Why social media marketing is highly effective in China?

China’s social media platforms present a unique opportunity for foreign businesses. Their huge penetration rates make them a powerful tool for connecting with your target market, and their appeal continues to grow. With one-third of leisure time in China spent on the internet – mostly dominated by mobile devices – getting social media marketing right should be a top priority for any business attempting to enter the Chinese market (source: China Internet Watch).

WeChat marketing

WeChat users are highly active, and make the use of the app’s multitude of different features. In 2014, 60% of Chinese adults read content on WeChat. The average adult user spent in excess of 40 minutes, twice a day, consuming content via the app. In terms of gender, both women and men used the app equally. WeChat users were doing far more than just reading content in 2014: nearly 30% scanned a QR code, over 15% used the app’s built-in payment function, and 7% booked tickets online or ordered food through the app (source: China Internet Watch).

WeChat is a particularly relevant tool for luxury marketers. 82% of luxury consumers in mainland China rate social media as ‘completely relevant’ or ‘relevant’ to their lives, and 58% claim it influences their choice of brands (source: Jing Daily).

Weibo marketing

Weibo showed huge growth when it posted its first quarter earnings for 2015. Monthly active users grew to nearly 200million in March, an increase of 38% on the same period last previous year. Mobile dominated the data, with 86% of monthly active users having logged on via a mobile device. In the same period 89million people used the app daily, a 34% year-on-year increase (source: Yahoo! Finance).

Many foreign businesses have had huge success with Weibo marketing campaigns. In 2011, using Yao Chen as their Chinese brand ambassador, Tourism New Zealand managed to generate nearly 500,000 visits to a campaign microsite and 20,000 referrals. Coca-Cola, Unilever, and Louis Vuitton all use Weibo, and experience high levels of engagement with their posts (source: Mav Social).

Social media marketing in China – understanding ‘Creators’

Chinese social media users are creators, meaning that they like to generate content, compared to spectators in the West who like reading content. A survey in 2014 found that 40% of online shoppers in China were happy to write product reviews and share their experiences using messaging tools such as WeChat. By comparison, only 1% of Western users review or blog about their purchases (source: Forbes).

This is a very welcome statistic for people involved in WeChat marketing or Weibo marketing. Content creation and generating social recommendation are the core principles of social media marketing in the West, yet in China you will find an audience that is far more responsive and open to creating their own content and sharing their thoughts on brands and purchases.

Savvy Western brands are already leveraging this behaviour to good effect, and there is no reason 2015 can’t be the year that you do, too.

(Image source: Image created by cooldesign | www.freedigitalphotos.net)