Over the past couple of years, short-form video content has exploded around the world, and China is no exception. Douyin - known as TikTok in the West - hit the 400 million daily active user milestone in China earlier in the year, and as more consumers take to their phones to watch video content, brands are also getting involved in the action, creating viral content that positions them as leaders in their fields and helps them to impress more potential customers.
But how can you use short-form video content to promote your products? And what are the key strategies to drive sales and engagement? We’ve rounded up some top tips below…
Keep it short
Although videos should be under two minutes to maximise engagement, you can go even shorter to drive more followers and likes. Consumers are busier than ever before and have so much choice when consuming content, so if you don’t impress them within the first five seconds, they’re going to scroll onto the next video and forget that your brand even exists.
Data from AdAge suggests that 33% of viewers stop engaging with videos after 30 seconds, 45% after a minute, and 60% by two minutes. Get your hard-hitting facts and information in as soon as possible to hook in viewers and add a call to action after the minute-mark, too.
Get customers to help
One cost-effective method for video content creation in China is to invest in user-generated content campaigns. Ask customers to upload videos sharing their favourite things about your product, or potential problems they’re having that you could address, and you could feature the best on your channels. This social proof can be incredibly valuable as reviews impact the purchasing decisions of over 93% of consumers, and 60% of Chinese shoppers research products and brands online before they press “buy”. If they see that your WeChat channel is full of user-generated content praising your products, they’re far more likely to buy from you and follow your brand as they’ll see you as authentic, relevant, and trusted by consumers.
Work with influencers
Another way to create short-form video content is to work with professional users and KOLs in China. Influencers work hard to amass thousands or millions of followers and are willing to accept payment to promote your brand. Identify an influencer who has a leading position in your niche and see whether they’d be interested in partnering with your brand in exchange for freebies or a fee. You can pay anywhere from $500 to $500,000 for an influencer video.
One way to lower the cost of influencer marketing is to target micro-influencers, who have smaller but more refined audiences. If you choose a popular influencer who has a broad and general audience, you’re less likely to see a return on your investment than if you choose a smaller influencer who has a good standing in your industry and posts specialist content.
Swot up on artificial intelligence
With so much to choose from, Chinese consumers regularly head to apps like Douyin to find short-form video that’s already popular. Make sure you’re following local trends and work with a marketing agency that has on-the-ground experience creating videos that speak to your target demographic. And remember that a viral campaign in the West won’t immediately translate to success in China - consumers have different tastes, cultures, and behaviours.
Artificial intelligence is being used increasingly in China to separate high-quality videos from lower-quality material. Qihoo 360, for example, launched the Quick Video Discovery feature that analyses video content and detects emotion and interest from users. With some work, you can game the algorithm and see what works and what doesn’t to maximise video views.
Post on multiple channels
Finally, don’t be afraid to reuse and repurpose your short-form video content on multiple social networks and video apps. Douyin and Youku are the two most popular video networks but that doesn’t mean you can’t repost your content on WeChat and Weibo. You could, for example, record a long-form tutorial on using your product for Youku (China’s answer to YouTube) and then slice it down into bite-sized chunks for other networks. This cuts down production times and costs and serves you with quality content for multiple social networks.
Whether you’re a fan of video content or not, your audience is! Get out the camera and start recording quality material for your Chinese audience, or outsource the responsibility to a local marketing agency who can get into the mindset of your average customer and identify opportunities for viral and trending content. If you need a hand, Zudu China is here for you.
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