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NBH Guide to Industry Media: The importance of PR for B2B in China

NBH Guide to Industry Media: The importance of PR for B2B in China

The marketing strategy for many B2B companies has until recently been more traditional in the form of exhibiting at fairs, participating in events, exchanging business cards, and building business relationships through dinners.

But the digital progress has slowly changed the strategy and way of thinking when it comes to marketing for B2B. The pandemic has, to say the least, accelerated that development and more or less forced B2B companies to create a stronger digital presence.

“B2B companies are undergoing a transformation when it comes to digital marketing. Digital presence & campaigns are increasingly important to reach your industry clients in China” Richard Hårdänge, CCO, NBH.

Today it is digital content that you need to keep up with: Social media, pods, blogs, short videos, webinars, and more. According to figures from Accenture, a vast amount of B2B deals initiates online, and three out of four B2B brands use social media platforms as their primary channels for information to clients.

Many B2B companies are familiar with platforms such as WeChat and Weibo, they might know the importance of running an account on social media platforms. But how do customers reach that account, and why should it be trusted?

In this guide, we will talk PR (public relations), publicity in industry media. In China, adding PR to your marketing strategy can be the key to success.

The digital ecosystem of PR

The importance of Industry Media in China

The physical newspaper has long been appreciated in China, but like everything else, they have also moved into the digital landscape. For B2B companies in various industries, there is a range of different media platforms, local news- and e-branch papers.

Being visible through PR in industry media, not only creates credibility, but it’s also a way to increase your SEO in China. Read more about Baidu SEO here.

So how do you create PR to increase your online visibility and credibility in China?

Image: Adobestock

Get to the language and localize your content

Back to the basics, to start, in China, there are two types of written Chinese:

  • Traditional Chinese which is primarily used in Hong Kong and Taiwan
  • Simplified Chinese which is primarily used in mainland China

When writing articles or making press releases, it’s important that the language is authentic. Getting it done can be difficult, but a slippery slope can quickly throw you into a media crisis. Therefore, always use local writers who have good local knowledge.

Don’t underestimate the role of local media

PR creates momentum with local media, but it requires patience, long-term goals, and relationship building. It requires that you build credibility with qualitative material and interesting angles for the journalists to work with.

The more exclusive material they get the more they will publish.

To ensure that your narrative is local and demonstrates your expertise, get outside help. Collaborate with an agency that has experience working with PR in similar industries and has good contacts. Because yes, in China the PR media world is very much about the right contacts.

Result of PR client case with Easy-Laser

Use press releases

A cost-effective way to create visibility is to do press releases and create visibility on industry blogs and websites. Articles and news updates direct visitors to your website and your business.

Get better ranking in search results

Google may be the search engine you have to deal with in the west, but in China, it is Baidu that is “The” search engine. To get the most out of your articles, it is important that you optimize your content for Baidu. Read more about Baidu here.

High visibility on Baidu increases your credibility, and visibility and generates more traffic to your website. This, in turn, also makes you more attractive to industry magazines and industry sites, which in the next step increases your credibility and speed even more.

It’s an ecosystem or a loop that can lead to massive success if you play your cards right.

Result of PR client case with Roxtec

Use social media

As we mentioned at the beginning, traditional media is being replaced more and more by digital media. In China, social media is huge and there are many platforms. Some of them are also particularly important to keep in mind if you are active in B2B, for example, Zhihu and Bilibili.

Working with PR and gaining visibility can also provide content for one’s own account. Because who doesn’t want to share a really good industry article about one’s company that a big digital industry magazine published?

Collaborate with KOL:s

Doing PR in China is expensive. The costs in recent years have dragged on and are significantly higher than in the West. The main reason for that is KOL:s (influencers).

KOL:s have a much stronger role in B2B in China than in the West where we perhaps mostly relate influencers to B2C collaborations. Collab with a KOL in your field can add value to your targeted customer. The important thing is just to find the one that suits your industry the best.

