Episode 68 : Serious Social – China – The social Innovator, opportunity and trendsetter

Episode 68 : Serious Social – China – The social Innovator, opportunity and trendsetter

Ep 68: Serious Social – China: The social Innovator, opportunity and trendsetter

China is home to the world’s largest social media market, with over 931 million users. In this week’s Serious Social episode, Katy Howell is joined by Domenica Di Lieto to discuss social media in China, taking a look at the opportunities, differences, and the trends that are being adopted in the west.

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Full Transcript

– Well, welcome to Serious Social. Here we are again on Friday, freezing cold Friday, apparently looking forward to a bit of snow. But today we’ve got a wonderful guest. So, everyone loves social media and China is no exception. In fact, the numbers when it comes to reach and engagement blow Facebook and Instagram and Twitter out of the water. It’s the largest social media market in the world with 931 million active monthly users. I mean, it’s just phenomenal. But in China, social is nothing like the platforms that we use here in the west and advertising and algorithms and influences are all unique to China. So I thought I’d bring along a fantastic expert. And I’m joined today by Domenica, who I consider to be the UK’s expert on the China market on social media. She is CEO of, I’m just adding her it to the live stream, there we go. Hi, Domenica.

– Hi, morning.

– CEO of Emerging Communications, and she and her team are helping brands navigate the very different social media landscape, both in consumer and B2B. So there’ll be, if you’re a B2B brand watching, there will be stuff for you. So, yeah. Welcome, Domenica. I’ll put your details in the feed shortly, but tell us more about your agency, why you set up, and what you do.

– Morning Katy, lovely to see you as always and lovely to see you all on this live stream this morning. So, why do we set up Emerging Communications? I’ve been in this market now 10 years in the China market. I could see the way that it was headed even 10 years ago, the innovation, AI, has always been so much further forward in China. And we set up Emergency Communications to do two things, really with brands, we’ve fundamentally growing brands in China, but to do that, we have to build their reputation, which is largely built on social media, but also online PR as well. About building reputation and trust, you can obviously grow Chinese brands in terms of sales and leads, depending on whether you’re B2B or B2C. But in addition to that, there’s two major things that we do that I don’t think other agencies do, and one of those things is to integrate teams. So in China, if you’ve got a sales team, a distributor or an agent, you need to integrate their effort with what you’re doing with your marketing effort. And finally, you need to accelerate that. So obviously, as you grow and we grow with brands, then we begin to accelerate them. So we might leverage more social media channels, we might leverage other channels such as, search or programmatic or so on and so forth. But all of this is underpinned by knowing the customer. So, you know, we’re gonna talk a lot about Chinese social today, but so many brands come to us and say, we want to be on WeChat. And I’m like, that’s great. You will be talking to yourself. If you don’t have any customers following you, it’s literally like having a channel talking to yourself and your team. So really, fundamentally everything is underpinned by who are you talking to, who your audience is in China and I don’t mean, if I want more clients say, I want to target women who are 24 to 40. It doesn’t work like that. Or you heard the clusters, what’s their behaviour? Because we can then, once we drill into that, we can figure out where they hang out and we can put together the right campaigns, but we’ll talk about that a bit later. So that’s what we do, and why we do it, yeah.

– Do you what, that is exactly what it is here. We have exactly the same channel challenge. You know, the amount of times I hear people say, oh, with this campaign is targeting gen Z. And I’m like, yeah, you’re right, okay. I’m gen X, it’s a really big category. We’re actually the smallest generation, but it’s a big category. I am not like other 50 plus year old women, I can tell you that right now.

– Neither of us are.

– We’re all different And casters really matter. Let’s backtrack a little bit and let’s, if you could give us, for those that maybe don’t know the China market, because we hear a lot about, Weibo and WeChat, we don’t actually hear about some of the other channels that are there and what the landscape is like. And I will throw up, if, wait, throw up? I will pull out some numbers down below, MAUs, Monthly Active Users, and DAUs are Daily Active Users. Just look at those numbers. But would you explain to us a little bit more, Domenica, about the landscape in China?

