Chinese social media platforms are not Facebook, Twitter, or Youtube. The social media platforms we are familiar with are blocked in China. It’s not a secret that China uses their own domestic social media platforms instead. Despite this, are there user behaviors in the East that marketers can learn from in the West?
Lesson 1: One Integrated App for Everything
Through third-party integration, WeChat was able to achieve more than its western counterparts. The most important word here is “integration.” There’s an obvious trend among its users that favors convenience. The versatility of the app allows users to hail a taxi, order and pay at a restaurant, buy a movie ticket or snack, pay at a street food vendor, chat with friends or an employer all in one place without leaving the app. The leading Chinese social media platform even offers an assistant chatbot called WeSecretary to help its users pay bills, book tickets, and manage other administrative tasks.
The apps in the West aren’t that far off. Facebook is set to offer users a full in-app experience, meaning that the tools are there for marketers that want to leverage this trend. From developing content that keeps users inside the platform, to solving customer queries in messenger using bots, to creating leads within Facebook, marketers can create a strategy that’s focused on the user experience.
Lesson 2: Flawless integration of mobile payments
Alibaba was a pioneer in mobile payments in China and practically owned the market until 2014 when WeChat came up with a brilliant idea. They introduced Red Packets, a completely unique feature that combined the elements of social networking and gaming. It got users into the habit of sending money electronically.
It allows Chinese social media users to send Packets with a predetermined amount of money, either to each other or in groups. They can also send a Packet to a group hat in randomized amounts. For example, put $3 in an envelope and select that the first person to open an envelope will get $2, another only $1, or set up a random cut. Options are endless.
Facebook isn’t far behind. In October it announced a partnership with Paypal to introduce a first of its kind experience in the West. It will let Facebook Messenger users take advantage of payments in-app using their PayPal accounts. It opens a new door for marketers and will challenge the idea that users have to go from mobile to desktop to make a purchase.
Lesson 3. Thriving live streaming
What is social live streaming? It’s a form of mobile front camera streaming done not only by celebrities and influencers but by everyday people from all walks of life. From the perspective of content, it’s a part-time reality TV selfie video, part-time late-night talk show.
If a viewer likes the broadcast, they can send a public question and a digital sticker to grab the attention of a broadcaster. The stickers are not free and their price varies from a few cents to several hundred US dollars; revenue is split between the app store, broadcaster and the platform. Broadcasters often acknowledge senders in real-time by a simple “thank you” note or a quick answer to their question. This system not only fills the pockets of broadcasters, but also gives viewers the joy of recognition and allows them to influence the content of the streams.
The success of live streaming on Chinese social media is self-propelled. Chinese users have been increasingly willing to pay to watch online streaming. It provided an incentive for the growth of more engaging content. Live streaming is China’s hottest trend in mobile self-expression and entertainment. Last year alone the market grew 180%, with top broadcasters making thousands of dollars a month.
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