In Western economies, B2B companies have already recognised the value of social media as a marketing tool. However, though many of these companies are keen to benefit from commercial growth in the Far East, they have so far failed to apply the same principals as they do within their more familiar local markets. Most (if not all) have completely overlooked Chinese social media as a method of promoting their products/services, yet it clearly represents a highly effective way of doing this. Few Western companies have done adequate investigation of the social media platforms that are already established in China, or the ones that are currently emerging. Here’s your chance to get up to speed.
Much as it is in the West, social media in China offers B2B companies the possibility to raise awareness and build up a stronger e-reputation. Most importantly it can allow them to interact with their target audience and nurture prospective clients. Given that China now has, by a considerable margin, the most active Internet users of any country in the world (2.5x more than the whole of the USA), it is surely time that companies started to tap into its huge potential. Here is a snapshot of some of the platforms addressing the Chinese market.
WeChat – Mobile text and messaging app WeChat is now accepted as the leading social media platform in mainland China (with 570 million daily active users). Launched by Tencent in January 2011, it was originally developed to allow people to exchange text messages for free with their friends and family. Now it also provides photo sharing, real-time location sharing and free phone call/video conferencing services. The introduction of the WeChatPay digital wallet service will be a major opportunity for businesses to gain revenue from this platform.
Youku – Following the merger of Youku with its nearest rival Tudou, this platform now has almost total domination of the online video hosting sector in China. It has over 580 million registered subscribers and 150 million daily active users – figures that mean worldwide it is only surpassed by YouTube.
Baidu Baike – Launched by Baidu, China’s leading search engine, this service is a sort of commercial version of Wikipedia. It allows companies to place online ‘business cards’ detailing their product offerings and other useful information. At least 50 million people browse Baidu Baike on a daily basis.
Zhihu – This Chinese question-and-answer website was launched back in late 2011. Now offering a variety of different sponsorship packages to corporations, it gets 250 million monthly page views.
Sina Weibo (known simply as Weibo) – Effectively the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, this has over 600 million registered users and until a year or so ago was well positioned to be a useful marketing option to engage with Chinese audiences. It must be noted though that, as with certain previously successful Western social media platforms, Weibo’s popularity is waning dramatically. Recent reports suggest that the number of active users is dropping significantly and now only 5% of its users are responsible for generating over 90% of its messages.
In conclusion, cultural barriers and a lack of in-depth understanding of the Chinese social media landscape are holding many companies in Europe and North America back when it comes to serving the vibrant Chinese B2B market. Partnering with a marketing company that has the expertise and resources to take care of this for you is likely to be the best solution. Contact Pinnacle Marketing and we will be happy to discuss this with you.