If you are active in wind power, a local researcher with high credibility may be an option. In pharmaceuticals, it can be doctors, etc. Broaden your perspective on influencers and do careful research on which ones are the most tailored to your specific area.

Finally

Don’t forget that China is a big country with a huge population. Local differences can be large and therefore local knowledge is critically important.

NBH expertise in Chinese online behavior and the Chinese digital market can help your brand to increase your digital presence in China.

We have extensive experience and great references working with B2B clients. We act as a full-service agency and can make your company reach new levels with the help of PR and digital marketing in China. Find how we work with PR for China here.

The NBH Guide: How to use Baidu SEM to accelerate  your online presence in China

The NBH Guide: How to use Baidu SEM to accelerate your online presence in China

If China is an important market for your company, then Baidu should have the same priority as your Google strategy.  

Baidu can easily be described as “China’s Google”, and if you take a quick look, there are many similarities, partly in appearance, but in terms of search engine, SEO and SEM there are a lot of differences. 

In China, whenever you want to search for something you “Baidu it”, and to reach the top of the search result, your Baidu strategy is fundamental.

Are you aware of how you and your competitors appear in searches on Baidu?

This guide will give you deeper insight into succeeding with Baidu SEM. We will answer questions such as the difference compared to Google and what’s important to think about when it comes to Baidu SEM.

If you would like to get a more profound knowledge about Baidu, and Baidu SEO, please read our guide: The NBH Guide: 10 steps to succeed with Baidu SEO

Baidu search engine logo
Baidu logo

Fascinating statistics on Baidu usage in China

We’ll give some figures to understand the usage and importance of Baidu in China.

Baidu No. 1 search engine in China

Although China is one of the most important markets for many companies, Baidu is still relatively unknown to many.

Many people think that a Chinese-language website is enough or that the google strategy works as fine for Baidu, but this is not the case. You have to adapt your digital marketing strategy for China, and including China’s No. 1 search engine could be a very good first step.

Investing in Baidu SEM will get you:

  • Impressions
  • Clicks
  • Directs leads
  • More understanding of your China market

Baidu SEM (PPC)

Baidu SEM (Search Engine Marketing) can also be referred to as PPC (Pay-Per-Click) or ads on Baidu.

Baidu PPC can be a cost-effective way to get a higher, or perhaps top result on Baidu. These kinds of Baidu ads can also be added with images, such as product pictures or special campaign images.

Most importantly is that you adapt the ads for your targeted audience in China and perhaps market yourself with the right timing. This should be included in your marketing content plan.

Example of Baidu PPC ad including promotional images.

SEM and SEO, are all about keywords. What will the potential customer search for and what would be your keywords in China?

Once you have your ad live, and the user searches for related keywords, they will find your ad in their search result, and hopefully among the top results.

  • CPC (Cost-Per-Click)

Every time someone clicks on your ad there will be a CPC (Cost-Per-Click). The cost of the keywords (the CPC) depends on the bidding of the keyword, in other terms, how competitive the targeted keyword is.

  • Market your landing page

In order to get a good first impression, why not market your landing page in search results?

Take the chance and market your webpage according to your brand guideline and targeted audience in China. Show your products and services in a tasteful and “want to know more of” way!  

Example of a Baidu ad, promoting their landing page and products

Directs communications with your costumers

One popular and beneficial function that Baidu SEM has is to add a contact form directly in the ad. The consumer can in quickly way leave their phone number and company name. You can then easily return to the client and answer their questions.

This service is very appreciated among Chinese consumers because it offers the possibility to get in touch with you in a fast and more personal way. It is a very effective CTA (call to action) because it encourages the consumer to make a quick decision to get in contact with you.

Baidu ad with contact form

Track your performance with Baidu SEM

As with all marketing, it is essential to be able to measure your results. No matter what marketing activities are being done for a company, data is the key to getting knowledge about your performance. 

