Reach China’s consumers through Word of Mouth marketing from influencers.
What is influencer marketing in China?
Influencer, or KOL, is an important medium between brands and consumers in China. To Chinese consumers, WOM (Word of Mouth) is a decisive factor during the evaluation of a brand, product or service. In fact, 20% – 50% of their purchasing decisions are influenced by WOM. They see influencers as a manifestation of WOM marketing and placing their trust in them to shape their purchasing decision.
Influencer marketing is a way to reach massive Chinese consumers in their everyday life. It might not bring sales conversion right away, but it is the perfect medium to build reputation and brand awareness. For example, new brands or product launch can raise awareness via product reviews and invited testing from KOLs.
Key elements to a successful influencer marketing campaign in China
/ Understanding of the local KOL business
Different from other regions where many influencers working independently, KOLs in China are mostly managed by agencies. Regardless of the tier level, communications are usually made through their representatives. Due to this characteristic, a Win-win partnership (zero cash incentives) is less common in the influencer marketing industry in China.
/ Importance of demographics over the number of followers
Followers’ number and engagement rate are not the most important metrics when it comes to selecting the right influencer in China. Instead, you should do so based on the style of the KOL and their audience characteristics. As each influencer appeals to a specific demographic and lifestyle group, it is easier for the brands to reach and engage with their target market.
Brands also need to be aware that many common metrics employed in western social media platforms are actually not visible to the public in China’s case. Metrics also varies from platforms to platforms, the following are some examples.
. WeChat – Article Reads
. Weibo – Number of Followers
. Little Red Book – Number of Views
. Douyin/TikTok – Virality
/ KOLs are also picky about the brands they collaborate with
Influencer marketing in China is a two-way street. As the influencers are regarded as the authority in their area of expertise and are perceived to be trustworthy, they are more selective when receiving invitations from the brand. Choosing a brand with a doubtful reputation will adversely affect the KOL’s credibility. In fact, the famous Chinese KOL Li Jiaqi (also known as the ‘Lipstick King’) has promoted counterfeit seafood, which caused public concern.
/ Influencers know their own audience the best
The KOLs know their audience thoroughly, hence, it’s important to give them the freedom to create their own content. A good influencer marketing strategy will ensure that the KOLs understand all the correct information about the brand/product, but at the same time giving them the flexibility to adjust their content according to their style.
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