CHINESE INFLUENCERS || How Can They Build Your Business?

Collaborations with influencers on western social media is maturing, as platforms rush to put in  regulations and policies to manage the flurry of sponsored content appearing on their platform. 

With our recent blog post on the uprising of WeChat Pay, with its astonishing over $12 Trillion transactions in 2017, retailers outside of China must consider WeChat marketing and WeChat Pay as an integral component of their marketing strategy, as China tourists, along with their mobile WeChat wallets, are making purchases in retail stores and online shops around the world. 

Today we take a look at how your business can market your business online to the Chinese consumer by collaborating with Chinese Influencers. Just like western influencers exist on Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest amongst other social platforms, Chinese Influencers are active on WeChat and Weibo - the main social media platforms in China. 

 

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What types of influencers are there in China?

Within the Chinese Influencer category, there are the expected groups such as celebrities, lifestyle and fashion bloggers, groups who share common interests, and Wanghong. The last category deserves special attention.

Wanghong, Popular Online Personalities, are a special Influencer segment in China. They represent the new generation in China who have a plentiful disposable income, outstanding physical appearance, showcase a unique personality, and want to broadcast their life story to their followers. They do this through online streaming of their daily lives via social apps such as 17, Mei Pai, and other platforms. Followers are content watching these Wanghong go about their daily lives, consuming their breakfast, lunch or dinner, and sharing their opinions on lifestyle, travel, and the latest trends.

 

Why should I work with Chinese influencers

In China, to say that influencers have a strong impact would be an understatement. They exert influence on their hoards of followers, who want to mirror their actions and style in every possible way.

Influencers are seen as authoritative figures in China, especially when it comes to dictating what their followers will consume, whether it's luxury goods, beauty products, or where they go for dinner. Influencers bridge the trust gap between businesses and customers, as they provide live, educational demonstrations of various products on their popular social accounts. Much like how Youtube stars create beauty tutorials, makeup and fashion styling tutorials, Chinese influencers create similar content on Chinese platforms; knowing where to find them and how their business process works is the challenge.

Influencers are careful about the companies they associate with, as they work to carefully craft and maintain their public image. An international Chinese celebrity was once involved in a fake promotion scandal where they represented a shampoo brand, triggering the repercussion of China advertising laws. 

 

An Exclusive Influencer Program

We've done the legwork for you, as Chinese social media platforms are not the easiest for international brands to navigate, especially when the internal team is not familiar with the language or the business methods and expectations of a Chinese Influencer. We have curated our roster of Chinese influencers from fashion, lifestyle, food, travel, cosmetics, luxury goods, and more. For brands looking for an extra boost for their new product launch or sales event, our roster of influencers can help your brand reach the right audience within the vast sea of Chinese consumers.

 

Why An Influencer Program?

Catalyst Agents is a Canadian marketing firm. Our client categories are extensive, ranging from high-end international retail brands, to luxury hospitality, premium real estate and art exhibitions. We have helped many Western companies successfully enter and promote themselves in the Chinese marketplace.

Our influencer program is a win-win for both our client brands and social influencers, and our goal is to help the world-class brands build successful long-term relationships with influencers.

Amongst our Chinese Influencer marketing services, we offer: Influencer Talent Management, Influencer Marketing Strategy, Influencer Event Management, Influencer Live Streaming Campaign Management.

 

Our Criteria for Selecting Chinese Influencers

Our Chinese Influencers all have a verified following of over 10K followers on Weibo, WeChat, or other Chinese social media platform. The Chinese Influencer maintains an active profile and draws high engagement from their following by posting original, attractive content. 

For those interested in applying for our Influencer program, please visit Influencers.catalystagents.com to fill in an application form to get the process started. Our team will be in touch to go through the verification process with you. 

 

Want to Work with Chinese Influencers?

Send us a message with your marketing requirements at http://catalystagents.com/contact/ and our team will be in touch to help connect you with the right Chinese Influencer to market your business!

CASE STUDY || Tailoring WeChat Content and Layout for Luxury Retail

We have stressed more than a few times in our past article posts that WeChat operates as a distinctly different beast, thus it requires tailored content for the platform. 

While most of the popular WeChat platforms you see may be news-oriented and push out articles on a daily basis that are text heavy, with numerous paragraphs of copy supported by 5-6 visuals, the opposite is true for high-end brands, where the tendency is to focus on the visual design and the product versus large amounts of copy.

Our client Maison Birks, Canada's Diamond and Fine Jewellery Leader, recently started to market their presence on WeChat, and our team helped them craft a content strategy tailored for the affluent Chinese audience, which is their key target demographic. 

