There are over 721 million internet users in China and of those users, some 481 million are active on social media networks like WeChat and Weibo. To say that social media marketing to the Chinese consumer is important is an understatement. Unfortunately, many Western brands have fallen short in their attempts to break into this market. To prevent your company from going down the same path, here are five common mistakes to avoid.
Putting all your eggs in one basket.
Not only are Chinese consumers very active on social media, but that activity is spread across a number of different platforms. For instance, Weibo (which is basically like the Chinese equivalent to Twitter) boasts around 600 million registered users while WeChat has over 700 million. Not only will being present on all of the available networks allow you to market using a variety of different types of content, but it will also be more effective in keeping your brand top-of-mind with your target audience. Greater reach and exposure leads to increased chances of conversion.
Not engaging enough.
One of the many things that set Chinese consumers apart from those in Western countries is the value they place on customer experience. A whopping 89% feel it’s important that any interaction with a retailer is tailored to them and their individual needs and requirements. Furthermore, 83% will spend more when interacting with a retail assistant. In other words, the Chinese are much more “high touch” than other consumers you may be marketing to. Social media provides the ideal opportunity to make those connections and nurture those leads.
Failing to optimize content.
If you are targeting an entirely different audience and using completely different social platforms to do so (i.e. Weibo instead of Twitter, WeChat instead of Facebook, etc.), then it’s only logical that the content and strategies you use will have to be adjusted accordingly. What works with Western consumers may fall flat with the Chinese, and vice versa. This is why content localization is so important.
Not incentivizing users.
If you want to gain traction on Chinese social media, it’s not enough to simply sit back and wait for followers. You have to give them a reason to make that connection. Consumers in the Chinese demographic prefer brands that offer a certain degree of exclusivity. Companies that are most successful on Chinese social networks are those that offer exclusive deals, promotions and discounts to subscribers. In other words, don’t just assume people will want to connect with you. Give them a real reason to do so.
Missing the opportunity to bridge offline with online.
One piece of technology that has been steadily gaining popularity amongst the Chinese population is that of QR codes. By scanning one of these codes with their mobile devices, users can immediately be connected with an online promotion or exclusive offer, which effectively brings prospects from offline to online in an instant. QR codes can be included on everything from physical advertisements to products themselves, providing a very lucrative opportunity to garner more digital engagement with your target audience.
The Chinese market presents a tremendous opportunity to increase sales and grow your business, but only if you’re marketing the right way. In addition to having an idea of what you should be doing, it can be equally helpful to understand what to avoid, as outlined above.
If you could use some guidance in this or any other area of your Chinese marketing efforts, we encourage you to contact us today. We can help you develop a solid strategy that will get real results.