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Top 10 Social Media Campaigns in China of All Time

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Social media marketing in China campaigns top 10

Top 10 Social Media Campaigns in China of All Time

With no access to the social media platforms that are commonly used in the rest of the world, China has created their own diverse and dynamic networks, just like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, MySpace and YouTube.


If you want to conduct social media marketing in China, presence on various social media platforms and creative campaigns are essential. Before engaging with the potential customers in the Chinese market, you have to know the social media landscape of China.


It is crucial to create dynamic and creative social media campaigns to stand out from the crowd. Run out of creative ideas sometimes? Always learn from the good! These 10 effective social media campaigns in China can give you inspirations and help you to push your business forward behind the Great Wall!


Are we all set? Let’s dive into the social media landscape in China.




Social media landscape in China


The Chinese social media landscape is fragmented and fast-changing. If you don’t pay close attention and do enough research, you’ll miss a lot. The social media marketing landscape in China is growing more and more powerful every year. One important thing to note is the number of active social media users in China increased by 20% between January 2016 and January 2017.


Social Media Landscape in China

Image via Social@Ogilvy



Here’s the top 5 most popular social media platforms in China. They are growing in skyrocket speed.


1. WeChat

This social media giant has over 1 billion monthly active users. WeChat creates a mobile digital lifestyle by integrating real-time messaging and social entertainment. It enables users to connect their online and offline worlds through innovative and ultimate features, such as share photos on “Moments”, “Shake” and “People Nearby”. It is essential to learn how to use WeChat for business if you want to reach and engage this broad swath of potential customers. You can also make use of the powerful WeChat advertisement to target specific target audience in China.


2. Weibo

 Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, has over 360 million monthly active users in 2016. It’s a powerful digital marketing channel, allows users to stay up-to-date to celebrities, brands and companies. This dynamic platform allows users to post and share your photos and videos, even David Beckham does that. Brands who can effectively use Weibo for marketing will gain massive brand exposure within a short time.


3. QQ

QQ reached 877 million monthly active users in Q3 2016. It’s an instant messaging platform like Whatsapp, providing text messaging, instant video and voice chat as well as online and offline file transmission.


4. Douban

With 80 million monthly active users, users can share their views and opinions on films, books, music and culture. Douban enables businesses to interact with consumers instantly on brand pages and discussion pages.


5. Youku

Youku is the second largest video site, following YouTube. Users, including individuals, brands and production companies can watch and share media content regularly on Youku.


Social Media Landscape in China

Image via Linkfluence




10 effective social media campaigns in China


1. Burberry-“Shake, tap and swipe”


Burberry is known as the most digital-savvy fashion brand. Burberry fully utilises WeChat on news updates of new arrivals, trending products and latest promotions as well as customer relationship management.


In 2016, Burberry ran a fun campaign for Chinese New Year on Feb 8. On that day, Burberry sent a photo of a decent cylinder-shaped gift box to its WeChat followers. Fans had to follow the instructions-“Shake, tap and swipe to try and open the gift” to find out what was inside in a fun way.


Social Media Marketing in China Burberry


The surprise hadn’t ended yet. After opening the gift, users would receive a greeting letter from Burberry. Meanwhile, fans could send personalized greetings to their beloved ones. They were able to choose the color of the Burberry cashmere scarf and personalize the greeting.


Social Media Marketing in China Burberry


After sending the greeting, fans could stay on the page and shop the Chinese New Year’s special collection. The amazing thing is all participants had chances to win limited-edition envelopes that were only available for in-store pickup. Burberry could drive traffic to their brick-and-mortar store and boost in-store purchases.


2. Watsons-Location service


Watsons, the largest health care and beauty care store, created an official WeChat account. Chinese customers can purchase the products through the WeChat e-store. Watsons offers a  VIP program on WeChat. Customers can no longer need to put it into the wallet or forget it at home.


Social Media Marketing in China Watsons

Image via Medium


Other than that, Watsons takes advantage of the location services of WeChat. By sending the locations to the account, the followers can enjoy the exclusive access to their services and check out the latest promotions of the nearest store.


3. Pacific Coffee-In-app payment


Mobile Wallet is undoubtedly the most unique feature that make WeChat stands out from other social media platforms.


Social Marketing in China Pacific Coffee


Pacific Coffee WeChat account has multiple functions. Pacific Coffee customers are able to choose the size, type and number of the drinks and pay within the app. You can use the in-app payment system for an instant pay at the cashier or delivery order. Apart from purchasing coffee, Pacific Coffee account also enables membership card function.


I reckon you are either very rush or very free to enjoy a cup of coffee. Pacific Coffee targets at the convenience, simplifies the whole payment process. You just need to open the app, pay and you are good to go.


Related reads: “Stripe now supports WeChat Pay and Alipay (2017)


4. Linq Hotel-QR codes


Imagine you go into your hotel room after a long day, you need to find the buttons of the lights and wait until the room temperature turns cooler. At that moment, you just want to lay on the bed and do all these with one click.


Social Media Marketing in China Linq Hotel

Image via Chatterbox


And, this is happening. Linq Hotel brought an ultimate feature to the connected suites. By scanning the QR code of the room, you are able to control the lighting, air-con temperature and volume of the room remotely on your phones.


There are also some installed programs. For example if you choose the “sleeping mode”, you can have lights switched off, curtain closed and door locked with just one tap away. How cool is that.


