Using social marketing to accurately target Chinese consumers

The eyes of the world have never been away from Chinese consumers. According to the latest McKinsey report, Chinese consumers’ willingness to spend remains high, with nearly twice the confidence levels of the US and the UK. Their spending pattern has changed, we have seen an obvious shift from purchasing products to paying for services, as well as the trend towards more premium products and experiences.  How to accurately target Chinese consumers is becoming crucial for most global brands when entering the Chinese market.

Globalized and Smarter Chinese consumers

Chinese consumers today are more globalized, more comfortable and willing to travel as they are seeking a more balanced lifestyle. Chinese outbound travellers reached 12.8 million in 2016, making China the world’s biggest source of tourists for four years in a row. 60% of those travellers chose independent self-planned trips, on the other hand, the traditional package group tour model has gradually evolved to semi-package and even high-end bespoke tours as Chinese tourists today are looking for personalized routes with scope for flexibility.In the meantime, they are spending smarter on their smart phones to shop across the world 24×7. Chinese consumers are one of the smartest consumer groups in the world, with nearly 88% of them researching before shopping (higher than the global average) and 77% of their online buying decisions being influenced by word-of-mouth on the Internet. Today’s Chinese consumers decision making and shopping journey has become complicated and fragmented with numerous touchpoints. Brand loyalty can only be built on optimal experience and regular, highly relevant feeds.Multiple Decision Makers

Despite the world’s famous high-speed life style, the new-age Chinese consumers are much more family focused than you might think, stating that having a happy family defines their success rather than just being rich. For those born in the 1970s and 1980s, taking good care of not only their kids, partners, but also their parents, are the key themes of family life. Taking family trips, paying for children’s hobbies, signing retired parents up to well-being programs and clubs… we have seen more and more family-related purchases. For a brand who is targeting the Chinese family market, it’s quite important to connect with the key decision maker in the purchasing cycle.

Have you ever thought about the male market in China? Nearly half of today’s Chinese online shoppers are male while surprisingly only 20% of the offline shoppers are. Compared with traditional offline consumers, online shoppers are more affluent and educated, with higher income.

Powerful social marketing tools

There is no doubt that social media has become a major link in Chinese consumers’ buying journey. Millions of both Chinese domestic and overseas brands are now on Weibo trying to engage more with the Chinese consumer If you are a smaller western brand and you’re struggling to stand out from the crowd and lock in your potential customers, Weibo’s precise targeting tool is there to help you.

Weibo recently launched a new product named “super feed ads” as a very quick response to the ever-growing need of precise segmentation and targeting. Targeting customers through age, gender, geo location or interesting tags are just not enough.

How accurate can your targeting get? Now you can target an exact group in a certain life stage – study period, marital / relationship status, career status, raising kids, looking for a new property, considering a new car, planning trips… This “life stage segmentation” is very suitable for brands who provide family products and services.

The segmentation could be as vertical as you want. The brands and celebrities a Weibo user follows, the key opinion leaders that influence them, the topics that they engaged with and conversations they joined… all these foot prints and behaviours are drawing a social graph to help you locate the most relevant audience group. The backend A/B testing and auto optimization are implanted to provide an optimal experience for different segments.

You can’t pull it off without a solid content strategy

Relevant and resonating content is the foundation of communicating with today’s Chinese consumers. These smarter tools are designed to be the best helping hand for a brands’ social marketing practice in China, but a well-rounded content strategy is still essential.

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