James Zhu
Jul 19, 2012

Five things to know about social-media campaigns in China

With Chinese social-media users estimated to reach 414 million by 2014, Mindshare China's national director for social media James Zhu sheds some light on what it takes for a social media campaign to be successful in this densely populated landscape.

Five things to know about social-media campaigns in China

1. Put their brand-ears to the ground

Starting from strategy to market positioning, successful social media campaigns always revolve around its target audience. Typically, we see brands bombarding consumers with spiels of boring brand-related information instead of interesting consumer-relevant content. Going against the tide, Holiday Inn doesn’t simply feature its services and facilities on their Weibo page. Instead, it entertains more than 58,000 fans with snippets of the various local foods and travelling attractions.

2. Be fun!

The evolution of the digital space in China gave birth to savvy consumers with zero to no interest in taking part in social media campaigns that aren’t instantly appealing or ‘share-worthy.’ As such, Including attention-grabbing content in your social media campaign can morph what is essentially an unexciting product/brand into something highly enjoyable and fun. Acknowledging this fact, Elevit (a Bayer medicine-brand that replenishes vitamins during pregnancy) boosted their image and fan-base by spreading pregnancy-related and brand information through an online series of comic-strips and viral videos. 

3. Recognise human nature

When brands take to the social media arena, they adopt a distinctive human-like character, and transform from ‘brand’ to ‘friend.’ Look at cosmetic brands for instance. Usually adorning fashionable and fun female personalities, the apparent persona not only transforms the brand into a fun ‘friend’ that abolishes the barrier forged between brands and consumers, but it also helps shape the content posted.

4. Speak their lingo

With billions of Chinese netizens actively micro-blogging, countless conversations and exchanges generate ‘internet-lingo.’ Widely adopted by Chinese netizens, words such as “压力山大” (Massive Pressure) and memes like “杜甫很忙” (Busy Poet) are highly popular and are shared and exchanged in conversations. Campaigns that exploit the use of the latest meme-trends and ‘internet-lingo’ increase the likelihood of consumers taking to the campaign and spreading its messages.

5. Introduce an offline presence
In an attempt to influence new-age consumers, numerous brand campaigns arm themselves with an online presence. However, effective Chinese-bred social media campaigns aren’t limited to the web. Instead, successful social media campaigns combine both online efforts with offline activities. Take the highly successful Pambassador campaign as an example. Uniting the ‘Project Panda’ competition with its Pambassador social media campaign, the Pambassador Chengdu traveling campaign not only went viral, but reached its business objectives by the end of the two-month campaign, reaping a hefty 20 per cent increase in global searches.

Campaign China

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