RenRen. Weibo. QZone. Baidu. YouKu. If these names are not familiar to you then you have some homework to do.
Chinese Internet companies continue to make news as they seek to grow via IPOs. If that’s not enough (and it probably isn’t by itself), read what Mary Meeker has to say about China’s Internet growth. B2B companies thinking globally need to start really elevating their presence in China, and social media can be an extremely effective way to do this.
What’s driving this growth in China? Cicero has just published a new report that is worth reading and here are two highlights to understand:
- The improvements in Internet infrastructure have developed rapidly, making it easier and better for people to connect around the clock to mobile devices.
- Local social media platforms have truly benefited from the blocking of social media platforms from the West, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
I’ve written before about the importance of looking more closely at Asia, and the continued growth means Chinese social networks no longer should be ignored by you. So what can you do? Here are six steps to take:
- Do your research. From Mary Meeker’s latest report to Cicero’s research there is an abundance of information to review and learn.
- Talk internally. What are your business objectives in China? What is your firm’s five to 10 year business plan? What resources do you have? As with any communication plan, you need to understand the business reasons before choosing what tools to use. We have been using Hootsuite now for our Weibo stream and it helps us get a better look at what is working.
- Have a plan. How are you going to use these platforms in China? Are you there to educate? Create awareness? Build thought leadership? My suggestion to you is to think about an editorial plan and calendar well in advance of launching and talk about it internally with your China team.
- Seek outside advice. There are a number of agencies and consultants for you to connect and network with and you do not want to get this part of your social strategy wrong. This is a strategic investment and you need to make sure you have the right plan in place and understand what you need.
- Think mobile. Mobile, mobile, mobile. Got it?
- Measure and benchmark. Just like you do now with your social tools find out what is working and what is not. Cut your losses on the things that don’t work and fine tune the ones that do. These tools look similar to the social tools you have now, but don’t be fooled by that since the user base in China (and other parts of Asia) use them differently.
China business opportunities can be enormous and your digital efforts need to be an investment in time and resources. Global B2B firms that are not looking seriously at China need to change that thinking now. What are you thoughts? Let us know what you are doing that works or what you want to know in the comments below.