– Absolutely. So the reason I mentioned consumers is all of these social media channels have been launched and driven by consumer behaviour. So a couple of years ago, when I was in the China market, you really had the landscape dominated by WeChat owned by Tencent and Weibo. And now you have got a plethora of channels, in fact there are thousands of them. But the probably the most important to note are WeChat, Weibo, Douyin and I’ll talk about the difference between Douyin and TikTok. Bilibili, but you’ve also got for the B2B world. Jouhou, which we haven’t even mentioned, which is like a Quora, Q and A. Oh my goodness, Little Red Book, which is absolutely ginormous now and it has taken the world by storm especially for anything in travel, hospitality, retail, property and there are thousands more. And I think the biggest difference, well, there are many differences between China and the west, is that historically a lot of B2B brands shy away from a lot of social media thinking it’s not what we do, we’ve never done that. In China is absolutely critical and essential to build your reputation on social media, because no matter what you do, that’s where people gonna look for, recommendation, they’re gonna look for what people have said about your service or your product, even in some really complex industries that we deal with, pharma, biotech, engineering, financial services, investment, we’re using social media to drive reputation and engagement and sometimes leads, sales, depending on the channel. So yes, it’s very, very, very fragmented landscape, but it is kinda dominated by about five players.

– Yeah.

– So that remains really interesting ’cause you’ve mentioned some of the opportunities for brands and we’re gonna dig into that in a minute, but, what, so what is so different about Chinese social media? ‘Cause it is different.

– It is different. I think the biggest difference that I see is that social media is intrinsically part of consumer behaviour. It’s not, I will go onto WeChat to make a call, it’s actually, I’ll go onto WeChat to book an appointment with my doctor, because that’s the only way to do it. And I will pay for something through my WeChat pay or my Alipay. I will order a taxi through WeChat. So it’s intrinsically part of behaviour. That’s the first thing. Secondly, word of mouth referrals are a massive part of culture in China. If you want to spend money on a property for example, the chances are, you will ask somebody that you trust, where did you buy, why did you buy that? And you would still do your due diligence. You’re still going to social, but you will ask people’s opinions. And so, a lot of these social media channels in China have come about from opinion and one of those that is a Red Book. It’s pretty much a KOC, so a Key Opinion Consumer channel, where Key Opinion Consumers build their own audiences and they choose to work with certain brands and not with others. And they have large followings of people that want to know about what they have to say. So I think, really it’s the difference in behaviour has driven a difference in channels. For those of you who have very little experience with Chinese social media, it’s worth noting that there’s two things of note really, one is, all of the Western channels are blocked. That’s Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp. If you talk about search, Google has less than 1% reach in China. So all of those Insta, they’re all blocked in China. So you don’t actually have any choice but to become friends with Chinese social channels anyway, but we often have brands, saying to us, Well, I don’t want to do China yet, Domenica, we’re doing the US first, or we’re doing Europe first. Just be aware that you will find that consumers are buying your products and services and they are having an opinion about it and they are spreading that narrative on Chinese social, whether you’re controlling it or not. And you need to really find somebody, us, or somebody an experts who reads Mandarin and who understands Chinese social to come back to you on a regular basis and say what your customers are saying about your product or service. So reputation is everything in China and you have two choices. You either control that narrative or you let somebody else control it for you, which is very risky indeed. And that’s a really big issue in China. So really it’s consumer behaviour has driven these channels. And, for example, there are lots of e-commerce channels that are sprung up and obviously social and e-commerce are intrinsically linked now, you see a live stream and then you buy something. And just for very discrete segments, like for example, the over 70s and so in China is, we don’t look at age groups, we look at behaviour, we look at clusters of Chinese consumers that behave in a similar way, tribes, you’ve got to call it clusters. And that’s really, what’s driven the channels to evolve over time, like Bilibili, which used to be very, very sort of niche channel is now a humongous channel that basically engages large age groups and clusters, whereas it used to be quite a niche channel is changed a lot over the last couple of years. Yeah.

– It’s fascinating because there are similarities in the way we plan.

– Yes, there are

– So behaviour is exactly, as you say, tribes, clusters, segments, exactly. But there are also massive differences and it can be quite confusing because, particularly for people like me who are very visual, visibility is, so trying to understand it can be quite challenging. I understand there’s a difference between Douyin, Is that how I pronounce it?

– Douyin, yeah.

