Xiaohongshu Marketing Strategies You Need to Know in 2023
16 Mar , 2023
Many businesses are considering expanding in this gigantic and inviting country, China. Through Xiaohongshu marketing, businesses can gain easier access to China with its undeniably inviting features such as market size, culture and regulations. Xiaohongshu, also known as Little Red Book, is currently one of the most iconic lifestyle-based social media platforms in China with over 200 million monthly active users, showing the huge potential for businesses to reach Chinese audiences. For businesses interested in building a community for their brand in this market, you may continue reading to learn how Xiaohongshu marketing strategies can benefit your company in 2023!
Basics of Xiaohongshu Marketing
Key Xiaohongshu Marketing Strategies in 2023
1. Basics of Xiaohongshu Marketing
Xiaohongshu is a social media platform that features images, texts, videos and live-streaming content to cater to users’ interested aspects. Xiaohongshu has been on the rise in popularity since founded in 2013 with over 72% of users being Generation Z. With the mission to “inspire lives”, the innovative platform showcases a diverse range of lifestyles from beauty, fashion, entertainment, childcare, etc. to connect its community.
Xiaohongshu’s Target Industry & Audience
Xiaohongshu marketing fundamentally shortened the distance between Chinese consumers and foreign brands. Audiences prefer interactive engagement and two-way dialogues with brands as it builds trust and allows transparency, and that’s exactly the value of Xiaohongshu. Brands are actively creating engaging content, such as “Immersive Exhibitions” and “Pop-up Stores” on Xiaohongshu to invite audiences to engage in their content and foster connections.
Xiaohongshu users like @野生仙仙 featured Dior’s 2023 ski wear collections in its latest ice sculpture pop-up in Lake Songhua Resort, China.
Source: Jing Daily
Compared to other Chinese social media platforms, Xiaohongshu has more adaptable features and an acceptable consumption threshold. According to research, Xiaohongshu marketing efficiently reaches audiences and generates “High” conversions, due to content being real, lifestyle-based, and delivering efficiently, as easily as Douyin.
Xiaohongshu features compared to other platforms
Source: Octoplus Media Global Limited
Before entering a market, your brand must first understand the target customer group to know your consumers. As of July 2022, Xiaohongshu’s target audience is 89% female-dominated, mainly from first-tier cities. This represents a group of young, urban females who hugely value quality, and have an interest in discovering the latest trends and hacks. Some common industries that are promoted on Xiaohongshu are skincare, fashion and cosmetics as they cater mostly to the target audience. With more content creators and audiences hopping on the platform, Xiaohongshu has become a hub for millions of users to look for daily inspirations such as shopping, lifestyle, tutorials, etc.
Recognising the profits and potential of Xiaohongshu marketing, many brands are eyeing this platform to reach their targeted Chinese consumers. Till January 2023, there are over 140,000 brands on the platform with 56% being domestic brands. Despite having a variety of industries, it still reflects high and intense competition on the platform, therefore it's a must to keep an eye on Xiaohongshu marketing strategies in 2023 to outrun competitors!
2. Key Xiaohongshu Marketing Strategies in 2023
Being a hub for high-purchasing power Chinese audiences, the benefits of Xiaohongshu marketing are unquestionable. Word-of-mouth marketing and a thriving social e-commerce community have proven to be effective marketing tactics for creating awareness, bringing interest through product reviews, purchasing decisions, engagements, and loyalty.
Thanks to its unique demographics on Xiaohongshu, it has become a marketing core for luxury global brands like Dior and Chanel. In order to exploit all the features on the platform to help increase purchases and conversions in 2023, marketers may reference the following Xiaohongshu marketing strategies, including content management, KOL influencers, live-streaming and lastly, Xiaohongshu as an e-commerce platform. Click here to learn more about how AsiaPac utilises our localised expert teams to provide Xiaohongshu marketing services.
2.1 Utilising Content Management for Efficient Xiaohongshu Marketing
Content “Notes” are fundamental to any Xiaohongshu marketing journey. Audiences get in touch with your brand on Xiaohongshu via the content you’d love them to see. It plays a vital role for brands to communicate effectively as well as develop relationships with their audiences. Today, audiences are hungry for high-quality, consistent content from brands they encounter, and that’s why it's important for you to perform strategic content planning and management in your Xiaohongshu marketing in 2023.
