According to the latest data, there are about 100 million outbound Chinese tourist going abroad every year. When they do so they like to stay connected to their family, friends and share their experiences, impressions about anything, from the hotel they stay at to the food they tasted or this new luxury bag they bought.
You understand it : it’s a big market out there,
They use social media and they love it. Chinese spend in average 10 hours per week on social media.
However, unlike in Western countries where you have Facebook, Youtube, Chinese social media landscape is mostly local. Indeed, Western social media are blocked for the most part and can not be accessed from China.
You adapt and use what you have : the main Chinese social network. The following data is going to give you the necessary keys to understand why and how it works :
There have been enough scandals and bad experiences these past few years to make Chinese travelers more careful and look twice before booking anything. Tourism is no exception here.
As shown in the figures below, Chinese tourists will decide what to book and where to go mostly according to their friends (52%) and family (42%) advices followed by reviews and comments from users on Chinese social networks in China.
Now, the thing that is harder to see here is that people may have been influenced by their family and acquaintances on social networks as well, since it is a user oriented content marketing tool. This leads us to say that social media can be more efficient and more subtle than direct advertisement like travel guides or magazines.
Social media have a real potential with the hyper connected post 80s’ and 90s’ generation that start to be the mainstream category in China. That’s why most companies increase their budget in social marketing. In China, people do not trust traditional media as much as they do digital ones and this has been like that for quite some time.
In addition, when users like something they will like it and spread the content posted. The information could be yours if you play your cards right. Second spread of the information is more trusted by users than the first because it comes from acquaintances and friends not directly from a brand.
Your information goes from BtoC (Business to Customers) to C2C (Customer to Customer).
This is great!
A mixed B2B and C2C strategy is more efficient than the sole B2C.
Using these new means of reaching Chinese tourists implies that companies should work mostly on ways to keep their fans interested and keep their community.
Having a very precise idea of your target customer is vital. Oddly, this is where companies often have it wrong because they focus too much on other aspects of the marketing campaign. By doing so they neglect the communication, the core aspect of a social media campaign aiming at Chinese tourists for instance.
Indeed, promoting your tourism resort or your tours is served best by a high quality message rather than an attempt to spread a message all by yourself for a maximum coverage.
Focusing on the communication and the message you want to spread will have people believe that your services, your suggested destinations are very interesting, of good value and therefore do the spreading for you. It will be done much more efficiently and with better result when they share their experience, travel,
Promoting your services and destinations is no longer about simple posters or ads on a website. The content must be designed according to the customers you want to target specifically. Chances are that very rich Chinese will not travel the same way than middle-class do. You need to be able to influence and get into your target’s mind. Since it’s no longer just about business, inbound marketers must keep a social part and find a balance.
A good social media strategy must include the following :
Know what kind of Chinese tourist you want to target, the better you know them, the better you will know where to post, be active as efficiently as possible : no post where your potential customers are, no wasted time, no wasted money.
China has a very fragmented social network landscape, you can only succeed if you design a strategy very elaborate. Indeed, more social media means more offer for Chinese to choose from, which translates into more elaborate expectations. Simple posts from official accounts are not enough. A well designed strategy should include the following elements :
Furthermore, no matter where you are in these steps you should keep an eye on how things are, adapt should you feel the need to and always expect the unexpected.
Monitoring data basically means, assessing your campaign, your results, and ultimately your cost efficiency rate as well as your increase in sales
Report allows people to have a clear idea of how the strategy has been carried out and the results obtained at a given time. The report should give you a more accurate picture of who your customers really are, what they think, their needs (past and present).
Should you do things the right way, you will be able to anticipate the next trends in tourism. This is perfect to stay ahead of the competition For this to happen high quality data and reports are the prime requirements!
Social media in China has started much later than in the West. As a matter of fact with simple copies of existing social networks. A good example would be ICQ in the West and QQ in China. That was before.
Now Chinese Social networks have a life and features of their own. In fact some of them may well be the most developed social networks in the world. This means an obligation for all inbound marketers to rethink their strategy when they are about to set foot into China social media landscape.
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