Stay-streaming on social-media platforms and KOL suggestions play essential roles within the fast-changing gross sales setting.

EYB Digital Advertising and marketing specialises in serving to manufacturers to open up the market in Mainland China and increase gross sales by way of digital advertising and marketing. Based in Guangdong in 2002, it now has branches in Guangzhou and Shanghai. EYB Vice-President Frankie Lee’s views on how the strategies of promoting communications within the mainland have modified. The variations between social media and content material platforms, and the way finest to make use of these platforms’ completely different traits, ought to present a helpful reference for Hong Kong business gamers.

In search of items to purchase

Mr Lee describes advertising and marketing communications a decade in the past as a case of “items reaching out to individuals”. Model homeowners would promote themselves to shoppers by way of mass media, resembling mass transit, outside media, TV and different channels. They’d inform shoppers how particular their choices have been and search publicity. In recent times, nevertheless, advertising and marketing communications has modified to “individuals searching for items to purchase”. These days shoppers study a specific model and “get the grass seed planted” (Web slang which means {that a} shopper develops a robust need to purchase when she or he sees one thing helpful and good posted by associates and different netizens) by way of their trusted associates, specialists or social teams by way of social platforms (resembling Weibo and WeChat) and content material platforms (resembling Douyin or Chinese language TikTok, Kuaishou, and Xiaohongshu or Little Pink Ebook). They then search for the product, purchase it and share the data. Mr Lee mentioned the entire resolution‑making course of has undergone an incredible change because of the emergence of recent social media.

He believes that adjustments within the resolution‑making paths of consumption don’t essentially imply that social media can take the place of conventional promoting, saying: “The 2 can complement one another. What EYB does is omni‑channel advertising and marketing. We’ve got our offline channels of communications ‑ that’s, outside media resembling prepare or bus station ready halls, public buses, mass transit advertisements, TV commercials, radio and newspapers. We additionally plan offline occasions, resembling handing out samples and internet hosting free tasting actions.

“Nevertheless, due to the rising reputation of social media and the rising numbers of individuals utilizing on the spot messaging apps, EYB now embraces extra social networking components in its advertising and marketing communications in a bid to cowl extra social platforms and content material platforms.”

Quicker resolution making

Social media has shortened the choice‑making course of for shoppers. It has decreased the time between shoppers listening to a couple of product and shopping for it, and has even decreased the time they take to make up their minds a couple of product. Explaining how this has occurred, Mr Lee mentioned: “The method from listening to a couple of product to really shopping for the product, that’s, from ‘planting grass seed’ to ‘plucking grass’ (Web slang which means that the buyer has purchased the merchandise of curiosity), is accomplished very quickly. For instance, a shopper is perhaps watching a KOL’s (key opinion chief) dwell‑streaming for a breath freshener. It could be an unheard‑of name, nevertheless it simply occurs to swimsuit the buyer’s wants. They could assume ‘It’s appropriate for enterprise events and simple to hold. The product appears good and isn’t costly. Don’t thoughts giving it a strive.’ The entire course of from listening to in regards to the product to creating a purchase order can take as little as 15 minutes.”

Mr Lee identified that social media advertising and marketing is finest fitted to quick‑shifting shopper items, saying: “Make-up merchandise, for instance, are appropriate for dwell‑streaming advertising and marketing. When the KOL exhibits how the make-up is used, the earlier than/after impact is clear and it’s straightforward to persuade shoppers to position orders. Within the case of meals and drinks, dwell‑streaming can create a mouth‑watering impact and tickle shoppers’ style buds, making them wish to purchase the product.”

In distinction, Mr Lee added, shoppers take an extended time to resolve on the acquisition of huge sturdy items. It isn’t really easy to stimulate need to purchase such gadgets, except the value is irresistible.

“Social platform” v “content material platform”

Mr Lee divides social media platforms into completely different classes, resembling social platforms and content material platforms. WeChat, Weibo and QQ are social platforms, whereas Douyin, Kuaishou, B-Web site (Bilibili) and Xiaohongshu are content material platforms. Model homeowners “plant grass seed” on each social and content material platforms and reap the gross sales by way of e‑commerce, brief‑video, dwell‑streaming and different platforms. That is the commonest type of publicity and advertising and marketing right this moment.

Explaining the right way to use these platforms to their finest benefit, Mr Lee mentioned: “Taobao and Tmall are content material and e‑commerce platforms on the identical time. To some individuals, they aren’t merely e‑commerce platforms however locations they buy groceries. A model proprietor would possibly use knowledge mining to spotlight merchandise that customers could also be occupied with at locations like Aiguangjie three and Taobao’s ‘Should Purchase Listing’, with the intention to appeal to informal customers to position orders. Their advertising and marketing means are extra diversified and embrace graphics, brief movies and dwell‑streaming.” Mr Lee additionally identified that Taobao and Tmall now provide “closed loop” advertising and marketing on their platforms.

Social platforms every have their very own traits. Mr Lee suggested that model homeowners should concentrate on the variations between completely different platforms, saying: “If we’ve got to make use of a number of phrases to explain completely different social platforms, we might say that Weibo, as an illustration, is a advertising and marketing media and an promoting platform. Everybody has heard about it, not simply its followers. It could begin subject occasions and take advantage of searched hashtags record. WeChat, alternatively, is extra like a spokesperson/model ambassador and may push the newest model info to followers and work together with them.”

