Why social media are necessary for cosmetics brands in China?
Here are a few figures you need to know :
- China has 634 million netizens
- Chinese netizens spend in average 8 hours per week on social networks and about as much watching videos.
- Chinese distributors and consumers will never do business or buy products from a brand they do not know (no e-reputation)
Decision making process
Before purchasing a product, Chinese people will always look for the more information possible. We can see this behaviour more in China than in other countries because some cosmetic products are of very poor quality. To avoid purchasing a product that will have bad effect on the skin, Chinese people search for reviews that people who had consumed the product post. These reviews are usually found on the Social Medias like Weibo, a microblogging platform that allows to write short articles, WeChat, a messaging app, QQ Tencent and renren.com, two social Medias (more information here). Blogs like Sina Weibo and Lofter are also a source of information. They can also be found on forums about cosmetics or about general topics like tianya.cn. To find these sites, Chinese people use the search engines Baidu, the leader but also 360.com and Sogou. When they want to have information about a specific products, they go directly on the websites: the e-commerce platforms. They mostly use Taobao, the biggest online platform on commerce. There is a comment on each cosmetic product on Taobao.
Primary impression on a certain brand
They get their impression on brands by surfing on the Social Medias: in fact, Chinese people like to give their opinions about brand on the Social Medias. It means that people already have an opinion on a brand before using it because they rely a lot on what they can read on the Social Medias. The most powerful people on the Social Medias are called the KOL, or key opinion leaders. They will always give their opinions and their ideas about products. They are followed by a great number of people who will believe them and have the same opinion. These KOL are on Weibo for most of them. Chinese consumers are fond of purchase sharing applications like Meilishuo. It’s a social network only in cosmetic and fashion for women. Brands can be present in too. There is information in, brands and consumers can share photos, advices, etc. To have information from a lot of people, they will go on forums. Videos are also a great way to know better a product or a brand, especially with cosmetic product. The most used platform is Youku, where a large number of videos are hosted. Cosmetic brand have to watch carefully their own page on the Social Medias, because it tells a lot about their products.
As they want to find a lot of information about products, they like to share their experiences. It has two good sides for them: showing what they purchased to their friends and helping people who need information on products. They will use the Social Medias Weibo, WeChat… All the websites they use when they want to get information themselves. On the e-commerce platforms, they will add their own reviews. They will also use the purchase application by adding their experiences to what they already published before purchasing the product.
When a cosmetic company want to be present on the Chinese market and be successful there is no other way than improving its e-reputation first. Part of the process is to improve your presence on Chinese social networks by opening official or service accounts, publish high value content and high quality media on video sharing platforms.
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