Ask almost anyone what to include in your Chinese social media strategy and you’re likely to hear WeChat, Weibo and Baidu in the response. It’s no secret that having a presence on the bigger social media platforms will always be an important part of your digital marketing strategy, but brands seem to get lost in the noise of millions of posts and tweets from the well-known platforms. It can be a bit difficult to find where you fit in with all of the competition in the way and it just might be more beneficial to tap into a specialized platform for your marketing strategy.
The world of Chinese social media is fragmented and while the big players aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, it seems like new platforms are emerging overnight, each tailored to its own unique niche. A niche social platform within your industry can work wonders to reach your target audience. These smaller, passion-based networks are growing in popularity, and allow marketers to connect with conversations that really matter and drive authentic traffic to your business —and the good news is, we’ve put together a list of 5 Chinese niche social media platforms that just might be the push your brand needs.
Keep: The workout trainer and fitness coach
With the large number of Chinese consumers embracing a more active and healthy lifestyle, their shopping habits have moved beyond just consumer products. Launched in 2015, Keep is China’s largest social sports platform and has amassed over 110 million users with the main focus of encouraging fitness on the go. It’s like a fitness trainer in the palm of your hand that offers a variety of personalized training courses so you can work out anytime you’d like. Users are able to follow each other’s workout progression and even share their progress on other social media platforms like WeChat and Weibo. The app has successfully attracted both men and women predominantly aged 25 to 35 years old. Keep is also accelerating its expansion into the offline market with gyms located in Beijing and Shanghai, which creates an endless opportunity for omni-channel marketing. This platform is a great choice for brands that want to take part in the rise of the fitness industry in China.
Mafengwo: The travel guide with a twist
As Chinese travelers are increasingly craving unique independent travel experiences, many gravitate to Mafengwo to help them plan their trips. Launched in 2010, Mafengwo is the travel guide for young Chinese consumers with a user base of over 100 million. It provides users with a detailed guide into hotels, shopping, weather, routes, visas and more. It also handles logistics for users upon arrival to their destination, which is a key reason as why it appeals to so many travelers. It provides easy access to dining recommendation, steps to rent Wi-Fi as well as carpooling and flight pickups. The app also has a built-in social community where users can easily connect with one another through user-generated content and travel experiences. Considering how much Chinese consumers value authentic user-generated content, brands can use the power of KOLs to market their products or services as part of the users’ travel itinerary.
Xiaohongshu (The Little Red Book): Social shopping via word of mouth
Founded in 2013, Xiaohongshu is China’s most trusted social shopping platform with over 200 million users. The app helps mostly younger female users discover beauty and health products that might be difficult to find in China. It has expanded its community to cover the fashion, cosmetics, travel, dining, working out, movies and entertainment industries. Xiaohongshu has gained a lot of traction due to its thriving community of user interaction and authentic information sharing. The platform added the final touches to its user experience by launching its very own e-commerce platform, called RED store. This allows users to purchase products they like directly from merchants without leaving the app. Xiaohongshu is so much more than an e-commerce platform with its social search engine function where users can search within the app to find products. Xiaohongshu’s posts are also indexed by Baidu and other search engines in China. Brands can take advantage of this platform by setting up an official account and leveraging KOLs to promote their products and services.
Xueqiu (Snowball): The Ultimate Chinese Financial Network
Founded in 2010, Xueqiu is the one-stop trading platform to discuss and learn about a wide range of financial services. With over 12 million monthly active users, Xueqiu has the goal of helping young people become educated on financial management. It has developed into a comprehensive platform that offers insight on brokerage services, the stock market and information publishing. One unique feature of Xueqiu is that any registered user can contribute content on the platform such as financial news or trading strategies. This could be the idea social media marketing platform for brands in the financial or real estate industry. Brands can also take advantage of the predominately well-educated, male user base through ad buying services on the platform.
Douban: The interest-based social networking platform
Founded in 2005, Douban is a community site based on organic user-generated content and has over 150 million registered users with 300 million active monthly users. Similar to Reddit, one unique feature of the platform is that users enjoy the majority of its functions without having to register. Most users live in major cities and lead a middle-class lifestyle. They usually consist of office workers, artists, freelancers and students who share common interests in arts, culture and lifestyle. These users often post on Douban to have discussions on books, movies, music, and events. Users can also connect with each other based on similar tastes and interests. This is a great platform to leverage for brands that want to post more sophisticated products or have services in the art industry. Douban also offers interest-based advertising to target audiences more specifically.
The major Chinese social media platforms are great for reaching a broad audience, but there are quite a few niche platforms out there that cater to groups with more focused interests. Ultimately, niche platforms give brands the unique opportunity to interact with and understand their most engaged audiences, making them important considerations for any social media strategy. Start building visibility on the right platform to generate a loyal following of Chinese consumers who share the same values of your business.