Reaching Chinese Consumers On Social Media
The recently aired Channel 4 documentary, ‘London’s Billionaire Immigrants ‘ gave a fascinating insight into the lifestyles of some of Britain’s young Chinese billionaire immigrants. The programme was generally very entertaining, but the part of the programme that was of particular interest to me, was looking at how UK businesses attempted to target these high spenders. A great example was a Savile Row tailor who was trying to reach his potential Chinese customers through his personal weChat account. and along the way discovered some of the fun functions of weChat such as “message in a Bottle” and “shake” function under the Discover menu. Thinking about wechat marketing was a smart move. It is a great first step in establishing a channel of communication that is familiar to Chinese consumers. However, we all know it takes a lot of energy to reach your target customers on social media and establish some sort of social engagement. The market potential in China is enormous but business will not flock to you, it has to been earned!
How can British brands leverage the power of social media to reach your target customers?
A good starting point is to choose the right platform and understand their roles in the Chinese social media landscape. Undoubtedly, the most popular social media app in China at the moment is weChat. WeChat has become an integral part of the modern Chinese lifestyle—keeping in touch with family and friends, ordering a taxi, booking flights, shopping online, transferring money and managing wealth. You name it.
Many Chinese companies put weChat at the top of their marketing budget and will lavish most of their attention on this media. Sadly, the story is slightly different for western companies. weChat public account isn’t fully open to western companies, only through some selected channels. Simply Mandarin works closely with weChat to assist western companies in opening weChat accounts that are owned by the brand and can be accessed in China. However, because of weChats policies, this process is often complicated and slow, which can be frustrating for the companies involved and makes planning difficult.
The good news is that individuals can download and register a personal weChat account for free. It can be used as a communication channel with your potential Chinese customers or partners.
Another option is weibo , which is a serious contender to weChat and has embraced the international market, welcoming western companies and individuals to register on their platform. Simply Mandarin has assisted many international brands in setting up their corporate weibo account and complete account verification over the past few years. In many ways it can be seen as the most efficient Chinese social media platform for western companies.
We recommend that western brands targeting the Chinese consumer market to establish an official weibo presence through verified enterprise accounts. Whoever is communicating with Chinese customers (account managers etc.) should also have a weChat account for easy communication.
Once the accounts are established, a targeted marketing campaign needs to be designed to promote your products and services through the social media channels. Unless you are Bill Gates, Michael Owen or Steven Hawkins , it is not easy to be visible and gain an organic following immediately.
If you are thinking about reaching a Chinese audience through social media, drop us a line or give us a call to see how we can help you!