As the world rapidly continues to globalize, brands are looking to make it in as many international markets as possible. China offers one of the largest, and generally untapped, markets for brands to bolster their presence with digital marketing. While a firm grasp of Baidu SEO is vital so is understanding how to use social media in China. Compared to other countries, China is a unique challenge due to the countries tight digital censorship laws.
Here are a few vital tips on how to do social media marketing in China.
Tip 1: China has different social media platforms
Due to the censorship laws in China, popular Western social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are blocked there. While these platforms are key in other markets, they’re not in China. When it comes to Chinese social media marketing (SMM) you’ll need to use local platforms. The big ones to focus on are Weibo and Wechat, but there are other ones too.
Here are the most popular social media platforms in China:
- Youku Tudou
Tip 2: Everything is monitored and censored
Part of doing business in China is accepting their laws and standards. That means knowing and accepting that whatever you do online in China will be watched. It might sound intimidating, but for brands, there is really nothing to worry about. Mostly, it means you shouldn’t talk or post about certain topics. There isn’t a list out there of banned topics, but anything negative about China or the government isn’t advised. If the government doesn’t like what you’re saying, expect to have your social media sites taken down and blocked.
Tip 3: Social media is huge there
Social media has really burrowed its way into our culture and society. How it is in the US and Canada is nothing compared to how big social media is in China though. Wechat especially is an integral part of how people communicate and interact with each other and brands, both in the digital and the real world. In fact, China has the most engaged and active social media audience with more than 300 million people. It’s reported that Chinese people spend over 40% of their day on social media and that number is rapidly rising.
Tip 4: It’s a mobile nation
In recent years, Google has reported that people are searching on mobile devices more than 50% of the time. That’s a huge shift for Western markets. In China, that number is even higher. The majority of online engagement happens on mobile devices instead of computers. Make sure that all of your content, both on your social media profiles and on your website, is fully optimized for mobile use.
Tip 5: China relies on recommendations
Chinese appear to be more skeptical of formal institutions than us in North America. Over 60% of Chinese consumers rely on recommendations from friends, family, and influencers within the social network when purchasing. Influencer marketing is big on Instagram, and it’s a tactic that can also be used with Weibo and Wechat influencers.
Tip 6: Social media is competitive
For brands, social media is a fiercely competitive space. Companies do anything and everything to get consumers. Some brands employ writers to seed positive content about the brand online and attack competitors. This makes it difficult for brands who receive negative posts because they don’t know if it came from a real consumer or a competitor. Knowing these tactics is especially important when looking at social media insight and performance.
Tip 7: Go slowly
You know that saying walk before you run? It’s important to adopt that test- and- learn approach when entering a new market. Try out different types of content and strategies to see what Chinese users engage most in. Different cultures and countries view topics in various ways so be prepared to discover that the amazing social media campaign you ran in Canada doesn’t work well in China.
Despite all the differences in social media platforms, culture, and language, the good news is that SMM in China is not that different than in other parts of the world. There will be some cultural learning curves, but strategies that brands use in North America can easily be adapted to work in China.
If you’re looking to branch into China with Chinese SEO and Chinese social media marketing, we are the company for you. We have extensive experience working in China and on Chinese social media platforms. Contact us if you have any questions or would like to discuss how your brand can thrive in China.