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How to harness China’s love of social

The biggest names in the burgeoning social media scene in China converged on Hong Kong this week to reveal just how impressive the China opportunity for social media is.

Marketing, in partnership with Power of Social Hong Kong, this week delivered a unique window on the fast evolving social media marketplace in China, in our first bilingual (Mandarin and English) event.

During the seminar Facebook, Sina, and Iqiyi concluded that user-generated content was essential to catching and keeping the attention of the targeted audience. User generated content, speakers agreed, was also key to the viral trend.

“Corporate brands should leverage media platforms to build personality,” Anita Lam, head of FMCG and retail, Facebook, advised. “Building a brand is akin to building a relationship; The most ideal communication to maintain brand equity in Facebook is to design creative posts, and to post (at least) once a day.”

Sina’s Andy Wang said Sina adopts different approaches to distributing content among their users, based on a user’s engagement level.

“To sustain the engagement of active users on Weibo, we create discussion topics for users to interact on forums. This way it is also easier for them to share and spread comments,” he said.

Iqiyi takes a similar approach in developing tailored content to entertain targeted age groups. Iqiyi’s, Deng Liang, added ‘given the current transformation of media platforms, content also has to be modified for different screen sizes.’

Karen Tam, assistant general manager – promotions & marketing of Harbour City Estates, reinforced the classic marketing cry that ‘content is king’ for social media and she encouraged marketers to embrace multiple social media platforms.

“You’ll just have to play around and grasp the gist of how-to ‘viral’ content, she said, but added that influencers also had a large role to play in social marketing.

“In the experience of Harbour City’s 100 Years Before the Birth of Doraemon Exhibition campaign, influencers play a significant role to make content go viral,” she said.

Meilishuo’s, Xu Dan, agrees on the power and importance of influencers in social media.

“We value fashion opinion leaders and loyal customers, their generated content could reach a wider audience and eventually drive purchases,” Xu said.

With the huge amount of content generated by social media, the management of big data was also raised as a concern in the seminar. Gina Tian, general manager of Social Analytics, advised marketers not to be scared by big data but rather to turn the big data into ‘relevant data’.

“From the pool of big data, marketers should select relevant data and trace users habits to gain marketing insights. Aside from sustaining loyal customers, data could also help to monitor competitors’ brand development which is crucial to long term brand planning.”

Jason Zhan, entrepreneur and strategic planner at arkr Digital, agrees on the critical importance of data management in understanding cultural behaviour. One such behaviour is the re-generation of content, where Chinese netizens create their own interpretations of a brand’s content.

“We have noticed that young Chinese netizens love to ‘viral’ regenerated content with their (own) creative input. So, it’s key to create buzz by observing young netizens browsing behaviours and to keep tracking social media hot topics,” Zhan said.

Country manager Google Enterprise, North Asia, Joen van Driel added that these young netizens are now in control and things will only keep rapidly evolving for social media particularly through technology.

‘Digital natives are arriving [in the workplace] and they have a very different way of thinking and interacting. Being used to the instant access of information, future technology will change the way we live and work.’

The Power of Social event was jointly organised by Power of Social Hong Kong and Marketing Hong Kong.

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