With 988.99 million internet users as of 2020, China is one of the most digitalized countries in the world. With the rising use of social media, it has become essential for brands to have an online presence in order to promote their products and attract consumers. As of 2020, there were already 782.41 million online shoppers, and this number has skyrocketed during the Covid-19 lockdown. Thus, it is undeniable for every company and especially fashion brands, to master Chinese social media. However, you might be wondering what social media you should use in order to effectively promote your brand? Don’t worry, in this article, we will give you some tips and advice about the most popular social media for fashion brands.
The Fashion Industry in China: A Lucrative Market
As one of the most lucrative industries in China, many brands are trying to conquer the Chinese market. However, as you probably already know, the Chinese market is way different from the Western one. China has its own e-commerce websites and social media and they often work hands in hands. Thus, if you want to seize your opportunity of selling your products to a wide audience, don’t forget to get as much information as possible about Chinese consumers’ habits.
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Chinese consumers & Online Shopping
If you want to attract Chinese consumers, you have to know that nowadays, the majority of the Chinese population is purchasing goods online instead of going to brick-and-mortar stores. It is easier, more convenient, and most of the time, cheaper. All of this was possible thanks to China’s digitalization and the rising use of the internet.
China is the world’s largest social media market, with people increasingly depending on such platforms to express and share their opinion, ask for product recommendations, and connect with other users.
As you can see, there were 782.41 million online shoppers in China, which means that e-commerce platforms and social media are more than ever at the core of Chinese society.
Top 5 Best Social Media in China for Fashion Brands
In the increasingly digitalized market of China, brands have to use social media in order to be visible and increase brand awareness as well as e-reputation. Indeed, Chinese users are very active on social media platforms and are used to comment, share their purchasing experience as well as give purchasing advice. It is estimated that 92% of the luxury and fashion brands in China have at least an official WeChat Account.
With more than 1.2 million monthly active users, WeChat is the most popular app in China. Even though it was at first a messaging app, the app released under the giant Tencent in 2011 quickly became a vast ecosystem of services. Nowadays, WeChat is a must-have for every citizen and business as it became a new player in the e-commerce industry.
WeChat is even more important for fashion brands as it allows you to promote your brand by sharing posts, articles, running mini-programs, creating H5 Brochures, etc. Moreover, it is the best way to communicate directly with your customers and reply to their questions.
One key point to successfully promote your brand through WeChat is to create an Official Account. Don’t worry, if your brand is still not present in China, we will help you find and reach your target audience by improving your brand awareness as well as creating your WeChat official account.
Launched in 2009 by the Chinese technology company Sina Corporation (新浪), Weibo (微博) is one of the biggest social media platforms in China. As its name indicates (“micro-blog”), Weibo provides micro-blogging services and is often compared to Twitter. However, it has evolved into a microblogging hybrid with Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, and YouTube over the years.
Almost all the fashion brands in China have a Weibo account on which they can share contents with their followers, as well as promote their brand and new collection.
With more than 600 million daily active users in China as of 2021, Douyin, known as Tik Tok in other parts of the world, is one of the most lucrative and promising apps in China. In March 2021, Douyin launched its flagship stores, available for brand accounts on its platform, marking a major step into e-commerce.
Until now, Douyin was just a way to promote new products and popular items to consumers through short videos and live-streaming. Moreover, it was also possible for companies to send vouchers to their followers and add links to e-commerce platforms such as JD.com and Taobao. However, these flagship store allows fashion brands to directly promote, advertise and sell their products on the platform.
Following the success of its e-commerce platforms Tmall and Taobao, Alibaba decided to follow the trend of content marketing and social media like WeChat and Weibo, by creating its own social experience in 2013: Weitao (微淘). As a matter of fact, social media and e-commerce platforms closely linked. The majority of brands using e-commerce platforms have also an official account on various social media.
Weitao can be a useful and powerful tool to leverage your brand on Tmall and Taobao as consumers are able to directly click on the pictures products to be redirected to your store. It is also important to collaborate with influencers and KOLs to promote your products among Chinese customers.
How to use Weitao?
