Social Media in China
In China, online social media has already linked over 1 billion people together. According to what people say: where there are people, there’s market and market means needs for marketing. So in this place with 1 billion people, marketing on China social media has already become a crucial topic for companies who want to develop their business in China. The question is how to develop your social media marketing on Chinternet where Facebook, twitter and YouTube are totally blocked?
China social media today
Is that too hard to believe that how can a developing country like China own a huge online community whose members even outnumber twice the entire US population?
The data following will help you understand and believe it: QQ, the first popular network nationwide has 700 million monthly active users on it, and 500 million monthly active users on Qzone, something like Facebook, as reported in 2012 by Tencent. And this is only the achievement of one company, excluding other great platforms holding hundreds of millions of users like Sina Weibo (often compared as Chinese twitter), Renren (Chinese Facebook) and recently popular WeChat.
What’s amazing is not only the number of the active users on social media, but also the time they spend on it. As “Marketing”, a Chinese leading magazine in marketing, pointed out last year that Chinese netizens spend more time on social media than portals.
Report also shows that social media have great impact on consumers when they make the decision. About 39% of the people from 18 to 34 will look for information on social media before making decisions, especially for products like mobile phones, consumer electronics, cosmetics and baby care products.
Business value of social media
Due to the huge user cardinal number and critical influence on consumer purchase behavior of China social media, most companies are planning to increase the budget for social media marketing. Compared with traditional media, online social media is no less influential due to its user number.
What’s more, users are more likely to spread the information they get from social media. And this information spread second time are usually highly persuasive because it’s the news from somebody they know. If information from companies to customers is B2C, then the information spread from customer to customer is C2C. And the combination of this two makes the difference between traditional media and social media, as iResearch report shows B2C+C2C>B2C!
Now with this tool, companies could and in the most times need to focus more on how to keep their fans and manage the community.
Use social media in China
Before making a social media campaign for your brand, you need to clarify the target. And this is just where many companies make mistakes because they focus too much on the coverage of the campaign instead of the quality of the communication which is the real value of social media. As to social media campaign, it’s better to let people believe your products are good and share their opinion with their friends.
To reach the target, user experience is the key. The strategy needs to be customers’ experience-oriented; companies need to dig deeper in consumers’ mind, to influence them like a friend; marketers also need keep a balance between social and business.
And there are several steps to apply those theories into practice:
1. Clear target
Companies have to understand their positioning and targeting very well. If not, please find your positioning first. According to your positioning, you can go to those places such as platforms and groups where your clients are.
2. Comprehensive plan
Social media marketing is way more complex than opening an account and posting every day, especially in China who has a unique cyber-culture. A comprehensive plan is thus necessary and it should basically involve the accounts design and establishment, content planning, feedback system and crisis PR. And at different stages of the campaign, the strategy should be adapted to the situation accordingly.
3. Result monitoring and report
Report is a very important part of the social media marketing.
Companies need a monitoring and analysis to know where their consumers are; what do they think; what changes they want to see; what other need they have? And through analyzing and reporting, you will find the answers.
Future of social media
China social media started later than that in the West. Although it has followed the steps of the western social media development for several years, it has developed its own way, especially in recently years. And it is foreseeable that China will continue its social media development in its own way. As a result, the internet marketing tools and strategy will also need to be adapted to the social media in China.
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