Knowing your performance will take you one step ahead in optimizing your digital marketing in China.

NBH believes in transparency and we always want what’s best for our clients. Please read more about how NBH works with data tracking: Data tracking in China.

How NBH can help you with Baidu SEM?

NBH has years of experience creating ads (SEM) so that companies easily can be recognized, creating relationships, and direct leads. 

We develop your Baidu SEM strategy and make you competitive in the market. We create a tailor-made keyword list for Baidu and create ads aligned with your brand and specialized for your Chinese audience. To be competitive, we do the daily operation of Baidu SEM, including bidding keywords.

We also offer monthly reports in English in order for you to take ownership of your digital marketing in China.

Book a free consultation meeting with one of our sales representatives. Together we discuss your specific needs and get to know more about how we can help you use Baidu SEO and SEM in your marketing strategy for China! Book a meeting, here.

The NBH Guide: Meet Douyin, the mother of Tiktok. How can you as a marketer use Douyin for your  China online presence?

The NBH Guide: Meet Douyin, the mother of Tiktok. How can you as a marketer use Douyin for your China online presence?

If we say Doyin it might not tell you much, but if we say Tiktok I hope you are on it!

Although Tiktok is the western version of Douyin, there are many big differences. As often when it comes to digital China, new platforms are faster adopted by the users and quickly acceptable to use as a marketing tool. In the west, Tiktok is mainly an app for young adults and teens but Douyin is used among all ages and all types of persons.

The app has in a short time, since it appeared in 2016, sprung out of no wear, as an incomparable success. It is fair to argue that it’s the most successful digital phenomenon in China ever.

But what is the key to the success, and how can it be used for you as a marketer in China?

NBH gives you a brief insight and presentation!

The background of Douyin

Douyin was originally launched in 2016 by the company ByteDance. The western version of Tiktok was released in 2017 but wasn’t booming until 2018. It’s vital to understand that Tiktok and Douyin are two different but similar apps, hosted on different servers, and has no other connections to each other than the mother company. 

Douyin is in many ways a very simple app that gives the user the ability to record short (15 seconds to 10 minutes) videos with filters, and watch (15 seconds to 10 minutes) videos in a continuously never-ending flow. The user-friendly functions make it easy for ordinary people to be creative and playful. In fact, most of the content on Douyin is produced by ordinary users.

The founder Zhang Yiming has created an AI-based algorithm that learns user behavior to adjust and tailor the content. In addition to Douyin, Zhang Yiming has also created the news app Toutiao, which has also been widely spread in China. Perhaps we will have the opportunity to return to it later in our insights series.

Some figures

  • Douyin reached over 180 million active users in only two years from its release
  • It is estimated to have over 600 million daily users by the end of 2022
  • It’s predicted to have over 800 million daily users in 2025
  • The average user of Douyin spends about 120 minutes a day on the app
  • The everyday user time has increased by 25% a year since the release

The key to the success

The simple explanation for Douyin’s great success lies in the well-developed technical platform with sophisticated algorithms. The algorithms direct the content towards the specific user’s behavior pattern in order to arouse as much interest as possible. Because the content is adapted to the user, no feed is exactly the same as another.

The user also has limited opportunities to influence the content through, for example, searches. A video is displayed and can either be viewed or clicked away. The algorithms receive direct information about which material is appreciated or not.

Douyin has also been marketing the app to just the right target group, early adapters. Initially younger women in their middle or early 20s. With increased popularity, the app has since then been spread among different ages and genders.

All of these factors together can be summed up in the fact that they released a well-developed app, to exactly the right target audience, at exactly the right time. And let’s be honest, isn’t a good product and the right marketing the recipe for success?

Picture: Appstore. Douyin taking over the scene of e-commerce.

Why use Douyin for marketing

The first and most obvious reason to include Douyin in your marketing plan is that no other app can get as large a visibility in such a short time frame as Douyin.

