LOCALIZE B2B MARKETING IN CHINA

After Linkedin is shutting down in China, it is even more true that you need to localize B2B marketing in China.

Western companies should develop further their capabilities to use Chinese digital solutions to succeed in China. Linkedin was used for B2B marketing to generate and nurture leads through content posting, sharing and interactions. B2B marketing can be done using WeChat.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BRAND REPUTATION FOR B2B COMPANIES IN CHINA

When it comes to entering the Chinese market as a B2B company, reputation management must also be a key part of your strategy. As China is a digital market, on-line reputation is the one to develop.

Potential leads want to know they’re getting involved with a trustworthy, reputable company that is going to provide them with an exceptional product and service. One bad review can easily persuade any of those decision-makers to go with your competitor instead.

It’s important to remember that people talk about you online, even if you’re not yet online yourself. That’s why the first step to reputation management is monitoring online activity, so you know what is being said about you and where it’s being said.

Once you know what your brand presence looks like online, you can then communicate your brand message, give news about your company, establish yourself as a thought leader by publishing content on industry portals.

EFFECTIVE LEAD GENERATION AND NURTURING FOR B2B COMPANIES IN CHINA

As there is no Google in China, you need use Baidu for your SEO strategy to generate leads.

Baidu SEO

Then you need nurture your leads during a certain period of time, B2B purchasing cycle is rather longer than in B2C.

Instead of doing it in LinkedIn, you need doing it on WeChat, the most popular social media in China. It is used for daily life but also for business.

A company doing business in China must be visible on WeChat to exist. The first step is to open a WeChat official account (different from personal WeChat account).

Through a WeChat official account, it is the perfect touch point for your company to connect with Chinese businesses.

BASICS OF B2B MARKETING IN CHINA

While a strong online presence is vital, offline events such as conferences or meetings are still very important if it is possible– nothing beats having a conversation face to face.

It’s easy to keep in touch with clients – we recommend posting once a week about things like industry news, company news and company activities, all of which serve to show that you’re a thought leader in your industry, that you’re highly active and that you have a strong company culture.

You will use also another Chinese platform, Zhihu. It is the largest Q&A platform which aims to provide in depth insights from industry professionals. It is a good place to do content marketing. The audience of this platform is quite educated.

You can develop your brand awareness, demonstrate your authority, and educate your audience.

Zhihu has also great authority on Baidu and Sogou search engines.

LOCALIZE B2B MARKETING IN CHINA: HOW TO DO WECHAT MARKETING?

WeChat is your Website

Do not forget that in China, WeChat is your website

If you are a big company, you can also set up a local Chinese Website, but Chinese people do not check them so much.

Create a comprehensive content to bring you the right audience and encourage sharing

Social media is about content. The right content will bring you the right audience. It has to be appealing, interactive and entertaining.
You need to encourage sharing the content to your audience.

WeChat should not be just company news. It must be also have educational and social features. To educate your audience is an excellent way to get leads in China.

Advanced search function

WeChat users can now search for any content using related keywords. Generally, Chinese people like to research, look at media articles or ask their friends about products or services they are interested in. This means that pushing out high-quality, useful content is essential to successfully market to other businesses. It allows you to showcase your brand

Personalised interactions

WeChat is a great for businesses to leverage if they are looking to build relationships and create stronger business partnerships in China. It is important to note that in with B2B, your target audience is not another business but rather someone who holds a certain position in that business. This means that driving a more personalised interaction is fundamental for WeChat B2B marketing.

Paid campaigns using WeChat Ads

For a new created account, utilizing paid options to give the account an initial boost is very effective, in particular for B to B

Join WeChat groups and Engage with your audience

WeChat groups are where people with the same interests exchange ideas. Find and join WeChat groups related to your industry, and share your best articles, cases studies and create stories to get more leads.

QR codes

Every WeChat official account has a QR code, which works as the “business card” of your WeChat account. The QR code can be used in exhibitions, brochures…

There are just some of the keys to do WeChat marketing for B2B and build-up your business community.

It is really important to localize your B2B marketing in China more than ever to get effective results.