– And TikTok, because, what we’re seeing here, of the Chinese channels here is not maybe what they’re seeing in China, is it?

– No, I mean, that’s a really good example of evolution in China. So Douyin in China has a much bigger reach in terms of age and demographic and clusters it appeals too, whereas TikTok here is what my daughter uses, and she’s 11. She creates dances on it. Douyin in China is a video channel, and it’s an engagement channel and the algorithms are different and what you are allowed to do on it is very different. And I think that’s the fundamental thing to understand is every single one of these social channels, all of the narrative and content has to be approved by the government. So we have to be careful what we say. There are words we can’t use, for example, for some of you out there in investments categories, property categories, pharma, biotech, there are words we cannot use. For example, on social, on any marketing, you can never say you’re the best, you’re number one, even if you can back it up. And there are words you can’t use. And so, that’s just one of the many challenges in China, but it doesn’t mean it’s difficult. You just need to work with somebody that knows what they’re doing and is leveraging the right channel for your brand and is controlling that narrative to build reputation so that you can grow followers and leads and sales that way. But it is also about not spreading yourself too thin. So I say to brands, leverage two channels properly. Do try and be on all of them and not do a good job. And so many brands will use the cost per post as a measure as to what a good agency is, which is nonsensical. There’s no point having a way board channel and doing 40 posts of absolute crap. No. It’s still complete point in this exercise. Your audience is not gonna engage, they’re gonna turn off, they’ll de-follow you. They’ll just think, well, they’re not committed to the market. They don’t understand me. You’d be better off to do four posts and make it really engaging. Same with WeChat and the same when you create any asset, it’s just got to hit the mark. You’ve got to understand your audience. So it’s not about numbers, it’s about quality.

– It’s the same goals, isn’t it? It’s exactly the same here in the West. It’s this daft idea that you can say how many tweets will we get for that?

– Oh, my God, I know.

– And you can go, yeah, well, you can get 200 shit tweets or three good ones that actually make a difference, being blocked, it’s a Friday. But just on that point of quality,

– Yeah.

– What that struck me this year, maybe the last couple of years is the amazing creativity of China’s social media campaigns, they’re just, some of them are mind blowing, whether they’re 3D projections or out of home connected to social, really seamlessly, the ability for commerce to really be that centre point of the way that social works, what for you are the most standout campaigns or the ones you’ve seen that you’ve thought crikey, that is just another level?