Content Planning for Your Xiaohongshu Marketing
Every day, over 450K content is published on Xiaohongshu. You would definitely want your content to stand out and be seen by your target audience. Now is the time to get familiar with the Xiaohongshu content algorithm. The unique scoring system takes (from most important to least) follows, comments, collects (bookmark as favourite), and likes into account for the rankings. The more interactions and engagements you receive, the higher the ranking you get, and lastly, the larger the audience pool you reach.
Xiaohongshu content posts, also known as Viral Notes or “Biji”, range from photos to short videos, with text descriptions. In addition to developing trend-driven, lifestyle-based content, here are also some Xiaohongshu marketing content creation tips to focus on to make your branded content highly visible on the platform, and most importantly, in front of your targeted Chinese audience.
Take the right cover picture
Xiaohongshu notes need a clean, fun and eye-catching cover picture that adheres to the brand style and image. It should display a sense of creativity, uniqueness and authenticity from just an image. Most users prefer a more lifestyle-based cover picture instead of model-looking pictures as it comes across as unreal or like an advertisement. As most users look for inspiration from this social platform, using the right cover image can enhance the attractiveness of a viral note.
Curate an eye-catching title
It is always important to have an interesting title that can stimulate users’ emotions and attention. This creates interest and builds suspense, inviting users to check the notes. You are also highly recommended to include a keyword phrase in the title to match the desired audiences for your brand. Creating content based on viral topics and trends will also attract more eyeballs to the note.
Optimise the use of keywords in descriptions
You should always keep your text description sound informative, concise, catchy, and of course, resonate with your target audience. With the incorporation of emojis, relevant hashtags and keyword phrases (for SEO purposes), the paragraph should reflect the content creators’ persona, while being able to contain trendy keywords for reach and traffic.
Selection of time to post
Previous Xiaohongshu marketing data has shown that the peak browsing times on the platform are usually from 7-9 am, 12-2 pm, and 9 pm-12 am. However, these time slots do not necessarily apply to each content category. For example, most users, particularly urban female white-collar workers, browse for skin-care-related posts from 8-11 pm due to their work schedule. It usually also takes about 10 to 30 minutes for Xiaohongshu systems to examine and approve each post before they are published on the platform, so marketers and brands must also take this into consideration while planning in the future.Recommendations on posting frequency and timings for Xiaohongshu Marketing
“Xiaohongshu for Creator” platform
Xiaohongshu made it very accessible for marketers and creators to manage and produce content with the “Xiaohongshu for Creators'' platform. A wide range of tools and being able to manage content conveniently and efficiently are appealing to brands. It is important to understand your target audience to efficiently plan and strategize your content based on their preferences.
Good content is a necessity to grab users’ attention in this fast-paced social media environment. Weaving the products or services into high-quality content will hugely inspire consumers and appeal strongly to them.
Types of Xiaohongshu Marketing Content
For your business to thrive you need to know the type of content audiences prefer. Most users prefer content that is hacks, problem-solving or inspirations and are most likely buyers of a company’s product or service. This is a much more effective and affordable way to reach your customers and generate business.
Xiaohongshu allows content creators to present their content in various ways, and marketers should utilise this versatility to showcase the brand’s products or services in creative, yet practical ways to attract audiences.
These may include:
Posting story series to show a series of inter-related content for viewers to anticipate upcoming content and follow you
Creating tutorials and educational-based content
Collaborating with influencers for brand exposure and attracting a targeted audience product but also using the product in action to show the results first-hand once
Traditional display advertisements are useful for a new product launch or promotional activities
Traditional display advertisements
Set up collections to collect similar content to a group folder for audiences to explore to increase viewings and better audience interactions
With various creative strategies, Xiaohongshu marketing can be very challenging for brands and marketers to tailor-made the right strategy for its audiences. An example of a successful Xiaohongshu marketing idea for a clothing brand that targets fast fashion, young adults would prefer content that is genuine, aesthetically pleasing and idea-suggesting, instead of educational and information-based content.
How TAUTROPFEN Expand in China through Xiaohongshu Content Marketing
The importance of well-planned Xiaohongshu marketing content can be displayed by TAUTROPFEN, a German skincare brand that specialises in using the finest raw materials to tailor to each individual’s skin care needs. TAUTROPFEN strategically executed a successful Xiaohongshu marketing campaign by utilising effective content planning to promote essential oils in the autumn and winter seasons.