NEED HELP TO LOCALIZE B2B MARKETING IN CHINA?

Emotion Digital has a strong understanding of the Chinese market― we want to help you unleash your business’s potential to one of the largest populations in the world. Schedule your free consultation today.

How to use Weibo for brands marketing ?

Weibo for brands marketing

Instant messages, a limit of 2000 characters by posts, pictures grids, short videos, Weibo’s functionalities look similar to Twitter, used in western countries. At the beginning, Weibo was made for personal use but more and more brands are active on Weibo because companies can build databases, promote their brand image and drive traffic to their website.

According to Statista, as of the first quarter of 2021, Weibo’s monthly active users amounted to around 530 million. Weibo is not only a tool for boosting brands’ visibility, but also a tool for brands to better understand Chinese audiences and get closer to customers.

Here are the good practices of doing marketing for brands on Weibo :

Building brands’ notoriety through search function

Using search function allows the user to find posts related to keywords on the research box. By jumping on trending topics, brands’ posts will be kept under the topics related to the post’s description.

Besides, the posts can be consulted at any time and by everyone, unlike the companys’ accounts on Wechat where users have to subscribe to be aware of the latest publications. 

As for famous events like Chinese New Year, 520 Festival (as known as Valentine’s Day) or the upcoming 618 Shopping Festival (as known as the largest mid-year shopping festival in China), brands are launching presales campaigns for ongoing products or limited edition products.

Chaumet, the French luxury jewelry and watchmaking brand, has chosen as brand ambassador the famous Chinese actor and singer Zhang Yixing (Lay Zhang) for a series of love-themed jewelry.

Weibo’s account of Chaumet about luxury jewelry for 520 Festival

Content share facilities

Cross-channel is the key. When scrolling down the timeline, users can easily share a post from Weibo to Wechat. 2 options will be suggested : create a post on the user’s Wechat account (it will appear on friends’ Wechat Moments) or send to a friend by message (private traffic). After going through Wechat, the user can go back to Weibo and keep on browsing or stay on Wechat.

Creating a post on Wechat including a Weibo’s link

Creating a post on Wechat including a Weibo’s link

Sending a message to a friend on Wechat including a Weibo’s link

Sending a message to a friend on Wechat including a Weibo’s link

Weibo’s user journey highlights these types of actions :

  • Passive (scrolling down content)
  • Active (commenting and liking)
  • Reactivity (sharing on other social medias)

E-commerce integration

Through its partnership with Taobao, Weibo users can put links to Taobao store and products’ page in their posts.

Products' page links on Weibo

Video of @kakakaoo about L’Oreal lipstick on Weibo

Running campaigns

Targeting is quite precise on Weibo and the Chinese audiences’ ages vary from 14 to 60 years old. Brands can tailor campaigns in the format of display ads or Weibo search engine promotion.

Selling via live streaming 

As on Douyin, Wechat and Xiaohongshu, buying during a live streaming is one of the best time selling opportunities since live broadcasting gives the viewers the feeling of proximity and authenticity with the broadcaster. 

Live streaming on Weibo

Live streaming of jade jewelry selling

Wechat Channels for Marketing

Wechat Channels

If you use Wechat, you have probably been using Wechat Channels, a section launched since January 2020, accessed through the Discover part of the Chinese super-app, right underneath Wechat Moments. 

Wechat Channels is a public feed of video and photo content, which can be searched using keywords and hashtags.

Wechat Channels is build through social connections

Wechat Channels is working on 4 different feeds :

  1. Accounts you follow
  2. Content that your contacts have liked
  3. Real-time trending content 
  4. Content posts according to your actual location (only if you give the right in the parameters)

Wechat Channels

As a brand, your content could be liked, thus appearing on their friends’ Wechat Channels. Consequently they could like your content as well or just scroll down, and that is raising your brand’s awareness.

Short video is highly recommended

Short video marketing is an indispensable part of a brand’s digital journey in China. Wechat Channels mostly highlight short videos because people want to see fun and entertaining animated content. Video shares are a powerful indicator to consider.

Wechat tends to recommend other similar content to people and it can help brands to reach more potential target audiences.