– I think it, let’s just take the beauty industries as a good example and then I’ll have a couple of others. The beauty industry is so different in China because it seemed and deemed as being and I happened to agree, totally unhygienic to be trying a makeup on in a Sephora or in a Watson’s or if you go to a very upmarket store. So you don’t. So you have AI mirrors. So you stand there and you basically can try lipstick on. And this has been going on for years. I’ve not obviously been able to get to China the last two years with COVID, so we’re talking, this was 2017, 18, this is commonplace. But COVID is just, accelerated that and now what you have is you can do this online, you can do it literally through your phone. And I might want to buy lipstick, and I want to know what it looks like and there will be a virtual mirror that will pop up onto social media channel. I think it’s incredible. So the use of AI and gamification is, has completely, I would say accelerated in the last 18 months because the beauty category has completely recovered with COVID and has actually overtaken 2019, so 20 to 2019, because they just basically found ways to make it really easy to buy. So I think that’s, you know, and a lot of the brands that you remind, imagine the Estee Lauders of this world are very established in China. But I think what I’ve seen, that’s just blown me away and we talked about this this morning is a couple of years ago, when I was in Shenzhen, I saw an out of home AI advert and I literally couldn’t believe it. And this was back end of 2019, one of the first places to do it. And then I was in Piccadilly Circus yesterday and went to have a look at a recent advert that has the first time I’ve ever seen it in the UK. So that’s what, nearly three years or two years it’s taken to come here. So what’s happening in China is coming over here, and we’re talking about a 3D advert that looks so real. You’ve literally got, the one I saw in Shenzhen was actually a car. I believe it was a Ford, but I can’t remember, literally was as if it was driving at you and you’re literally, ah. And whereas I saw that in the UK yesterday and so that’s taken two years to get here. So the use of AI technology, not just for out of home, on social media channels, on WeChat and many programmes, on the likes of Douyin and Bilibili, it’s just absolutely out of this world. It just blows you away. And finally sort of like, social commerce. So brands that we know and love here, that have done really well in China, like H&M and Clark’s England is gold in China. They’ve done it by really understanding their audiences. And you’ve got an awful lot of brands that are doing really, really well in China, and they’re doing it because there are literally live, virtual live livestream catwalks with key opinion leaders and bloggers. And you can buy the items immediately from a live stream, that is really, really commonplace. I do it. I did it on 11/11 Singles Day, I bought some stuff from Taobao, I bought some stuff from Tmall. And of course today is black Friday, which is much more of a Western thing, but it’s, yeah, absolutely incredible. So I love the fact, I don’t have to go any changing rooms. That’s for me a real biggie. I can’t be bothered, I’m too old. And nobody wants to look at your body when you’re my age. So I think it’s brilliant. And I just think that there’s just no line anymore. You know, we used to talk about it in the 1990s, through the line, above the line, it just doesn’t exist. It’s, I’m a consumer and if I want to, for example, you can’t do this here, but if you’re in China, you can be on a live stream. And for example, you might be looking at a foundation and you’ve used a mirror, a virtual mirror, but you’re not quite sure that the colour is, right. You can then literally on WeChat, talk to sales rep at the local Sephora and arrange for them to go and do a colour match. I mean, it’s just, it’s a different world. It’s a different world. And it’s, and I think what’s coming here and what brands need to recognise B2B and B2C is experiential marketing, which we’ve been talking about here in the UK for years, but nobody does it properly. In other words, you go into a store for an experience or to get something you can’t get online, but it’s all one big journey. I might go in there and then I might buy online at home or in the store, but there has, you have to add value with experience otherwise, you’ve got to ask yourself, what’s the point in having a store? Or what’s the point in, I don’t know, selling a property, that’s over a million pounds to somebody who can’t currently come over cause of closed borders? You’ve got to bring that entire property alive through video, through AI technology, through, you know, floor plans. You’ve got to pretend they’re in your sales suite. And I think that’s what I’ve seen accelerate in the last year, particularly is brands recognising that people aren’t travelling like they were, so, but they’re still buying like they were. So how can you bring what you have to them without them actually physically being there, and that’s AI. And it’s really taken off in terms of marketing.

– Oh, yeah.

– Yeah.

– And on that point, actually, there’s some really interesting parts which is, so, if anybody knows immediate future, we don’t work with the China market, we actually worked with Domenica and her team instead, because they know what they’re doing and they’ve got people with feet on the ground out there. But one of the reasons why I wanted to do this live stream is even if you’re not in the China market, or you’re in your roadmap, but not today, what’s happening in China is coming here. I mean, not, we’re not just talking about TikTok, we’re not just talking about live stream shopping, which everybody is talking about at the moment. There is so much around the creativity and the interconnectivity of social in China that is actually beginning to be adopted here. And I think it’s becoming those signals that will tell us what we need to know that’s coming down the line because the adoption is happening amongst consumers and customers, even if the brands are a bit slow.

– Yeah. Absolutely, somebody at the door. Perfect timing.

– That was your door.