They also have many suitable solutions such as:

  • Direct linking to e-commerce shops, if you have more than 10 videos posted
  • A self-developed native e-commerce ecosystem where the user is able to make purchases directly in the app

With its constantly growing userbase and its e-commerce ecosystem it’s fair to think that it’s mainly for B2C. And of course, you can’t hide the fact that it is huge for B2C. Clothes, cosmetic, and food is by far the most popular e-commerce categories on Douyin. But on the other hand, it also brings lots of opportunities for B2B.

Since the competition is not as tough when it comes to B2B companies that market themselves via Douyin, there are opportunities to reach out to their customers in a creative, new, and fun way. Why not film from the production or film a tutorial with the pros and cons of using your product?

How to use Douyin for marketing

There are different accounts that can be used for marketing on Douyin. There are both certificated accounts and business accounts. If you want to brand yourself, a certified account is the way, but for companies, a business account is the easiest way. There are many advantages by getting a business account, among other things, the possibility to make longer videos, get access to advertising, sticker-adds, and more visibility through the algorithms.

Another big advantage of having a business account is that once you get approved by Douyin, you get a lot of credit. It simply becomes more trusted.

It’s also important to keep in mind that Doyin is first and foremost a video app with music. In order to capture interest and create visibility, it is therefore important to adapt to the platform. Create creative and exciting materials that feel genuine and well-produced.

Work with KOL:s

The most effective way to get visibility on Doyin is to work with KOL:s. The KOL already has its fan base and the algorithm reaches out to its followers. If you which to do a collaboration with a KOL it’s therefore important to pick someone that reaches out to our targeted audience.

NBH has years of expertise in working with digital marketing in China. Our expertise is available in both Europe and China.

Get the latest China news by registering for our newsletter, contacting us or why not booking a meeting. Find more info about us, book a meeting and sign up for our newsletter.

The NBH Guide: 10 steps to succeed with Baidu SEO

The NBH Guide: 10 steps to succeed with Baidu SEO

Intro

Companies, especially within B2B think it’s a challenge to reach the Chinese market, what platforms are there, and which ones to prioritize?

In this guide, we will talk Baidu! In the West, we talk Google and the term “let’s google it” has become normalized. Maybe you think this is a standard fraise all over the world? But like everything else in China’s digital world, everything works a little bit differently.

Baidu is China’s largest and most used search engine. Baidu can easily be described as “China’s Google”. If you take a quick look, there are many similarities, partly in appearance, but also in functions, such as maps, videos, images, etc. In terms of search engine and SEO there are a lot of differences.

What is Baidu?

In China, unless you have a VPN to break through the firewall, Baidu is the first search engine of choice and the 6th largest operator in the world, according to StatCounter 2021. Baidu is not only the first choice due to limited options, Baidu also has a high level of trust among its users.

Baidu Vs. Google – SEO

As we mentioned earlier, at the first glance, Google and Baidu seem to be similar. One might think that your Google strategy might work just as well for Baidu, but that is not the case.

The SEO for Baidu simply works differently. So how to optimize your Baidu SEO? NBH will guide you through the 10 most important steps (without ranking).

1. Domain

Baidu ranks the Chinese domains higher in the search result than the global domains. Use a Chinese domain, either .cn or .cn.com.

To get an even better result, also add a keyword to your domain name, to indicate what your website is all about.

2. Host your website in mainland China

To get a faster loading speed and a high user experience, we recommend hosting your website in China. The great firewall slows down the speed of externally hosted websites.

3. ICP license

Websites that are hosted in China need an ICP license (internet content provider). The ICP license can be purchased from the Chinese government and it’s important to display it in the footer of the website.

When it comes to different licensing, there is a major difference between Baidu and Google.

Google does not require any license to get indexed and climb the ranking results.

Baidu also indexes sites that don’t have an ICP license but it prioritized China-hosted sites, and to get a Chinese-hosted website the ICP license is required.