Drive traffic inside Wechat

Starting with a video seen on Wechat Channels, people could click on your brand’s official Wechat account or click on your product’s page and Wechat mini-program if you provided it.

The shop is linked to Wechat account on which cooking tools are sold (on the second picture above : mini rice cooker and hot plate)

DTC brands are taking advantages of Wechat Channels

Using Wechat Channels is a good way for Direct-to-consumer brands to deliver products directly to customers without going through an intermediary. Consequently the delivery process is faster and more personalized.

Besides, consumer data is easier collected for brands to improve their CRM system.

Example of customer journey through Wechat Channels

For more information, do not hesitate to contact us at project@emotionchina.cn 

We can propose you customized digital marketing services according to your needs.

For more information about Digital marketing and business in China, subscribe to our newsletter :  https://www.subscribepage.com/chinabusinessletter 

Social commerce is now possible on Zhihu

Zhihu

有问题,上知乎 ! (For any questions, ask Zhihu) is the slogan of Zhihu, a Chinese platform where you can get answers for all kinds of topics.

With 220 million registered users, Zhihu is a real tool of trust since it creates interactions of questions and answers between a group of people around a subject. 

To begin with, why is Zhihu essential to brands ?

Online reputation management in China impacts so much on a brand’s image and visibility. Chinese search engine results and social media platforms are effective tools used for increasing online reputation. The best way to make a brand visible on the Chinese market is to implement a global marketing strategy on the main social media including Wechat, Xiaohongshu, Weibo, Douyin and Zhihu. Thus, by developing your strategy and raising brand awareness on Zhihu, you increase your brand’s visibility and build effective long-term promotion.

Besides, using Zhihu is also a tool to improve a brand’s Search Engine Optimization thanks to a high domain authority on Baidu, consequently one Zhihu page will be displayed on a Baidu search engine result page, no matter what the date of publication is. 

But except from being a community-based platform, Zhihu is now seen as a lever for doing business.

Here are some new functions added on Zhihu :

Brands and Product Recommendation Program :

Brands (Chinese or foreign brands) can post articles or answer questions related to their products by linking to a product on their websites or e-commerce platforms such as Taobao, Pinduoduo or Sunning. It is the best way to drive traffic and to help effectively potential customers.

For example, on the pictures below, a user asked for a liquid foundation. After describing her bad experiences with luxury brands like Armani, Lancôme or Estée Lauder, she is looking for any recommendation for other liquid foundations adapted to dried skin.

Among the answers she received, several products like Make Up For Ever’s foundation were recommended with the product’s details and application advice. If the user clicks on the button “去购买” (purchase) on the right, he is redirecting to the product page. 

Recommendation on cosmetics products with product’s links

Creators can also link their products to the shop (商品橱窗) on their Zhihu account main page. Besides, livestreaming sessions now include a shopping icon that leads the users directly to the product page on e-commerce platforms or leads to the creator’s store on Zhihu. Briefly, everything is done to facilitate the customer journey within Zhihu.

Zhihu

Creator’s jewelry store clickable on the creator’s main page

Raising trust through experts’ insights :

Zhihu uses knowledge, information, and personal experience that could influence the decision-making process of any potential consumer before purchasing. But the other main point of Zhihu now is the presence of experts including writers, scientists and businessmen that show legitimacy to the users.

Entertainment and inspiration on Zhihu :

If some users are looking for answers to specific questions, others just want to have fun on Zhihu. Films, videos, documentaries, and even TV series can be streaming and creators can receive a commission based on video views as well. 

The following picture shows a video introducing the interior design style from North European countries. By displaying a series of pictures, it gives inspiration on house decoration for fans of design.

Video introducing the interior design style from North European countries

VIP access

Zhihu is a free platform but users can take advantage of special contents or flash sales if they belong to the VIP club.

According to the topics you are interested in, a selection of articles or most popular contents is recommended on the membership tab. 

Other articles accessible only on VIP access

For more information, do not hesitate to contact us at project@emotionchina.cn

We can propose you customized digital marketing services according to your needs.