– I know, I’ll leave them to So basically, absolutely. So I talked a little bit about homes. So that’s taken two years to come here, but I think fundamentally what China has showed us here in the West is that consumers are driving technology. So consumer’s wants and needs are driving change on these channels. And that’s happening over here. We only have to look at our kids and the COVID and locked down and how they have really, I mean, gamification, gaming has had a whole new resurgence really and that then being integrated with commerce I’m seeing happening already over here. Experiential marketing is already happening and the use of video, which we haven’t mentioned, which is absolutely intrinsic to success in China is now intrinsic to success everywhere. Let’s face it, you know, especially the younger generations. They’re just not going to buy or trust you unless they see customers talking positively about you and unless you can be emotive. So emotional connections really understand what drives them. And I really believe that the days of just cut and paste marketing, which I see everyday from some of the biggest brands in the world, they’re dead in the water. It’s just not gonna cut through anymore. It’s too much noise, it’s too fragmented, People are too busy. And people are too busy, no matter what age they are, because thinking back to it, you know, you’re the same age as me, literally same age as me. You think back to when we started working, I mean, I literally didn’t even have a computer. I had a PA I used to type up my letters. I used to do my business and this is like million pound contracts over lunch. I had, you know, business cards. Things have completely moved on. Now, you have people contacting you on about 15 channels a day. You’re constantly interrupted, you’ve got adverts everywhere on whatever channel you’re on. So it really is the emotional connection stuff that I’m seeing in China, that China’s really good at with especially local brands, more than Western brands. I think that is gonna start to really take off over here. And it really understanding audiences. And the other thing that’s just blown me away recently, it’s a relatively new thing is, for example, you might have a poster in China and you might just have an air conditioning unit just sat there, or you might have somebody sat on a bench that is actually part of the marketing. And there might be a consumer. I’ve recently saw that and I posted on my LinkedIn. So the world of offline and online is just all one big thing now and I think we’re gonna start seeing some really creative out of home and social campaigns coming over here, which are about emotional connection. And it really isn’t the big boys that are absolutely doing well in China. In Beauty I’d say is quite established, but other categories, B2B, property, universities education is all about emotional connections in China. And it’s some of the local players are doing a phenomenal job. In food and beverage, you know, some white goods, it’s just, the old fashioned way of doing it isn’t gonna cut it. And we still do have press here, I don’t know, it has a lot less notoriety, but in China, you really don’t. If you wanna find out what’s going on, you’re not gonna open the newspaper. So it really is just one big ecosystem overall audience engaging with you and the other thing that we’ve seen here, we have influences here. I’ve been in China, you pay for them. And in China, the influencer has a great deal of power and we’ll choose if they wanna work with a brand or they’re committed to the China market, you know, do they fit me as an individual and my followers? They’re very fussy. They are actually a, not just a media resource, they’re a necessity and we’re not seeing that here yet, but we will. And I think that the influencer market is going to become probably the biggest opportunity and threat to brands who don’t embrace it properly. And I don’t even think that’s just China, I think that is just generally our kids and generation slightly younger than us, which is pretty much everybody. I think that they are very cynical and they are, they’ve been bought up with this needs to be pleased immediately, this immediacy and everybody’s gonna have to speed up and accelerate in terms of what they’re doing. And I think it’s gonna be really interesting to watch, because I think

– It’s all about doing it properly, isn’t it?

– Yes.

– I see I’m so sorry, I’m about to sneeze.

– Oh, bless you.

– That is something I shouldn’t do. Nothing like a live streams. Actually, it’s Alexandra, so just asked a really interesting question. I’m just popping it up, but for those that maybe watch this later and can’t see it when the subtitles cover it up. This is, she says, this is super interesting, ladies. The potential for live streaming AI is just incredible over and above the conventional live streaming. Is this, do you feel the direction the Facebook Metaverse is heading? What do you think?

– Oh, you’re asking the wrong person. ‘Cause I only know China. I’m afraid that’s more of a question for you. Do I think the trends that we are seeing as commonplace in China are gonna come here absolutely? I’m not an expert on Western social channels. I’m only really active on LinkedIn. I only know the Chinese ones because that keeps me on my toes. So that’s more of a question for you, Katy. Do I think the behavior’s gonna change? Absolutely. Do I think Facebook is an ineffective channel? I think there are other channels that could be adopting this quicker because Facebook just, I will always have to speak to my daughter she’ll go on, I’m never going on Facebook ’cause all my friend’s parents are on there. All the olds are on there. So she spends her time on Instagram and TikTok. I think other channels are likely to embrace it quicker. I think they’re quicker, more agile, more innovative and I think this is the key point I could be eating my word by the way. Is that a lot of the Western channels and infact a lot of Western brands take too long to make decisions because they’ve historically always, then let’s just talk about the big corporates. They’ve got a Digital Department, an International Department, probably a Global Media Agency that doesn’t even understand China, or the APAC markets, and then they might have a PR agency. Do they speak to each other? No, that isn’t the way it works in China. And that’s what’s about to change. People are gonna start going, we’re doing a campaign, we’re targeting this cluster, let’s get everybody together that does marketing in this organisation and that’s been on the same page. That’s what has to change. And I think only then that behavioural change of people actually speeding up, making decisions quicker, getting campaigns out that are really gonna resonate because you’ve got them out within two hours of something happening. See a lot of that in China and that you don’t, and I know you guys do a brilliant job of that with your clients, but I’d really just despair a house, to slow people off, yeah.