5. MontBlanc-“Moon Phrase” campaign


In 2014, MontBlanc, a German luxury goods manufacturer, launched the “Mystic Moon Phrase Campaign” to promote the new luxury watches. However, there were many other brands usd “moon phrase” as the features. To stand out from the competitors, Montblanc connected with the Chinese consumers’ interests in astrology and the lunar cycle.


Social Media Marketing in China Montblanc

Image via Luxury Daily


As QR code is always a big feature of WeChat, Montblanc created a dynamic and catchy WeChat QR code featuring the lunar cycle. Meanwhile, WeChat users could enter their gender and date of birth. Then, the campaign would generate a description of how the users’ birth moon cycle resonates with their personalities, relationships, hobbies and careers.


Social Media Marketing in China Montblanc

Image via Luxury Daily


One important key of the success is MontBlanc tapped into the wants and interests of Chinese consumers since lunar cycle is important and unique in Chinese culture.


6. Tourism New Zealand-Key Opinion Leader (KOL)


Tourism New Zealand utilized the KOL strategy in a smart and effective way to attract Chinese travelers. In August 2011, Tourism New Zealand appointed a well-known microblogging queen Yao Chen as their brand ambassador. At that time, she had over 40 million followers on Weibo. She is one of the most followed microbloggers in the world, including Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and former US President Barack Obama.


During the tour to New Zealand, Yao Chen kept sending out “tweets” of the country on Weibo. Meanwhile, the followers of her Weibo quadrupled from 12 million to 58.2 million.


At the year ended September 2012, the visitor arrivals from China exceeded the US for the first time. China has become the third largest source of visitors to New Zealand, following Australia and the UK.


Social Media Marketing in China Tourism New Zealand


The KOL strategy on WeChat has been a huge success to Tourism New Zealand. Word-of-mouth is particularly important in social media marketing in China. Partnering with famous microblogger could increase the exposure of Tourism New Zealand and inspire the Weibo users to follow the footsteps of their celebrities and travel to New Zealand.


7. Lancôme-Fun and local elements


French cosmetic brand Lancôme launched a campaign on Weibo to interact with fans during Chinese New Year in 2014.


To celebrate the Year of Horse, the followers were able to participate in a Lucky card Draw and pick from nine tarot-like lucky card, with Chinese New Year’s greeting and product information on each card.


Social Media Marketing in China Lancome


For instance, “You will find true love on horseback” was shown on one of the cards. “Horseback” is a pun of “immediately” in Chinese. Meanwhile, Lancôme also featured the “La vie est belle” perfume on the card, with a sentence of “La vie est belle, open your heart and embrace happiness.”


By injecting fun and local elements to the campaign, Lancôme was able to interact and engage with fans in a simple, fun and effective way.


8. Lenovo-Share exceptional work


In 2012, Lenovo launched a new product called “ThinkPad Edge”, targeting young consumers. In order to spread a new brand value and image, Lenovo set up a ThinkPad Edge station and created several campaigns. It invited the “Doubaners” to upload their original works, such as photos, songs, film scripts and interesting personal stories.


Social Media Campaigns in China: Lenovo

Image via Digital in the round


Statistics are the best proof. This campaign received around 3,000 photos within a month. It drove over 1,160,000 visits and got 40,000 users followed the ThinkPad Edge station.


Although Douban is a lesser known social media platform in China, Lenovo made good use of Douban to target the niche audiences. By holding fun campaign, Lenovo was able to interact with fans and promote its positive brand image and brand culture.


9. KLM Royal Dutch Airline-Miffy videos


In 2012, the Dutch airline KLM aimed to boost brand awareness, promote European destinations and increase the subscribers in the Chinese market via Youku.


Social Media Marketing in China KLM


KLM created a fun campaign that was built around the jet-setting travels of Miffy, a small female rabbit created by a Dutch artist. The videos of Miffy’s journey were updated regularly. In those videos, Miffy travelled to different European destinations, such as Paris, Rome, London and Amsterdam.


The campaign successfully got over 4 million audiences and more than 88,000 followers on other social media sites.


10. Pepsi-Brand communication


Pepsi’s campaign “Bring love to home” created themed content to target the massive and growing audience in China through Youku. Pepsi uploaded a 30 minutes web movie, featuring famous Chinese celebrities. Meanwhile, Pepsi called for Youku users to upload videos to express their love and wishes to their friends and families.


Pepsi Social Media Campaigns in China


This campaign received thousands of uploads and the web movie got over 100 million views.


The Pepsi’s campaign is a great example of brand communication on social media platform. Pepsi understood what the Chinese audience wanted to see and delivered content that stroke a chord with them.



Key Takeaways on Successful Chinese Social Media Campaigns


China has a fragmented social media landscape. An environment like this requires persistence to understand the needs and wants of Chinese consumers, plan and execute engaging campaigns. As the social media landscape evolves, you need to stay close to the latest updates of the platforms.


When it comes to social media marketing in China, you need to consider the features of different platforms and choose the one that best suits your brand. Remember, content is king. Create appealing content and tap into the wants and interests of the millions of potential customers!


So Who Are We?


Dragon Social is a digital marketing agency that specialises in companies who want to move into China. No matter what size you are, you always want to expand, and moving into the Chinese market is a great way to do this.


We can create customised digital marketing plans for different products based on your goals and budget. If you would like to find out more about us, please visit our service page!

Tony DeGennaro
Tony DeGennaro

Tony is a passionate marketer with interests in social media and search engine optimization. He specializes in Chinese Social Media and Advertising. After getting his MBA in Marketing at CUHK he became one of the founding partners of Dragon Social in Hong Kong.

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