A recently published report into social media engagement shed some interesting light on what makes consumers respond favorably to social content. But does this represent a universal truth? Or does a China marketing strategy need to take a different approach to social media and engagement?
Earlier this month, UK industry magazine, Marketing Week, published some stats from Sprout Social that suggested brands that entertain their UK followers on social media enjoy more engagement. The report claimed that 59% of consumers are more likely to engage with a brand on social media when their content was ‘entertaining’. At the same time, 46% stated they would engage when the brand was offering a discount, and only 15% would engage if the content featured a celebrity or influencer, perhaps representing another interesting shift in how brands approach influencer marketing.
Another report this month from Campaign Asia suggested that China marketing and China focused brand strategy should take a different approach. This report highlighted that 80% of Chinese advertisers plan to increase their social-marketing spending this year, with 60% of brands making Chinese KOLs and influencers their main focus, despite some of the global issues surrounding ‘follower fraud’. However, all this really shows is where the money is going, not that it is necessarily being spent wisely.
So, to dig a little bit deeper I decided to ask the experts, Brandigo’s resident millennials and marketing extraordinaires.
Luke, Brandigo’s Marketing Coordinator, gave an interesting example of a recent campaign by China Merchant’s Bank. He said;
“My take on what content most attracts users would be in line with the Marketing Week article but with the caveat that to ‘entertain’ can mean different things to different people and cultures, particularly here in China. When you say entertain people usually think humor, but using an emotional approach can also be effective and encourage users to engage with a brand. A great example is The China Merchants Bank campaign for their credit card dedicated to Chinese overseas students. The ad connects a ubiquitous Chinese family dish with nostalgic emotion and family, a core value of Chinese culture. Users don't like to spend time on informational content unless it is a crucial part of the product like tech or medicinal products.”
Mia, a new member of the Brandigo team, agrees with the need to entertain, but suggests that incentivizing engagement can also be successful when done well, as can a hybrid influencer/informational model for the social element of a China marketing strategy. She explained:
“An online language school recently used a new take on the lucky draw to drive engagement that was really effective on their Weibo channel in China. Anybody who shared their post was entered into the draw, along with one of the friends they shared the content with. Usually, this company averages around 100 reposts for the content they publish. This time, the post was shared 13,000 times! Weibo selected the prize winners who each received 200RMB. So in total, the promotion to reach 13,000 viewers only cost 2,000RMB, not a bad ROI at all.
“Another China marketing campaign which recently included the smart use of influencer marketing to drive engagement was carried out by dental hygiene brand, Mteeth. They partnered with the popular food influencer, DaoYueShe, for a series of vlogs on their Weibo channel. In the posts, the hosts eat food that is infamous for leaving you with bad breath. They then used the Mteeth products to see how hard it was to make their breath smell nice again. The campaign included a give-away of three products and picked up over 4,000 views. The credibility that DaoYueShe enjoy saw viewers even posting screenshots in the comments section of their orders for Mteeth products. From a China marketing perspective though, it demonstrates that influencer marketing, when done well, can still be hugely successful, combining celebrity, entertainment and incentives to engage.”
So the key to engagement in China, just like anywhere else, is to know your audience. Who are you trying to reach and how do you want them to engage? Interweaving this into an innovative, creative campaign, with a smart mix of ‘entertainment’, incentive and the right use of influencers and KOLs will boost your China brand strategy and drive engagement in a way that has a tangible impact on sales.