In recent years, the Chinese social media landscape has witnessed a remarkable trend in popularity, with platforms such as Weibo, WeChat, Xiaohongshu, and Douyin (TikTok) becoming household names. This rapid expansion of the social media market has given rise to a flourishing influencer economy. In 2023, influencers and key opinion leaders (KOLs) have a significant impact on shaping consumer behavior and preferences. A new guide on Chinese consumers and the impact of influence marketing on purchasing decision.
Today, 68% of Chinese consumers say their luxury purchase intention is driven by influencers and celebrities.
Let’s analyze the tools at stake and the current opportunities in this guide on Chinese consumers.
The Chinese Influencer Economy Overview
The Influencer Economy in the Chinese Social Media Market
The Chinese social media market has experienced tremendous growth in recent years. The social media platforms like Xiaohongshu, Weibo, WeChat, and Douyin (TikTok) gained immense popularity. The rise of these platforms has paved the way for the growth of the influencer economy, where key opinion leaders (KOLs) and influencers play a crucial role in shaping consumer behavior.
Impact of Live-streaming on Influencers
Live-streaming influencers are a unique category of influencers who engage with their audience in real time through video streams.
They often showcase products, share experiences, and interact with their followers to create a sense of intimacy and authenticity. In China, live-streaming platforms like Taobao Live and Douyin have become popular channels for influencers to promote products and drive sales.
Influencers can foster a strong parasocial interaction (PSI) with their audience, leading to increased trust and loyalty.
The Success of Organic Influencers, Classic KOLs, and KOCs
Normal influencers, on the other hand, primarily rely on creating and sharing content through posts, images, and short videos.
They establish a presence on social media platforms like Weibo, Xiaohongshu, and Douyin, where they amass a following by sharing engaging content related to their niche. These influencers develop parasocial relationships (PSR) with their audience over time through repeated interactions.
Their content typically generates likes, comments, and shares, reflecting the audience’s interest in their opinions.
Comparing Live-streaming and Regular Influencers
Both live-streaming and normal influencers are effective in shaping consumer behavior and purchasing decisions. Live-streaming influencers on Xiaohongshu excel at creating a sense of immediacy and intimacy with their audience, which can lead to impulsive buying decisions. Our guide on Chinese consumers shows both works to a different extent.
In contrast, normal influencers may not have the same level of real-time engagement. But they can still build strong parasocial relationships with their audience through consistent content sharing and communication.
Ultimately, the choice between live-streaming and normal influencers depends on a brand’s marketing goals and target audience. Brands seeking to leverage the power of influencers in the Chinese social media market should consider the unique strengths of each type of influencer and develop strategies accordingly.
How Influencer Marketing Impacts Purchasing Decisions
In our latest market research, the same question was coming back. How does influencer marketing impact Chinese consumer purchasing decisions? In brief, it has 4 key leverages to influence the purchasing decision:
- Consumer credibility
- Emotional connection
- Parasocial interaction and relationship (PSI and PSR)
- Social validation
Building Trust and Credibility
Influencer marketing impacts purchasing decisions by establishing trust and credibility between influencers and their followers. As trusted sources of information, influencers can effectively sway consumer opinions and encourage them to try new products or services. By sharing their experiences and expertise, influencers build relationships with their audience, fostering a sense of trust that ultimately influences purchasing decisions. Our guide on Chinese consumers found out that:
Emotional Connection and Identification
Influencers can also affect purchasing decisions by fostering an emotional connection with their followers.
Consumers are more likely to be influenced by those they feel emotionally connected to or identify with on a personal level. By sharing relatable content and engaging in genuine interactions with their audience, influencers can create a sense of identification, making followers more receptive to their product recommendations.
A few months ago, we partnered with an accessories brand specializing in earplugs.
They wanted “a real-life influencer with a strong emotional connection with their audience”.
Out of the 20 influencers selected for their campaign, the top 1 performing influencer was coming from our pool. Why? Because she was not a regular fashion influencer. She was an accountant based in Nanjing, a 3rd tier city. Her daily content is about her work-life balance, how she works in coffee shops in China, how she organizes her day with her work and always looks after her finance. When she presented the earplugs, she presented them in her own tone with positive and negative feedback.
And this emotional connection (despite some negative comments) created a real conversion.
Parasocial Interaction and Relationships
The theories of parasocial interaction (PSI) and parasocial relationships (PSR) further explain how influencer marketing can be essential. This theory was already shared by Horton and Wohl in 1956.
- PSI refers to the illusion of companionship or friendship that consumers experience with media personalities.
- PSR represents a more enduring, intimate relationship that forms between consumers and influencers over time.
As consumers engage in parasocial interactions with influencers and develop parasocial relationships, they become more sensitive to their recommendations and are thus more likely to make purchasing decisions based on those suggestions.
Social Proof and Validation
Influencer marketing can also impact purchasing decisions by providing social proof and validation.