4. Crawling

Baidu script is not as advanced as Google’s. So, you can forget JavaScript and flash, Baidu simply can’t crawl it. Instead, we recommend using HTML static pages.

5. Use the right language

Baidu only index Simplified Chinese. Chinese users prefer using the Chinese language when searching on Baidu, even though they search for international topics. The use of Chinese language will gain the trust of your customers and clients.

6. Meta tags  

Unlike Google, Baidu uses meta tags as an important ranking factor. Choose a meta description that contains at least two keywords and a branded term. You can use up to 78 meta descriptions in Chinese characters.

So, make sure to optimize your meta description, meta image tags, meta keywords, heading tags, and other tags that you find important.

7. Links

Baidu prioritizes backlinks from domestic websites higher than external websites. Make sure to use internal links in order to get a better result, and use many of them, the more the better!

8. Mobile using

In China, people prefer using mobiles, therefore it is important to make sure that your website also is optimized for mobile use. Baidu’s mobile reach is over 1 billion active users, so mobile-friendly is important in order to deliver a great customer experience.

9. Be updated with your content

As always, make sure to always deliver fresh content! Not only for your followers but also for better ranking at Baidu, updated content sends a signal to Baidu and the chances for better ranking are higher. Keep your content alive, publish new articles, pictures, and videos, and make sure that your existing content also is up to date.

10. Optimize your SEO by using Baidu’s own site

Baidu owns several websites and unlike Google, Baidu chooses to prioritize them high in the search field than external websites. Pages that often comes up when scrolling on Baidu are:

  • Baike  (Baidu’s answer to Wikipedia)
  • Tieba (Online discussion forum, similar to Reddit)
  • Zhidao (Question and answer platform, a lot like Quora)

To optimize your SEO it is recommended to also be seen at these sites. Like, Google, it is good to have updated info on Wikipedia, for better ranking. This is the same for China, one way to optimize SEO is to be on Baike (China’s Wikipedia), especially since Baidu owns that site.

To summarize – Why succeed on Baidu?

To get started with Baidu, there are simply a lot of steps to be aware of, not least licenses and documents. But keep in mind that Baidu has over 1.1 billion users and billions of searches per month. Baidu is the leading search engine on the market.

If you take a closer look at Baidu’s app, there are 580 million activated users, so make sure that your website is mobile-friendly!

To succeed in China a Baidu strategy is a must-have!

NBH has years of expertise in working with digital marketing in China. Our expertise is available in both Europe and China.

Get the latest China news by registering for our newsletter, contacting us or why not book a meeting? Find more info by clicking here.

The NBH Guide: Get started with WeChat Mini Program!

The NBH Guide: Get started with WeChat Mini Program!

WeChat Mini Program has shifted the paradigm of mobile use, how can WeChat Mini Program be your solution?

NBH has created a Complete Guide to WeChat Mini Program. Learn everything you need to know by downloading our FREE 16 pages guide:

What is it?

Why Mini Program?

Mini Program for B2B / B2C?

Who is the user?

How can you benefit from WeChat Mini Program?

Get started with WeChat Mini Program! Click below to get full access.

The NBH Guide: Little Red Book – The social fusion app where the UGC community meets eCommerce

The NBH Guide: Little Red Book – The social fusion app where the UGC community meets eCommerce

Little Red Book (LRB), also known as Xiaohongshu 小红书 and RED is China’s largest social shopping platform. It is China’s go-to platform to share product reviews, beauty tips, daily outfits, overall lifestyle photos, etc. LRB is the Chinese equivalent of Instagram and Pinterest together, it is one of the hottest social media platforms in China, an important platform for B2C brands to be present.

The story behind Little Red Book

The platform is based in Shanghai and was originally developed in 2013. The founders Miranda Qu and Charlwin Mao’s goal was to provide a user-generated content (UGC) platform for consumers to share and review products and shopping experiences, discover new products, and exchange style tips. In 2014 the platform began to focus on connecting Chinese consumers with retailers and making it possible to link posts with brand official stores. The launch of its cross-border e-commerce platform RED Store in 2014 opened up the possibility for Chinese customers to buy international brands directly through the app.