Content material platforms attempt to enchantment to completely different customers with their distinctive traits. Xiaohongshu is a neighborhood for “planting grass seed”, catering particularly to girls and emphasising way of life components. Douyin makes use of dramatic, attention-grabbing and interactive brief movies to provide results unlikely to be achieved by unusual TV commercials. Zhihu is extra like a Wanka (Wanka “Gamers” are specialists particularly fields, resembling specialists in espresso and skincare) that depends on its nice understanding and professionalism.

Focused advertising and marketing technique

Mr Lee argues that model homeowners and advertising and marketing brokers should totally perceive the attributes of their merchandise and the goal shoppers they wish to talk with, in order that they’ll direct their restricted assets to key channels.

Illustrating his level with some examples, Mr Lee mentioned: “There’s a pretty well-known make-up model on the mainland. Its technique is to channel all its assets to Xiaohongshu and present the earlier than/after results of its merchandise by way of photographs and brief movies. One other home model specialises in skincare merchandise. Its technique is to pay attention all its assets on WeChat’s skilled skincare account and skincare specialist account.”

Each manufacturers, Mr Lee identified, place their assets on completely different channels and each are doing very nicely. Since make-up merchandise deal with the distinction of earlier than and after results, photographs and brief movies can reveal these results nicely. Xiaohongshu is a vital content material platform for “planting grass seed” amongst feminine shoppers. In the meantime, for skilled skincare manufacturers that depend on suggestions from specialists and shut associates on WeChat, professionalism and belief are the key phrases.

When serving to purchasers make social media placements, EYB recommends that they start by understanding the traits of various platforms and select platforms based on the traits of their model and merchandise. They need to search for KOLs that swimsuit the distinctive qualities of their merchandise after selecting the platforms. Mr Lee reminded business gamers that it’s finest to strengthen the correlation between the model and the KOL and keep away from frequent altering of KOLs.

Channel constructing

The mainland market may be very sophisticated and shopper demand and consumption environments differ from province to province. Mr Lee burdened that an important issue for firms to contemplate is that the paths of promoting communications, from shoppers’ contact with product info to their precise buy, are vastly completely different on the mainland from these in Hong Kong. Pointing to an extra issue confronted by companies primarily based in Hong Kong seeking to open up the mainland market, Mr Lee added: “Hong Kong firms should not conversant in the social media on the mainland.”

Mr Lee urged that Hong Kong manufacturers or Hong Kong brokers of abroad manufacturers ought to strive publicising their merchandise in an appropriately proportionate manner earlier than venturing absolutely into the mainland market. They may start by testing the water by way of haitao, or abroad on-line purchasing, reasonably than by attempting to construct advertising and marketing channels too shortly. Mr Lee described what number of Japanese manufacturers undertake this technique, saying: “First they unfold model publicity by discovering journey or skincare specialists who specialize in introducing issues which are enjoyable and of curiosity in Japan to publicise a should‑purchase record of Japanese merchandise. This fashion they’ll construct up their identify whereas participating in small‑scale advertising and marketing by way of abroad on-line purchasing. After a interval of publicity and gaining an internet status, they announce their formal entry into the mainland market on social media, utilizing unique packaging and pricing their product on the identical degree as within the homeland. Model publicity and advertising and marketing thus turn out to be a closed loop.”

Lee reminded business gamers that model publicity have to be achieved prematurely and that it takes time for social content material, phrase‑of‑mouth publicity and the buildup of name recognition to take impact. Persistence is required. He mentioned that after the impact of phrase‑of‑mouth publicity could be seen to be going down, firms can then start their on-line and/or offline advertising and marketing. Nevertheless, he warned they need to chorus from investing closely in advertising and marketing channels earlier than they’re nicely‑ready.

Creativity, execution equally necessary

In Mr Lee’s view, the largest worth that promoting firms can present is the insights they acquire from a deep understanding of shoppers. Explaining how this could work, Mr Lee mentioned: “Creativity could be cleverly conveyed to shoppers by way of a comment, an image or a brief video displaying how completely different one’s product is from others. Inventive concepts are concepts which are ‘cheap however past expectations’. You appear to comprehend it however simply can’t put it in phrases. You see the commercial and immediately really feel the sunshine dawning on you.”

Nevertheless, Mr Lee added, creativity by itself isn’t sufficient. With out the required assets or the aptitude to execute them, advertising and marketing methods don’t work, particularly for manufacturers simply coming into the mainland market. Mr Lee reminded Hong Kong business gamers planning to enterprise into the mainland market that after they look to staff up with mainland promoting firms, they need to keep away from firms that solely provide concepts and may strive so far as doable to seek out companions which have each revolutionary concepts and the aptitude to place them into observe. It is because publicising a model entails movie shoots, design supplies, social media placement, KOL choice, pattern handouts, and so forth. If a model proprietor groups up with an organization that solely provides concepts, it’ll additionally want to seek out many different firms to get the job achieved. It will improve the price of communications and cut back effectivity, and this can be a drawback that will probably be much more keenly felt if the model proprietor is brief‑staffed.

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