The first thing you need to do when you want to create an effective social media marketing strategy is to LISTEN!
It is no surprise that China has the world’s largest online community with over 600 million daily users. It is also no revelation that China is very restrictive in terms of internet usage. Google, Facebook, Twitter, and pretty much all other ‘foreign’ social platforms are ban from operating in China. Therefore, if you are managing a non-Chinese-based business that wants to tap into China’s huge consumer market you need to access the Middle Kingdom’s social platforms. This Guide will assist you in that endeavor.
Before I start to detail this journey, the following is a short synopsis of the significant Chinese social platforms:
BAIDU – the Google of China. Search, blogs, documents, slides, images, etc. Over 1 billion users on daily basis.
DOUYIN – known as Tik Tok in the U.S., this platform centers on short-form videos which can be edited with special effects.
MOMO – mobile-based social and entertainment platform that includes a live streaming and online dating service. MOMO’s biggest source of revenue is advertising. It targets customers based upon interests and demographics.
PENGYOU – Chinese for ‘friend’, PengYou is the Facebook of China. It boosts over 400 million registered users.
QQ – offers instant messaging, online gaming in a Snap-Chat style with disappearing videos. Can also stream music, is used as dating service, and has Facebook-like news feeds. Over 1 billion active users.
RENREN – another Facebook-like platform with over 180 million active users per month.
TENCENT – like Twitter, however you can share photos, videos, and texts (140 word limit) and repost (re-Tweeting). Has 250 million users.
TIEBA – offered by Baidu (China’s Google), Tieba is a social network that is essentially a BBS (bulleting board system) where users can search or create a forum (“bar”) by entering a query. Over 1 billion registered users.
TOUTIAN – meaning “today’s headlines”, Toutian is a mobile platform for content creation and distribution. It uses AI and machine learning software to bring users content based upon their unique interests and browsing history. Daily active users is over 200 million.
WE CHAT – a mobile voice and text app for instant voice messaging, texts, images, and group chats. Over 100 million daily users.
WEIBO – Chinese for “microblog”, Weibo is the Chinese equivalent to Twitter. Over 200 million daily users.
ZHIHU – the Chinese Quora equivalent, it is a Q&A business platform. Highly regarded and professional Zhihu has over 160 million registered users.
Knowing the Chinese social platforms starts the journey. Now, you need to go to the ones that you feel would best be suited for highlighting and/or marketing your product/service. You will need to translate from English to Mandarin particularly if selling on Alibaba (Amazon equivalent).
If you are selling a product into China you’ll first have to determine the laws, if any, regarding the sale of your product(s) into the Chinese market – there may be customs restrictions and/or duties. If you are providing a service, again, check on any restrictions.
China is a large country so you should familiarize yourself with the various sections of the country. Using your digital platform within China for informational purposes is relatively easy but it may be wise to get some help setting up your profiles on the platforms you want to use.