Weibo Marketing of Luxury and Fashion Brands in China

Luxury and Fashion industry is one of the huge opportunities for western companies in China. Top international Luxury and Fashion brands have had a good presence in China. Weibo is one of the major social media marketing channels that the top brands will not ignore for their digital marketing in China.

Which top international Luxury and Fashion brands have been using Weibo?

What are the effective Weibo strategies?

How to track the Luxury and Fashion brand performance on Weibo?

How to understand the level of engagement of Chinese Internet audience?

How to compare the results with the brand performance on Facebook or Twitter?

In order to find out the latest insight, we were delighted to invite Marivi Avalos Monarrez, the Marketing Manager of Fashionbi, to join our interview on “Weibo marketing of Luxury and Fashion Brands in China”.

“To mention some examples of how top brands have opened their way on Weibo, I will refer to our Fashionbi Magazine Issue No.2  “The Fashion Revolution in China: From Offline to Online” where we find out that the first top international luxury brand to have a presence on Weibo was Louis Vuitton, back in October 2010. And soon, as a ‘Domino Effect’, it was followed by many other big names like Chanel, Gucci and Burberry,” said Marivi.

Let’s follow Marivi to explore more up-to-date insight.


What are the effective Weibo strategies that Luxury and Fashion brands have used successfully in China?

Fashion brands have realized the importance of taking advantage of this social network; as a result there are many examples of strategies that brands have implemented on Weibo. A very successful strategy Fashion Brands are implementing lately is the interaction between Weibo users and celebrity brand ambassadors.

One good example is the strategy from the recognized Italian brand Tod’s, and their collaboration with Astrology Vivian (星座专家薇薇安). Before the collaboration Tod’s brand had only 50,000 followers, while Astrology Vivian had more than 6 million. (Actually she’s coveted with a capital V).

Not to make the story longer, after Astrology Vivian shared Tod’s Weibo account, the Italian brand was able to expand 10 times their audience!


Comparing to Facebook and Twitter, how do Luxury and Fashion brands adapt their marketing strategies on Weibo?

The way I see it, is that with Weibo being a sort of hybrid, formed by Facebook and Twitter, the fashion and luxury brands should always keep in mind the opportunity Weibo offers for publishing different type of contents such as comments, photos and videos. But, as stated during our latest Fashionbi Webinar about the Fashion Week: Brand Battle’s on Weibo, the most important thing is to always consider your audience, Weibo users, are Chinese consumers. It might sound a bit obvious but Fashion and Luxury companies need to be always doing their homework to find out what kind of information is worthy and valuable for Chinese consumers. This is exactly the main reason why they should use Fashionbi Weibo Analytics. We empower them to truly understand what is behind their performance on this network, providing them with the needed insights to improve their content strategy.


What types of content on Weibo are the most attract to the audience? i.e. videos, live shows, images, new products, promotional campaigns etc.

Actually, there is no key formula for this, because it depends mostly on which type of goal you have. I mean, are you promoting a new product? A new store opening? Or your new collection during fashion week?  Are you looking to increase the number of followers, or is it more important for the brand to elevate its awareness? For each different purpose, the type of content can vary gaining different results. This is the main reason why it is important to constantly monitor your gained results.

As an example I can refer again to our research shared during the Fashionbi Webinar about the latest Men’s Fashion Week SS14, and how international fashion brands managed their promotion on Weibo. We found that the post with the highest level of engagement, for all the analyzed brands was the video for the live-streaming of the fashion show. On the other hand, if we think a brand is introducing a new product category, the strategy could work out better by posting images of product endorsement by recognized local celebrities.


How to gain real followers and engage with them on Weibo?

One of the best elements inside of Fashionbi Weibo Analytics  and its module; is that it allows you to see easily who are your real influencers. This means that from your followers base we help you to identify who of them are the most actively engaging with your Weibo account – but not only that, also these “real influencers”, are the followers who will give to the brand the biggest audience.

Another tip is to look after the yellow V’s on Weibo to help you identify the ‘Verified User Level’. In addition, Weibo is testing a new feature where users can pay a small fee to buy influential users.

Weibo Marketing of Luxury and Fashion Brands in China
Fashionbi Weibo Analytics

Which Luxury and Fashion brands have a great ROI of Weibo Campaigns?

According to a study by Bain on December of last year, Chanel is the most desired luxury label by Chinese women. And a part of their success; is due to the successful performance on this social network, as we also mentioned in our latest Fashionbi Magazine. The brand has a smart content strategy with a strong focus on its fragrances, and the brand culture.

Another example is the Gucci brand owned by Kering. After having a slowdown on year 2012, they started a new campaign for Asia featuring Li Bingbing, which boosted their Weibo content strategy to gain better results and create more brand awareness. The end observation was a strong increase on sales for the first quarters of 2013, and a positive forecast for year 2014.


What are the top tips on how to be successful on Weibo for Luxury and Fashion SMEs?

They need to start engaging with their followers, because it doesn’t matter whether you have a million followers. In order to be successful, brands should be looking after having those followers who are active on their Weibo pages. Therefore, first thing is finding out which is the best moment for publishing your content, knowing the right timing that will get you the highest engagement.

Second tip is identifying who is your audience. Do you know if followers are mostly men or women? Which kind of device they use while engaging on your Weibo page? Do you know in which cities they are from?

All the answers to these questions will help you to plan the right content to optimize your digital marketing strategy on this social network, and the easiest way to get those answers is by using Fashionbi Weibo Analytics!


So, what is your next step for your digital marketing campaign in China?  Here is another take-away for you. “I think it is very important to state that it is not possible for any brand to rely only in opening a Weibo account as their major effort on their digital marketing strategy. A good digital marketing strategy is the wise use and selection of your digital tools, which means a right combination of social media networks, websites, and e-commerce channels. Different Fashion and Luxury brands are aware of this and as a result they combine their presence on Weibo, it could be with other digital tools or even with a mix between OTO strategies,” said Marivi. 

Market Me China sincerely thanked Marivi Avalos Monarrez, for your valuable time to share the latest insight on “Weibo marketing of Luxury and Fashion Brands in China”.