The content is great, the KOL is an effective communicator, and the brand has considered its target audience across multiple apps. But in China’s current social media environment where platforms and KOL marketing rules are constantly evolving, these efforts alone, unfortunately, may not always cut it. It helps brands to have a playbook of go-to strategies they can use to really ensure that their KOL marketing tactics provide maximum potential.

Below, we’ve gathered our top KOL marketing tactics that brands should refer to in the coming year for creating effective campaigns.

2019 KOL Marketing Tactics

#1 Search Engine Optimization on Little Red Book

Little Red Book (Xiaohongshu) is no doubt an app to watch in 2019, but how can brands get the most out of its reach? For one, it helps to think about the platform as a search engine and to write blog posts with the same SEO strategy in mind one would have for the internet.

“Little Red Book has really cool benefits—profiles on the app are more like websites and posts are more like web pages, making Little Red Book more similar to the traditional internet than any social platform we’ve seen before,” says Elijah Whaley, chief marketing officer of PARKLU. “And it’s being used as a social search engine by a user base that’s 85 percent female to research products.”

This means brands need to deeply consider the keywords they want to use in tandem with other KOL marketing tactics. Brands should make sure these keywords are in the title and first paragraph of KOL posts, and appear at least five times in a 1,000-word article. Little Red Book’s reach is going to be determined by an algorithm that takes into account comments, favorites, and reposts.

“You have to optimize for search, just like you would a blog post,” Whaley explains. “Even if you’re doing product seeding to KOLs and you’re not paying them to post, you should feed them the keywords you want them to use.”

For more on social search optimization, check out this post.

#2 Pay attention to e-commerce KOLs

While platforms like Little Red Book and WeChat are no doubt crucial parts of the consumer journey, brands shouldn’t ignore the opportunity to collaborate with KOLs that work directly on Taobao and Tmall.

“Brands can and should be focusing on the e-commerce KOLs,” Whaley says. “The KOL marketing tactics behind this is when you engage with a KOL that’s producing content for an app like Tmall and Taobao, it works better because of ‘user intentionality.’”

Think of it this way: When a consumer is logging into social media on WeChat, their plan is usually to engage with family, friends, and coworkers or to pay for a product or service offline. When they check out Douyin, it’s to engage with a few funny videos in their downtime. But when a consumer logs onto Taobao or Tmall, their intention is to shop.

“The user intentionality is important,” Whaley says. “If you want to just reach people and create brand awareness, build affinity and create community, then it’s awesome to work with KOLs on those social media platforms, but you shouldn’t expect those people to convert at high rates.“ Whereas the opposite is true on an e-commerce platform.

It’s important not to confuse traditional e-commerce platforms that have added social network and entertainment features (like Weitao) with social media platforms that include an e-commerce element, like Little Red Book and Douyin. Despite some industry experts’ optimistic predictions, Little Red Book only holds approximately 4 percent of China’s cross-border e-commerce market, meaning KOLs on the platform aren’t likely going to move too much product. PARKLU estimates that conversion rates on non-e-commerce platforms like Weibo are generally about 1.5 percent click-through rate, and 1.5 percent of those users are making a purchase.

For example, Douyin both provides direct links to e-commerce in addition to hosting their own e-commerce platforms, but achieving sales through Douyin presents a number of challenges. First, Douyin is not a search engine, so brands and KOLs that post content on the platform have to rely on an algorithm for their content to be exposed to the target audience. Only about 10 percent of the poster’s audience is going to organically see their content, Whaley says.

“You have to get lucky to present your direct conversion content to commerce,” he says.

To Read the final 5 Marketing Tactics, visit ParkLu’s Blog HERE


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