Compared to other social media, Weitao is seen as a digital shopping assistant, so you must only talk about products. For example, you can write short articles about your products, short posts, etc. Users are able to share their experience by giving writing reviews about your products and your online store, watch live streaming, short videos, etc.
You can also read our full article Introduction to Taobao/Tmall Social media platform Weitao.
Launched in 2003, Youku is a video hosting platform often nicknamed the ‘Youtube of China’. In China, Youku is one of the most important online video and streaming service platforms. The unique point of Youku is that it offers long-format videos. Despite the emergence of short videos and live streaming platforms, longer videos are still preferred when users want to gain deeper knowledge, learn about a topic, or watch the news.
Thanks to its massive audience, you will be able to reach much more consumers, and different kinds of consumers compared to social media like Douyin, which is more targeted to the younger generation.
Bonus: Useful Platforms for Fashion Brands
Even though the two following apps are not considered as pure social media, they have some features of it, allowing consumers to share their opinion as they would on WeChat or Weibo for example.
Founded in 2013 by Charlwin Mao and Miranda Qu, Xiaohongshu (小红书) also known as ‘The Little Red Book’ and ‘RED’, is a social media and one of the world’s largest community e-commerce platforms. Over the years, it has grown to become China’s foremost shopping platform in terms of beauty, fashion and luxury products. In 2018, it was listed on Forbes’ “Top 50 Most Innovative Companies in China 2018” list. As of 2021, Xiaohongshu is boasting over 300 million registered users and 85 million monthly active users. It was also valued at more than USD 3 billion in 2018 and has the support of giants like Alibaba, Tencent, Zhenfund, Genesis Capital, etc.
Even though Xiaohongshu is an e-commerce platform, it has some social media features, allowing users to share reviews and experiences about products. Xiaohongshu can be a valuable tool for your e-reputation in China, as word-of-mouth is the main way of discovery for Chinese consumers. By sharing their opinion on Xiaohongshu, users are at the same time promoting your fashion brand.
Founded in 2015, Pinduoduo quickly became the fastest-growing tech company in the world, generating over RMB1.45 trillion gross merchandise value and 643.4 monthly active users as of 2020. Pinduoduo has revolutionized e-commerce, becoming a social commerce platform as well as a consumer-to-manufacturer (C2M).
On Pinduoduo, consumers can discover and purchase products from a wide range of sellers. What sets Pinduoduo apart is its social aspect, because users can easily share what they have browsed or purchased with their social network. They can also invite them to join teams within 24 hours, in order to benefit from lower prices. Thanks to Pinduoduo, consumers can enjoy a group tariff while receiving the product individually directly at home. Thus, Pinduoduo can be extremely useful for your fashion brand if you want to reach a wide audience easily, and at a lower cost than platforms like Tmall or JD.com
How can fashion brands take advantage of social media in China?
If you want to take advantage of Chinese social media, you will first have to understand and adapt your marketing and advertising strategies according to Chinese consumers’ habits.
When are Chinese users generally connected to the internet?
If you want to promote effectively your fashion brand, it is important to take into account Chinese consumers’ habits. For example, they visit social platforms during these periods of time:
- 08.00 – 10.00 (On their way to work / Before work)
- 13.00 – 14.00 (During lunch break)
- 16.00 – 17.00 (After work)
- 18.30 – 19.30 (Before dinner)
- 22.00 – 23.00 (Before sleeping)
Chinese KOLs to leverage your brand
KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) are the best ambassadors of your brands, they act like influencers. If you want to promote your brand, you can collaborate with KOLs who will promote your products to their community.
Some KOLs are even more famous than celebrities and they have more impact when it comes to sales. Many brands collaborate regularly with KOLs, the more they have followers, the more expensive their fees will be.
Contact us to expand your activities in China
After reading this article, you can see that social media are part of Chinese people’s lives. Thus, it is an excellent marketing tool for fashion brands to grow their awareness and become viral. Our agency can help you create your Official accounts on social media, run Paid Advertising Campaigns, Content creation, and so on. So, if you want to know more about social media in China, do not hesitate to contact us.