When consumers see influencers promoting a product, they may perceive it as a form of endorsement from a trusted source. This shift in consumers’ minds, to consider a commercial as a trusted source can validate their interest in the product and increase the possibility of making a purchase.
Furthermore, when influencers collaborate with brands, their followers often view the partnership as a stamp of approval, enhancing the perceived value of the product and driving purchasing decisions.
How Can Luxury Brands Leverage Chinese Influencers?
1. Choosing the Right Influencers
To leverage the power of influencers, brands need to carefully select individuals who align with their target audience and brand values. Our guide on Chinese consumers and influencers selection is here for that:
It is crucial to analyze the influencer’s audience demographics to ensure they align with your target market. Additionally, assessing the influencer’s content style, tone, and themes can help determine if they match your brand image. Examining the influencer’s engagement rates (likes, comments, shares) can help you understand their ability to generate meaningful interactions with their followers.
Lastly, consider working with micro-influencers. Also known as Key Opinion Consumer (KOC), they may have smaller audiences but often boast higher engagement rates and stronger connections with their followers.
2. Crafting Compelling Campaigns
Once brands have identified suitable influencers, they should collaborate to create engaging and authentic campaigns that resonate with the target audience.
You can encourage influencers to share genuine experiences and personal stories related to your product or service. This tactic can foster trust and credibility with their audience. You can also develop campaign concepts that align with the influencer’s content style and interests, ensuring a natural fit within their existing content.
It’s important to provide influencers with the creative freedom to tailor their content and messaging. As they know their audience best and can adapt their approach to maximize engagement.
After the campaign, you can measure the success of your campaigns using key performance indicators (KPIs) like engagement, reach, and conversion rates to inform future strategies.
3. Leveraging Live-streaming and Normal Influencers
Both livestreaming and normal influencers offer unique benefits for brands looking to capitalize on influencer marketing.
For live-streaming influencers, consider organizing exclusive product launches or demonstrations during live-stream events. The plus-value of live streaming is the real-time interaction. It can generate excitement and drive immediate sales. Offer real-time promotions and discounts to convince viewers to make purchases during the live stream. Encourage influencers to engage with their audience through Q&A sessions, product tutorials, and interactive games to foster a sense of connection and trust.
For normal influencers, collaborate on sponsored content, such as blog posts, social media posts, or video reviews, to showcase your product or service authentically and relatable. Engage influencers in long-term partnerships, which can help establish credibility and foster a lasting relationship with their audience. Utilize user-generated content (UGC) from influencers and their followers to create a sense of community and social validation around your brand.
4. Building Long-Term Influencer Relationships
Cultivating long-term relationships with influencers can help brands maximize the benefits of influencer marketing. Maintain open lines of communication and provide regular feedback, ensuring both parties remain aligned in terms of goals and expectations.
Offer fair compensation and give influencers the resources and support they need to create high-quality content. Show appreciation and recognition for the influencer’s efforts, which can strengthen the relationship and encourage ongoing collaboration. Finally, explore opportunities for co-branded collaborations, such as limited edition products or joint events. This original creation can further solidify the partnership and generate buzz among both the influencer’s audience and the brand’s audience.
5. Embracing Data-Driven Decision-Making in Influencer Marketing
Harnessing data analytics can help brands optimize their influencer marketing strategies and maximize return on investment (ROI). Utilize social media listening tools to monitor the online conversation surrounding your brand and influencers, gaining insights into audience sentiment and identifying potential areas for improvement.
Evaluate campaign performance using data-driven metrics, such as engagement rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates, to assess the effectiveness of your influencer partnerships and inform future decisions. Conduct A/B testing with different influencer content formats, messaging, and calls to action to determine which approaches yield the best results.
By continuously analyzing data and adjusting your influencer marketing strategy accordingly, you can ensure your brand remains agile and responsive to the ever-evolving digital landscape.
Reverse Group Boosts Your Business in China
In today’s highly connected world, Chinese influencers play a pivotal role in shaping consumer purchasing decisions.
With their vast reach and highly engaged followers, influencers have the power to elevate brand visibility, drive sales, and create lasting connections with potential customers. Understanding the intricacies of working with Chinese influencers is essential for brands aiming to tap into this lucrative market.
By leveraging the right influencers, companies can effectively resonate with their target audience. They can ensure a higher conversion rate and a significant return on investment.
At Reverse Group, we’re dedicated to helping you harness the potential of Chinese influencers to boost your brand’s presence and influence purchasing decisions. Our team of experts possesses in-depth knowledge of the Chinese market and a vast network of connections with influential personalities, from influencers to celebrities.
We’ll work closely with you to identify influencers who align with your brand values and have a strong resonance with your target audience based on our guide on Chinese consumers. Through tailored strategies and carefully crafted collaborations, we’ll help you establish fruitful partnerships that drive results and increase your brand’s credibility.