SERIES: Chinese Social Media 101

Our blog series on Connecting Australia and China ended last week but there’s still so much to explore around doing business in China. Over the past two months, we’ve looked at China's relationship with foreign products, organisations that can help you do business with China, tips on Chinese business etiquette, big companies that tried and failed to conquer the Chinese market and the possible reasons behind their failures. If you’ve read our previous posts, we hope the the Chinese market isn’t as mysterious as before.

Understanding the market and knowing your audience is important, but knowing how to communicate with them is an entirely different story. Social and digital marketing, the kings of mass communication, are very widely used in China, though the platforms and etiquette may be quite different from what you’re used to. If your marketing campaigns are falling flat it could be because you haven’t got the insider's tips and tricks for success. Don’t worry though, we’ve got you covered: our amazing Marketing Officer Jasmine will be writing a series of blog posts on Chinese social and digital marketing, showcasing the various platforms and explaining how to make the most of them.

As many of you know, any knowledge of social media you might have in Australia, the US or Europe does not apply to China. Both Google and Facebook are unavailable there and Twitter is nowhere near as popular as it is in other countries. Instead, WeChat, with its 800 million monthly active users, is the most popular social media platform among Chinese populations in China and abroad. A very marketing friendly app, you can easily use it to popularise your brand and target specific customer groups. However, do be careful as it also has a few strict rules and breaking them can get you banned.

Rather than Twitter, Chinese social media users prefer Weibo. It is very similar to Twitter but with some unique Chinese elements, like “red envelopes” (giving money as a sign of good luck) and “fan services” (regular giveaways for subscribers). The most common way of promoting on Weibo is to become a “V person” (“V” for “verified”, in other words a popular and verified account), and post opinions, ads, or a mix of both regularly. Weibo also has paid advertising solutions similar to those offered by other social media platforms, where you can promote posts and target chosen audiences.

Alibaba (possibly the hottest tech company in China) has its own social media channels, alongside its e-commerce platforms Taobao and Tmall.

Other popular social media and digital platforms include Baidu (the most used search engine in China) and a host of Youtube alternatives like Tudou, Youku, iqiyi, PPTV and Tencent Video. So what are the best platforms to market your products and services and how should you go about it? In the upcoming blog posts we’ll break down each digital channel and share some useful tips and tricks. Up first: WeChat! Don’t worry if you know nothing about it all; we’ll start with the basics and build from the ground up.

If you want to become an expert in Chinese social and digital marketing, subscribe today and don’t miss out.