While most new businesses and professionals are flocking to Weibo or TikTok attempting to create visually appealing content to gain popularity, there are a few newcomers who are taking advantage of the underrated Chinese Q&A platform known as Zhihu. Unlike other social networking sites, Zhihu does not like to promote snippets of your personal life, rather it is a space for users to answers questions that other users have posted on the platform. For a wide range of industries, you can make use of Zhihu for business growth and exposure.
At first glance, Zhihu doesn’t seem like it would be an important tool for marketing your business in China. However, underestimating the value of Zhihu could be a big mistake for the growth of your brand.
What is Zhihu?
Founded in 2011, Zhihu is a Chinese-language Q&A platform that has become known as the Chinese Quora. It is China’s largest Q&A platform with over 200 million registered users. The platform offers in-depth expert knowledge from individuals that want to ask and share questions while encouraging professional discussion.
The 8 Basic Features of Zhihu
1. Personal Profile
One of the reasons Zhihu has been able to build a large following is due to the credibility that the platform offers. Users provide basic information, such as location, education, and work experience. Therefore, users can see that answers are coming from a credible source. Zhihu also has complex identity verification process to prevent users from creating fake accounts.
2. Salt Value
Zhihu has its own user credit system, known as Salt value, which is designed to encourage good behavior among users. The system is made up of ratings in 5 different categories ultimately to allow users to grow and build their influence.
- Basic credit: This dimension relates to the basic profile of the user, including educational level, work experience and any other significant achievements that the user may have.
- Content creation: The scores in this dimension primarily relate to how often users post content and the quality of the content.
- Friendliness: Friendliness mostly involves the quality of interaction a user has with other members; engaging with other users in a polite and respectful way.
- Community behavior: This dimension centers on a user’s compliance with the rules and regulations of the platform.
- Community-building: This refers to a user’s contribution to building up the platform, including editing content, voting and accurately reporting other users.
3. Zhihu Membership
Zhihu has two membership options for users, “The Reading Club Membership” and “The Salt Elected Membership”. The Reading Club Membership gives users access to more knowledge based information, such as e-books, webinars and livestreams. The Salt Elected Membership gives users more social benefits, such as customer care, exclusive emojis and a membership badge.
4. Functions & Interfaces
Zhihu has a simplistic and easily to follow platform layout. The interface includes the main page, discover and topic section.
- The main page: The main page is divided into recommended, following and trending list.
- Discover: Discover covers any and everything that’s popular on the platform, including hot discussions, round table topics and posts recommended by Zhihu editors.
- Topic: Topic displays popular posts from topics that a user follows.
5. Zhihu University
This feature offers a wide range of live courses in science, business, humanities and career coaching. It also offers audio books with a diverse range of topics and Zhihu even has its own series of publications including a weekly magazine and e-book.
6. Zhihu Roundtable
Roundtables are online seminars setup similar to panel talks where Zhihu invites a host and guests to share industry knowledge in a particular field. The audience is allowed to ask and raise questions pertaining to answers that they receive.
7. Zhihu Paid Consultancy Services
Experts or professionals can earn extra income by providing consulting services in their field of knowledge. Zhihu users who have a salt value of 500 or more can register to be a consultant. If the question is not satisfactory to the user, the user is entitled to get a refund of their money.
8. Zhihu Column
Zhihu encourages users to write long formatted articles to give more insights and encourage sharing amongst its users. Users have to apply if they want to have their own Zhihu column and once approved, they can write about a wide range of topics.
The Key Benefits of Marketing on Zhihu
Zhihu offers brands the ability to market to a unique audience that enjoys reading long articles and having serious discussions. These users are always searching for practical, useful and credible information, so Zhihu is even more beneficial for brands in specific fields, including tech related industries, B2B brands, education, medical, legal, lifestyle and entertainment sectors.
- Educated user base: Zhihu users are typically well-educated with a good portion of them have high salaries. These users have high consumption power who mostly want to improve their lifestyle and knowledge level.
- Long-term marketing benefits: The best posts with industry knowledge will always get pinned to the top of the answer section. No matter how old your post is, new users will still be able to see your answer and advice, which works very well for long-term branding. Many brands still get up votes from answers that they posted years ago.
- SEO exposure: Zhihu has a very high domain authority on search engines like Baidu and Sogou. So whenever a keyword is searched for on one of these platforms, you will most likely always see a Zhihu Q&A on the first SERP.
- Builds trust & raises awareness: It’s one of the ideal platforms to raise brand awareness to educated and well-off users. Once trust is established, Q&A topics can easily to go viral through word-of-mouth.
How to Set Up a Zhihu Enterprise Account
Brands can register for a Zhihu enterprise account free of charge, which has features similar to a personal account. However, the process is very strict to ensure the user experience is not disrupted by fake advertising.
Here are the steps to setup your enterprise account below:
- Register: Use a company email to activate your account.
- Account type: Choose between an enterprise, government authority and other organization account.
- Company information: You need the fill in your company information. Basic documents include, enterprise name, business license (with picture uploaded), operator name, operator’s ID number, account name, account icon and industry.
- Account verification: Once your account is approved, you will be given a blue badge. The annual verification fee is 300 rmb.
- For more information, please get in touch with our team.
Tips to Build a Positive Brand Image on Zhihu
- Open a Zhihu enterprise account: Having a professional account is an essential step to starting your marketing efforts. You can interact with users or even become an industry expert to provide answers to questions users may have. You should post and answer questions directly related to your industry or brand.
- Leverage KOLs: KOL campaigns are known to be very effective on Zhihu. You should work with a KOL that has insights on your related industry to increase your brand exposure and credibility.
- Take advantage of advertising: Advertising on Zhihu mainly has 3 popular forms including pop-up, newsfeed and display ads. Advertising can have a big impact on your brand exposure to Zhihu’s educated user base.
Zhihu has a strong, dedicated user base built upon reputation and industry knowledge. This presents brands that have a lot of expertise and information to share with a unique marketing opportunity. One piece of valuable content can be enough to produce brand success on its own. Zhihu is a great marketing tool to build long-term credibility and trust among a group of niche users and could be the platform to give you the right exposure for establishing your presence in China.