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How You Can Build A Powerful Influencer Marketing Strategy
in China 2019

“People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories, and magic.” — Seth Godin

With demand for attention on the rise and overwhelming product options on the market, consumers are beginning to lose sight of who they can trust.

To filter the noise, Chinese consumers are turning to ad blockers, and cord cutting. Consumers taking such extreme measures to avoid advertising makes it increasingly more difficult for brands to keep up with the digital landscape.

So where do you turn?

The smart move would be KOL marketing aka influencer marketing.

If you’re looking for an ironclad way to seize the attention of your ideal audience, you should look no further than someone who already has their ear.

When you look at the stats below, it makes sense why influencer marketing is such a popular tactic to drive sales:

  • When it comes to millennials, only 1% of them trust advertisements. However, 33% of them trust blog reviews for their purchases.
  • Around 40% of people reported that they purchased a product online after seeing it used by an influencer on YouTube, Instagram, or Twitter.
  • 71% of influencers believe that it’s an honest and authentic voice that keeps their audience engaged.

It’s easy to see why influencer marketing is red-hot right now, but what is influencer marketing?

What Is KOL Marketing?

KOL marketing is leveraging the reach of an existing influencer who has built a large following and strong brand reputation in a particular niche to support your brand, endorse your product, or co-create content, with the intent to increase brand awareness and drive sales.

“Influencing is about connecting, and that’s what marketing revolves around today — making us feel connected with the product and people who use/promote that product.”

Types of Influencer Campaigns in China

1. Discount codes and affiliate marketing.

Tracking ROI and compensating influencers for affiliate marketing is easily accomplished with custom URLs and unique discount codes.

Influencers are also teaming up with brands on discount codes, which are just as easily tracked and even easier to embed in graphics, videos, and share through WeChat, Weibo, Douyin and Xiaohongshu.

2. Competitions and giveaways.

Competitions, giveaways, and contests are excellent avenues for gaining greater brand exposure, generating buzz, and driving engagement.

Depending on your product’s price point, you can easily make room in your budget for giving away a handful of products each month to competition winners or directly to influencers.

Product testing videos and reviews from Influencers, through their Weibo, Douyin or Xiaohongshu live video, help shine a spotlight on your product by getting it in front of their entire audience at a minimal cost to your brand.

Ideally, these prizes or gifts should be lucrative enough to get people excited or should provide early access to products before they’re widely released.

On the competition side, an easy way to drive even more engagement is to include engagement instructions as a stipulation for entering the contest. This could be something like:

  • Tagging friends.
  • Liking the post.
  • Following.
  • Sharing the content.
  • Signing up for a newsletter.
  • Even creating original content.

Be sure to make the rules totally transparent so confusion won’t prevent participants from entering, and to ensure there’s no dissatisfaction among the audience when the winners are announced.

How to Build Your Influencer Strategy

1. Understand the Influencer Landscape.

A critical component of an effective influencer marketing campaign is establishing a trusted relationship with a relevant influencer, one who’s in tune with your audience’s needs and desires and whom your audience will look to when they’re making purchase decisions.

2. Expand Your Reach Beyond WeChat and Weibo

The primary goal here is discovering influencers in China based on topics of influence and audience demographics, who can deliver on all the vital engagement metrics.

To find the right fit between brand and influencer, you’ve got to find someone who is aligned with your brand’s vision, mission, and identity.

WeChat and Weibo are typically the first platform that comes to mind when people think about when finding top notch influencers.

Before you put all your money into these two platforms, however, it’s worth noting that the landscape is rapidly changing, and with it, new opportunities are cropping up on nearly all social platforms.

Try branching out this year and capitalizing on influencers Douyin (TikTok) and Xiaohongshu (The Little Red Book).

3. Determine Fair Compensation

Until recently, influencers weren’t getting a fair deal.

A study conducted by TapInfluence and Altimeter determined that inadequate compensation is the biggest mistake brands are making when it comes to influencer marketing.

Those days are coming to an end with ChinaKOL. KOLs or influencers range from a few hundred dollars to tens and thousands of dollars depending on the level of fame and the number of followers the KOL has.

At ChinaKOL, all our prices are transparent and our services are listed below.

How Much Does Social Media Influencer Marketing Cost?

Fascinating Influencer Marketing Trends

1. Investing in Influencers Who Use Video.

Video production is the latest craze, and if you aren’t tapping into that channel you’re already behind the curve.

When researching a purchase decision, 4 out of 5 millennials go to video content.

Imagine the kind of impact that could have on your marketing plan over the next 5–10 years as those teenagers enter the job market and become your primary target audience.

2. Creating Useful Content Instead of Ads.

Content marketing is derived from people’s demand for authenticity. Consumers were sick and tired of traditional advertising clogging up magazines, radio, TV, and billboards. Then, with the boom, the digital age brought about a new flood of advertising that elevated that demand for greater authenticity.

With that in mind, the influencer you choose to partner with has to have the right balance of non-commissioned content and commissioned content.

“The two things that make the most impact are consistency and being genuine. The more it looks like a promotion, the less effective it is because it’s ‘salesy.’”

Executive Summary

The China digital landscape is shifting rapidly, and those not keeping up are wasting their ad budgets, losing customers, and shrinking their market share.

Luckily, influencer marketing isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

“The great thing about influencer marketing is that you can kill three birds with one stone — create great content, earn credibility, and gain exposure through the influencer’s network.”

As long as your influencer has a solid reputation and genuine clout, follower numbers are relatively unimportant.

What really matters is that their community favorably reacts and responds to their recommendations. If you want influencer marketing to be more influential, then have a ‘less is more’ mindset. Look closely at true brand enthusiasts. Work on cultivating a rock-solid relationship with them and leave room for them to be the genius creators they are at their core.

Working with a social media influencer agency can help to streamline the process of influencer marketing. That’s especially true if your brand is completely new to influencer marketing. Working with ChinaKOL can make it easy to get a sense of how the process works:

We keep you from having to trawl through social media and match you with an influencer with the right amount of engagement and the appropriate subject niche. Unlike other agencies, we are completely transparent, and you can see the cost on the website.