We prepared 3 advertorial write ups for 3 different brands, the Birks Iconic and Snowflake collections, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Chaumet Paris. Princess-to-be Meghan Markle has been a long-time fan of the brand, and we leveraged this great endorsement to showcase her wearing Birks jewellery to numerous royal outings and for her official engagement announcement. The article was very well received by the audience, outperforming the average number of views by as much as 3 times. 

For Chaumet Paris we featured various top-tier Asian celebrities wearing their Joséphine collection for their wedding vows. The most revered couple followed by millions in China was Angelababy and her husband Huang Xiaoming, where Angelababy wore a vintage Chaumet tiara and necklace along with a Joséphine collection wedding ring. The article outperformed average articles by 3 times the normal traffic.

For the Birks brand we ensured the article layout and design adhered to the brand standards for each brand, working with Birks and their brand vendors to obtain approval at each step. An understanding of the work process for our clients and appreciation for the importance of brand presentation on different platforms is what helps our work perform better than average. 

Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help your brand build a successful presence on WeChat!

CASE STUDY: Timely WeChat Topics to Improve Article Performance - Regency Lexus

One key success factor to using WeChat advertorials is to make your content a timely and welcomed read for the target audience. For example, our client Regency Lexus had recently launched their branded WeChat account, and was wondering how they could build a presence on the platform.

After an analysis of the client brand and values, we determined we would focus on their core strengths of after sales service and helping their clients make an informed decision on their car purchase. Making an informed decision means taking the time to explain pertinent details of the car and giving recommendations for the benefit of the client instead of making the car purchase transactional. 

With this in mind, we crafted a WeChat campaign explaining the difference between snow tires and winter tires and how the two perform differently in winter weather conditions. As expected, the article was shared over 70 times with only one advertorial placement, and read over 1600 times. When we released this article, the city was worrying about upcoming subzero temperatures and a snowstorm. Releasing an article on the topic to educate readers on the benefits of getting proper tires for the season proved to be timely and relevant. 

This increased our client's following tenfold, and acted as a great springboard for their subsequent content. The advertorial also spurred other competitors to follow suit and begin writing on topics to educate their car clientele, which means even the industry was in agreement with the approach. 

Contact our team today to see how our WeChat Strategists can help launch your brand on WeChat, the #1 Chinese social media platform.

WeChat Brochures for Real Estate Project Marketing

Reality check. Most WeChat users don't like to leave the app, so asking them to click a link that redirects to another browser is the same as committing 'conversion suicide'. 

So what are some innovative ways for real estate developers and marketers to get through to the desired audience to see if they are interested enough to engage in additional 'clicks'?

On the WeChat platform, QR codes are king, so that's the first thing you need to wrap your head around. So how can you use QR codes to track the additional layer of engagement beyond just reading your WeChat advertorial on the platform? 

Choose an action! Do you want them to:

  1. Scan a QR code to add your salesperson on WeChat for sales inquiries?
  2. Scan a QR code to visit your website? Which may be in English and not Chinese? Understand that if you are advertising on a Chinese-only platform, your landing page should be in Chinese. 
  3. Scan a QR code to view a WeChat brochure? We're going to expand on this one. 

WeChat Brochure - Why Real Estate?

Avalon 3 by Wesgroup Properties - WeChat Brochure.

Realtors often make up the majority of the people who attend the project previews and grand openings, taking photos on their phone and the showrooms and distributing these photos to their sales prospects via WeChat. Most realtors are good at selling, and aren't photographers, so the photos wouldn't have the optimal lighting, composition, etc. that you, the developer or the project marketer would have in mind. 

Beautiful lead in pages and mobile optimized, legible writing.

The WeChat Brochure is one of the methods for you to gain back control of your brand on WeChat. 

With a WeChat Brochure, it functions within the WeChat platform, isn't a PDF brochure where readers have to zoom in and out to see the details, and most importantly, allows you to provide WeChat-friendly materials for distribution on the platform.

Legible floor plans with easy-to-read descriptions.

Visitors to your sales events and/or sales centre can scan the QR code to get the WeChat Brochure, and they can then forward this to their clients, friends, colleagues via WeChat message or on their personal newsfeed. 

An efficient and elegant solution for real estate developers to market presale projects and retain control over the brand on WeChat - the #1 Chinese social media platform. 

How It Works

To see how a WeChat Brochure looks, simply scan either one of the QR codes below using the built-in QR code scanner in the WeChat mobile app to view brochures for Avalon 3 by Wesgroup and Polaris by Transca Development.

Readers can then share this brochure on WeChat in private chat groups, messages, and on their personal newsfeed to help promote your brand on WeChat.

What to Include in Your WeChat Brochure

So what should be included in a WeChat Brochure? We recommend the following elements for a WeChat brochure.