– And it’s just, it’s almost like we don’t want to restructure our businesses to be to deliver customer experience no matter what the channel is. And there is, it is a huge bug bear because it is sometimes quite intangible as to how you get to the end game and it’s just, it’s a struggle to persuade people that the investment has to be quite large to make a difference because your audience matters to you, not because of what you spend. But to answer Alexandra’s question, I would say, absolutely that’s the whole point of Metaverse, whether that’s the whole Facebook group or the Meta group as they call them from Instagram to WhatsApp to.

– Yeah.

– The whole idea I think is that they are seeing what’s happening. They are too slow to move, but Facebook has really grown over the Facebook group has grown by either buying or copycatting.

– Yeah, buying.

– So they’re just copycatting. So yes, absolutely, they’re trying to position themselves and the push for VR is exactly the same, same as Snapchat’s absolutely massive push for AR.

– Yeah.

– You know, Augmented Reality is probably the next phase here that we’ll see a lot more of which is second nature in China.

– Oh, absolutely expected in China.

– Exactly, so I think it’s very different. You mentioned… We’ve only got a few more minutes, but I really wanna cover this off because you talked about moments of being in the moment and of course today’s black Friday and I shall be rushing off to make lots of useless purchases at some point.

– Yeah, of course.

– Why not? And, but I, China has some really significant days that matter to how you behave in social media. Do you wanna just talk through some of those?

– Well, firstly, if we’re talking about shopping then it’s 11/11, Singles Day, which was actually created by the Alibaba group but now actually transcends all channels in China. And isn’t just one day, it’s normally a two week campaign. It blows everything out of the water. Billions and billions in a 24 hour period are sold online. It’s an online festival, but also what’s very important to Chinese consumers is Chinese New Year because it’s the longest holiday. I’ll get on to go on with in a second. So you see a lot of campaigns around connection and family and food, because that is what Chinese New Year is about in China. You go home to your family. And there was a lots of beautiful emotive and actually real tear-jerking marketing the eyesore on social around Chinese New Year, 2020, because of course they were in locked down and nobody could go home and it was absolutely heart-wrenching for everybody. It’s a migration of billions of people every year. Then Golden Week historically has been when, and this is 1st to the 8th of October when Chinese consumers have travelled outside of China to go on holiday ’cause it’s the longest national holiday. And then they tack on annual leave, very normal to have a couple of weeks off a Golden Week. And it ties in with the national holiday, Chinese National Holiday. But of course with board has been what, they’ve been, what that has now led to is domestic travel in China and has just gone through the roof because international travel isn’t possible unless you’re willing to quarantine for three to five weeks when you get back, which is what my team are doing to go home. They’re just working in quarantine hotels I know. So basically that’s changed it slightly. And then you’ve got other things. So you have 12/12, which is another smaller shopping festival, but you have Mid-Autumn Festival in October, which is around the moon dates, when we have moon cakes, but also that’s another shopping festival. So I think it’s more to understand, if you understand your consumers in China, you understand what drives them and their emotions, or you’ll also understand that there are certain dates where you might do different creative or you might encourage them to spend money, but you do it in a way that is akin with that festival. And there are many, many of them. There are more bank holidays in China than we have here, but they have less annual leave overall than we do here. And they worked very hours. And some of the most creative campaigns I’ve seen recently are around eight, eight, six, which is literally working eight in the morning, to eight at the night, six days a week.

– Wow.