Today Little Red Book is one of the fastest-growing social e-commerce platforms on the market and has formed strategic partnerships with brands like Lancôme and Swiss.

In 2020, almost 100,000 new products were added to the app every day with a total number of over 780 million exclusive products.

The company is today valued at over 6 billion US dollars.

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What is it?

According to its official website, Little Red Book (Xiaohongshu) is a lifestyle sharing platform.

Its mission is to “inspire lives”.  They do this by being a platform that connects people to a range of diverse lifestyle content.

Some might call it a pure e-commerce site but a better description is a search engine. A search engine to easily make a shopping decision or get inspiration.

Users visually showcase things from their everyday life, such as:

  • Makeup- beauty tips
  • Travel experience
  • Outfit of the day
  • Fitness and workout tips

Everything is visually exposed, with a variety of formats, including photos, videos, text, and live streaming.

LRB is user-based and content-driven. The platform is reminiscent of Pinterest in the look of the feed, there are features such as bookmark your favorites, and create your own boards of inspiration. Like Instagram, there are stories and you have the function of sending private messages. Users can also interact via “likes”, cute emojis, comments and follow specific users or brands.

To target content to individual users, Xiaohongshu uses a recommendation algorithm based on the user’s search history and browsing habits.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is RED2-2.png

So, who is the typical profile user of Little Red Book?

The latest official statistics from Little Red Book show that the platform has about 300 million registered users, and 100 million monthly active users.

The typical user profile on Little Red Book is a young female shopper living in top-tier cities, 56% of its users live in first- and second-tier cities.

The platform is mostly targeted by females, counting for +85% of its users. And the platform is most popular among the younger generations, such as Gen Z:s and late millennials.

The company has been clear that its next step is to engage and attract male users to the platform. In order to do so, investments have been done in articles and commerce on training and grooming products.

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The importants of KOL:s on Little Red Book

KOL:s are extremely important for branding on the Chinese market. And since Xiaohongshu is so much driven by reviews, they might have a greater impact here than on any other platform in China. People with good taste and the ability to communicate their purchases can quickly grow into micro-influencers.

China’s new generation, led by Genzs, tends to look for authenticity in a different way than before. They are focused on sustainability, health, balance, and group affiliation. Maybe that’s why Xiaohongshu has become so big in this age group, simply because they are more compatible with that customer group.

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Influencer (KOL) Kakakaoo- on Little Red Book

The creative RED

The success behind Little Red Book a.ka. RED is a user-driven community where people share comments and give reviews of their shopping and life experiences. The unique design creates a user experience that is more authentic and trusted than other platforms.

One problem that Little Red Book originally had was getting users to go from seeking inspiration and window shopping to actually making active purchases. To deal with this, the company has, among other things set rules for how products may be linked.

In 2020, 8% of the users reading a review on Little Red Book makes an order, this can be compared to Tmall (China’s largest marketplace for brand good) where only 2.6% do the same and go through with a purchase.

RED also has a high level of trust among users as they work directly with the brands’ own online stores. Brands also have the opportunity to set up their own digital shop within the app. Little Red Book then offers companies full logistics service, customer service, and full access to data insights.

LRB has also released its own brand REDesign and opened a physical flagship store in Shanghai. With this, they hope to cross the line between e-commerce and online stores.

Summery

Little Red Book is definitely something different from what we have seen in the “western” social media landscape. Instagram and Pinterest together as one, can it be better?

Overall the search function, the recommendation algorithm, and the user-driven content create a strong sense of credibility and a sense of belonging to a specific community or subculture, a lifestyle sharing platform.

With a large and strong user base, Little Red Book is definitely a platform to keep in mind if you want to introduce or expand your brand on the Chinese market.