As we look ever more closely at marketing trends around the world, Asia stands out as a region that is contributing its fair share of new and exciting ideas to the B2B arena – particularly with regard to channels that focus on social media.
Increasingly, buyers are turning to social media platforms for information such as product reviews, comments and features that highlight challenges and solutions within their respective markets. This instant access to information is fuelling the trend towards self-conducted research, which is now a major part of many B2B buying journeys. Subsequently, the content you create to send out into the world is now competing more than ever before for visibility and, importantly, engagement.
In Asia, and particularly in China, one of the most progressive applications for information sharing is WeChat. With close to 700 million monthly active users – some 100 million of which are outside of China – the app allows users to undertake a wide variety of tasks, from posting messages to social media to making online purchases.
"What we are seeing with platforms such as WeChat is the evolution of content marketing."
As a brand it is possible to set up an account on WeChat and in a similar fashion to Twitter and LinkedIn, for example, begin to attract followers. Audiences are best attracted by posting high-quality, engaging content, which can be delivered in a variety of ways – from audio messages and videos to photographs, blog posts and full feature articles. Links to your WeChat account can also be posted via other mediums in order to attract followers to your network. For example, QR codes embedded into promotional materials, emails or advertisements can be a very effective way of engaging potential customers.
In addition, WeChat allows users to create mini-websites – essentially mobile web pages which can be accessed via the site’s browser. These allow brands to interact with potential customers at varying stages throughout the buying process. It may start with a product finder or catalogue, for example, and progress to data sheets, FAQ’s and even a “buy now” facility.
What we are seeing with platforms such as WeChat is the evolution of content marketing. Content that adds value to customers, that educates in a way that is both relevant and consistent, and that promotes positive interaction with potential clients. A straight produce and distribute approach still has value of course, but encouraging user-generated content (UGC), such as reviews, videos and forum posts, can have a real impact on your marketing efforts. The trend is towards starting and facilitating conversations, as opposed to simply shouting loudly about a product or service, and having an outlet that enables you to showcase these positive interactions is worth its weight in gold.
How you tailor the journey will ultimately depend on your product or service, and this is where expert input from those with knowledge and experience in both the technology and the region can really pay dividends. At ABI, we have global teams operating in Shanghai and Singapore who are able to offer support and guidance to those B2B companies looking to penetrate the Asia market via the use of social media platforms as part of their communications armoury. Start your own journey today by contacting us for a chat.