– And I know, and really focusing on the fact that you don’t have any time and you’re tired and some of the really sort of comical stuff, there’s a coffee brand that’s done a really good job with that you need to drink hot coffee and then you can get through the day sort of thing, but it’s a very comical, they do it through cartoons and that’s a really creative way of using social media to really understand your audience. But there are millions of examples of that about connections, emotional connections, but there’s been some outstanding creative on social in the last 18 months around not being able to travel and see people and how that’s really difficult for global Chinese. Even down to global Chinese doing post-graduate study and undergraduate study here, and having to spend a large chunk a bit online. Imagine you come here for an experience and then you’re not really in the classroom. So there’s been some beautiful, beautiful work. And there’s been some of the viral stuff that I’ve seen recently isn’t even KOAs or KOCs, it’s literally just individuals that built up followings around a common emotional thing. And there was an amazing thing that we shared a couple of weeks ago, a student that came over here and of course they’d been studying online and they’d, now able to come over and be in the classroom. And they shared their experience, their first couple of weeks. It just went viral because people understood it, they could connect with it. And we work, when we work with our clients, we’re always creating campaigns around user generated content. So we’ll find something amazing that a customer said, and then we’ll use that as part of a campaign, ’cause that’s really compelling, much more compelling than saying, we’re the brand and we’re amazing, you know, get one of your customers to say how amazing you are and do it in a creative way. So we’re seeing a lot more of that and we’ll see a lot more of that over here. I’m pretty sure of it, yeah.

– So, I could talk to you for hours, you know, I could. ‘Cause it’s, I’m fascinated by it. ‘Cause there’s so many, I love the similarities, but I also really love the differences and as we’ve spoken about the creativity and innovation in China that is trending and predictive of trends here. So we have to wrap up sadly.

– Yeah, I’ve enjoyed it, thank you.

– Well, I was gonna ask you for your top two or three tips for people who are looking at really entering that Chinese market. And what do you think the first two or three things they should do, or they can’t do without?

– Absolutely. So I’d say, before you do anything, who’s your audience? And if you don’t have much budget, choose one cluster, work out where they’re hang out. So don’t try and leverage all the social channels ’cause it’s too expensive. Secondly, build a reputation, so build credibility on that channel with that audience. So people know about you, so that you can encourage those customers or those followers to share. It’s not about following numbers by the way, it’s about engagement because you can buy followers really easily in China. Don’t speak to an agency that talks about followers because they’re talking crap. You want engagement, you want shares, you want comments. So you need to build the reputation is the first thing. The second thing is you need to think about how you can leverage what you have, what assets do you have within the business that you can localise that are gonna have a connection with that audience and have meaningful narrative, meaningful content. Try and be as creative as possible even if you don’t want to create new stuff, look at what will resonate. And finally make sure you measure, measure, measure what you can do on Chinese social so that you can go that would’ve worked, we’ll do more of that. That didn’t, we won’t. So very, very targeted in your channels and very, very targeted in your narrative so that it resonates, it engages and people share it. So less is more, think about quality is what I would say, because you could spend all of your money and if I had a pound for everybody who comes to me saying, I’m gonna do a Chinese website and I’m like, that’s great. Who’s gonna visit it? How are you gonna send traffic? What are you gonna say on it? Wouldn’t you be better just building some reputation first and people don’t even know who you are. And I would actually say the other tip is, do social listening. It’s absolutely critical. A, gives you opportunities to sing what people are saying that’s positive that you can leverage. And B, if something negative is being said, you can stamp on it. You can take it offline, you can have a conversation. We do this all the time with our brands. You do not wanna end up, the bigger, the more reputation you build, the more we can fall, right? So if somebody has something bad to say, needs to be dealt with straight away. And don’t assume that you have no reputation by the way, because even if you’re not doing anything, chances are, you do have customers. They are buying your product, even if it’s not available in China, they could well be here and you need to make sure you’re controlling that narrative. So less is more, quality, quality, quality. That’s what I would say.

– Love it. So it’s exactly what we preach.

– Exactly.

– Exactly.

– That’s why we work together.

– The fundamentals are there, aren’t they?

– Yeah, they’re there.

– So thank you so much Domenica. I think next year we have to have you back on because I’ve got about a million more questions I haven’t got to. So you’re definitely coming back.

– Pleasure.

– Thank you, Katie. Thank you.

– We’ll back. Pleasure.

– Alright. Take care and have a wonderful day.

– So we’re back. Next, oh no, not next week, we’re back on the 9th and it will be CJ and Bale and me, all three of us together talking about, what’s coming up, what are the trends, what matters for 2022? So definitely worth joining us on the 9th. It’s a Thursday this time, partly because we have Christmas parties and things to go to. So join us on Thursday, the 9th for our final Serious Social live of the year. Thank you. You have a lovely Friday and a cracking weekend. Bye.