With its proximity to the largest market in Asia, Singapore businesses have a lot to gain if they can effectively reposition themselves for a more targeted penetration into the China market. An excellent way to capitalise on this potential is through the use of e-commerce. However, with a projected $3 trillion market value by 2024, China’s e-commerce industry is a goldmine yet to be tapped by Singaporean brands. Now, more than ever, these brands can enter China’s markets through platforms like Xiaohongshu or, in English, Little Red Book.
What is Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book)?
Xiaohongshu is a social media and e-commerce platform. Generally, it can be described as China’s own Instagram. However, the platform is far much more than what Instagram is known to offer (comments & likes). It’s more of a perfect blend of Pinterest and Instagram, with the addiction-enabling algorithm of TikTok. The Little Red Book (or RED for easy referencing) is an untapped goldmine for a brand looking for a targeted organic audience, and there are a lot of stats to back up that claim.
RED has an estimated 300 million users and around 100 million monthly active users. What’s more, statistics show that approximately 72% of its users are millennials, while 57% live in top-tier cities and have high purchasing power. Furthermore, a key demographic parameter reveals that an astonishing 88% of the platform’s users are females. So it’s no surprise that with its higher female following, Cosmetics and Fashion are the most significant categories on the platform.
If your business is into either of these categories, then you’re in luck. However, there’s still much potential to be realised even in the other categories. Especially if you factor in the fact that just 12% (albeit a small percentage) still makes up a large number of potential customers with the size of the platform’s registered users. Other categories in RED include books, cartoons, celebrities, digital products, food, fitness, home decoration, kids, men’s Fashion, movies, parenting, travel, TV shows, pets, variety shows, and weddings.
Reasons to Use Little Red Book for Marketing in China
Like any major Chinese social media and e-commerce platform, Mandarin is the primary language used on RED. As a Singaporean brand, you’ll need to have an above-average knowledge and understanding of the language to get meaningful engagement. That aside, there are unmeasurable benefits of using RED as a marketing platform to penetrate the Chinese market.
A Large Population Of Young, High-Spending Customers
To any serious business owner, this is music to the ears. With a large population of young potential buyers with high purchasing abilities, your brand has everything to gain in terms of popularity and revenue. With the understanding of the demographics that RED offers, you can easily position your brand by carving a niche in an ever-growing platform. There’s no better way to capture the Chinese market than through e-commerce and its sizeable young population.
Targeted Audience With High Conversions
Unlike a social media platform like Facebook, RED provides brands with reliable demographics to use to their advantage. With a user base comprising 88% females, you already know the types of content to get engagement from most of its users. In addition, the platform allows for reviews, comments, and accessible research, thus allowing users to find and learn to appreciate the brand and its products.
So, if your brand has products under the Cosmetics and Fashion categories, you automatically have 88% of RED’s audience to sell them to. Since you’re dealing with high-spending customers, your focus is on getting proper brand recognition and delivering quality products. On the other hand, if your brand products do not fall in any of the biggest categories, there’s still an open market for you to influence.
Fewer categories can only mean less competition among different brands. You can use this as a bedrock to not only carve out a niche for your brand but to amplify your influence. You have to begin by understanding your target audience and then proceed to create content and products that’ll keep them glued to your brand.
It Has An Effective KOL Marketing Tool
In today’s e-commerce and online sales world, we cannot deny the power wielded by social media influencers. Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) can help push your brand to have far more reach. Since RED fuses Instagram and a bit of TikTok, the platform is known to have influencers who have a growing number of followers. However, unlike Instagram, the platform is able to create trust among its users, thus creating a cult-like community.
The platform does not openly encourage direct marketing and has put algorithms in place to filter out brands or KOLs trying to push products or promote brands. As a result, its contents feel more organic to users, who are more than willing to trust and follow these KOLs.
How You Can Make Your Little Red Book Marketing a Success
Now that you’ve understood the importance of using RED to enter the Chinese market, it’s vital you also understand how to use the platform effectively.
Put Out Your Best Content!
The best way to see the RED platform is to examine it less as an e-commerce site and more as a content-driven platform. Users do not come on the platform with the sole aim of making a purchase. Alibaba’s Tmall already exists as China’s largest marketplace for branded goods. So, why should you not be focusing your time and energy on Tmall? That’s because further statistics show that 8% of RED’s users are more likely to make a purchase after navigating through the site compared to about 2.6% of Tmall’s users willing to do the same.
Obviously, there has to be something that makes RED stand out when it’s not primarily a marketplace. The short answer is content! You have to create original content for your brand that is easily relatable. Keep the sales content for other platforms and be more concerned about delivering content that would benefit RED users.
A short video teaching users about the “how-to’s” of products, information content, and targeted random tips would go a long way to getting more organic engagement than promotional videos (assuming you manage to beat the platform’s algorithms). Since the RED user community is founded on trust, you’ll be surprised how a low-quality video with high-quality content will create better conversions than a high-quality video with low to medium-quality content.
Make SEO Practices Your Friend
One of the greatest mistakes any online business can make is to relegate SEO to the confines of search engines and increase website traffic. Wherever content plays a major role, SEO strategies can also come in handy to give you a wider reach. Like on TikTok and Instagram, RED also allows you to use hashtags and keywords in your content. Like search engines, you have to look for terms and phrases used by your target audience when conducting RED product research. While you should avoid fluffing your content with such keywords, it’s beneficial to incorporate them as much as possible in each content.
It Should Never Be About You
Isn’t the idea of a Singaporean brand using RED to penetrate the Chinese market good? Absolutely! However, although the platform holds a significant demographic for your brand to utilise, it’s best to remember it was not created to be an exploitative marketing tool. To get the best from the platform, you have to play by its rules or, better still, use its rules to your advantage.
Take the idea of direct advertising out of your RED marketing plans. Instead, focus on using short videos to indirectly push your brand and product. For example, rather than make your brand the best in the niche, you could create content comparing several products. Then, find a relatable way to add your product to the mix.
Work With KOLs
Using influencers is a quicker, though more expensive, way to get your brand noticed in RED. It’s not 100% guaranteed, but it has a high success rate. Chances are, RED’s KOLs already know how to play by the rules and what is acceptable and unacceptable to the platform’s algorithms. If you have the budget to partner with these KOLs, feel free to go this way. Just ensure you partner with an influencer who’s in your desired niche or has access to your targeted audience.
As a Singaporean brand looking to market outside the country, the Chinese market is one of the most viable to penetrate—in terms of proximity and scale. Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book) offers an enormous population of young customers known to be high-spenders. Therefore, the platform provides the greatest opportunity to penetrate the Chinese market and give your brand the reach it deserves. The article also provides ideas for making your Little Red Book marketing a success.
If you are not fluent in Chinese or don’t know how to go about it, you can appoint a social media marketing agency that understands Little Red Book inside out, like Digital M. We can help you market your brand and make it popular in the Chinese market in no time. So, contact us now.