For more information about Digital marketing and business in China, subscribe to our newsletter : https://www.subscribepage.com/chinabusinessletter

WeChat B2B marketing

How to succeed in B2B with WeChat

Do you know that WeChat is also for B2B marketing? In Western countries, B2B industry gives less attention to social media for brand awareness and lead generation.

However, visibility on social media in China is critical for B2B companies.

WeChat is right solution for marketing campaign in B2B businesses in China.

But how to succeed with WeChat B2B marketing?

Why is WeChat important for B2B marketing?

Any business in China has its own WeChat official account. It has become a powerful marketing channel to reach a targeted audience.

WeChat is a great tool for businesses to leverage your products to Chinese clients.

WeChat monthly active users have reached more than 1.1 billion! It is really the smart app that Chinese people are using 24 hours a day in their life and at work.

WeChat has also a quick search engine then many people are using it for quick search.

Check How to open a WeChat official account?

If you do not have a WeChat official account, you are not visible from your customers, suppliers, leads, then you do not really exist.

It is better to have a WeChat official account rather than a Website in China.

What are the main features of your WeChat account?

Communication

Of course WeChat allows users to send documents such as powerpoint, pdf, excel files which is quite convenient. It is the commun way to exchange documents in China.

WeChat is also a messaging app for business use, it replaces the email.

Automatic reply

It is the message that a customer first follow your account, will receive. This welcome message introduces the account, promote the recent campaigns. It is important message as it is the first impression given to new customers.

Translation tool

WeChat offers an in-app translation tool which is quite convenient to use in business communication between western countries and China.

It really helps the communication with the audience.

Group messages

It is possible to send group messages to your target audience, according to location, gender. It is helpful for targetted marketing.

Customized menu

WeChat gives you the possibility to add up to 3 menu categories, and under eacg category, you can have up to 5 sub-menus.

The menu can lead to a message, an app page, a website.

Some best practices for B2B WeChat marketing

Content is king

Social media is about content. The right content will bring you the right followers.

Getting followers on WeChat is the main challenge. It is therefore important to identify what type of content your audience is looking for. You can check what your competitors are posting in China.

Your content need to be appealing, interactive, original.

Also your content must be shareable. Marketing on WeChat purpose is to encourage sharing .

Encourage sharing

WeChat encourages one to one sharing and group sharing. Encouraging sharing is not limited to your audience. It is good to encourage your employees to share the content to their own contacts, as employee advocacy is quite effective.

Join WeChat groups

WeChat groups are where users with the same interests exchange ideas, share some informations or knowledges. It can be up to 500 people per group. Find and join WeChat groups related to your industry or market. If your content is value to them, you will get new followers and get some interesting comments.

Set up customer support

People like to contact a brand directly in WeChat after they become your followers. It is then important to make easy for them to contact you through mail or phone. You can set up also some auto-replies.

Be active on WeChat

Users will unsuscribed your account if it is not frequently updated. You need to make sure have your account consistenly updated.

Do you need support to succeed with B2B WeChat marketing ?

WeChat marketing is a great tool for businesses to leverage your products and services to the Chinese customers. But it is also a must have to be visible in China.

Through WeChat, you can also educate your market, engage your audience, and so much more!

If you need some help on WeChat marketing, do not hesitate to contact us.

For more information, do not hesitate to contact us

For more information about Digital marketing and business in China, subscribe to our newsletter

Sell to China with cross-border WeChat e-shop

Sell to China with cross-border WeChat e-shop is a smart investment for new brands looking to enter China market.

Cross-Border refers to an online trade between a business and a consumer located in a different country through marketplace platforms and e-commerce sites.

The Covid-19 has put the cross-border at the forefront with international travel shutdown.

Cross-border commerce has become a quite effective way for international companies to develop into China market without setting up a company in China.

It is quite attractive for SME, or for new brands to test the market before investing further.

Cross-border commerce is a relay of growth for brands outside of China to start entering the Chinese market while minimizing the risk.

China is a digital mobile country where you can do everything on mobile, especially on WeChat. You can sell to China with cross-border WeChat e-shop.

