“We are a European B2B company. Is it important to have our presence on Chinese social media? If so, which platforms or what tools are the most effective ones?” “Can’t we just translate contents to Chinese and share on Chinese social media?” These are a couple of the most common questions we are often asked. To help you grow business in China, we consolidate the three most asked questions here.
1. We are an international company headquartered in Europe. Is it necessary to develop a digital communications strategy for the Chinese market?
In today’s highly interconnected digital economy, brands are thinking more and more about international outreach and consistency. While global brand consistency is undoubtedly the core strategy, the true winners are global brands with a local touch in every market they operate.
In Europe and America, Facebook and Twitter are prevalent, while WeChat and Weibo in China are the main channels to have ongoing conversations with the desired targets. In the meantime, cultural differences, local audiences’ media consumption, psychographics, etc are different in each market. Simply one-size-fits-all messaging model doesn’t speak to local customers, and implementing Facebook or Twitter marketing in Chinese social media does not work either.
Forward-thinking global brands should understand each local platform’s pros and cons, and adjust their local communications strategies accordingly with global storytelling and thematic consistency.
2. What are the most important tools of digital communications in China in relation to B2B products or companies?
It depends on the purpose and where the potential customer is in the sales funnel. The most effective tools are WeChat and Weibo official accounts which are best to directly engage with customers. It’s good for customer relations, for getting repeated business, and for strengthening brand image and reputation.
Search engine marketing and search engine optimisation, such as Baidu, are good for finding new business, and should be used to target potential customers early on in their search or discovery stages.
In China, all are digitally well connected. The prevalence of digital tools in China presents a unique opportunity to have a direct access to desired customers, and to engage them on a constant and intimate basis as long as the company offers good value with its content. When the mix of communications tools is done correctly, each tool supports and leverages each other.
3. What should B2B companies also take into account when planning the digital communications in China?
Only relying on digital tools to grow business in China is not possible. Digital communication should be a part of the integrated communications strategy. Offline communications activities should also be implemented with online platforms. Both digital and offline activities should ideally support each other and be a part of coordinated strategy.
Knowing pros and cons of each platform or channel is not enough. Content matters. Companies should create strong and valuable content for audiences. B2B companies should invest in developing quality, engaging content that can be distributed to targets via WeChat or Weibo. Tapping into WeChat or Weibo with meaningful content can be extremely helpful for brands interacting with desired customers and further selling products to them.
Last but not least, when a foreign company is at the beginning of its journey in China, it is a must to work with a partner that has strong global network with local market know-how, and together to develop a global communications strategy with local insights enabled implementation.
We are here to support you going global and acting local. Get in touch with us and learn more about how to grow your business by developing a 360 degree communications strategy for both Germany and China. Tilo Bonow, CEO (email@example.com), and Michelle Liao, President East Asia (firstname.lastname@example.org), will get back to you shortly.