  • Company / Developer background - brief paragraph
  • Architect Bio
  • Interior Design Firm - brief paragraph
  • Feature floor plans - Chinese investors like to see one bedroom, one bedroom + den, and at most 2 bedrooms because beyond that it's harder for them to rent out. 
  • Starting prices - the numbers
  • Ways to contact your sales team - insert the QR code for your Chinese sales personnel so they can scan and get in touch.

Beautiful integration of showroom photos and renderings, making the most of your visual assets.

Understanding How The Chinese Use WeChat

"I want to drive them to our landing page so they can register for our project updates."

This is one of the most common marketing objectives we have to clients achieve, and on the WeChat platform, the ecosystem is built differently, and how users use the platform doesn't necessarily align with the goals we are familiar with in western online and social media marketing. 

Catalyst Agents - Vancouver WeChat Agency - Understanding How the Chinese Use WeChat

IN-APP EXPERIENCES

WeChat users like to stay in the app, and the stats show it. Of the over 1.6 billion registered accounts for WeChat, 902 are daily active users, 34.6% of users spend a whopping 4+ hours on the app every day! This has increased significantly from the previous year's 17.2% of people spending 4+ hours on the app, meaning WeChat has built a successful ecosystem where the user is reliant on it for news, online messaging, and even daily errands such as banking and movie tickets purchases. 

HOW CAN YOU TRACK CONVERSIONS ON WECHAT?

The good news is YES you can track conversions from WeChat by inserting URL links using QR codes so users can scan to visit your website, You can also insert a url address into the WeChat article's "read more" link to take them to your landing page or website. 

The bad news is NO, most of the readers are highly unlikely to leave the WeChat app. Phones make it easy enough for them to tap on the last app they used on the top left to take them back to the app while your page is loading. It is also unlikely for them to fill in a registration form if they do end up loading your website. The reason is because most of the communications for the Chinese take place of WeChat or other messenger apps like QQ - rarely do they use email as a form of communication. 

SO HOW DOES IT ACTUALLY WORK?

The process we have seen for WeChat users is that they will read your article, and if they find it interesting they will share the article on their personal newsfeed, much like how Facebook users share on their newsfeed, or they will send it to specific friends in their contact list via a private chat. If you get lucky, they may share it in a private chat group, which can sometimes house up to 300+ members. 

For the over 50 real estate presale projects we have marketed on WeChat, the user will read the article on WeChat, and if they want more information, they will send a message to their realtor, asking them to provide information. Most Chinese investors, if they are active in the market, will have a representing realtor, collecting information on the latest presale projects on their behalf. The exchange of information, from floor plans, to starting prices and photos of the brochure the realtor picks up from your sales centre, will be sent through WeChat, where the investor evaluates their interest. 

The key learning and takeaway is that WeChat users operate differently from users on western social media, who are used to clicking "Learn More" on an ad and being taken to a registration page where they enter in their email and receive more information via that channel. 

A more tailored information distribution process is needed for WeChat, and our team has the answers. As your cultural advisor, let us help you navigate the WeChat platform to bring success to your new product, service or brand. 

Online Marketing Campaign Follow Up

So...you ran a marketing campaign. Now what?

Clients tend to get supremely excited about a campaign idea, with their minds set on generating more followers because those numbers matter. Engagement, while an easy concept to understand once explained, is still not a focus because it's not as blatantly advertised on their profiles as follower numbers. 

Catalyst Agents - Online Marketing Campaign Follow Up

So what happens is the marketing campaign will achieve new followers on the select platform, without much thought into the follow up content. Basically, how do we keep these new followers engaged? How do we stay interesting beyond running a giveaway campaign?

These questions are not receiving as much attention as they should be, because building a loyal and engaged following on social media requires that you STAY INTERESTING. If the only time you are interesting is when you are giving away free stuff, then your brand is in trouble.

Here are a few of MANY options you can explore to follow up with new followers, subscribers, etc. 

  1. If you ran a campaign to get more email subscribers, segment these subscribers out into a new list and design a dedicated 'welcome newsletter' to them. It's important to make new followers feel special. You can also take this opportunity to update your existing mailing list on the growth of your subscriber community. People like to know they are part of a growing group - it shows they've chosen to be a part of a 'cool' community.
  2. If you ran an Instagram campaign to get more followers, and if you hit your growth goal, craft a post to share the joy with your community. "10K Followers! Thank you for your continued support!" 
  3. Plan your follow up content ahead of time. If you run a giveaway on Instagram and it's to give out 3 Instax Minis, then you might want to do a week of Instax photo posts for the week after to celebrate the successful collaboration. Again, make the follow up content interesting and relevant to your target audience from the campaign. You gave them a reason to click 'follow', now you need to work to keep them engaged.

Running a campaign and not having a follow up plan in mind is a huge waste of money and sadly, it happens much more often than you'd think. 

Need help planning an integrated marketing campaign? Strategists on our team are able to help. Send us a note using our contact form and we will get back to you within 24 hours.