Given the deep penetration of Facebook and Twitter, you might be surprised to know that China leads the world in the use of mobile devices. With over 500 million (mobile) internet users compared to the US at 147 million, China has rapidly adopted mobile internet with an 80% market penetration in just a few years of it being available to them.
What Chinese people use mobile internet for is also highly revealing - 88% make use of social media, 71% make online purchases and 71% download or stream videos. That’s nearly four times what’s happening in the US!
Apart from the incredible infrastructure growth in China over the last 10 years, which supports such a huge demand for new services, there are massive opportunities for companies to be able to exploit the technology and get their name heard in China.
Social media in China has a breath-taking 600 million users and this figure grows every day. The two main social networks - Weibo, a Twitter like platform and WeChat, have a combined user population of over 1.6 billion and with the Chinese being (very) early adopters and more and more people demanding this technology, the marketing opportunities are seriously… serious.
At first sight, a lot of companies think ‘let’s have some of that!’ They set up their Chinese social media channels, post a few snippets and then, for some inexplicable reason, lose interest. It’s as if everyone will remember you after you walk into crowded room and introduce yourself, walk out again. Then you wonder why nobody ever writes. First impressions stick and if people get the idea that you’re not that bothered, then why would they be?
Be prepared to do some work. It can be pretty labour intensive. One post a day won’t cut it. You need to have a cohesive and responsive campaign strategy and your social media management should map closely to this.
Of course, your social media channels aren’t the b-all-and-end-all; they’re your initial contact and should be engaging enough to want people to follow you to a richer destination – your website, for example. If people get the idea that you care enough to regularly serve them up with interesting and relevant content, then you’ve got a captive audience.
Social media is continually changing and evolving and your marketing and communications strategy needs to take this into account. Look at WeChat for example. Since launching in 2010 it has gone from being a simple messaging app all the way to accepting mobile payments through their own payment portal; similar to the way eBay and PayPal work together. It works by allowing a business to create a home page within WeChat and from this page they can create a site structure that includes product catalogues, membership registration and account management, news and updates and payment transactions. Using the added functionality of creating games and competitions, voting and voucher redemption makes this future of mobile marketing and communications the most effective and responsive yet.
Email? Pah! Mobile just got to be the only way to interact with your users.