Businesses are beginning to think about influencers in China to build awareness around their brand or product, and you should be thinking about it too. When you begin thinking about targeting the Chinese market, it is important to consider how the e-commerce and retail markets operate in China.
The Chinese Market is Very Big
In 2014, $2.1 trillion (US) was spent online in China, with a yearly projected growth of about 30%. The number of Chinese buying online is increasing rapidly because of the convenience and ease of shopping via the web, especially on mobile devices. There are over 649 million Internet users in China and 80% of the users have a mobile device. The numbers are staggeringly high and outnumber the US 2-to-1. Selling in China is a frontier your business should explore.
How Do You Enter the Chinese Market?
The Chinese market may seem difficult to navigate, however, there are avenues for gaining increased exposure for your business if you engage Key Opinion Leaders in China. Key Opinion Leaders or KOLs are individuals that influence, promote and advocate for brands or products.
Chinese KOLs have a large social media following. When a KOL mentions a brand or devotes attention to a product, you can be sure that your product will be noticed by thousands, if not millions of people in China. However, it is important to consider the KOL you are engaging with to promote your business or product. Although there may be famous KOLs, other KOLs are seen as more knowledgeable and have a more dedicated fan following. Chinese do not buy brands, they buy trust.
There are important steps to follow when engaging with a KOL. As a business, are you looking to increase your brand awareness? Are you trying to grow by increasing sales? Are you thinking about positioning and demographics? Knowing your key objectives and strategies will help you navigate the selection of a KOL. There are a variety of KOLs in China and they use a variety of social media channels. There are several Chinese social media channels that KOLs use and selecting the correct channel is important to reach the right audience.
Consider the social media channel that will suit your business or product appropriately. Weibo is the Twitter equivalent in China and WeChat is the equivalent to Facebook Messenger. There are other rising Chinese social media channels, including Renren (similar to Facebook) and Youku (similar to YouTube). Your product may perform better or worse on these social media channels.
How Do I Successfully Engage with KOLs?
Engaging with KOLs can be somewhat difficult if you do not have any established contacts or relationships with Chinese KOLs or companies. However, there are e-commerce and marketing agencies that can help you create relationships or establish your brands in China through KOLs. Selecting an agency dedicated to the Chinese market will help you establish your product or brand in China.
I recommend finding an e-commerce or marketing agency that specializes in the Chinese market and has access to KOLs. This will expedite your journey building relationships and brand awareness in a vast world of opportunity.