What are the top Chinese social media networks?
Every day, companies are looking to reaching new audiences through social media marketing. But in China, knowing where to start can become a challenge in and of itself, especially if you don’t understand which Chinese social media networks are popular and which aren’t.
This will provide marketers with a starting point allowing them to dive deeper into the world of Chinese social media marketing.
Here are the 5 social media sites that marketers should consider using when they first enter the Chinese market.
WeChat is becoming the most popular social network in China. WeChat is a messaging app that has combined social elements similar to Facebook. It has a feature called “moments” that allows users to see updates from friends and businesses much like the Facebook timeline.
Along with moments, there is also a feature that allows you to find “People Nearby,” “Shake” (which allows users to see profiles of other users also shaking their phone), and “Drift Bottle” (which allows users to send a message out that can be picked up by any other user).
The reason this app should be closely watched by marketers is because it currently has over 350 million monthly active users, according to Quartz, and over 100 million registered users of WeChat are based outside China. As brand continue to battle for brand awareness within China, more and more companies are looking to leverage WeChat to reach their target audience.
Sina Weibo peaked in the summer of 2012 but it is still an important and active social networking site in China. According to Tech Node, “Sina Weibo claims its daily active users in Q4 2013 are 61.4 million.” Sina Weibo is often referred to as the “Twitter of China” but this is a little simplistic.
The platform offers many different features including music, games, and charities. For marketers looking to leverage the platform, the easiest way it to setup a verified account and use the “Twitter” aspect which allows users to post 140 characters including links, videos, and photos.
That said, Sina Weibo has become extremely spammy so many users are abandoning it. Marketers should be aware of this issue and be sure not to spam users. Maintaining an active account is recommended for brand awareness but the platform is not suitable for brand engagement, and, due to the high number of fake accounts, ROI is hard to calculate.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, “The online TV company Youku Tudou — which was formed by the merger of two former rivals, Youku and Tudou, in August 2012 — made a net profit for the first time of $7.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2013.”
Youku Tudou is one company but two platforms. Youku is the Chinese equivalent of YouTube. Youku allows for users to upload and watch videos. Tudou is a little different because it provides more movie-based content. Most movies can be found in their entirety on Tudou and users can watch the full-length movies online.
The company averages 200 million daily views, and has said previously that it plans to invest heavily in new content. The tendency for Chinese users to watch videos on mobile devices has allowed the company to expand rapidly over the last few years and provides marketers with an excellent platform to display video based advertisement.
According to Bloomberg, “The country’s market for online video will probably be worth 17.8 billion yuan ($2.86 billion) this year, then double to 36.6 billion yuan in 2017.”
According to Synthesio, Douban is “Popular with special interest groups and communities, and for networking around specific topics. It has over 100 million users and it’s most active users are intellectuals and pop culture junkies looking for movie, music and book reviews with around 60 million registered users and 80 million active users per month.”
For marketers looking to engage with specific communities, this platform offers many options, but like with most community-based platforms, marketers are advised not to spam. Think about marketing on Reddit and how communities are formed and created, and that will provide a better understanding of how to move forward.
You have to become part of the community before users will take you seriously and spamming will get you banned. For more information about building brand awareness on Douban, refer to this article, “Douban and the brand identity.”
In my last article about social media in China, I introduced RenRen. In 2005, RenRen lunched a clone of Facebook, which quickly became popular with university students across China. RenRen is a story of first to the market, although after initial success, it became stagnant.
Now, the platform boasts 194 million registered users, but only 54 million of them remain active each month. Although this platform has lost favor with many main stream users, it is still widely popular with high school and university students.
It seems to be the first step for many young users looking to engage with others online. Marketers can leverage RenRen to reach younger consumers and potential overseas students who are traveling abroad for the first time.
Any marketer that is looking to engage in social media marketing in China should first take the time to understand and learn more about these 5 Chinese social media networks. Social media marketing in China is similar in many aspects to social media marketing in America or Europe: sharing interesting and relevant content on these platforms will ensure your brand is engaging and will help increase your brand awareness. There is no better time than the present to get started because your competitors are already present and engaging with potential Chinese consumers.
For a more comprehensive, birds-eye-view of social media in China, check out this amazing infographic from Slideshare.