How to market your brand on Chinese niche platforms

June 28, 2018

Cutting through the noise in China’s buzzing consumer market can be difficult for small to medium-size brands without the funds or partnerships to support mass distribution.

The good news is that it’s still possible to create buzz among the right audience by distributing targeted content across niche platforms on a modest budget.

Short video platforms

Let’s suppose your brand has an upcoming brand launch event at a fashion week or cross-border ecommerce exhibition in Beijing or Shanghai.

As part of the leadup to the event, you decide to create an animation video to promote your brand and event activities. For example an event with a key opinion leader/celebrity/brand founder appearance, an opportunity for customers to personalize their purchase (i.e. Magnum pop up store) or other interactive activities.

If you are not a massive brand it may be more effective to distribute content to a more targeted audience by using niche video channels. This is a viable alternative to using the more mass media, less targeted channels such as WeChat or Weibo, and certainly more cost efficient. For a youthful audience, this might mean Watermelon video or Douyin. Your digital marketing promotion might start with a 30-second trailer animation video 2-3 weeks out from the event, followed by a full release of the video one week before the event.

By posting smaller videos across different platforms, you effectively boost the reach of your content and create multiple touch points for viewers. Viewers who see the trailer may be enticed to see the second video and then be reminded of the event at the second viewing. And your activity on such platforms might motivate your audience to post their experiences too!

User generated content of Magnum pop up store. Either linking #magnum or the location of the store.

Spreading your own content can also take the form of direct content posting from your official account as well as the option of engaging with Chinese KOLs (key opinion leaders) to share and interact with your content.

There’s also the opportunity to leverage live-streaming leading up to and on the day of the event. Live-streamed content can then be repackaged and uploaded to the earlier mentioned video platforms.

Related content: Live-streaming in China and How to Get in on the Action

Ecommerce platforms

Besides short video platforms niche ecommerce platforms are another good alternative option to reach your target audience. In China ecommerce channels are a popular medium for brand discovery, and they are used in abundance. According to a 2016 PwC report, 19.6% of Chinese consumers shop online daily, compared to 7.1% globally.

In the Chinese ecommerce space, there are the major platforms such as Tmall and JD.COM but also many niche platforms too. Xiaohongshu and Meilishuo focus on cosmetic and fashion brands, mainly targeting female users. In luxury, 5lux, xiu.com, and shangpin.com focus on luxury products such as bags, clothing, cosmetics, jewelry, and other accessories. The latter tend to be most popular in smaller Chinese cities where there is a limited supply of popular female luxury brand outlets.

Another platform which hosts a combination of luxury brands and FMCGs is Vip.com. The platform targets mostly female customers offering short-term discounts on popular brands in what is known as a Flash Sales.

Screenshot of vip.com

Listing fees and platform commission on the smaller niche platforms are generally lower than large ecommerce platforms, which offers the opportunity to extend beyond one platform.

Final take away with a “warning”

The tips described above will help to spread your content assets further and it will help you set yourself apart from competing brands that are just using the big social and sales channels.

However, these platforms do NOT replace the big platforms completely. For a strong and well rounded online presence in China every brand must have a presence on the “Big Five” channels. Want to know more about these channels? Keep an eye on our blog page or sign up to our market updates so you don’t miss our next blog!

Not sure how to set up and promote effectively on China’s countless niche platforms? Contact us at AgencyChina for advice and a customized solution. 

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