora. With this many people tip the writers and allow them a chance to earn money. They usually tip the money using WeChat wallet.
The users in this platform are highly educated and wealthier. Although the user base is quite small somewhat close to 100 million. But this is a very attractive market to all of the company’s based in China. Mainly because many people turn to Zhihu when they are asked to make a complex purchase decision.
If you are a Google user you know how many times Quora appears in your search result. The same goes for Zhihu on Baidu in China. Both of the websites have tremendous respect on their respective search engines. Creating a discussion on your brand and providing users with useful searches increases your chances of being in the search engines
This platform is not good for marketing in the traditional way. But on the other hand providing useful information about your brand to the consumers will increase your brand awareness. However, one thing must be kept in mind, do not go overboard on the sell idea. Instead create discussions to ether crate brand awareness or to gather customer insights on their needs from similar products. Because the Chinese discussion forums are hard on overselling companies.
A way to bypass this problem is to post your content through KOLs. They might not be the influencers in the right sense but they do have a massive following and a good search engine acceptance rate. On the other hand this is an ideal platform for B2B sales who have complex products to sell. This is especially ideal for situations in which the customer needs a great set of information because making that purchase decision.
This platform was originally created to gather people’s feedback on restaurants and other services so that people have a reference point before choosing their next outing location. To put it in simple terms this is basically the yelp of China. However after merging with a similar service provider, Meituan, Dianping became much more than what it was intended for.
Now users can order food directly from the app, purchase coupons, book tickets or participate in group bulk buying. With the advent of such feature Dianping gain so much popularity that now it processes around 20 million orders daily.
Now this platform is not limited to restaurant. You can now review gyms, hotels, bars, spas, and so on. In this platform there are a number of photos uploaded from different angles under different lightning to give you a better idea of what to expect at the restaurant. Making it the ultimate review site in China, primarily for the food and beverages industry.
Dianping is now the largest review service in China with a high focus on restaurants (other services are also included though). As currently standards of living in China are increasing, expectation for good services is also skyrocketing, with this the popularity of Dianping is also skyrocketing.
Their main revenue comes from advertising and doing promotional offers for businesses. These services enable businesses to target customers and be able to boost their profits.
This is the first app that brought photo editors to the market. Users simply uploaded this app and were able to edit their photos to make them appear more appealing. So much so that almost every selfie taken in China undergo this process.
It has long been planning to become a more social media platform oriented app. This is a really good opportunity for marketers all around China and are since waiting eagerly for this to happen. Meitu has around 450 million users with almost eighty percent of them being females. Making it great for marketing of female oriented products.
On top of that Meitu offers marketing for applications. Since its update Meitu has shown some impressive statistics. Since is successful launch all applications focusing on female oriented products must keep an eye out for this. Also since this is a new platform all businesses will be able to start on a level playing field. A really intriguing prospect for applications just starting out in China
This is the number one dating app in China. It also includes a messaging app, so much so that it is the third largest messaging app. Just after WeChat and QQ. This is a direct clone of the famous dating app we all know as tinder. This app allows you to connect to strangers on the basis of interests and location.
They also offer fun features like get to know you games. Making ice breaking really fun.
Tantan’s greatest sources of revenue comes from its advertisement. Advertisement can target customers on the base of their location. On top of that Tantan has the data for their customers including their interests through which they optimize their advertisement suggestions. By the help of this they can advertise your application to yield greater results.
All of this combined makes Tantan a very powerful tool for advertisement. It doesn’t offer much relatively to other social media platforms but it sure makes the list.
These are the top 10 social media websites in China which will help you in advertising your product. However, this is not the complete list of social media platforms. So before making the investment be sure to do your research and find the perfect fit for yourself. There is no doubt that there are significant barriers to entry in the Chinese market, making it a long tedious task, however it does payoff in the end.
I hope this article helped you in learning a bit more about the Chinese social media platform and will help you in making a decision.