A Chinese social media platform that combines shopping, e-commerce, original content, and reviews is Xiaohongshu (known in English as Little Red Book), founded in 2013 by Charlwin Mao and Miranda Qu to “inspire the future” and is considered the next Instagram Chinese. Let’s find out why!
HOW DOES XIAOHONGSHU WORK?
Users can post short videos, images and text content. They can also interact with other posts targeted to their interests such as fashion, fashion, food, travel, fitness and many more.
According to Statista, in July 2019, the platform had a total of around 300 million registered users and in 2021 it surpassed 400 million. About 35% of users are between 31 and 35 years old, while about 85% of users were female.
These data explain how Xiaohongshu is a huge opportunity for global brands looking to build their online presence in China.
VIDEO AND REVIEWS IN LITTLE RED BOOK
What describes this new social network is related to the user’s behavior. In fact, users tend to publish reviews of articles and services. Specifically, the Chinese consumer has developed a strong tendency to rely on public opinion regarding the product.
Today’s Chinese consumer is looking to improve their lifestyle and is willing to pay a surplus to do so. These same consumers, more than others in the world, rely on recommendations before finalizing their purchases.
Chinese consumers rely heavily on reviews and testimonials from friends, family and especially Key Opinion Leaders (KOL) and Xiaohongshu was born to meet this need.
IS LITTLE RED BOOK THE CHINESE VERSION OF INSTAGRAM?
In the West there is a tendency to compare many Chinese apps with their Western counterparts, in fact many compare Xiaohongshu to Instagram.
Probably because Xiaohongshu and Instagram are lifestyle-related platforms and give the possibility to create new trends. However, this is where the similarities between the two platforms end.
The average consumers of Xiaohongshu are a group of people who love to travel and shop.
Xiaohongshu is a blend of Instagram, Pinterest and e-commerce, as it combines the aesthetically pleasing visual layout of Instagram with user reviews, such as we find on Amazon.
HOW DO XIAOHONGSHU USERS BEHAVE?
Xiaohongshu users post and share photos and videos of certain products with reviews and tips that other users can read, comment on and save to their message boards.
Brands try to target and convert consumers on Xiaohongshu by creating official profiles, thus a resource for potential buyers curious about market news.
HOW TO PROMOTE IN LITTLE RED BOOK, THE CHINESE INSTAGRAM?
There are two main ways to promote a brand within Xiaohongshu Little Red Book, the Chinese Instagram, which leverages KOLs and advertisements.
For ads, brands can purchase two types of commercial placements: five-second full-screen video, common for apps in China, or ads within the feed, which are content-embedded commercial posts, similar to paid ads on Instagram.
Xiaohongshu influencers have established strict policies for posting commercial content. Influencers must register on the platform and submit a certification to get the right to do commercial posts.
Xiaohongshu also provides the page customization service and the ability to send product samples and thus, collect interest.
LOUIS VUITTON SOCIAL MEDIA PROFILE IN CHINA
One brand that has been successful in breaking into the Chinese market on Xiaohongshu has been Louis Vuitton, which through its posts explains the functionality of their bags and accessories, for end consumers.
Brands looking to follow in Louis Vuitton’s footsteps need to understand that Xiaohongshu is a bridge between the brand and the younger generation of consumers, where the brand can find new users and potential consumers, then establish a connection with them.
Furthermore, brands can accumulate a large number of word of mouth among consumers, increasing the brand’s awareness exponentially.
HOW TO BE EFFECTIVE IN THE CHINESE MARKET?
Feed ads are considered the most effective way to advertise on Xiaohongshu (Red the Chinese Instagram), as they integrate more naturally into the content feed. Advertisers are advised to create relevant, user-friendly content with clear opportunities for interaction.
It is strongly recommended also to have a strong presence on other social networks such as Wechat and Weibo which solidify the opinion and image of the brand within the Chinese market.
Individuals are looking for specific information that can help them evaluate and make decisions related to the purchase of products and especially in the luxury sector.
KOL, WHO ARE KEY OPINION LEADERS?
The Key Opinion Leaders today have an influence rate never reached in past years and for this reason it is essential to take into consideration the KOL suitable for the reference brand.
For example, KOL explains their feeling when they come into contact with bags, how much it can hold and what colors are available. Consumers can also comment and share purchase suggestions and reviews in real-time, giving products greater appeal.
Additionally, partnering with KOL and celebrities to promote the products adds another dimension to the product’s appeal to future buyers.
Xiaohongshu will continue to grow as one of the most important shopping and advice communities on lifestyle and products for Chinese youth (and beyond). The platform has also shown a strong social influence, especially in the Beauty and Fashion sectors.
Little RED Book recently started a project with Alibaba, the largest e-commerce platform in China, in order to establish a closer partnership with the platform.
This is not surprising considering the success of Taobao’s various live streams, hence Alibaba for the annual Singles Day shopping festival. This initiative generated $ 2.85 billion in revenue for Taobao.
If Xiaohongshu successfully builds new ties between its loyal social community and the largest e-commerce platforms in China such as Taobao and Tmall (currently unintegrated), it will continue to grow in terms of sales and influence.
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