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Influencer Marketing

How to Use TikTok to Reach Audiences in China

Building global brand affinity has never had a lower barrier to enter, thanks to TikTok. Smart brands are learning how to use this channel to not only discover the best influencers but harness the global content to appeal to a broader variety of audiences.  Chinese consumers, like western consumers, trust people more than they trust brands. And that trust carries over to influencers. One such platform where influencers thrive in large numbers is Tiktok. The numbers behind Tiktok are astonishing. TikTok is the third most downloaded app for the first quarter of 2019. It grew by 70% between 2018 and 2019. It had 188 million new users in the first quarter of 2019.

Gen Z all over the world loves Tiktok and that’s why it should be a crucial piece of your content and influencer strategy for global audiences. Not unlike western shoppers, Chinese consumers are heavily influenced by influencers. When done well, influencer marketing can be one of the most effective strategies to get the word out about your brand in China via TikTok.

Looking to Historical Influencer Proof: Chinese Influencer Campaigns And Results

On her WeChat blog, Becky Li sold 100 mini cooper cars with a single post. Numerous dealerships would break a sweat trying to pull those numbers. For Becky Li, it couldn't have been easier. She sold those cars in 5 minutes. While blogs and other traditional channels have been successful previously, trends suggest that TikTok will be headed in the same direction.

Since strong customer sentiments are attached to influencers in China, brands can’t resist the appeal. There are still some stark differences between Chinese influencer marketing and western. In the U.S. we see most influencers operating out of their homes striking it out on their own. In China, influencers also known as KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) are banded together under umbrella groups called incubators. Incubators may have anywhere between a dozen to over 100 influencers in them. This makes them a force to be reckoned with.

Influencer marketing runs on the back of social networking sites like Weibo and WeChat which are remarkably different from social networks in the west as they were designed in conjunction with commerce and brands, rather than an afterthought. What's more –  the availability and prevalent use of mobile phones mean that brands can target any demographic be it young or old. China has no restrictions on who gets to purchase and use smartphones. Brands can reach anyone from pre-teens to people over 80 years old. Because of this, brands are able to build followers and buyers from the vast swathe of demographic diversity available to them.

Influencer Marketing with TikTok

Globally, homemade music videos are extremely popular on the platform. Generation Z is active liking, sharing and engaging with videos. Like any influencer marketing initiative, the worst thing you can do on TikTok is to make the influencer follow a strict script. Anything that sounds remotely artificial is booed down by the demographics active on TikTok. The key to success is to find influencers who are a perfect match for the audience you want to target. Being authentic is the best way to market your brand on TikTok. To that end, consider running hashtag challenges. Jimmy Fallon ran the #tumbleweedchallenge. With this challenge, he asked users to make videos of themselves dropping to the ground and rolling around like a tumbleweed. The challenge took off with over 8,000 unique participants making videos of themselves.

Just like any other platform, contacting and connecting with the right influencers is the key to success. Whether it be TikTok, WeChat or any other platform the right influencer makes all the difference. If you want great results with TikTok (or any of the popular platforms) you should understand the audiences surround the prominent influencers. Chances are, if you're a big enough brand, people will already be talking about you, which can be a great starting point for influencer marketing initiatives. Remember that often times, the best influencers are simply happy customers who are willing to speak about brands they're passionate about, not just mega influencers with millions of followers.

George is a marketer who’s worked with several SaaS startups over the past 8 years. He’s at the helm of content on Seekdefo, Kamayo, ThinkingNE, and DhruvMaheshwari where he shares cutting edge insights from years of working with topline brands.

Pixlee TurnTo Contributor

Pixlee TurnTo welcomes contributed content from leading marketers, influencers and ecommerce experts.

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