Micro-influencers in China, why brands need to care?

China, the biggest market in the world with an average of over 800 million internet users. The country is under the yoke of the internet, app, and all mainstream media and game development.  A context that led to the emergence of influencers, and their current strong presence in the online game.  Big or small brands, there are all working with influencers for the purpose of developing their brand awareness, reputation, but also consumer loyalty.

KOL industry

The question here to perform in the KOL industry, and before arranging any partnership with a Chinese micro-influencer are as followed:

  • How can we launch a successful KOL campaign?
  • How to determine an achievable goal?
  • What marketing budget should you allocate?

Read our KOLs Guide for China

Working with influencers is not a new trend. Without any surprise, many brands already took the plunge as studies confirmed the value of working with influencers.

For example, it appears that an influencer recommends products or brands over 22 more times during the week compared to the daily consumers. And considering the number of people following some of them, like 24.3 million subscribers for Ma Jianguo, it’s definitely a significant impact.

For businesses, it means getting their brand or products in the front line. Developing their reputation, brand awareness, and getting more clients while being recommended more often.

We’ll notice that 82% of consumers surveyed for the same study confirmed the influence of KOLs on their consumption behavior. And that they would be highly likely to listen to the advice and recommendations of influencers.

Although some people and marketers believe that doing marketing through influencer partnerships is a fading trend, we should not forget the exponential growth of China’s middle class and the incredible development of online media among the young generation.

Jackpot with China’s growing middle class and the development of influencer marketing

Over the last decade, China experienced massive growth in China’s middle class which has brought a very fast social and economic transformation of the country. And more than that, it appears according to some research that “more than 75% of China’s urban consumers will earn 60,000 to 229,000 RMB (between $9,000 to $34,000) a year by 2022”.

Furthermore, recent studies show that China’s “post-90s generation” is more likely to do some research about any products or services before making any purchase decision, compared to older generations.  The new generation tends also to look more and more for niche brands and maintaining loyalty to brands they trust.

Therefore, for any businesses willing to target the growing middle-class in China, working with influencers will definitely be worth the shot to achieve your marketing goals.

And whether you choose to work with celebrity influencers or micro-influencers (non-celebrities with the impact to reach a large audience), it’s still important to understand if creating a partnership with influencers would be right for your brand and business.

For example, you’re not going to do a partnership with a famous Chinese influencer specialized in makeup content while aiming to promote your new control valve for the petrochemical industry…

Micro-influencers tend to attract followers within niche areas of interest. Contrary to celebrity influencers, micro-influencers often share their opinions through the expression of a passion for a specific interest instead of money.

Therefore, if you haven’t already tried influencer marketing, be sure that there are good opportunities to find the right influencer that will help you enhance your brand.

Back to the three questions.

Does my brand match the interest domain that a micro-influencer could incorporate in their daily interaction with their fans?

You will find many micro-influencers eager to try out your product and provide the recommendations you dream of. But it needs to be related to what they already talk about and promote to fans.

As many Chinese digital consumers use social media in their daily life, as a platform to find products and recommendations, brands must be able to personalize their products according to what the consumers are looking for. Any problem with a solution. And in the context of saturated industry, personalizing content and relating to consumers’ daily lives, would be the solution to overcome your challenge.

That’s why a micro-influencer can be the leverage you need. The right one for the right brand can have unique perspectives on brands and can appeal to their followers more easily.

For example, if you’re involved in the sports supplement industry, you should consider looking for a micro-influencer passionate and deeply involved in a healthy and active lifestyle rather than choosing the first celebrity you’ll find. The right influencer familiar with your industry and similar products will always be a good choice.

2.  Are you willing to cooperate with a micro-influencer who may be lesser-known?

Celebrity endorsement is powerful, that’s a fact. But marketing campaigns usually take more than one statement or mention to succeed. Therefore, you can consider incorporating micro-influencers within your multichannel marketing approach. This will allow you to stretch your budget to different operations while being able to promote your brand across different channels.

You’re up-coming in your industry? Why not working with Chinese micro-influencers? Partnering with a new influencer could help both of you to grow. Win-win situation. An early collaboration can provide you the good opportunities to work with someone on a reasonable budget, as well as giving the influencer a chance to grow.

However, don’t forget that less experience means less cost but also the risk of being less professional… everything must be weighed in the decision process.

3. What would be your definition of a successful partnership?

Before considering Chinese micro-influencers, there are few things to think about. As the basis of every marketing campaign management, you need to clarify your marketing goals. They should be data-driven, and not fluffy statements such as “increase awareness”. Figures talk more than words in business.

For example, “increase sales by 12% this month”, but also “expose our product to 2,000 new consumers”. But simple metrics such as website views, number of forms filled out, referrals, etc. can also work.

You can refer yourself to the traditional S.M.A.R.T schema to set up your objectives. They should be: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-based.

But also, after setting up your objective you’ll have to do your research about micro-influencers related to your industry. Your influencer’s brand should be aligned with yours, but your influencer should also be able to keep its audiences’ preferences in mind.

You can start looking for someone to partner with on Wechat or Meipai, and if you take your time to find the right influencer, you’ll avoid embarrassing mistakes that could hurt your brand. Once you have defined your goals and find a micro-influencer to work with, your campaign can begin!

Defining a marketing budget for your micro-influencer

When you’ll start looking for a micro-influencer, you’ll quickly understand that it can be costly. Of course, as with every product or service, you will find different prices, audience demographics, engagement, and marketing experiences. But choosing an influencer and the social media platform that is right for your product/service will be very important for both your campaign and marketing budget estimation.

Cause of the same influencer, the platform choice will influence the price. The duration and type of content as well. For example, video content will be more expensive than a written post with a photo.

To talk about figures, working with a micro-influencer (with around 50K to 200K followers) will cost $1000 to $3000 per post. And to reach even a tiny sector of a market, brands should work with a series of KOLs and create a series of campaigns.

For example, in shanghai, a market of 25 million people, brands should involve 20 to 30 micro-influencers of 200K fans, which rise the budget to 60K-90K USD, without including platform fees that might be as high… it’s important to keep in mind that “reaching a market” means creating the impression, not engagement.

Of course, the cooperation benefits are important for both the brand and the influencer, and it might cut some slack here and there.

With these questions in mind, you can determine whether working with a Chinese micro-influencer will enhance your brand’s overall marketing strategy or not, but also if you are ready or not. If you are unsure if influencer marketing is the right thing for your business, you can contact us and we will answer your questions, help you determine your niche market, and narrow down a potential list of influencers.

If you are ready to start your micro-influencer marketing experience? Contact us now. Your success is our story.

Who’s GMA?

GMA is the most visible marketing agency in China. Successful in our projects, we are professionals in promoting your company in China while using the last digital tools.

Chinese are connected, so do we. To reach your consumers, adapt your strategy.

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