China’s Influencer Fatigue is Real. What Should Brands Do?
China’s rapid growth often defies conventional wisdom. It is also true when it comes to influencer marketing.
Motivated by the earning potential and possible fame, many digital-savvy Chinese are joining the influencer ranks. There are reportedly over 1 million influencers in China who have more than 10,000 followers on social media. According to a Chinese job survey, 54 percent of Chinese born after 1995 chose “influencer” as their most desired occupation.
After witnessing the success of some influencers, it’s no wonder younger Chinese seek a similar career path. Zhang Dayi, China’s most well-known influencer on Taobao, earned $46 million in 2016 selling her own products on the platform, putting her income ahead of Kim Kardashian that year. And in 2017, Chinese influencer Rebecca Li was credited with selling 100 Mini Coopers through her WeChat account within five minutes.
Personalized content allows influencers to create a direct authentic connection between a brand and consumers. With a preponderance of influencers, any given influencer’s creativity and production quality are of critical importance.
Chinese beauty influencer Xiao Mao, for example, writes in-depth skincare product reviews on his official WeChat account. Most of Xiao Mao’s followers are beauty enthusiasts drawn to a product’s efficacy rather than packaging. Instead of posting beautiful product images, he delves deeply into a product’s ingredients and documents his skin condition after using a product to demonstrate the results.
Invest in Micro-Influencers
Chinese millennials and Gen Z consumers consider personalization an integral part of their shopping experience. They expect brands to talk to them directly. More and more brands realize that working with a niche influencer with a unique point of view about their brand might generate better results than a top-tier influencer who is likely also working with their competitors.
This is when brands can seek social media platforms that appeal to these consumers. Unlike Weibo, where top-tier influencers capture the vast majority of the views, new platforms like Douyin and Red are adopting a decentralized approach to help content creators grow their audience. Content that performs well among an influencer’s core followers will be promoted to a larger audience pool, triggering a viral effect. Thanks to this algorithm, a micro-influencer’s content could gain tens of thousands of views overnight.
Look Beyond the Border
Many Chinese consumers find brands that are not available in China to be particularly appealing. For brands that have yet to enter the China market, Chinese influencers who reside outside China are often the best partners. These influencers, many of whom were students studying abroad, are considered local insiders and trendsetters in their adopted hometown. When these influencers move back to China, they tend to have a stronger appeal to brands for their early exposure to the brand culture.
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China’s Influencer Fatigue is Real. What Should Brands Do?-Jing Daily