Promoting the brand through suitable Xiaohongshu beauty KOLs, dermatologists, celebrity makeup artists, aromatherapists etc. has resulted in the creation of a diversity of content from various angles. Through expert advice, testing and reviews, it is able to establish product awareness and word-of-mouth marketing. TAUTROPFEN has also implemented core keywords, such as 'nourishing skin with oil’, “essential oil” and “apply oil” in promotion ads to precisely target potential audiences.
With effective Xiaohongshu marketing, TAUTROPFEN has successfully increased brand mentions by 225%. Along with the high-quality content created, it has also increased sales and exceeded expectations. Through the first Double 11 Shopping Festival pre-sale, TAUTROPFEN is ranked first in facial essence oil pre-sales on e-commerce platforms, while its overall purchases were 3 times of the previous year. The remarkable result has shown the importance of strategically planned Xiaohongshu content marketing, and you may also check out our AsiaPac expertise content management team to help you reach your target audience on Xiaohongshu.
How Hunter Boots Expand in China through Xiaohongshu Content Marketing
Established in 2010, Bobbies is a Parisian brand that specialises in shoes and leather goods. The brand has hopped on Xiaohongshu to gain awareness and exposure in the Chinese market. Bobbies has demonstrated success in achieving Xiaohongshu marketing goals through effective and strategized content management campaigns.
The comparison post below depicts the difference in cover pictures and how it can simply affect the click rate of a Xiaohongshu Note. With a clean product picture that clearly displays a product aesthetically, it has received over 2k of engagement in the picture as target audiences are more interested in what the product is. However, with a blurry product picture which did not clearly display what the product is, it only received 4 engagements. This has shown the importance of using a tailor-made content management plan as it can successfully capture your audience. You may also contact our AsiaPac expertise here to help you reach your target audience on Xiaohongshu.
Comparison between engagement rates based on a cover picture in Xiaohongshu content
2.2 How KOL Influencers Help Your Xiaohongshu Marketing
Social media has paved the way and redefined how companies connect with customers in recent years, especially in Xiaohongshu. Xiaohongshu KOLs are seen to create content regularly and most have a large amount of traffic and attention, creating a strong influence for viewers on the platform. KOL and brands can create a variety of forms of content that ranges from texts and photos to live-streaming, short videos, and many more.
KOLs and KOCs on Xiaohongshu
In 2019, Xiaohongshu launched its official influencer marketing platform with 6,000 influencers which allows brands, brand partners and 3rd party content partner organisations to connect. KOLs that are available for collaboration are qualified, with the strict requirements:
Having over 1,000 followers
Meeting a certain amount of average post views
Marketers and brands must also verify their official brand account in order to use this platform, which then they are allowed to freely collaborate with qualified KOLs that are on the platform. While publishing content, the Xiaohongshu KOL must tag the brand’s account for marketers to monitor its performance data. You are also highly suggested to utilise AsiaPac’s self-developed AI influencer management platform, KOOLER AI to look for the best-suited influencer for your Xiaohongshu marketing campaign.
As audiences on Xiaohongshu value quality content the most, this gave rise to micro and nano KOLs and KOCs which also results in more UGC (user-generated content) being published on the platform. They are influencers who are able to create new trends, expand the brand’s exposure and cultivate sales. Audiences also believe them to be more trustworthy than branded advertisements, thus easier for marketers and brands to engage with their audiences.
With different tiers of KOLs, it may be confusing for marketers and brands to determine which is most efficient in reaching your target for your business. Using the right KOLs or KOCs for your Xiaohongshu marketing campaigns will effectively help reach target goals. The charts below briefly show how efficient influencer tiers can help in Xiaohongshu marketing based on the brand’s campaign objectives, such as branding, market penetration and conversion.
Xiaohongshu influencer tiers for efficient Xiaohongshu marketing
KOL and KOCs marketing are impactful strategies to employ and consider for Xiaohongshu marketing to reach campaign goals. By utilising the right tier of influencers, you can guarantee your desired exposure and conversions for your Xiaohongshu marketing campaign.