Social Selling with WeChat in China is growing fast. Social commerce is growing at 40% rate versus 20% for traditional e-commerce. It represents already USD360 billions in China versus USD 36 billions in US.

CBEC (Cross-border e-commerce) represents more than $100 billions in 2020, including social commerce.

All these numbers show that it is the smart choice for international companies to enter China with CBEC if not yet in China, and that social commerce can be the first step. This is even more true for SME.

How to enter and sell to China market for new brands?

Branding is first in China. Without brand e-reputation and awareness, you cannot succeed.

First step to enter China is to develop your brand awareness on Chinese social media, WeChat and Weibo in particular.

It will take 2 years about to establish your brand in China.

You need first to open a WeChat official account: Check here How to open a WeChat official account?

With WeChat, you will nurture your leads and develop a community. WeChat has lots of tools which can help you to grow your community and brand awareness, as it is really at the heart of the customer journey.

Then you can start to sell your products with WeChat with an e-shop.

Sell to China with cross-border WeChat e-shop, is really the most cost effective way to test or enter the market for SME or small brands.

WeChat stores give the brands the opportunity of entering the market step by step. The cross-border store is leveraging WeChat power to build a direct relationship with your customers.

Later-on when you are ready committing substantial investment, you can open store on Tmall global or JD.com worldwide, or any other platforms. In parallel, you must keep your social selling on WeChat as social selling will continue to grow in China in coming years.

When you will open stores on main traditional e-commerce platforms, you should consider a cross-platform strategy to be put in place.

Regarding comparison between main Ecommerce platforms and WeChat shop, herein for reference:

Our recommandation:

  • WeChat social commerce is a good China market entry point for western brands to enter China thanks to its integrated ecosystem
  • Tmall or JD.com are promotion heavy platforms with dominating traffic resource, more suitable for well known brands. You need ready to invest for long term

The WeChat store

The shop itself is built within WeChat, and linked with your official account.

The consumer will use a smartphone to browse products in your WeChat store. It is only one click away from making a purchase.

Then She/he will use WeChat pay to pay in one click.

Without leaving WeChat, consumers can finish a closed-loop purchasing process from learning about your products to finishing the payment.

When set up a WeChat store, it also requires to integrate the payment method with WeChat pay, to connect the shop with a warehouse, to register in China customs, and tie into a foreign payment gateway in the backend.

Of course, the WeChat store must be built in Chinese.

Strategy of CBEC shipping

In China, it is better to have short time delivery. It is then better to organize the supply Chain using the bonded importing model.

Many e-commerce pilot zones/free trade zones have been set up. You can then store your goods in a bonded warehouse in China mainland. The bonded warehouse model is more suitable for higher sales volumes and long-term solution.

On the payment is completed in WeChat, the logistic operator at the free trade zone connected to the WeChat store clears customs and dispatch the product.

Most of the FTZ logistics operators manage the WeChat stores stocks, inventories and distribution.

It is also possible to use the personal parcel or Business commercial shipping at the very start of entering China, but it gives longer delivery time. It is called the direct shipping model, products are shipped one by one.

Opening a Cross-border shop in WeChat

It is a project by itself.

It requires to follow a process and planning to be managed. It takes between one and 2 months to accomplish all steps.

We recommend brands to use a digital marketing expert with CBEC expertise to open a cross-border shop in WeChat together with the opening of the official account.

Emotion Digital can support your strategy to enter into China, help you to set up your WeChat marketing solutions and CBEC WeChat store.

Sell to China with cross-border WeChat e-shop is the right approach to enter China for unknown or small brands in China.

Benefit from our integrated Chinese social media approach with expertise on WeChat marketing to increase your brand awareness, boost and nurture your leads and sales.

Contact us, if you want to know more about China cross-border e-commerce and China marketing.

Stay up to date by following our blog and our Linkedin page.

https://www.linkedin.com/company/emotion-digital

For more information, do not hesitate to contact us at project@emotionchina.cn

We can propose you customized digital marketing services according to your needs.

For more information about Digital marketing and business in China, subscribe to our newsletter : https://www.subscribepage.com/chinabusinessletter

Written by : Jean-Yves Laguillez