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China is known for its restrictions in related to the Internet and social media platforms. From an outside perspective, one may think Chinese people do not use social media on a daily basis. However, the opposite is true, China is a country where the Internet and social media is very strong. Chinese people spend on average 2.7 hours a day on social media, over half a billion people in China are active online and over 300 million people are using social media sites in China.
As a result of these large numbers of users online in China, various social media platforms have excelled. China appears to be more developed in the Social media area in comparison with the US and European counterparts. Chinese social media outlets allow users to do more, such as transferring money to other users, while businesses can connect with customers through the use of scanning QR codes and following their official accounts. The ability for a company to directly connect with its customers displays the importance of social media in China today.
Examples of Social media platforms in China Include RenRen (in Chinese: 人人), Weibo (in Chinese:微博), and Wechat to name a few, links can be made between these sites and more familiar names such as Facebook and Twitter.
Connecting with Customers
Firstly, looking at one of the most popular social media platforms ‘Wechat’, this is an instant messaging social media platform, allowing users to stay connected while also sharing stories, pictures, and even money. Similarities can be made between Wechat and more widely known Whatsapp and Facebook.
Wechat has over 697 million monthly active users, this represents a huge market in which companies can connect with consumers. Wechat as a social media gives businesses the opportunity to further connect with customers, it allows customers to stay updated with companies as they have access to instant information directly from the brand.
Increasing sales through Social Media platforms
Wechat has a money sharing device, allowing money to be shared between friends while also allowing for people to buy products through Wechat pay. China and Wechat appears to be ahead of other parts of the world in relation to payment systems across social media, but in a country such as China where cash is decreasingly common, resulting in the rise of money sharing platforms such as that on Wechat, this is a very important resource for companies especially in the future.
Sharing, Recommending and endorsing brands on Social Media
Chinese consumers place higher importance on recommendations from friends and families for products. In a recent study on moisturiser brands in China, 66% of Chinese people surveyed place importance on recommendations from friends and family as a factor when deciding on what brand to choose, as opposed to 38% of those surveyed in the US.
Social media platforms in China allow consumers to effectively share and recommend brands and products to followers. This form of advocacy for the brand is well received by Chinese consumers, as people tend to trust friends recommendations. It is important that companies firstly impress their customers and also that they impress them enough that they share positive feedback with friends. Also, if consumers are not happy with products they may express negative reviews on social media platforms, this allows the company to respond to issues in a timely manner and address any problems effectively. As a result, social media allows customers to express positive and negative feedback about the company. Positive feedback results in friends and family increasing purchases of these products while negative feedback allows companies to improve and address issues.
Build brand Image and create authentic user-oriented material
In an increasingly digital age, social media represents a unique way for companies to connect with consumers and build brand image. In China in particular social media users represent a vital market in which brands can effectively target. For Example, Estee Lauder’s Clinique brand launched a drama series, which was based on skin care and moisturising, allowing the brand to be subtly promoted. These videos were viewed over 21 million times online and allowed Clinique’s online presence to be 27% higher than competitors. These online videos are known as viral videos and allow the brand to create authentic and unique content generating interest and brand awareness amongst its target market.
Social media allows for brands to increase and consistently portray their brand image to consumers. With over 300 million social media users in China, this provides various opportunities for brands to connect and interact with customers effectively on a daily basis. The company can generate interesting content to share with customers and also allows the company to interact with the customers in a timely fashion so they can keep followers up to date on promotions. Brands can also offer promotions to loyal customers in order to create a buzz around their brand and improve the company’s social media presence. Social media is extremely important in the Chinese market today to allow brands to attract and interact with more customers.
- Doing Business with Wechat: Today’s must in China
See our latest Infographic about the rise of consumer electronics in China:
— Daxue Consulting (@DaxueConsulting) December 11, 2015