How KOL Live-streaming can help in Xiaohongshu marketing
Since the rise of live-streaming, it has been a vital marketing strategy for brands to bring in customers. Live streaming has allowed brands to create engaging content with their audience in real-time, bringing positive results in the e-commerce industry. On Xiaohongshu, live-streaming has helped in feeding the “shoppertainment” trend, which satisfies audiences in creating a more entertaining shopping experience.
Research shows that an average KOL that has 7.5k followers will generate around 10,000 RMB in sales when live streams. This result is stronger than other social networks, like Taobao, that also have live-streaming features as influencers on Xiaohongshu have a stronger community.
Xiaohongshu KOLs on Live-streaming
Xiaohongshu KOLs on live streams are able to help increase purchase desire and conversion rate. They attract a lot of audiences due to loyal fan bases and create trends, which hugely affect consumer behaviours. Many audiences rely on KOLs to make purchasing decisions as the products are seen as more authentic and desirable. Therefore, seeing an influencer using a product or mentioning a product, also known as word-of-mouth marketing, during a live stream will leave users interested in purchasing. Overall, this has proven to be an effective Xiaohongshu marketing tactic in driving sales via their other online sales channels and generating a positive return.
Xiaohongshu as your e-commerce platform
Xiaohongshu has evolved tremendously to match audiences’ tastes and consumer trends since its first launch in 2013. Xiaohongshu’s e-commerce system is an integrated marketing solution and strategy brands and marketers can adopt to connect and capture the platform’s shoppers.
The launch of Xiaohongshu Mall has made the platform very inviting for brands and closed the gap in Xiaohongshu’s ‘tribal commerce’ cycle. Not only does it allow audiences to discover products and make purchases straight off the app, but it also allows consumers to share their reviews and experiences with the community, making shopping exciting for Xiaohongshu consumers. Most brands utilise KOLs and KOCs to create content and promote products for users to discover and increase brand exposure.
Due to Xiaohongshu KOLs and KOCs’ credibility and impact, they are seen to make an influence on e-commerce sales. Chinese consumers are 4X more likely to make a purchase based on social proof and recommendations. When an influencer likes or reposts a relevant product from a brand, it can affect a brand’s image, reputation and sales. With the brand’s RED store in Xiaohongshu feature, users can freely browse the relevant product or all products used by influencers with the directed link posted on the Note. This created urgency and efficiency for online traffic and increased the brand’s e-commerce conversion rate. Interested in understanding more? You may also check this article out to learn about how Xiaohongshu marketing helps your social e-commerce brand!
How Dior Engage in Xiaohongshu Marketing
Dior, a well-known luxury brand, had been hugely expanding in the Chinese market in recent years. Seeing the record-breaking attention of 83.6 million viewers received in the Spring 2021 collection, Dior has been forward with implementing localised digital marketing strategies to gain more traffic in the Chinese market. Dior has successfully launched Xiaohongshu marketing campaign to drive traffic to travel retail shops.
Through using Xiaohongshu and influencers on the platform, Dior has successfully raised awareness for the new launch of the product ‘Dior Prestige Huile De Rose’ in China. The Xiaohongshu marketing campaign utilised tailor-made strategies and collaborated with travel-related KOLs to reach its target audience. The brand also allowed influencers to freely tailor their content with guidance to present the product to audiences in the most authentic way.
This has proven that UGC content is a useful strategy to reach audiences and promote products or services at the same time. Overall, by utilising 5 influencers, Dior’s Xiaohongshu marketing campaign has received great results with over 3 million views. Not only did this strategy help Dior create a positive brand image, but it has also given KOLs the freedom in space to create authentic content. In AsiaPac, we have also constructed countless Xiaohongshu marketing campaigns using influencers all across AsiaPacific to help our clients expand their business in targeted countries.
Xiaohongshu Marketing Summary
Undeniably, there is significant potential in expanding your business in China due to its inviting market size, culture and regulation. Many businesses hope to find it a gateway to building a community for their brand in this giant market in China, Xiaohongshu marketing can be of your consideration due to its favourable features. However, there are many challenges businesses must explore beforehand, for example, understanding Chinese consumers’ buying habits and the high competition among businesses in the same industry. Therefore, marketers and brands may consider implying the Xiaohongshu strategies mentioned or seek professional Chinese digital marketing guidance here to help you expand your business through Xiaohongshu.
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