China and the western world have something in common. Content marketing and social media are invading the marketplace. Any company with a minimum of ambition has at least a presence on one social media. This explains why social media and e-commerce day after day are more connected. Also, this explains why Alibaba has finally decided to integrate the social experience called Weitao into the powerful eCommerce platforms Taobao and Tmall.
Before deep-diving into Weitao, here are some key figure about China Social Ecommerce
- the market of social e-commerce is worth $240+ billion
- It is expected to reach $£470+ billion by 2023
- as of 2019, social eCommerce in China was 10 times bigger than in the US.
What is Weitao?
It’s a social media platform through which merchants and brands can use content marketing to sell their products present on Taobao and Tmall.
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It was created in 2013 when the market wasn’t ready for the kind of communication it proposes, social e-commerce wasn’t still developed. But in 2021, a place where brands, merchants, influencers, and buyers are very connected appeared more promising.
How can brands Levarage Taobao’s Weitao?
I don’t know how to access Weitao…
Users can reach the platform just on the second button of Taobao navigator bar or by directly clicking on the “店铺微淘” button present on the homepage of the online stores present on Taobao and Tmall. But also through WangXin, a Taobao transaction communication app that leads a lot of traffic to Weitao.
I don’t know what type of accounts are available on Weitao…
- Influencers (there are many subcategories for this section)
I don’t know how to communicate on Weitao…
Like any social media, communication must have an informal sound. You need to be very connected with your buyers, so absolutely need a customer care service that can answer in time at least when users are generally active online.
When are Chinese users generally connected to the internet?
- 08.00 – 10.00
- 13.00 – 14.00
- 16.00 – 17.00
- 18.30 – 19.30
- 22.00 – 23.00
This timetable should be taken into consideration for the publication of your content too.
I don’t know what to publish on Weitao…
First of all, you have to understand why users are on Weitao and according to it develop your communication. Leverage data at your disposal for knowing your target and at the same time adapt it to what consumers expect from the platform. Weitao is seen as a digital shopping assistant, so you must only talk about products (this is the main difference with other social media).
Now that you are aware of it…
…here you can find what kind of format you can use on Weitao:
- Long “WeChat Style” articles
- Short post
- Recommendations of the products and the store 种草
- Live stream
- Short video
It seems that users want to be instructed about the functions of the product, the history, and the initiatives of the brand. For this reason, tutorials and guides are considered content really appreciated. They also want to see the results can reach using the product by reading recommendations and finally want to find promotions and discounts. In this sense, collaborations with KOLs and KOCs are fundamental.
There is another function that can be useful to satisfy the last desire we mentioned. Stores have the possibility to publish “New Release Preview”, which are previews of the new products that will be launched on the platform. The publication of the “Preview” must happen from 1 day to 7 days before the release. It is usually accompanied by coupons and special discounts.
What is the Weitao Merchant Index 微淘商家指数?
Weitao Merchant Index is a tool with the aim of increasing the value of Weitao content. Increasing the level of Taobao Weitao requires the creation of high-quality content. The more high-quality content you produce, the higher will be your overall content value score. The content of Weitao must be original, and the data can be prepared according to the recommendation mechanism. To put it bluntly, it is the level of appreciation of users.
To help Weitao content creators to improve the quality of their content, Alibaba has developed three categories:
- 内容价值分 Content value score ⇒ Score allocated to the quality of the content. A good content value score must exceed 100.
- 健康价值分 Health value score ⇒ This score is useful to not allow businesses publish some illegal content. There are some rules that cannot be violated, merchants can check the management rules of the platform in Taobao rules. A good health value score must exceed 250.
- 粉丝价值分 Fan value score ⇒ This score analyzes the level of interaction of an account. It is comparable to an engagement rate.
I don’t know how to raise the content and fan value score…
The final objective of a winning “Weitao” marketing strategy is to reach a high score in each of the three above-mentioned categories. Not simply for the score but because the score communicates to you if you are doing a good job on the platform.
Then, while there is not a lot to say about the health value score, except for suggesting to read Alibaba platforms rules inheriting content, we can give you some tips on how to improve the score of the other two categories.
Here are five tips to increase the value and fan score of Weitao:
- You must pay attention to the number of followers of your store. The number of fans will affect your content value score. For example, posting the same content on two Weitao accounts with different numbers of fans, you can notice that the account with more fans has a higher reading volume and, consequently, higher content value scores. The concept is: if your article is more attractive, it will get read and it deserves a higher score.
- Frequency. Doing marketing on Weitao, you should not only pay attention to the originality of the content but try to get the attention of possible clients that maybe don’t even know about your presence on the platform. In order to be found, you should post frequently and at the time they generally are present online.
- Variety. The format also must vary. Sometimes you can post a long text. Other times, you can post a short video. Short videos and 9 squares-grid are highly recommended. In fact, users rarely read long articles carefully. It is recommended to post short videos, pictures, or some short essays with more frequency than long articles. This not only because people often have no time to read the long texts but also because people feel more attraction toward visual content. Then, you have more chances to attract new fans with visual content than with articles. To summarize, articles have more the objective to nurture your audience, short video, and beautiful images to attract new followers.
- Analyze the preferences of the fans. You need to understand the shortcomings of the content you publish. Continuous optimization is the only way to produce content that fans love. So, learn to analyze the Weitao scores. On the Alibaba platform, you can find the analysis behind each publication. The time statistics are issued is usually two days after posting. Also, learn about some Weitao content that is very readable (of you and of your competitors). In conclusion, publish a lot and analyze a lot, only in this way you can succeed.
- Content sharing. You can also synchronize your Weitao content to other platforms. The interaction also includes forwarding. If you forward content on other online platforms, the exposure of the content increases. High-quality content is surely supported on other platforms. This also means participate in different activities offered by Taobao, for instance, sharing content on Taobao groups. Taobao also rewards this kind of behavior.
In 2021 companies should bet on Weitao
Alibaba has always invested in social media in order to drive traffic to Tmall or Taobao. Little Red Book, for example, has been an excellent platform for driving young users interested in luxury cosmetics and fashion products to Tmall. Also, Weibo has been an interesting source of traffic for Tmall and Taobao.
Both social media leverage the influence of Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) to become stronger, Red, in particular, based its communication on KOLs and on the less famous Key Opinion Consumers (KOCs). In fact, this type of communication seems to be the most effective nowadays. Chinese consumers trust these personalities and want to receive suggestions from them about what is cool and guaranteeing quality.
Not only KOLs, but live streaming is a factor that is driving the transformation to a social eCommerce era. People are fascinated by everything that looks realistic, something that they can feel familiar with. Furthermore, live streaming is the window to a real shopping experience, a phase that buyers have missed a lot during the COVID-19.
In synthesis, Alibaba understood the potential of a market that is moving in a precise direction.
It already won the “live streaming” bet… is it going to win the “social eCommerce” bet?
Why should you bet on Alibaba?
Alibaba eco-system in numbers:
- Tmall monthly active users in 2020 reached the impressive number of 666 million. Tmall is the most famous B2C platform for luxury brands in China.
- Taobao monthly active users were 846 million in March 2020, +120 million YOY. Taobao is the most used C2C platform in China.
- The annual active consumers on Alibaba online shopping properties in China reached 757 million by the end of June, increasing from 742 million in the second quarter of 2020, according to Statista.
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