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Top Qualities of Chinese Social Media Campaigns Why They Go Viral (Part 1)

Maria Krisette Capati, Author

01 April 2019

Editor’s note: This is the first installment of a two-part blog series about the qualities of successful social media campaigns and what we can learn from them.

Ever wondered why there are successful Chinese social media campaigns? How is it that some of them receive backlash or negative feedback from netizens?

As an avid reader, I wondered why some ideas stick to my mind. I’ve also consumed a lot and forgotten some.

Whenever I come across promotional videos, I always judge them based on this question. “Do they evoke my emotions?” Whenever I watch them, I knew which among those would go viral or become popular. Every successful campaign, whether a video or a social media post, has its own “element” why it went viral. Or a special touch.

READ MORE >> How to Do Business in China: 5 Lessons from Successful Online Marketing Campaigns (Part 3)

I’m reading Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger as I write this article. The more I read and dig deeper, the more I am inspired to explore the successful campaigns in China. My mission is to help you figure out what are the ideal action points for your digital marketing efforts.

Let’s take a look at these campaigns. Let’s see why these qualities helped them to go viral or become popular across the web. I’m listing down the first three and on my next post, the other two.

chinese social media campaigns

#1 Personal Recommendation: Social Currency

You can always count your friends or peers with product recommendations. For beauty products, when you see the results, you know it’s a good one and assume it might also work for you. That’s the power of personal recommendation where social currency exists.

Travelers who had the best experience in hotel’s services would share that on WeChat. They’ll upload photos and write positive reviews on WeChat Moments. Consumers feel good and want to look good among their peers. So, they will only recommend the brands that made them happy. As they feel valued, they serve as ambassadors in the brand through WOM that result in virality.

What to learn: Lancôme attracted consumers in a very engaging way when it launched its Rose Beauty forum. The social network became a dedicated resource for women. There was a mixed of conversation, sharing of beauty tips and make-up tutorials, and more. The community was composed of make-up professionals, customers, and among others. Personal recommendations from different women made a lot of interaction and connections. It was also the best way to promote products.

#2 Relevant: Frequent Reminders or Triggers

When social media campaigns are relevant to the lifestyle and beliefs, they can be sticky. Consumers tend to remember those simple, short, yet relevant tag lines. When they are relevant, they serve as triggers, even though they might not buy the product or service now. The tag line, jingle, or a powerful image, they can associate with the brand’s identity.

Hot beverages are relevant to all consumers. But Chinese drinkers aren’t coffee lovers. They’re tea lovers! Ever wondered how Starbucks thrive? And a homegrown company is competing against its almost two decades of operations. There’s a “new kid on the block” burning cash to win over the caffeine and tea lovers of China. Luckin, the Xiamen-based company, is taking a different approach. It’s making the brand more relevant even to the average drinker. Let’s face it, Starbucks coffee is expensive.

What to learn: Instead of big, eye-catching spaces and relaxing lounges, Luckin opts for small stores. It also means less pay for rent, more savings for the drinkers. The products are cheaper, plus the company even give a free cup to anyone who buys two. No cash, but customers pay via mobile. The company believes convenience, quality and price are relevant to their coffee consumption. There are also promos within the WeChat, plus offer and focus on “deliveries.” When you opt-in in their Official WeChat account, you get a free coffee. Plus the deal encourages to take part in activities and even receive cash.

#3 Emotional: Feelings Matter

One of the secret sauces to make a video go viral or popular is to make sure it evokes emotions. The producers and publishers of the Chinese version of Peppa pig movie did a great job. The launch of the 5-minute promotional video hit an overnight social media sensation. The movie, 小猪佩奇过大年; Peppa Pig Celebrates Chinese New Year tapped the emotions of the viewers as the story goes on.

The story was relevant to the season, weaving the family traditions and culture. While this isn’t the place to spoil the entire movie, the grandfather was on his quest to find out what Peppa is. And make sure that when he meets his grandson, he’ll have a gift for him. In-between the storyline, you’ll see the story unfold, inviting the viewer to watch more. And leaving them curious.

What to learn: Preferences of movies differ. What may be a hit in the west may not actually be a success when it’s launch or promoted to Chinese viewers. For those who want to produce movies or even promotional videos, there has to be a little tweak here and there. Changes in the plot or content that touches traditions, families, and culture work. The emotions should be present along those reels and resonate to the daily lives of the viewers. Triggering emotions connects brands and publishers more than any other strategy. Because at the end of the day, the target audience are “emotional” beings, too.

What’s your action plan?

What do you think of these qualities? Do you have social media campaigns or promotional videos that you want to launch in China? Do they have these qualities as mentioned above? If you need help to further polish your strategies or need translations and localization of your materials and digital marketing efforts, we can help you with how to implement them.

Let us know, and we’ll be happy to assist you with Optimization, Web & Social Media Marketing.

And don’t forget to stay tuned for the next round of qualities.

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Maria Krisette Capati

Krisette or "Sette" for short is a professional writer and copywriter who loves to cover disruptive technologies, digital trends in China, and a myriad of geeky and innovative topics. She's the Content Strategist at AZ-Loc and currently manages the English website and in-charge of the social media channels. She has been writing about China markets, business, and startups since 2012. She has gained her expertise as a China internet specialist and is fascinated by its business ethics, language, and culture. She's a major of Business Management and Entrepreneurship and an advocate of faith-based non-profit organizations. When she's not writing or dabbling with Sophie and the team, she satiates her wanderlust as a digital nomad. 

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